White House claims Wall Street Journal misquoted Trump as saying he has a good relationship with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un

President Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday with Vice President Pence and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.). (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump claimed Sunday that the Wall Street Journal deliberately misquoted him as saying he probably has a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The White House is disputing the newspaper’s story from an interview last week in which Trump claimed some success in countering the nuclear threat from North Korea and said he could be open to talks under the right conditions. He claimed good relationships with other Asian leaders dealing with North Korea. The Journal quoted Trump as then saying, “I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.”

“Obviously I didn’t say that,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning. “I said ‘I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,’ a big difference,” Trump continued. “Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters…”

In a second tweet, Trump finished the thought. “…and they knew exactly what I said and meant,” Trump wrote. “They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!”

The Wall Street Journal stated falsely that I said to them “I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un” (of N. Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that. I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018

…and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018

We have reviewed the audio from our interview with President Trump, as well as the transcript provided by an external service, and stand by what we reported. Here is audio of the portion the White House disputes. https://t.co/eWcmiHrXJg pic.twitter.com/bx9fGFWaPw

— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 14, 2018

The president’s accusation echoed one from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Saturday evening. She posted the White House recording of the session.

In an article posted shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, the Journal stood by its report and said ground rules for the interview Thursday had included a pledge from the White House that recordings made by both reporters and the White House would be used only for purposes of transcribing the session.

“The Journal stands by what it reported,” the article said.

“After the White House challenged the Journal’s transcription and accuracy of the quote in a story, The Journal decided to release the relevant portion of the audio. The White House then released its audio version of the contested segment,” the newspaper wrote.

Earlier on Saturday evening, Sanders had tweeted that “Fake news is at it again!” and accused the newspaper of  “falsely quoting” the president.

“President Trump said, I’D probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. I’D — I’D — I’D — NOT I!” Sanders wrote.

Listening to the recordings, it is difficult to tell whether Trump said “I” or “I’d.”

Elsewhere in the interview with several Journal reporters, Trump asked to be treated “fairly,” to which a reporter replied, “We always do.” Trump would not say whether he has ever spoken to Kim, whom he has mocked as “Little Rocket Man.”

Here is the official audio showing WSJ misquoting @POTUS pic.twitter.com/wVwoafYkHg

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 14, 2018

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/14/white-house-claims-wall-street-journal-misquoted-trump-as-saying-he-has-a-good-relationship-with-north-koreas-kim-jong-un/

Trump ‘cancels’ London visit to dedicate new U.S. Embassy, citing ‘bad deal’ to sell and relocate building

President Trump said Jan. 12 he canceled an official visit to London to dedicate the new U.S. embassy because it was a ‘bad’ real estate deal. Trump’s tweet came after months of speculation about whether the visit would take place. (Reuters)

President Trump said he has called off a planned ceremonial visit to Britain because he didn’t want to be associated with what he called a bad real estate deal in which the U.S. Embassy is being relocated from central London to “an off location.”

In a Twitter message shortly before midnight Thursday, Trump implicitly rejected reports that the trip — never announced but widely assumed to be in February — was being scrapped over concerns that the U.S. leader would be met with widespread protests.

“Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO,” Trump wrote.

Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018

In fact, it was never certain that Trump would make the visit to Britain, historically America’s closest ally. The last word from the U.S. ambassador there, Woody Johnson, was that while he hoped Trump would come to dedicate the new embassy, no date had been set for such a journey.

U.S. diplomats are expected to move in to the new quarters this month. The embassy’s website has a large banner reading, “1 week until we move.”

Trump had been expected to combine a ceremonial opening for the new building — a distinctive glassy cube — with an official visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Theresa May.

May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump after his inauguration a year ago, and extended a return invitation that was put on hold in part because British lawmakers and others vowed to protest and boycott Trump over policies seen as anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant.

Trump told May in a phone call last month that he planned to visit early in 2018. The Daily Mail reported that Trump had backed out because he was unhappy about arrangements for the visit, which was billed as a “working” visit rather than a full state visit that could include a meeting with Queen Elizabeth.

The George W. Bush administration had decided more than a decade ago to relocate the embassy from offices on prime land in the tony neighborhood of Mayfair in central London to a plot on the banks of the Thames in the south of the city. Security concerns drove the move, in line with a worldwide upgrade and redesign of embassy facilities to better protect them from vehicle bombs and other terrorism.

The old embassy was sold to the real estate division of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in November 2009.

May rebuked Trump in November after he retweeted unverified anti-Muslim videos from the far-right Britain First political group. She said Trump was “wrong” to do it and called the British group “hateful.”

British members of Parliament had called on May to rescind the invitation to Trump over the video incident and earlier actions, including his attempt to temporarily block immigration from several Muslim-majority nations.

“I am deeply uncomfortable because he is deliberately divisive, and this would be divisive at a time when we are trying to unite our country,” Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said in November.

Earlier this week, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had rejected suggestions that now was not the time for a state visit.

“I think Her Majesty the Queen is well capable of taking this American president — or indeed any American president — in her stride, as she has done over six remarkable decades,” Johnson said. “She has seen them come and she has seen them go.”

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/12/trump-cancels-london-visit-to-dedicate-new-u-s-embassy-citing-bad-deal-to-sell-and-relocate-building/

Treasury secretary says new Iran sanctions are coming as administration faces another deadline on nuclear deal

Vice President Pence and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) watch as President Trump signs into law the bipartisan Interdict Act to curtail opioids trafficking during a ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on Jan. 10. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The Trump administration said Thursday that it plans additional sanctions on Iran that are separate from those covered under the international nuclear deal with Iran, an indication that President Trump is unlikely to break the 2015 deal now.

The president’s top national security advisers met with Trump on Thursday afternoon at the White House ahead of a deadline Friday for the president to again exempt Iran from a suite of tough economic sanctions imposed years ago. Announcement of the decision was expected Thursday night or Friday morning. If those sanctions are reimposed, the United States would violate the deal brokered by his predecessor that lifted sanctions in exchange for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear development program.

“You’re going to be finding out very soon,” Trump said Thursday when asked about Iran. “You’ll be finding that out very soon.”

U.S. officials and others have said Trump is expected to take the recommendation of senior advisers that he keep the old nuclear-related sanctions in suspension, while announcing new ones that would target other aspects of Iran’s behavior, including mass arrests during anti-government protests this month.

“I am expecting new sanctions on Iran,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Thursday. “We continue to look at them, we’ve rolled them out, and you can expect there will be more sanctions coming.”

He did not say when, but other officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they expect the announcement of additional sanctions to be coordinated with what, to Trump, is the distasteful task of granting a waiver under the Iran deal he has blasted as weak and a giveaway to Iran. He also faces a deadline Friday to say whether he will “certify” to Congress that Iran is complying with the deal and that it remains in U.S. interests to adhere to it. Trump declined to make that certification in October, throwing the deal into limbo but not breaking it outright.

“The president has been very clear, okay, that many aspects of the Iran deal need to be changed, that there are many activities outside of the Iran deal, whether it be ballistic missiles, whether it be other issues, that we will continue to sanction that are outside the JCPOA,” Mnuchin said, using the acronym for the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Human rights violations. We couldn’t be more focused,” he said. “We have as many sanctions on Iran today as we have on any other country in the process. And we’ll continue to look at things.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “still strongly believes this was one of the worst deals of all time.”

“One of the single greatest flaws is that its restrictions leave Iran free in the future to openly develop their nuclear program, and rapidly achieve a nuclear weapons breakout capability. Obviously we see big problems with that,” Sanders said. “The administration is continuing to work with Congress and with our allies to address those flaws.”

Britain, France, Germany and the European Union united Thursday to call on the United States to protect the Iran nuclear pact. European powers that co-signed the deal say Iran has complied with its terms and deserves the sanctions relief it was promised. The Trump administration and congressional leaders have sought European agreement on ways to toughen the deal, and such agreement is considered essential before U.S. legislation could go forward. A legislative “fix” Trump requested in October has not materialized.

“The accord is essential and there is no alternative,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters in Brussels. He added that unrelated international complaints about Iran can be dealt with separately. “We do not hide the other points of disagreement that exist,” Le Drian said.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Trump about the deal Thursday, Macron’s office said.

“President Macron reaffirmed France’s determination to see the agreement strictly enforced and the importance for all of its signatories to abide by it,” Macron’s office said in a statement to reporters. “The smooth implementation of the agreement should be accompanied by a stepped-up dialogue with Iran on its ballistic missile program and its regional policy in order to guarantee greater stability in the Middle East.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke by phone Thursday with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the State Department said in a brief statement that did not mention whether the two diplomats discussed the coming sanctions deadline and Trump’s response. European officials separately said they did.

“They discussed Iran’s repressive actions against protesters and its destabilizing activities in the Middle East,” and Gabriel briefed Tillerson on meetings this week among European powers and Iranian representatives, the statement said.

Steve Goldstein, the State Department’s under secretary of state for public diplomacy, said U.S. responses to the Iranian protests should be kept separate from decision-making on U.S. participation in the deal.

“I don’t think we should conflate the two,” Goldstein said.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/11/treasury-secretary-says-new-iran-sanctions-are-coming-as-administration-faces-another-deadline-on-nuclear-deal/

Vice President Pence will lead U.S. delegation to Olympics in South Korea

President Trump, with Vice President Pence by his side, speaks before a swearing-in ceremony for Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Dec. 8, 2017. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

President Trump informed South Korean President Moon Jae-in that Vice President Pence would attend the games in PyeongChang. Moon provided an update on recent talks between South Korea and North Korea, a White House statement said.

“The two leaders underscored the importance of continuing the maximum pressure campaign against North Korea. President Trump expressed his openness to holding talks between the United States and North Korea at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances,” the statement said.

Trump had said last week that he is open to U.S.-North Korean talks under the right conditions, a shift from his Twitter rhetoric in recent months that called talks a waste of time.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has worked for months to open the door for talks, arguing that direct negotiations will eventually be the key to lessening the threat of nuclear war. The U.S. goal would be “denuclearization,” jargon for getting Pyongyang to give up its weapons. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed he will not do that.

In the meantime, Moon’s government has moved to accept an overture from Kim for cross-border talks. North Korea is sending athletes and an official delegation to the games. The State Department said Tuesday that there are no plans for any meetings between U.S. officials and the North Korean delegation during the games.

Pence will also visit Alaska and Japan as part of the trip, Reuters reported. South Korea and Japan are key U.S. allies in Asia and those most affected by the risk of conflict with North Korea.

Pence’s wife, Karen, is also expected to attend the Games, which begin Feb. 9.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/10/vice-president-pence-will-lead-u-s-delegation-to-olympics-in-south-korea/

Trump to attend World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a gathering synonymous with wealth and power

The White House said on Jan. 9 that President Trump will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “to advance his America First agenda.” (Reuters)

President Trump will address the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this month, the White House said Tuesday, a startling decision that will bring the unorthodox U.S. leader face to face with global elites who have been Trump’s fierce critics and frequent foils.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump will use the forum to talk about his “America First” worldview. Trump has described the approach as the sensible prioritizing of American interests over those of other nations. His critics inside the United States and abroad call it a retreat from an American global leadership based on democratic principles.

“He welcomes the opportunity to go there and advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” Sanders told reporters.

She said details of the president’s attendance at the Jan. 23-to-26 gathering are being worked out, and it is not yet clear whether he will hold separate meetings with world leaders there. He does not expect to visit any other countries apart from Switzerland, Sanders said.

The surprise engagement, first reported by the New York Times, will place Trump among many of the world’s richest and most influential leaders in government, business and foreign policy.

Trump would be the first U.S. leader since President Bill Clinton to attend the Davos meeting. Its picturesque location in the Swiss Alps has long attracted some of the world’s wealthiest financiers, but it is also seen as a posh opportunity for leaders to interact with the world’s economic elite.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the Davos meeting in 2017, a first for a Chinese leader. Xi’s speech was praised as statesmanlike and a counterpoint to Trump’s criticism of international bodies and collective decision-making. Sanders said Xi’s attendance last year was not a factor in Trump’s decision to attend now.

The Davos announcement comes as Trump faces crucial decisions about where to take his economic agenda in the second year of his presidency. The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul package Congress passed last month has just gone into effect, something that he has promised will lead to an expansion of the U.S. economy and higher wages. But he is also mulling a number of controversial trade decisions, including whether to rework or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, a potential move that has many world leaders on edge.

President Trump signed $1.5 trillion tax bill into law on Dec. 22 in the Oval Office. (The Washington Post)

As an outsider presidential candidate in 2016, Trump railed about the erosion of U.S. jobs and what he called the trade giveaways that previous presidents had negotiated. Globalization was the enemy of American economic primacy, Trump argued, and the “rigged economy” that benefited those who needed the help the least was a symptom.

He directly blamed “powerful corporations, media elites and political dynasties.”

“I want you to imagine how much better our future can be if we declare independence from the elites who’ve led us to one financial and foreign policy disaster after another,” Trump said in a July 2016 economic speech in Pittsburgh.

Organizers of the glittery gathering in a Swiss mountain town say it is “committed to improving the state of the world.”

This year’s theme is “creating a shared future in a fractured world.”

“The global context has changed dramatically: Geostrategic fissures have re-emerged on multiple fronts with wide-ranging political, economic and social consequences,” the World Economic Forum website says in announcing this year’s meeting. “Realpolitik is no longer just a relic of the Cold War. Economic prosperity and social cohesion are not one and the same. The global commons cannot protect or heal itself.”

“Politically, new and divisive narratives are transforming governance,” it says, in a possible reference to the populist-influenced political shifts that helped propel Trump to victory in the 2016 presidential election and that are also coursing through European politics.

“Economically, policies are being formulated to preserve the benefits of global integration while limiting shared obligations such as sustainable development, inclusive growth and managing the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the statement continues. “Socially, citizens yearn for responsive leadership; yet, a collective purpose remains elusive despite ever-expanding social networks. All the while, the social contract between states and their citizens continues to erode.”

The Davos trip follows Trump’s messy falling-out with his former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who often ridiculed such international gatherings. Instead, Trump has shown a tendency in recent months to follow the advice of market-focused friends and advisers. This can be seen in last-minute changes he agreed to in the new tax law, which reduced taxes for the wealthy more than many were expecting.

It remains unclear whether Trump will show flashes of populism ahead of the midterm elections as he decides how to follow through on trade threats. Those decisions, which could affect the global flow of steel and aluminum, could come within weeks.

Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn was a frequent Davos attendee when he was a Wall Street banker. He skipped the gathering last year. Sanders said the delegation accompanying Trump is still a work in progress, but that some administration figures would be at the gathering for longer than Trump will stay. Cohn is likely to be among them.

“What the heck is Trump doing at Davos?” said MIT economist David Autor, who has been to Davos many times and is on several panels this year discussing his work on the impact of robots and trade on jobs. “Trump made fun of Davos. This is exactly the crowd he doesn’t want to talk to.”

Autor said he hopes Trump gets the message from business and global leaders at Davos that the more America withdraws from the world and pursues “America first” policies, “the vacuum that will be created will be filled by China.”

Heather Long contributed to this report.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/09/white-house-confirms-trump-to-attend-davos-gathering-synonymous-with-wealth-and-power/

Trump urges Congress to pass ‘bill of love’ to protect ‘dreamers’ but reiterates demand for border wall

President Trump at the White House on Thursday during a meeting with Senate Republicans to discuss immigration issues. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Trump declared Tuesday he wants Congress to pass a “bill of love” to protect younger undocumented immigrants from deportation, but he reiterated his demands for a border wall and cuts to legal immigration that Democrats have opposed.

Ahead of a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers at the White House, Trump challenged them to “put country before party” in his push to tighten border-control laws in exchange for providing legal status to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, a group known as “dreamers.”

“I really do believe Democrat and Republican, the people sitting in this room, really want to get something done,” Trump said.

Lawmakers in both parties have said they are waiting for the Trump White House to specify its demands before the negotiations can move forward. But at the meeting, Trump insisted he would support any deal that negotiators in Congress agree on.

“My position is going to be what the people in this room come up with,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for people on both sides. What I approve will be very much reliant on what people in this room come to me with. If they come to me with things not in love with I’m going to do it.”

Lawmakers are facing a March 5 deadline, set by Trump, before the bulk of nearly 700,000 work permits issued to the dreamers under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begin to expire in bulk. Trump terminated the program in September but gave lawmakers six months to develop a legislative solution.

But negotiators have been at an impasse over how to proceed. Democrats and some moderate Republicans are eying a Jan. 19 deadline for a must-pass government spending deal as leverage to get a deal done on DACA. But the talks are deadlocked over Trump’s demands for the wall and cuts to legal immigration, including ending a diversity visa lottery and ending what the president calls “chain migration,” the practice of Americans sponsoring extended family members for green cards.

Democrats have balked at accepting major new border security provisions, saying the administration’s call for $18 billion in funding for hundreds of miles of a border wall is costly and unnecessary at a time when illegal immigration levels have plummeted.

“Lives are hanging in the balance. We’ve got the time to do it,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), an original sponsor of legislation to legalize dreamers, said in the meeting with Trump.

At one point, Trump appeared to agree with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said Democrats are seeking a “clean” DACA bill without additional border security provisions. House Majority Leaders Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) then added quickly that Republicans want security included.

Trump also said he hoped to pursue a “comprehensive” immigration bill after lawmakers strike a deal on the dreamers. Comprehensive bills under former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush failed on Capitol Hill.


[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/09/trump-urges-congress-to-pass-bill-of-love-to-protect-dreamers-but-reiterates-demand-for-border-wall/

Pence reschedules Middle East trip for late January, adds stop in Jordan

Vice President Pence greets people as he walks through the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on his way to the House of Representatives for the vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Dec. 19. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Vice President Pence’s office has announced new dates for his delayed trip to the Middle East: Jan. 19-23.

Pence was originally scheduled to travel the week before Christmas, but postponed the trip so he could remain in Washington in case his vote was needed to pass tax legislation. At the time, White House aides insisted the move had nothing to do with uproar in the region over the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Many U.S. allies disagreed with Trump’s decision, as no other country has its embassy in Jerusalem, under a long-standing international consensus the city’s status should be decided in a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Pence plans to leave Washington on Jan. 19 and arrive in Egypt on Jan. 20 to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. Pence will then travel to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II on Jan. 21, a meeting that was not on his original itinerary. Pence will then spend Jan. 22 and 23 in Israel, where he will participate in a bilateral discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and give a speech at the Knesset. While in Israel, Pence also plans to visit the Western Wall and Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

“At President Trump’s direction, the Vice President is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the U.S.’s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” Pence’s press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement on Monday morning. “The Vice President is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel to discuss ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security.”

This trip, which has been in the works for months, was originally supposed to include meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and the pope of the Egyptian Coptic Church, who leads the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East. Pence had also planned to visit Bethlehem. After Trump announced on Dec. 6 that his administration had decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of U.S. policy, Abbas and others canceled their meetings. At the time, Abbas’s diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Abbas would not meet with Pence “because the U.S. has crossed red lines” with its decision on Jerusalem. Sissi has agreed to meet with Pence, despite the deep unpopularity of Trump’s decision.

Originally, Pence had planned to focus heavily on the persecution of Christians and religious minorities during his visit. Following the Jerusalem decision, the focus of the trip sharply shifted to rebuilding relationships in the region and on the collective problem of terrorism. In particular, Pence plans to make clear that Egypt continues to be an “incredibly important” partner in the region, according to aides. Ahead of the original trip last year, a senior administration official said the Trump administration understands “the Palestinians may need a cooling-off period,” and Pence did not plan to put any pressure on them during his trip.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/08/pence-reschedules-middle-east-trip-for-late-january-adds-stop-in-jordan/

White House adviser Stephen Miller calls Bannon an ‘angry, vindictive person’ over comments in Wolff book

Trump aides and administration members attacked Michael Wolff, his new book “Fire and Fury,” and Stephen K. Bannon on Jan. 7. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Stephen Miller, President Trump’s top policy adviser, on Sunday eviscerated former White House colleague Stephen K. Bannon over comments attributed to him in a new book, calling him an “angry, vindictive person” whose “grotesque comments are so out of touch with reality.”

Miller said the “whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments” in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a scathing tell-all by Michael Wolff that paints Trump as unprepared for the presidency and portrays his aides as concerned about his performance.

“It reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discredible author,” Miller told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The book is best understood as a work of poorly written fiction. The author is a garbage author of a garbage book. . . . The betrayal of the president in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him,” Miller continued.

Trump Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller on Wolff book: “The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction…The author is a garbage author of a garbage book” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/Uh8YHTxyYV https://t.co/8zEk9Myt8y

— CNN (@CNN) January 7, 2018

Shortly after Miller’s appearance on the show — which ended when Tapper abruptly cut him off, calling him “obsequious” and concerned only about “one viewer” — Trump tweeted about the “Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author.”

I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Wolff if he left out anything in the book that would have been favorable to Trump because it didn’t fit the narrative.

“If I left out anything it was probably stuff even more damning. It’s that bad,” Wolff responded. “It’s an extraordinary moment in time. The last several days focused on my book are proof of this. What happened here? What’s going on here?”

FULL INTERVIEW: Author @MichaelWolffNYC joins Chuck EXCLUSIVELY on #MTP to talk about his new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”https://t.co/fydLWbnDi9

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 7, 2018


Wolff went so far as to raise the specter of the 25th Amendment, in which a president’s Cabinet could attempt to remove him from office for being unable to perform his duties, although experts said that amendment was designed with the idea of a president being incapacitated by, for example, a coma.

“It is not an exaggeration or unreasonable to say this is 25th amendment kind of stuff,” Wolff said. Asked if folks in the White House talked about that possibility, he added: All the time. They would say… we’re not at 25th amend level yet. The 25th amendment concept is alive every day in the White House.”

But he added that the president’s aides refuse to confront him. “It’s how to look away, how not to confront,” he said. “It’s how to rationalize.”

“Read the book,” Wolff added, “and see if you don’t feel alarmed.”

Miller and Bannon were once thought to be kindred spirits — both hard-liners on immigration who sought to exploit Trump’s populist rhetoric to advance a nationalist agenda. But as Bannon began to lose favor in the West Wing, Miller reportedly realigned himself with a faction led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka Trump.

In his book, Wolff relied heavily on on-the-record interviews with Bannon, who was critical of other White House aides and Trump’s children. Bannon referred to a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russia lawyer at Trump Tower as “treasonous” and suggested that it was highly likely that Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting. That meeting has been scrutinized by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of his probe into the Trump campaign’s contact with Russian officials during the 2016 election.

Asked whether the president was aware of the meeting at the time, Miller said Bannon was not present and therefore “is not even a remotely credible source on any of it.”

Growing frustrated as Miller began evading questions and repeating his talking points, and glowing praise of Trump, Tapper cut him off early and went to a commercial. “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time,” Tapper said, as Miller attempted to keep talking.

“Welcome back to planet Earth,” Tapper said to viewers after the show returned. But Trump was eager for the last word.

Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018


Read more:

Michael Wolff tells a juicy tale in his new Trump book. But should we believe it?

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/07/white-house-adviser-stephen-miller-calls-bannon-an-angry-vindictive-person-over-comments-in-wolff-book/

Trump says he’s open to talks with North Korea, hopes rogue nation participates in Winter Olympics

President Trump told reporters at a news conference at Camp David Jan. 6 that he would be willing to speak to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by phone. (The Washington Post)

President Trump on Saturday said he remains open to direct talks with North Korea’s regime over its nuclear program and added that he hopes the rogue Asian nation participates in the Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea next month.

“Sure, I always believe in talking,” Trump said during a news conference at Camp David, where he was meeting with Republican congressional leaders over the GOP’s 2018 agenda. “But we have a very firm stance. … But I absolutely would do that.”

Asked if he has no prerequisites to bilateral talks — past U.S. presidents have demanded the North be committed to denuclearization — Trump said Pyongyang knows that he is “not messing around” in his past statements that he will protect the United States and its allies against attacks from the North.

“At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and a very good solution. … If something happens and something comes out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all humanity, it would be a great thing for all the world,” Trump said.

The president’s remarks come amid mounting concerns that rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula could escalate into a military confrontation.

Trump has engaged in a continuing war of words with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over the countries’ nuclear arsenals. Trump recently tweeted that his nuclear button is “much bigger & more powerful” than Kim’s, after the North’s leader boasted about having a button on his desk at the ready.

Even as he seemed to offer an opening to Pyongyang, the president appeared to suggest he remains ready to use military force if necessary: “You have to be prepared to do certain things and I’m totally prepared to do them.”

North Korea said it would reopen a border hotline with South Korea Jan. 3, hours after President Trump said he has a “bigger” nuclear button than Kim Jong Un. (Reuters)

Trump has vacillated between threats and offers of talks. Last spring he said he’d be open to talks, but then shifted course after North Korea continued its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and after Otto Warmbier, an American college student, died several days after his release from 17 months in captivity in the North.

Trump on Saturday took credit for Kim’s recent overture to South Korea; the two nations spoke through a secure communications hotline and agreed to talks over the Olympics and other issues.

“Right now, they’re talking Olympics; it’s a start, a big start,” Trump said. “If I was not involved, they would not be talking Olympics right now.”

Trump, who agreed in a talk with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to halt joint military exercises through the Olympics, said of the North that he would “like to see them get involved in the Olympics and things will go from there. … I’d love to see them take it beyond the Olympics.”

Trump added that his tough talk of being willing to use military force against the North “is not a stance; it’s what has to be done, if it has to be done.”

South Korea welcomed an offer of talks by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ahead of February’s Pyeongchang Olympics, but analysts say the Kim regime is looking to fulfill its own agenda. (Jason Aldag,Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/06/trump-says-hes-open-to-talks-with-north-korea-hopes-rogue-nation-participates-in-winter-olympics/

Trump boasts that he’s ‘like, really smart’ and a ‘very stable genius’ amid questions over his mental fitness

Stephen K. Bannon isn’t the only person offering a candid assessment about the Trump administration in the upcoming book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

President Trump lashed out again at a new book that suggests top White House aides fear that he is unfit for the job, calling the book “a work of fiction” and declaring that libel laws are too weak.

“It’s a disgrace that he can do something like this,” Trump said of the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by New York media writer Michael Wolff. “Libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen.”

Trump’s remarks, during which he referred to Wolff as a “fraud,” came during a brief news conference at Camp David where he is meeting with Republicans leaders to plot the GOP agenda for 2018.


In a tweetstorm Saturday morning ahead of the news conference, the president called himself a “very stable genius” and called being “really smart” one of his greatest assets. Trump cited his career in business and reality television and his victory in last year’s election as evidence of his mental prowess. And he again lashed out at the ongoing special counsel investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives, calling suggestions that he colluded with Moscow a “total hoax on the American public.”

Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018


….to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

Trump’s outburst came a day after the public release of the book by Wolff, who said he spent time in the West Wing interviewing top aides, as well as Trump. Wolff said he spent a total of three hours talking with Trump during the campaign and after Trump became president, but White House aides said Wolff spoke to Trump only once by phone for about five to seven minutes after he assumed office.

Conservatives are taking sides after President Trump criticized his former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon for unflattering comments in a new book. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Wolff paints the picture of a president who is unfit for the job and aides who come to fear Trump is not capable of, or interested in, processing information and making important decisions. Late Friday, Trump blasted Wolff as a “total loser,” and the president mocked his former campaign chairman and former White House adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, who was a key source for the book. Bannon criticized other aides and Trump’s son, calling a meeting at Trump Tower last year between Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”

Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad! https://t.co/mEeUhk5ZV9

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

White House aides have mounted an all-out attack on the book since it was first reported on Wednesday, calling it “fiction” and a “complete fantasy.” And Trump’s lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to Wolff and his publisher demanding they not release the book. But the publisher, Henry Holt, moved up the release date from later this month to Friday amid the publicity, and hard copies were quickly sold out in the Washington area.

At Camp David, Trump said Wolff, who has said he has a relationship with Trump, “does not know me at all.”

“By the way, he did not interview me,” Trump said, though he then said Wolff interviewed him once “a long time ago” about for magazine story.

Trump also criticized Wolff’s past reporting, including a book about News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

The president said Bannon gave Wolff the most access. “I guess ‘Sloppy Steve’ brought him into the White House a lot,” Trump said of Bannon, who left the White House under pressure in August. “That’s why Sloppy Steve is looking for a job.”

Reporters asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday to respond to the book’s suggestion that Trump is mentally unfit for office.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Jan. 4 said the tell-all book by Michael Wolff is “complete fantasy.” (Reuters)

“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said. “If he was unfit, he probably wouldn’t be sitting there and wouldn’t have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen.  This is an incredibly strong and good leader.  That’s why we’ve had such a successful 2017 and why we’re going to continue to do great things as we move forward in this administration.”

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/06/trump-boasts-that-hes-like-really-smart-and-a-very-stable-genius-amid-questions-over-his-mental-fitness/