Day: February 5, 2017

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Trump: Mexican president 'very willing' to accept US troops in drug cartel fight


President Trump believes Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would be “very willing” to accept U.S. military support to fight the drug cartels in Mexico.

In an interview that aired on Sunday afternoon, Trump confirmed to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that he had spoken with Pena Nieto about partnering to defeat the cartels and using U.S. soldiers to help.

“We have to do something about the cartels. I did talk to him about it. I want to help him with it,” Trump said. “He seemed very willing to get help from us because he has got a problem … and it’s a real problem for us. Don’t forget those cartels are operating in our country. And they’re poisoning the youth of our country.”

Pena Nieto was scheduled to visit Trump in Washington, but canceled his visit after Trump signed an executive order demanding a wall on the southern border be completed. The following day, the two leaders spoke by phone in a conversation that included Trump’s telling Pena Nieto he would send troops to Mexico if it did not dismantle the cartels.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump said during the call. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

In the Sunday-aired interview, Trump reiterated his support for the Mexican administration and said the comment was meant to offer assistance for fighting the cartels and drug distribution to the U.S., which he views as the Mexico’s “No. 1” problem.

Trump: If something bad happens, blame the judge for halting order

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“If something happens, blame him and the court system,” Trump tweeted.

02/05/17 3:50 PM



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Get ready for Pope Francis to make a video appearance at the Super Bowl


"Great sporting events like today's Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace," Francis will say, according to the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis will make an inaugural appearance at the Super Bowl on Sunday night to deliver a video message to tens of thousands in attendance at NRG Stadium in Houston.

It’s the first time a pope will speak at a Super Bowl game, even by digital means. A Vatican spokesman said the pope will speak in his native language of Spanish for the message, which will air before the game or during the first quarter.

The statement is expected to draw attention to the game as a “sign of peace, friendship and solidarity for the world.”

“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace,” Francis will say, according to the Associated Press. “By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest and in a healthy way we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules.”

Francis has previously used Twitter to reach the world with his message of unity during the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup.

Trump: If something bad happens, blame the judge for halting order

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“If something happens, blame him and the court system,” Trump tweeted.

02/05/17 3:50 PM

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Trump predicts New England Patriots win by 8 points


President Trump, a long-time friend of New England Patriots players and staff, predicted the 2015 Super Bowl winners will take this year’s game by more than a touchdown.

“I’ll say the Patriots will win,” Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in a pre-taped interview that aired before the game on Sunday. “By eight points.”

Trump was hesitant to answer O’Reilly’s question about his thoughts on the game between the Atlanta Falcons and Patriots. He touted his relationships with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

“The coach is a great coach. I think the other team is fantastic,” Trump said. “Turned out to be a good quarterback, but there’s less pressure on the Patriots because they’ve been there. Once you’ve won, once you’ve done it, and they’ve done it, once you’ve done it, there’s a lot less pressure. So we’ll see what happens. But, you know, you have to stick up for your friends, right?”

The last time the Falcons made it to a Super Bowl was 1999, when they lost Denver Broncos 34-19.

Trump: If something bad happens, blame the judge for halting order

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“If something happens, blame him and the court system,” Trump tweeted.

02/05/17 3:50 PM



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Christie: Trump has 'no hate in his heart’ following immigration ban


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Sunday defended President Trump, saying he has “no hate in his heart for Muslim Americans” despite his controversial immigration executive order.

The Trump surrogate — who was once considered primed for a role in the White House — used his longstanding personal relationship with Trump to defend his executive order that limits travel into the United States by people from seven Muslim-majority countries where terrorist organizations are present.

“I know the president’s heart on this,” Christie said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “The president has absolutely no, no hate in his heart for Muslim Americans. In fact, the exact opposite. This is a president who has great affection for all Americans who are here working hard, raising their families and contributing to the fabric of our society, including Muslim Americans.”

Christie also said that Trump deserves credit for moving away from the original position he took during the campaign season in which he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

“The president moved an incredible distance from a Muslim ban to where he is now,” Christie said. “I think that shows he’s a president who’s willing to listen to advisers.”

Christie did offer criticism about how the executive order was rolled out. The order has sparked protests nationwide, including at numerous international airports.

“This isn’t about assigning blame, this is about making sure it’s done the right way,” Christie explained. “And so in the end, I believe the president deserves better.”

The order bans nationals from the seven countries entering the United States for 90 days. Trump’s order also included a 120-day ban on admitting refugees from those seven countries, as well as an indefinite halt on admitting refugees from Syria.

A federal judge on Friday issued a restraining order that blocks the executive order nationwide. The Trump administration unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a stay.

Turkey detains 445 alleged Islamic State collaborators in overnight sting operation

Also from the Washington Examiner

Hundreds were targeted in pre-dawn stings that took place across the nation.

02/05/17 2:19 PM

Pence defends President Trump's comparison of Putin to Americans

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“There was no moral equivalency,” Pence said

02/05/17 11:29 AM



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Turkey detains 445 alleged Islamic State collaborators in overnight sting operation


Approximately 445 people were detained by anti-terrorism police in Turkey for alleged connections to the Islamic State, according to a Sunday report from state-run media outlet Anadolu Agency.

The hundreds of alleged Islamic State associates were targeted in pre-dawn sting operations that took place in a number of the country’s cities, including Istanbul and Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.

Sixty of those who were apprehended have been formally arrested. The majority of those arrested are foreigners and at least 10 of them are minors, USA Today reported.

More than 100 suspects were seized in Turkey’s southeast province, Sanliurfa. Nine other individuals were alleged as having been planning a terrorist attack in Izmir, Turkey.

The overnight sting comes after persistent terror attacks in the southeast European country, including the New Year’s Eve mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub.

Following a failed coup to remove Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from office last year, the government detained more than 40,000 people as part of ongoing federal investigations to uncover individuals and groups behind the plot.

About 20,355 of those detained were formally arrested and another 79,900 were fired from their public duty jobs, including military, police, civil service and judiciary posts. Another 4,262 companies were shut down, including 130 media organizations.

The government targeted those it believed were linked to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric whom Erdogan named as the individual behind the failed coup. Gulen exiled himself to the U.S. in 1999 and has denied any connection to starting the July 15 coup.

Turkey has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen, but State Department officials said they will do so only if they find evidence of his involvement.

Mississippi town resists after being forced to take down Christian flag

Also from the Washington Examiner

“We’re gonna fly that flag again,” the mayor of Rienzi, Miss,. said.

02/05/17 1:48 PM

Pence defends President Trump's comparison of Putin to Americans

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“There was no moral equivalency,” Pence said

02/05/17 11:29 AM



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Mississippi town resists after being forced to take down Christian flag


More than 100 residents of a predominantly Christian town in Mississippi took part in a rally on Saturday where they temporarily rehung a Christian flag at a local park after being threatened with a lawsuit by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The organization recently sent a letter to town officials in Rienzi, Miss., demanding a Christian flag flying over Veterans Memorial Park be removed. In the memo, FRF threatened the 300-person town with a possible $500,000 lawsuit if it did not cooperate.

Rienzi Mayor Walter Williams initially decided to take the flag down for the time being.

“I never dreamed that something like this would have happened in a town this small, but it happened,” Rienzi told WREG.

The town’s residents were unhappy with Rienzi’s decision and Kevin Nelms organized a rally to protest the move.

“There just comes a point in time when you’ve got to be politically incorrect and take a stand,” Nelms told WREG. “We’re not gonna let other people, or a foundation or anybody else up in Wisconsin tell us that we can’t fly our flag … you’re gonna take one down, we’re gonna put a hundred back up.”

The Saturday event kicked off with a 12-mile ride from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. facility in Corinth, Miss., to the Veterans Memorial Park in Rienzi. Many of the participants were motorcyclists and bore Christian flags on the backs of their bikes.

A Christian flag was rehung at the park during the rally, though it will not stay up as the town considers how to respond to the threat of legal action. Williams has hired an attorney to look at the town’s options for resolving the issue. He is optimistic about the future of the Christian flag above the park.

Albright claims Bannon 'pulling the strings' in Trump White House

Also from the Washington Examiner

“Mr. Bannon is more than a strategic adviser,” the former secretary of state said.

02/05/17 1:19 PM

“We’re gonna fly that flag again,” Williams said, “and I’m hoping it’s not going to be long.”




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Albright claims Bannon 'pulling the strings' in Trump White House


"I think that it is a very unfortunate image, because clearly, Mr. Bannon is more than a strategic adviser. I think he's the person that's pulling the strings," Albright said. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Sunday said she is concerned that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon may be calling the shots in President Trump’s White House.

“I think that it is a very unfortunate image, because clearly, Mr. Bannon is more than a strategic adviser. I think he’s the person that’s pulling the strings,” Albright told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

Trump took executive action on Jan. 28 to add Bannon as a member of the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, despite his background in media and investment banking.

Albright deemed Bannon’s enhanced role in the administration as “passing strange.”

“I think that the influence generally of Mr. Bannon is passing strange, if I may say so, given his background and his approach to national security policy, his admiration for Lenin, a number of things that trouble me a great deal about having him be in these all-important national security meetings,” Albright said.

Pence defends President Trump's comparison of Putin to Americans

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“There was no moral equivalency,” Pence said

02/05/17 11:29 AM

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Amid uproar, Trump plays golf


Trump went to play for the second day in a row at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Trump quietly slipped out to play golf Sunday morning as a storm raged over his comparison of Americans to Russian President Putin and the decision by a federal appeals court to uphold a suspension of his travel ban.

Trump went to play for the second day in a row at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. As of noon, he hadn’t tweeted and he had not spoken publicly.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, to be broadcast this afternoon, Trump responded the O’Reilly’s comment that Putin is a “killer” by asserting, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers … What do you think — our country’s so innocent?”

Even Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are questioning the remark.

The appeals court decision allows travelers from the seven affected Muslim-majority countries to continue entering the United States, at least for another day. Trump, who is scheduled Sunday to speak with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the prime minister of New Zealand before taking in the Super Bowl, returns to Washington on Monday.

Pence defends President Trump's comparison of Putin to Americans

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“There was no moral equivalency,” Pence said

02/05/17 11:29 AM

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Pence defends Trump's comparison of Putin to Americans


Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended President Trump’s comments in which he appeared to draw parallels between the United States and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We now have a president who is reengaging a world from which America has been stepping back over the last eight years,” the former Indiana governor said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

In a clip of an interview set to air before the Super Bowl, Trump responded to a remark about Putin being a “killer” by saying, “We got a lot of killers — what, you think our country’s so innocent?”

When asked if Trump was making a claim of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia, Pence rejected the notion.

“There was no moral equivalency,” Pence said, adding, “What you heard there was a determination to attempt to deal with the world as it is. Let’s start afresh with Putin, and to start afresh with Russia.”

When pressed by host John Dickerson on his comments, Pence repeated: “What I can tell you is that there is no moral equivalency in what the president was saying.

“We recognize the extraordinary superiority, the ideals of the American people,” Pence added.

Dickerson then pressed Pence again, asking if he believes the U.S. is morally superior to Russia: “Yes or no?”

“I believe that the ideals that America has stood for throughout our history represent the highest ideals of humankind,” Pence replied.

Sanders threatens: Gorsuch needs 60 votes

Also from the Washington Examiner

“This is a major, major nomination. It should require 60 votes.”

02/05/17 11:26 AM

“Shouldn’t we be able to say yes to that question though,” Dickerson asked.

Pence replied: “I think it’s without question … that American ideals are superior to countries all across the world.”

According to Pence, the president is simply trying to “see if we can have a new relationship with Russia.”

Senate pushes to confirm DeVos, Sessions, Price, Mnuchin

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Lawmakers race against a 60-day clock to repeal a slew of Obama administration regulations.

02/05/17 12:01 AM



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Melissa McCarthy mercilessly mocks Spicer on SNL


“Saturday Night Live” mercilessly mocked White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s “rocky” relationship with the press corps.

Spicer, played by Melissa McCarthy, came out yelling at reporters in the latest episode.

“Settle down! Settle down!” the actress yells. “Before we begin, I know that myself and the press have gotten off to a rocky start. … When I say ‘rocky start,’ I mean it in the sense of ‘Rocky’ the movie, because I came out here to punch you in the face!”

The tension between reporters and Spicer builds. At one point, Spicer threatens to put other reporters in a cage with a CNN reporter shown wearing a diaper.

“You cannot come at me like that! I will put you in the corner with CNN!” McCarthy yells.

“We’re not fake news!” the imprisoned CNN reporter fires back.

Appeals court rejects administration request to reinstate immigration ban

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Notice sent about 24 hours after judge ordered the restraining order.

By Keith Koffler, Daniel Chaitin

02/04/17 7:27 PM



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