Michael Jordan pushes back after Trump attacks LeBron James, Don Lemon
The interview focused on James' contributions to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, including a new public school for at-risk third- and fourth-graders there. But the two men also discussed politics. James told Lemon that President Donald Trump has used athletics and athletes to divide the country.
"I can't sit back and say nothing," James said.
The President was watching. Shortly before midnight, he tweeted: "Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do."
"I like Mike!" the President added in what appeared to be a reference to the ongoing debate on who's the greatest NBA player of all time, James or Jordan.
Now Lemon and Jordan have both responded, while James has shrugged off the insult. And most curious of all, first lady Melania Trump weighed in, siding with James over her husband.
It seems Trump's late-night tweet has led to another disagreement between the President and his wife.
How? Well, in their responses to the President's tweet, CNN and Lemon both invoked the first lady's #BeBest initiative, which aims to support kindness and respect.
"Who's the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? #BeBest," Lemon tweeted Saturday morning.
The first lady's office was asked by news organizations for comment. Instead of ignoring the requests or mirroring the President's attack against the NBA star, the first lady's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, praised James and his charitable work in a statement provided to CNN.
"It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today," Grisham said. "As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative."
Grisham added that the first lady would be open to visiting James' "I Promise" school.
The school had no immediate comment on Saturday.
What was the President watching on Friday night?
Let's get back to the interview for a moment. The James sit-down was a big scoop for Lemon, who hosts "CNN Tonight" on weekday evenings.
In the interview, James made a reference to football player Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling protests launched an NFL movement, and fellow NBA star Stephen Curry, who last year said he would not visit the White House after the Golden State Warriors won the championship, prompting the President to disinvite him.
"He's trying to divide our sport, but at the end of the day, sport is the reason why we all come together," James said.
When Lemon asked, "What would you say to the President if he was sitting right here?" James said "I would never sit across from him." He added: "I'd sit across from Barack, though."
Trump is famous for his counter-punching. But his insulting response was curious for several reasons. He has praised James in the past, repeatedly calling him a great player and a "great guy." Those tweets were back in 2013 and 2015.
More recently, in 2017, Trump claimed on Twitter that "I never watch Don Lemon."
His insistence that he doesn't watch CNN is frequently contradicted by his complaints about the network.
The New York Times reported last week that Trump was enraged when he boarded Air Force One and saw the first lady's TV set was tuned to CNN. He evidently wanted all TV sets tuned to Fox News. In response, Melania Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said she will watch "any channel she wants."
CNN's public relations department made a sly reference to that brouhaha in response to Trump's insult on Saturday morning.
"Sounds like @FLOTUS had the remote last night," @CNNPR wrote. "We hope you both saw the incredible work of @KingJames."
CNN PR also included the #BeBest hashtag.
Other journalists and athletes also came to Lemon and James' defense. Some outspoken critics denounced Trump's tweet as another display of racism by the President. Acclaimed sportswriter Bill Simmons wrote that James is a "smart dude" and "one of the most thoughtful athletes we have." He said Trump's jab "feels more than a little racist."
And if Trump was trying to drive a wedge between James and Jordan, he failed.
On Saturday, Jordan ignored Trump's praise of him and said he has James' back.
"I support LeBron James. He's doing an amazing job for his community," Jordan said through a spokeswoman.
Trump voting commission had no evidence of widespread voter fraud, former member says
"I have reviewed the Commission documents made available to me and they do not contain evidence of widespread voter fraud," Maine's Democratic secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, wrote in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas' Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach.
In May 2017, the President established the commission after falsely claiming that "millions of people" voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, costing him the popular vote. Trump named Pence as chairman and Kobach -- a noted proponent of voter fraud theories and related policies -- as vice chair of the commission.
Dunlap was also named to the panel, but he sued the commission in US district court in November 2017, alleging that the group had withheld key information from him. A judge ruled in his favor the next month and said the panel should provide him with the documents he requested.
Trump then moved to dissolve the commission in January 2018.
In his letter, Dunlap wrote that he "joined the Commission in good faith," but soon became concerned that "its purpose was not to pursue the truth but rather to provide an official imprimatur of legitimacy on President Trump's assertions that millions of illegal votes were cast during the 2016 election and to pave the way for policy changes designed to undermine the right to vote."
The Maine secretary of state also accused the White House and Kobach of making false statements and said that the commission showed "troubling bias."
The letter highlights a White House statement announcing the dissolution of the commission, which asserts that there is evidence of "substantial" voter fraud. Dunlap wrote, however, "after months of litigation that should not have been necessary," he can now report that the White House statement was false.
"Indeed, while staff prepared drafts of a report to be issued by the Commission, the sections on evidence of voter fraud are glaringly empty," he wrote.
The White House and the vice president's office did not immediately provide CNN with comment.
Kobach said in a statement to CNN on Saturday that it appeared Dunlap was "willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose."
The commission was presented with more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since 2000, and convictions represent a tiny percentage of the total number of incidents, the statement said. In addition, the commission was also presented with about 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election looking at 20 states. If the commission had looked at all 50 states, "the number would have been exponentially higher," Kobach said.
"For some people, no matter how many cases of voter fraud you show them, there will never be enough for them to admit that there's a problem," his statement said.
Dunlap wrote in his letter, however, that he did not "expect the public simply to accept my conclusions," and noted, "there is no single document that reveals there is no widespread voter fraud." But, he said, "I rely on the lack of any evidence in the totality of what I reviewed."
An associated web page contains links to a variety of documents and states that "these materials have been provided by the White House."
Washington Post: Trump associate interacted with alleged Russian spy before election
According to documents and testimony provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee and described to the newspaper, Butina "sought out interactions" with the aide, J.D. Gordon, who had served as the director of national security to the Trump campaign before departing in August 2016 and being offered a position in the early Trump transition team effort.
The newspaper reported that Gordon "anticipated joining the presidential transition team" and the revelation of his interactions with Butina shows she was "in closer contact with President Trump's orbit than was previously known."
Butina and Gordon were in contact over email in September and October 2016, the newspaper reported. According to the Post, Gordon extended invitations to Butina to attend a concert in Washington and to his birthday party in October 2016.
Gordon told CNN on Saturday that he had limited social contact with Butina after he left the campaign. He and an attorney for Butina downplayed the interactions in statements to the Post.
"From everything I've read since her arrest last month, it seems the Maria Butina saga is basically a sensationalized click bait story meant to smear a steady stream of Republicans and NRA members she reportedly encountered over the past few years," Gordon said, asking, "I wonder which prominent Republican political figures she hasn't come across?"
Robert Driscoll, an attorney for Butina, said, "A military guy who had been involved would have been a prime target, if that's what she was about." He added, "But the evidence is clear that there wasn't any significant contact."
Driscoll has previously denied the allegation that Butina acted as a Russian agent.
A spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee and Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, declined to comment to the newspaper.
Judge upholds ruling that DACA must be restored
DC District Judge John Bates said the Trump administration still has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA, the Obama-era program that has protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.
But Bates agreed to delay his ruling for 20 days to give the administration time to respond and appeal, if it chooses.
The ruling sets up potentially conflicting DACA orders from federal judges by the end of the month.
The decision comes less than a week before a hearing in a related case in Texas. In that case, Texas and other states are suing to have DACA ended entirely, and the judge is expected to side with them based on his prior rulings.
Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley indicated the department would take further action, suggesting that an appeal might be filed. He reiterated the Justice Department still believes the same reasoning the judge rejected, that DACA is "an unlawful circumvention of Congress," and DHS has the authority to end it.
"The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend this position, and looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation," O'Malley said in a statement.
Previous court rulings in California and New York have already prevented the administration from ending DACA, but they only ordered the government to continue renewing existing applications. Bates' ruling would go further and order the program reopened in its entirety. The earlier decisions are pending before appeals courts.
Bates on Friday upheld a ruling he had issued in April that ordered the administration to begin accepting DACA applications again. He had postponed that order for 90 days to give the government time to offer a better legal justification for its decision last September to end the program.
The Department of Homeland Security followed up by largely reiterating its previous argument: that DACA was likely to be found unconstitutional in the Texas case if it were challenged there and thus it had to end. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also said in the DHS response that the agency had the discretion to end the program, as much as its predecessors had the discretion to create it.
Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, found that explanation unsatisfactory, and said the DHS could not invent a new justification for his court, either. He said most of the arguments "simply repackage legal arguments previously made" and fail to pass muster.
"Although the Nielsen Memo purports to offer further explanation for DHS's decision to rescind DACA, it fails to elaborate meaningfully on the agency's primary rationale for its decision," Bates wrote. "The memo does offer what appears to be one bona fide (albeit logically dubious) policy reason for DACA's rescission, but this reason was articulated nowhere in DHS's prior explanation for its decision, and therefore cannot support that decision now."
Bates said the administration had created a "dilemma" for itself by both trying to rely on its previous decision and offering a new one.
"The government's attempt to thread this needle fails," he wrote.
Republicans scramble to understand if Trump just sunk their immigration effort
After a day of confusion that threatened the future of the legislation, the White House issued a statement on the record that Trump supported the bill along with a more conservative piece of legislation.
"The President fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill. In this morning's interview, he was commenting on the discharge petition in the House, and not the new package. He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills," White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.
After toiling away for weeks on a hard-fought compromise bill that tackled border security and even delivered Trump his campaign promise of a border wall, Republican aides and members involved in the discussions were taken aback by the President's impromptu interview with Fox News on the White House lawn where Trump insinuated he wouldn't support a bill that had been negotiated with his administration's involvement. Many members were desperate to believe that the President had either been referring to another bill or would reverse course later in the day -- while conservatives cheered the President as rightfully demanding changes to the bill.
One White House official who was watching the interview in a room with others said there were audible gasps when the President made the comment as staff immediately realized the potential consequences of the President's remarks.
On Friday afternoon, Trump tweeted, but it did little to settle the question of where he officially stood on the compromise legislation.
"The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!" Trump tweeted.
Before the on-the-record statement, the White House official told CNN on Friday after the tweet that Trump did indeed support the House compromise immigration bill, despite saying otherwise in the morning. The same person admitted that Trump's tweet had done little to clarify his position.
The official also said that congressional leadership had reached out to the White House to express their unhappiness with the President's comments.
The White House official said Trump "misunderstood" the question on Fox about the moderate immigration bill and that the President thought he was referring to another moderate effort, a rare procedural move known as a discharge petition that would have forced a series of immigration votes on the House floor including on bills that didn't have the backing of GOP leaders.
The lack of clarity led GOP leaders to put their plans for the bill on hold.
One GOP whip aide told CNN, "It's pretty basic. We aren't going to whip anything unless it has Trump's support. That's why we need more clarity."
The confusion engulfed the House chamber during the last vote series of the week and was emblematic of an exercise that members have managed before during tax revisions and health care where Trump famously held a celebration of an Obamacare repeal bill in the White House Rose Garden only to turn around and call the bill "mean" later.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a moderate Republican from Florida, told reporters that he was confident Trump would sign the legislation.
"I think it's important for everybody to take a deep breath, look at the bill, judge it on its merits, not what people are saying about the bill," Diaz-Balart said.
But the entire episode revealed how often Republicans expect Trump to change his mind.
Mark Walker, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told CNN that he believed Trump's earlier comments were not necessarily definitive.
"With the text just coming out (Thursday) who knows what kind of full briefing there has been on it. I think the part of it he will like is the trigger mechanism that if the appropriation, funding and the spending on the wall is not delivered on then there is no other part of the bill," Walker said.
"He keeps us all excited about how we are going to get things done," Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican from Florida and supporter of the compromise bill, told CNN.
Conservatives, meanwhile, said the President was rightly demanding more aggressive measures. Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said the President was right to voice opposition to the compromise bill and said he hopes Trump doesn't walk back his statement.
"I think he's correctly gauging where the American people are on the issue and informing the legislature that they've got to go back and do some more work," Perry said.
Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was adamant the President was not confused about which bill he was talking about.
"That is not accurate," he said.
Stormy Daniels' lawyer says to expect more evidence of alleged Trump affair in coming weeks and months
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, said new evidence will likely be brought forward "over the next few weeks and months" that will help prove Trump was aware of a $130,000 hush agreement drawn up by Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and executed just before the 2016 election.
"It is just the beginning," Avenatti said on "New Day." "We have a whole host of evidence. This is not going away. And Mr. Cohen better come clean for the American people, and they better do it quickly."
Avenatti said on NBC's "Today" later Monday morning that Daniels is prepared to share "intimate details" about Trump.
"She can describe his genitalia, she can describe various conversations that they had that leave no doubt as to whether this woman is telling the truth," he added.
Cohen has said Trump "vehemently denies" any affair took place. Earlier in March, attorneys for Trump and for Cohen's company, Essential Consultants, filed to move Daniels' lawsuit claiming the nondisclosure agreement is invalid to federal court. They claim Daniels could owe in excess of $20 million for violating the agreement.
On CNN last week, David Schwartz, a lawyer for Cohen, argued that there was "nothing illegal about" Cohen's payment of $130,000 to Daniels as part of the nondisclosure agreement. "And given the context of this relationship, there's certainly nothing unethical about it," he added.
On CNN, Avenatti wouldn't get into details about his claim of evidence related to the alleged affair, which Daniels says occurred more than a decade ago, but said his team is "only getting started."
"We're going to prove that Mr. Cohen's statements to the American people are false, that at all times, Mr. Trump knew about this, knew about the $130,000, was fully aware of it, and with the assistance of Mr. Cohen, sought to intimidate and put my client under a stump," Avenatti said.
Government shuts down as lawmakers still searching for a deal
This is the first modern government shutdown with Congress and the White House controlled by the same party, and it comes on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.
Trump's White House however immediately blamed Democrats for the shutdown.
"Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country's ability to serve all Americans," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement moments before midnight. "We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators."
Trump and his representatives had been labeling the event the "Schumer shutdown" after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but the New York Democrat was quick to call it "the Trump shutdown."
"It's almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown," Schumer said from the Senate floor. "And now we will have one. And the blame should crash entirely on President Trump's shoulders. This will be called the Trump shutdown. This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in than President Trump."
Sixty votes were needed to advance the bill to keep the government open for four weeks. Republicans only control 51 seats, so GOP leaders needed Democratic votes to cross that threshold. It failed 50-49.
Key issue is setting a date
One of the key issues Friday has been just how long to extend funding. The House passed a measure Thursday night to continue funding the government through February 16, and that measure is the one that failed in the Senate early Saturday morning. Democrats have pushed for a shorter-term continuing resolution of a couple days. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who said he would not vote for the House proposal, pushed a plan to keep the government open until February 8.
After the vote, McConnell said he will offer a new continuing resolution to fund the government through February 8. McConnell said he wanted to introduce it during this early morning session, but he wasn't able to for procedural reasons and it wasn't clear if that measure would have enough Democrats it to advance.
"I'll be offering an amendment to change the date to February the eighth," McConnell said around 12:30 a.m. ET. "Unfortunately we'll not be able to get that vote tonight ... And that's the date the senator from South Carolina, the senior senator from South Carolina that I've been talking about, Democratic leader and I have been talking about, which begins to move a little bit close to our friends on the other side said they wanted to be. but a reasonable period of time."
Two GOP sources say that Graham's three-week compromise idea wasn't by accident -- it is the off-ramp on the table, if Democrats are willing to take it.
"It's a live option," one of the sources said -- one Democrats have been told is an acceptable change for Republicans. The big question, the sources said, is whether it goes nearly far enough for Democrats who've listed a litany if reasons for their opposition.
Two sources say Democrats have pitched a new continuing resolution that would expire on January 29, the day before Trump's State of the Union address. Republicans are not willing to consider that, one source said.
Trump showed his support for the House plan of a four week extension just hours before that vote was scheduled.
"Excellent preliminary meeting in Oval with @SenSchumer - working on solutions for Security and our great Military together with @SenateMajLdr McConnell and @SpeakerRyan. Making progress - four week extension would be best!" Trump tweeted Friday evening.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" that as efforts continue to reach an agreement, "we're in a weekend so we have a little more flexibility here."
House Democrats prepare for shutdown
Rep. John Yarmuth, a Kentucky Democrat, told reporters that the House Democratic leadership team concluded at their meeting Friday night there would be a government shutdown and the group expected it to last through early next week.
"I think it is almost 100% likely that the government will shut down for some period of time -- now my guess is it won't go past the first of the week -- in which the disruption won't be particularly severe," said Yarmuth, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
Pelosi gave a very brief overview to the leadership team of what Schumer told her about his meeting with the President. According to Yarmuth, Schumer laid out what his priorities are and the President said he wanted the Senate to pass the House bill. Asked why the meeting lasted so long, he quipped, "Well, Trump repeats himself, that's what I understand."
Yarmuth expected the House, which was scheduled to be out of session next week, would likely come back just for a day to approve some type of stopgap bill.
"There are all sorts of things being discussed apparently, from one day to three days, to five days, to three weeks to four weeks. Four weeks being the president's position." He said Democrats would be fine with backing some type of short term continuing resolution.
Some Democratic aides for progressive members have been worried that Schumer would cut a deal and give away leverage on some of their priorities, but Yarmuth insisted that the House and Senate Democrats are "in 100% agreement on this and totally working hand in hand."
House members had been scheduled to be on recess next week, but many said they weren't going home until they knew there was resolution.
"I'm not going home if the government shuts down," said Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson.
Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican from Georgia, told CNN that he was also prepared to stay, although he added "Mitch McConnell needs to stand and fight."
Details of the Schumer meeting
Earlier Friday, Trump called Schumer and invited the New York Democrat personally, a person familiar with the plans told CNN.
Trump's chief of staff John Kelly was the only White House official present at the meeting, a person familiar told CNN.
McConnell was not at the meeting, a source said, adding that he and Trump have been in touch during the day by telephone. Neither was Ryan, who was addressing the "March for Life" rally around the same time. McConnell and Ryan were aware that the White House was going to invite Schumer to the White House, one Republican source said.
"We had a long and detailed meeting," Schumer told reporters in brief remarks he made upon returning the Capitol, but he did not include any specifics from their discussion. "We made good progress and will continue."
Schumer then met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin in his office.
"I think the leader made a statement that progress had been made but much more needs to be done," Pelosi told CNN upon leaving Schumer's office.
"It's in the hands of the leader," Durbin told CNN.
White House aides made clear to GOP staff this morning there was no daylight between the President and Hill Republicans this morning, especially on immigration, according to two sources.
Still, some congressional leaders eyed the Schumer meeting warily.
When asked by CNN if he was worried about Trump meeting with only Schumer, Sen. John Cornyn responded, "The thought did cross my mind."
This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments.
Roy Moore's communications director resigns
Doster said Wednesday that John Rogers didn't have the experience to deal with the level of scrutiny brought on by the national press, and the campaign had to make a change.
He added that Rogers had not been dismissed but that he "didn't like playing second fiddle on the communications side."
Rogers decided to leave the campaign last Friday, according to a statement released by the campaign.
"As we all know, campaigns make changes throughout the duration of the campaign, as do those working in the campaign," the statement said. "John made the decision to leave the campaign last Friday -- any representations to the contrary are false -- and we wish him well."
The Washingtonian first reported Rogers' resignation.
Moore's campaign has been embattled by scandal as numerous women have come forward and accused the candidate of inappropriate sexual behavior several years ago. Several women have accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, and a few others have accused him of sexual assault.
The Republican Party appeared somewhat divided over the issue, with President Donald Trump weighing in on Tuesday.
Trump avoided denouncing Moore's behavior and would only note that the Alabama Republican had denied the allegations.
"He denies it. Look, he denies it," Trump said. "If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen."
Officials at the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Wednesday that they are not reversing course on Roy Moore or restoring funding to his campaign.
The committees were reluctant to go on the record or to elaborate, but they said nothing has changed since their decision, two officials told CNN.
Additionally, more than a dozen Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have called on Moore to drop out of the race.
This story has been updated.
What Trump isn't tweeting about
"I was recently asked if Crooked Hillary Clinton is going to run in 2020?" he wrote, the curious party going unnamed. "My answer was, 'I hope so!'"
Twitter is the closest thing we have to a real-time window into Trump's thoughts. For that reason, what he says can often be as telling as what he doesn't. And today, like so many before it, he didn't have anything to share on the Green Berets killed in Niger or the clean water shortage in Puerto Rico, where desperate Americans are now drinking from a hazardous-waste site. A DEA whistleblower's claim that the drug industry and Congress had combined to stoke the opioid crisis also went unmentioned.
The Clinton micro-notion was Trump's sixth tweet of the day, a modest morning output by his recent standards. It landed amid a push for the Republican tax plan (or, more precisely, an attack on its opponents) and a pair of tweets touting the good times on Wall Street.
A poll last week found that 70% of voters would prefer Trump not tweet from his personal account. But it's hard to imagine -- or remember -- a world without the President perpetually signed on and posting. Twitter is fundamental to Trump's political being, and not just because, as he explains it, the medium provides him and end-around past traditional media.
In fact, it's a two-way street. Trump gets to mainline his every waking thought into the body politic and, as a byproduct, we get a heavy insight into what he really cares about. The divergence between "Teleprompter Trump" and "rally Trump" is plain as day. The first speaks, aided by a script, to narrowly defined, consensus political requirements. The latter is freestyle (often freeform) and raw.
His Twitter feed delivers a similar product. So when he hasn't tapped out a message about the four US soldiers killed, and two more wounded, in an ambush by ISIS-aligned fighters in Niger, people noticed.
Asked Monday about his public silence in the aftermath, Trump during a press conference at the White House said he had written letters to the families of the slain soldiers, but they had not yet been mailed. Phone calls, he added, would follow at some point in the future, but before claiming, falsely, "President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls." (Pressed on that remark, he backtracked, saying: "I was told that he didn't often.")
The day after the attack in Niger, when White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders offered the administration's "thoughts and prayers" to the friends and families of the dead, Trump was tweeting about the stock market, parroting a dubious attack line on the Democrat running for governor in Virginia and asking why the Senate Intelligence Committee wasn't "looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up."
Also conspicuous by their absence from the presidential feed: deadly wildfires sweeping through Northern California. At the time of writing, at least 40 people have been killed and about 5,700 structures destroyed. Mandatory evacuation orders are now being lifted in some areas, including the city of Napa, but more than a dozen blazes are still burning.
Trump hasn't visited California since taking office and doesn't appear poised to make an exception here. Last Tuesday, he told reporters he'd spoken with the governor and pledged that "the federal government will stand with the people" there. He then welcomed the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House. Trump has tweeted about the Penguins twice in the last three weeks.
But his quiet on social media following violent or deadly attacks on Muslim Americans, on the street or inside houses of worship, has drawn the most attention. When a mosque in Minnesota was bombed in August -- in what Gov. Mark Dayton called "a criminal act of terrorism" -- Trump kept mum.
In June, when an undocumented immigrant, Darwin Martinez Torres, was charged with killing a Muslim woman, Nabra Hassanen, the President again let the news pass without a word. Certain details of the case remain unresolved, like whether it was a hate crime (police have said road rage set off the attack), but Trump is hardly one to stand by for all the details -- especially when he sees political opportunity.
Hassanen's death, though, seemed to confuse his instincts. Her alleged killer was an undocumented immigrant, but she -- unlike Kate Steinle, who was memorialized by legislation that Trump supports and has promoted on Twitter -- was a Muslim woman of color. Months on, as the case heads to a grand jury, Trump has yet to tweet his thoughts -- no condemnation, no condolences, just a piercing silence.
Trump sends fundraising email touting Pence's anthem walk-out
"Yesterday members of the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during our National Anthem," a fundraising email sent out on Monday reads. "Their stunt showed the world that they don't believe our flag is worth standing for. But your Vice President REFUSED to dignify their disrespect for our anthem, our flag, and the many brave soldiers who have died for their freedoms."
In the email, which had the subject line, "VP under fire for standing for" the US flag, Trump said he was "so proud of the vice president" for his early departure from a football game Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem.
"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag or our National Anthem," Pence said in a statement posted on Twitter.
While Trump characterized Pence as being under fire for standing for the anthem, in reality, Pence was criticized for the price tag of the trip to Indianapolis which amounted to little more than a photo-op.
Now the Trump team is offering to send supporters an "I STAND FOR THE FLAG" sticker in exchange for contributions of at least $5 to the "Trump Make America Great Again Committee."
Trump said in a tweet Sunday he had asked Pence to leave the stadium if players knelt.
The President's attacks against the NFL picked up steam after he slammed players who kneel in peaceful protest while campaigning for Luther Strange in Alabama. Following his comments, more players and teams chose to kneel during the anthem.
Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, started the anthem protests in opposition to police brutality, particularly toward
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in August 2016.
Bob Corker just told the world what he really thinks of Donald Trump
Asked directly by a reporter whether he was referring to Trump in using the word "chaos," Corker, who announced last month he would retire in 2018, responded: "(Mattis, Kelly and Tillerson) work very well together to make sure the policies we put forth around the world are sound and coherent. There are other people within the administration that don't. I hope they stay because they're valuable to the national security of our nation."
Stop for a second and re-read that last paragraph. The sitting Republican chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee is suggesting that if Tillerson was removed from office (or quit), the national security of the country would potentially be in danger. And he's refusing to knock down -- and thereby affirming -- the idea that Trump is an agent of chaos who pushes policies that are not always "sound" or "coherent."
That. Is. Stunning.
Corker also blasted Trump for undermining Tillerson -- most recently with a weekend tweet suggesting that the secretary of state's diplomatic work to solve the North Korea crisis would fail.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
Corker said that Tillerson is "in an incredibly frustrating place," adding: "He ends up not being supported in the way I would hope a secretary of state would be supported. ... He's in a very trying situation -- trying to solve many of the world's problems without the support and help I'd like to see him have."
Those comments land amid reports that tensions between Trump and Tillerson are worse than ever. They also come on the same day Tillerson held an impromptu press conference to dismiss that he has ever considered resigning his post, but also refused to deny that he had called the President a "moron" during a moment of pique over the summer.
This is also not the first time that Corker, who was once mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick and was on the short list for secretary of state, has been overtly and harshly critical of Trump. Corker drew national headlines in August when he suggested that Trump "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful."
Trump responded back via Twitter: "Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in '18. Tennessee not happy!"
Trump and Corker eventually huddled at the White House to make amends and, according to reports, Trump asked Corker to run for a third term. Less than two weeks later, Corker announced he was retiring.
Corker's comments Wednesday are rightly read as a continuation of his August remarks. Then, he openly questioned Trump's stability and competence. Now he is making clear that if not for Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly, Trump would be leading the nation -- and the world -- into chaos.
There's no question that Corker feels freer to speak his mind without the worry of angering the President and potentially stirring up a serious primary challenge. But what's even more important/scary to contemplate: If this is Corker saying what he really thinks about Trump, what must the rest of Republicans in the Senate and House think of their President? And when will they speak out?
Pelosi tells man who lost wife in Vegas shooting 'we're never going to rest' until Congress acts
"We're never going to rest until we get this done," Pelosi told Bob Patterson at a CNN-hosted town hall with Pelosi in Washington, moderated by CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Patterson, who was sitting beside his 16-year-old daughter live via satellite, had asked the House minority leader what she was going to do to prevent mass shootings in the future.
A push for gun violence legislation
Pelosi also reiterated her call for increased background checks and called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to create a select committee to find common ground between lawmakers on gun violence legislation.
"We're talking about a bill that would say you have to have ... a background check," Pelosi later said in regard to another question about gun access. "It's 72 hours, it's a very short background check. So, I'm not making it harder for you to have a gun. All we're just saying is that you have to have a background check."
Pelosi is one of the few political leaders in Washington who's been able to make a deal with President Donald Trump, but with several high-profile debates roiling on the Hill, the spotlight is on the California Democrat over how she'll lead members of her own party.
The event comes just days after the United States witnessed its most deadly mass shooting in modern American history. At least 58 people died and hundreds more were injured when a gunman open fire into a crowd at a country concert in Las Vegas Sunday night, though there's little evidence that Congress will act on any legislation in reaction to the deadly shooting.
Following the attack, Pelosi wrote on Twitter that she was "horrified and heartbroken," and she said she wants Ryan to create a select committee on gun violence.
Noting that the shooter in Las Vegas appeared to have used a bump fire stock, which allows semi-automatic weapons to simulate automatic weapon fire in their frequency, Pelosi said that she thought there could be momentum to pass legislation banning them.
"I do think there would be bipartisan support coming together to pass a bill to make it illegal to sell those because you can buy them now," Pelosi said.
CNN reported earlier Wednesday that some Hill Republicans had voiced openness to a gun control bill along those lines.
Committed to passing a clean bill on DACA
Pelosi pledged her commitment to passing a clean Dream Act bill by December, and called Trump's move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with a six month window for Congress to pass a bill on the program "inhumane."
"First of all, the President should never have done what he did, in terms of giving the six months this or that, revoking, and giving six months for us to pass a bill, he should never have done that, it was inhumane thing to do," Pelosi said.
"But that's when we when to see him and said, 'Hey, if we're going to have a values based relationship, this is our threshold, this is our threshold, protecting these Dreamers in our country. Because they have come forward, they have revealed their parents, they have revealed their information,' and the President, I think, not because as I say (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer had good table manners, it's because the American people believe in you."
Pelosi recently met with Trump and other Democrats about a solution to the announced termination of the DACA program. After the Trump administration said it would allow a six-month window for Congress to on the legislation, Pelosi also reportedly encouraged the President to reassure DACA recipients about their futures, despite the uncertainty surrounding the program.
Pelosi "asked him to tweet this to make clear Dreamers won't be subject to deportation in (the) six-month window," according to one source at the time. While Trump sent that tweet, the future of DACA recipients remains unclear.
"You may recall that when we had this arrangement with the President, he called the next day and I said, early in the morning, and I said, 'Mr. President, you have to, it's very important for you to send a message to our dreamers that you're not going after them, not to worry about this,'" Pelosi said Wednesday night.
The town hall also comes weeks after Pelosi -- along with Schumer -- brokered a deal with Trump over temporarily raising the debt ceiling. The President supported the proposal bought forth by Democrats, which attached hurricane relief money to a temporary raise in the debt ceiling -- in a move that stunned congressional Republicans.
Puerto Rico recovery efforts
Pelosi addressed the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after hurricanes devastated large swaths of the island.
Calling it "near and dear" to her heart, Pelosi said she has been unable to reach her college roommate who lives on the island and had been there many times.
"(My) college roommate ... is from Puerto Rico, we call her every day, practically, and we can't reach her," Pelosi said.
She continued by discussing the immediate and future needs of those in Puerto Rico.
"In terms of the immediate need, which is the water and the light, I spent the afternoon at FEMA headquarters today and they gave a report about the progress that they had made, but no matter how much progress you made, there's still a long way to go," Pelosi said.
She predicted Congress would pass another bill to provide additional resources within the next week and cited the importance of the military presence in the affected areas.
"What we think should have happened sooner, but nonetheless they're there now and we need more, is for the military to be there," Pelosi said.
Bharara: 'Odd and unusual' that Rosenstein oversees and is a witness in Mueller probe
Speaking with Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Bharara called it "odd and unusual" that Rosenstein could serve as a witness in the investigation while also while overseeing it, adding, "It would seem that there's a conflict."
As part of the Russia investigation, Mueller's team is looking into allegations of potential collusion by Donald Trump's campaign in Moscow's effort to influence last year's election and reportedly is investigating whether the President has obstructed justice, which could include an examination of the circumstances surrounding Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey in May.
CNN reported last week that Rosenstein was interviewed by Mueller's office over the summer about his role in the firing of Comey.
Trump has branded the investigation the "single greatest witch hunt" in political history, and well into his presidency has consistently questioned the intelligence community's findings on Russia's efforts to influence the election outcome.
"We do know that (Rosenstein) had some role in putting forth what I think most people think was a pre-textual basis for the firing of Jim Comey, and to the extent that an obstruction investigation relies a little bit on the facts relating to the firing of Jim Comey, it would seem that there's a conflict," Bharara, a CNN senior legal analyst, said.
The Justice Department did not immediately return CNN's request for comment on Bharara's remarks.
A source familiar with Mueller's interview of Rosenstein has told CNN that Rosenstein has no plans to immediately recuse himself.
Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in a statement last week: "As the deputy attorney general has said numerous times, if there comes a time when he needs to recuse, he will. However, nothing has changed."
On Sunday, Bharara discussed the recusal issue: "What I think people should want to know is whether or not, like (Attorney General) Jeff Sessions, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has consulted with the top ethics advisers in the department and gotten clearance to continue, and, if not, he shouldn't."
Bharara, who served as the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, was fired in March after refusing to resign when the Trump administration requested the resignation of 46 US attorneys.