Month: September 2016

Trump team debuts ad starring Ivanka Trump


Donald Trump’s campaign released a new television ad Friday evening starring Ivanka Trump, the GOP nominee’s daughter from his first wife, Ivana.

The ad, titled “Motherhood,” highlights the Trump campaign’s new maternity leave plan.

“Mr. Trump’s childcare affordability plan will immediately help millions of hard-working Americans provide for their families by introducing innovative solutions benefitting everybody,” the GOP nominee’s deputy communications director, Jessica Ditto, said in a statement.

“Mr. Trump’s clear vision on this issue sets him apart from Hillary Clinton, who has offered little more than partisan rhetoric and vague talking points. If you’re looking for a change to improve America, Donald Trump will provide that leadership,” Ditto said.

The Trump campaign said Friday that the new Ivanka ad is slated to run in several battleground states, though they would not say which ones.

The Clinton campaign has characterized the Trump child care plan as “half-baked” nonsense.

“After spending his entire career — and this entire campaign — demeaning women and dismissing the need to support working families, Donald Trump released a regressive and insufficient ‘maternity leave’ policy that is out-of-touch, half-baked and ignores the way Americans live and work today,” Clinton policy aide Maya Harris said this month in a statement.

“The lack of seriousness of this proposal is no surprise given his history of disrespecting women in the workplace and the fact there’s no evidence he ever provided paid family leave or childcare to his own employees,” she said.

Libertarian VP nominee says no one is more qualified for WH than Clinton

Also from the Washington Examiner

“I mean, that’s not the end of the inquiry though,” Bill Weld continued.

09/30/16 6:59 PM

Byron York: Ominous signs for Trump in new post-debate poll

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Clinton’s standing improved relative to Trump’s in three important areas.

09/30/16 7:23 PM



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Clinton says Trump 'choked'


Hillary Clinton has grown increasingly comfortable with mocking Donald Trump from the campaign trail, and the Democratic nominee inspired cheers from a crowd Friday afternoon by accusing the Republican candidate of flopping during his recent trip to Mexico City.

“My opponent’s only infrastructure plan is to build a wall,” Clinton told a crowd of supporters in Coral Spring, Fla.

“I loved it. He went down to Mexico and he choked. He didn’t even raise it. He has been going around telling people for months, ‘We’re going to build a wall, and we’re going to make Mexico pay for it.’ So he’s sitting with the president of Mexico and he doesn’t even bring it up!” she said to applause and laughter.

Trump accepted an invitation last month for an in-person meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City. The GOP nominee and Pena started their meeting with a private discussion that was closed off to the travelling American press. Later, the two participated in a joint press conference in which they laid out their respective positions on trade and immigration.

After delivering their prepared remarks, the Republican candidate and Mexican president took questions from the press. In response to one specific question, Trump said he and Pena did not discuss the GOP nominee’s oft-repeated promise to build a wall on America’s southern border and make Mexico pay for it.

Pena’s team released a statement later alleging the Mexican president had stated unequivocally in his private meeting with Trump that Mexico would never pay for the border wall.

The Trump campaign didn’t dispute the claim, and explained in a statement of its own that a “negotiation” would have been “inappropriate.”

“[W]e look forward to continuing the conversation,” the Trump campaign said.

On Friday, Clinton drew laughter by accusing Trump of choking during his meeting with Pena.

Libertarian VP nominee says no one is more qualified for WH than Clinton

Also from the Washington Examiner

“I mean, that’s not the end of the inquiry though,” Bill Weld continued.

09/30/16 6:59 PM

“He finds it a lot easier to insult women than to talk to the president of Mexico about building a wall!” the Democratic nominee said.

Clinton also made fun of Trump Friday for his early-morning comments on social media about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

“I mean, really. Who gets up at 3 o’clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?” Clinton said. “I mean, he hurled as many insults as he could. Really, why does he do things like that?

“I mean, his latest Twitter meltdown is unhinged, even for him. It proves yet again that he is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander in chief,” she added. “I have said it before and I’ll say it again: A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes.”

Paul Ryan's office tweaks Obama after White House Jerusalem correction

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“Speaker Ryan was proud to visit Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, earlier this year.”

09/30/16 6:18 PM

White House correction crosses out Israel as location of Jerusalem

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Striking change made in update to an email distributing Obama’s remarks at Shimon Peres’s funeral.

09/30/16 5:33 PM



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Libertarian VP nominee says no one is more qualified for WH than Clinton


Libertarian vice presidential nominee Bill Weld declared that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to take the presidency in November, even more so than Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.

When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd if Johnson is more qualified for the presidency than Clinton, Weld responded that he is “not sure” if “anybody is more qualified” than Clinton for the position. Weld made the remark after expressing his displeasure with the idea of Donald Trump assuming the office.

“Do you believe he’s more qualified to be president than Hillary Clinton?” Todd asked the former Massachusetts governor.

“I’m not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States,” Weld responded. “I mean, that’s not the end of the inquiry though. We were two-term governors, and I think Gary is very solid. At this point, we overlapped as governors and I thought highly of him back when we served together.”

“Having spend the last several months with the guy, I mean, I don’t even just like the guy. I love the guy. I think he’s very solid and deep,” Weld said.

He went on to praise his non-interventionist policy abroad in comparison to the Bush and Obama administrations, adding that it would be a “refreshing change.”

Weld’s comment comes after self-admitted gaffes by Johnson in recent weeks. During an interview on “Morning Joe,” Johnson infamously asked “what is Aleppo” when asked how he would control the humanitarian crisis in the Syrian city. Earlier this week, he also was unable to name a world leader during a sit-down with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

White House correction crosses out Israel as location of Jerusalem

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Striking change made in update to an email distributing Obama’s remarks at Shimon Peres’s funeral.

09/30/16 5:33 PM



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Trump says comments on Mexicans good for restaurant business: documents


NEW YORK Donald Trump said he believed his assertion last year that Mexicans crossing the border illegally are “rapists” bringing crime were “pretty mainstream” and should have attracted customers to his new Washington restaurant, according to court records BuzzFeed News published on Friday.

“I’ve tapped into something and I’ve tapped into illegal immigration,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a June 16 deposition for a lawsuit against a celebrity chef who dropped out of the restaurant venture at his new hotel.

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian pulled out after Trump’s June 15, 2015 comments as he announced his bid for the White House.

Trump said Zakarian may have missed an opportunity.

“If he had the restaurant, it would be helped instead of hurt” by the comments, Trump said in the deposition.

Zakarian, who has appeared in cooking shows like “The Next Iron Chef,” “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” signed a deal with Trump to open the restaurant in the historic Old Post Office building near the White House, which Trump won the right to lease and renovate from the U.S. government.

The project, called the Trump International Hotel, opened on Sept. 12, almost a year after it was originally expected to begin operating.

Zakarian backed out in July 2015, after the speech Trump gave on June 16, 2015 announcing his candidacy and bemoaning the flow of people across the southern U.S. border. Zakarian said Trump’s comments were out of sync with his “personal core values.”

Several companies, including Macy’s Inc, broadcaster NBC and stock car racing organization NASCAR, also cut ties with Trump after his comments.

Trump, through his subsidiary operating the hotel, sued Zakarian, alleging the broken deal cost him more than $10 million.

In the deposition, Trump also said his comments about Mexicans illegally crossing the border had helped him win the Republican presidential nomination, a sign his views were “pretty mainstream.”

The case is Trump Old Post Office LLC et al v. CZ-National LLC, et al, District of Columbia Superior Court.

(Reporting by Emily Flitter; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)



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Trump: Media, Dems 'panicking' because they can't stop me


"The corrupt media ... working along with the political establishment ... is panicking because they know this is awfully tough to stop what's happening right now, folks," Donald Trump said. (AP Photo)

Donald Trump said Friday his Democratic opponent and members of the media are in full panic mode because every effort so far to thwart him has failed.

“The corrupt media … working along with the political establishment … is panicking because they know this is awfully tough to stop what’s happening right now, folks,” the Republican presidential nominee said of his candidacy during a rally in Novi, Mich.

“The news anchors and the donors and the lobbyists who are used to getting their way are trying to do everything they can to help Hillary Clinton and to cling to their power and their prestige and their money,” Trump added.

Trump, who finds himself at the center of another controversy after refusing to ignore recent attacks leveled by a former Miss Universe pageant winner, has railed against Clinton and the media during each of his campaign rallies following Monday’s presidential debate.

Nevertheless, Trump and Clinton remain locked in a tight race both nationally and in several key battleground states. He encouraged his supporters on Friday to “picture a Wall Street board room” when they cast their vote on Nov. 8.

“Imagine the look on their faces when you tell them, ‘You’re fired!'” Trump said.

Debate commission: There were 'issues' with Trump's microphone

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The exact nature of the problem was not described.

09/30/16 2:42 PM

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Donald Trump defends 3 a.m. tweetstorm: At least you know I'll be up to 'answer the call' as president


Donald Trump defended his early morning barrage of tweets Friday afternoon in a tweet saying that it is a sign that he will be awake to "answer the call" as president. (AP Photo)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday defended his early morning barrage of tweets in, of course, a tweet, calling it a sign that he will be awake to “answer the call” as president.

Trump was responding to attacks over four tweets he sent before dawn railing against unnamed sources in the media and the continuing talk about Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe winner who Trump referred to as “Miss Piggy” after she gained weight.

The first of the four tweets was sent out at 3:20 a.m. The others were all sent between 5:14-5:30 a.m.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Trump’s early-morning tweets and attacks against Machado “unhinged” and asked what kind of person “stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?” She also went after Trump’s temperament, saying that when something gets under his “thin skin, he lashes out and can’t let go.”

Machado became an issue during Monday’s debate when Clinton used her to attack Trump for his past comments about women. Trump told reporters after the debate that he thought about firing back by attacking former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities, but said he didn’t because Chelsea Clinton was in the crowd.

Debate commission: There were 'issues' with Trump's microphone

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The exact nature of the problem was not described.

09/30/16 2:42 PM

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Clinton mocks Trump over 'Twitter meltdown'


Hillary Clinton drew cheers from her supporters Friday after she mocked Donald Trump’s late-night Twitter rant against former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

“I mean, really. Who gets up at at 3 o’clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?” the Democratic nominee asked at a campaign rally in Coral Spring, Fla. “I mean, he hurled as many insults as he could. Really, why does he do things like that?”

Trump drew attention to himself early Friday morning with a series of tweets attacking Machado and the press.

He first tweeted at 3:20 a.m., saying, “Anytime you see a story about me or my campaign saying “sources said,” DO NOT believe it. There are no sources, they are just made up lies!”

Next, he tweeted at 5:14 a.m., “Wow, Crooked Hillary was duped and used by my worst Miss U. Hillary floated her as an ‘angel’ without checking her past, which is terrible!”

Trump then tweeted at 5:19 a.m., “Using Alicia M in the debate as a paragon of virtue just shows that Crooked Hillary suffers from BAD JUDGEMENT! Hillary was set up by a con.”

The Republican nominee’s tweets come as both he and Clinton’s team have fought this week over his treatment of the former Miss Universe back in the mid-1990s.

On Friday, Clinton kept up her attacks on Trump’s temperament.

“I mean, his latest Twitter meltdown is unhinged, even for him,” she said. “It proves yet again that he is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander in chief.”

EPA settles with W.Va.'s Democratic candidate for governor

Also from the Washington Examiner

Jim Justice’s Southern Coal Corp. had racked up $2 million in overdue fines for mine violations.

09/30/16 4:52 PM

“I have said it before and I’ll say it again: A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes,” Clinton added to cheers and applause.

Debate commission: There were 'issues' with Trump's microphone

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The exact nature of the problem was not described.

09/30/16 2:42 PM



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EPA settles with W.Va.'s Democratic candidate for governor


The Obama administration on Friday settled years of outstanding fines with West Virginia’s leading Democratic candidate for governor, billionaire Jim Justice, whose coal business has avoided payment for years.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it has settled with Justice’s company, Southern Coal Corp. and its many affiliates, to pay a $900,000 civil penalty, install $5 million worth of new compliance measures and put up a $4.5 million letter of credit to ensure his companies live up to their agreement to clean up mine sites in five states.

The $900,000 penalty will be divided among EPA and the four states in the settlement, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, the EPA said.

Justice’s companies have been elusive for years when asked about their mine safety violations and why Southern Coal has refused to pay the full fine. Justice, who is running for the governor of the Mountaineer State, has avoided commenting to news reporters on the violations.

National Public Radio reported in 2014 that Justice provided charities and organizations such as the Boy Scouts with about $200 million in donations, but appeared to ignore the $2 million in overdue fines he had accrued for mine violations going back as far as seven years.

“An operator that’s going to maintain a safe operation is faced with a dilemma of what gets paid and doesn’t. And the unpaid fines and citations with Southern Coal have simply been not having the available cash to settle those,” Tom Lusk, Southern Coal’s CEO, said in an interview with NPR.

EPA, of course, sees things far differently.

“Discharging pollution from coal mining into waterways is a serious threat to clean water, and that’s why EPA stepped in on behalf of communities across Appalachia,” said EPA enforcement chief Cynthia Giles Friday. “Company-wide compliance programs like the one Southern Coal Corporation will establish are critical to protecting our lakes, rivers and streams and the people who depend on them.”

Clinton mocks Trump over 'Twitter meltdown'

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“Who gets up at at 3 o’clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?”

09/30/16 5:03 PM

Debate commission: There were 'issues' with Trump's microphone

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The exact nature of the problem was not described.

09/30/16 2:42 PM



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Red line: Kerry still hasn't carried out threat to end Russia talks


Secretary of State John Kerry remains “on the verge” of suspending talks with Russia over their intervention in the Syrian civil war, despite threatening to do so “immediately” two days ago.

“We are at the same place,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “We have not definitely suspended our diplomatic relations regarding Syria with Russia. We’re on the verge because we have not yet seen them take the kind of actions that we’re looking to see them take, but we’re not there yet and the conversation continues.”

Kerry’s continued dialogue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov prompted reporters to recall that President Obama previously refused to carry out his threat to bomb Syrian dictator Bashar Assad over the use of chemical weapons. Toner, emphasizing that he can’t describe the details of Kerry’s phone calls with Lavrov, dismissed concerns that the State Department lacks credibility with Russia.

“I can’t speak to whether they do or don’t take us seriously, but they should,” he said.

Toner acknowledged that the United States has “other options” if talks break down entirely.

“Many of them are not very good,” he added. “So before we definitively slam the door here we want to make sure that we understand the stakes and that Russia understands the stakes, more importantly.

Kerry is already taking criticism from some Senate Democrats, who believe that Russia took advantage of the recent ceasefire agreement in order to allow Assad to prepare for a major offensive against the rebel-held city of Aleppo.

“I think that the temporary truce that was created, from the Russian perspective, never had a real calculation to actually effectuate the results of what Secretary Kerry intended,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said Thursday during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria.

That came as several Democrats called for the Obama administration to develop an alternative strategy for the Syria crisis. “[T]he current effort is not working,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., told Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken during Thursday’s hearing.

EPA settles with W.Va.'s Democratic candidate for governor

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Jim Justice’s Southern Coal Corp. had racked up $2 million in overdue fines for mine violations.

09/30/16 4:52 PM

Toner acknowledged that the United States has “other options” in Syria. “Many of them are not very good,” he added. “So before we definitively slam the door here we want to make sure that we understand the stakes and that Russia understands the stakes, more importantly.”

Those options include levying sanctions on Russia for their involvement in attacks on Syrian civilians over the last year, but the Obama administration hasn’t used that tactic in order to preserve the possibility of negotiating with Russia.

“Sanctions can be very effective,” Toner explained. “But we also want to weigh that with our ability to work effectively with Russia, so we just haven’t reached that decision point yet.”

Debate commission: There were 'issues' with Trump's microphone

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The exact nature of the problem was not described.

09/30/16 2:42 PM



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Media rushes to discount claims of Google bias


Mainstream media outlets this week moved to discount Donald Trump’s allegation that Google manipulated search results to favor Hillary Clinton, and called it a “conspiracy” contrived by the Russian media, ignoring similar reports that appeared in American media and discounting the fact that the researcher behind the claim supports Clinton.

The media effort began on Wednesday evening, when Donald Trump cited an opinion survey from Google that showed him leading the presidential race, and alleged that the result was remarkable because Google had manipulated search results to favor Clinton.

“The Google poll has us leading Hillary Clinton by 2 points nationwide,” Trump noted in a speech, “despite the fact that Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton.”

The claim infuriated mainstream media outlets. “Donald Trump Pushes Debunked Theory That Google Suppressed Rival’s Bad News,” said the headline of a New York Times piece published shortly after the event. “Trump peddles Google conspiracy theory,” echoed an article by CNN published on Thursday.

The issue dates back to a June report by SourceFed alleging manipulation of Google’s “autocomplete” feature, which included a video that appeared to show Google trying to prevent users from searching for negative terms associated with Clinton. Democrats were quick to dismiss the report, arguing that Google makes at least some effort to suppress negative content for candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Responding to Trump’s claim on Wednesday, the Times insisted the issue had been debunked until it was “resurrected” by a Sept. 12 column in Sputnik, noting the outlet is “a website run by the Russian government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya.”

The author of the report is a Harvard-educated researcher, Dr. Robert Epstein, founder and director emeritus of the Massachusetts-based Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Epstein rebuked the Times for its casual dismissal, noting that he both supports Hillary Clinton and tried to publish his research findings in Politico before taking them to a different outlet.

“I wrote a comprehensive article that I originally submitted to Politico,” he said. “Politico had me make a number of changes I was uncomfortable with, and ultimately some higher up killed the article.

Pentagon 'misled' Congress on war costs, expert says

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The overseas account is not subject to mandatory spending caps, but the base budget is.

09/30/16 4:25 PM

“So I offered it to Sputnik News, but I first made them promise not to change anything to guarantee the accuracy of the report,” Epstein said. “They agreed to that. They also promised worldwide coverage, which I thought was a good idea.”

The column detailed research findings of a nine-person team led by Epstein over the summer, including his claim that Google holds the ability to influence between 800,000 and 3.2 million votes nationwide by manipulating certain features of its search engine.

Epstein noted that he has made similar claims through Politico in the past, including in an August 2015 column that made similar estimations about the power Google potentially wields.

“I think that the New York Times was irresponsible in dismissing this article without ever looking at it and seeing who wrote it,” Epstein said. “They simply dismissed a lengthy, detailed, scientific report, just because it appeared in Sputnik, as if someone on Mr. Putin’s staff wrote this.”

Reports in the Examiner this year have also noted critiques and allegations of Google engaging in politicking. Those include claims of search manipulation, its work with a Democratic law firm to provide election data and the apparent revelation from Clinton’s emails that the company worked with the State Department to covertly undermine Syrian President Bashar Assad.

WATCH: Trump says his infamous presidential announcement speech was ad-libbed

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Trump knew in advance what he was going to say about his entry into the presidential race.

09/30/16 3:55 PM

Epstein added that in the media’s rush to dismiss his claims, it missed a legitimate opportunity to argue Trump was in error.

“It’s kind of ironic if you think of the timing of the claims. He’s claiming right now that Google search suggestions are biased. Right now, actually, they’re no longer biased … A few days after my article came out in Sputnik, Google discontinued its pro-Hillary bias in autocomplete. It discontinued it completely. Now you’ll see as many negatives for Hillary Clinton as you do for Donald Trump or anyone else.”

Epstein said it was Google’s power that concerned him more than its potentially brief manipulation in the current election cycle. “I find this new event to be very disturbing, because if Google can turn bias like this on and off as easily as flipping a light switch, that’s very troubling to me,” he said. “That’s more troubling to me than the bias.”

Epstein said the media may not have discounted him as quickly if reporters had read his work, noting, “I happen to be a Hillary Clinton supporter, which I said in the article.”

Debate commission: There were 'issues' with Trump's microphone

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The exact nature of the problem was not described.

09/30/16 2:42 PM



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