President Trump hit the stump for Ted Cruz in Texas Monday night. The 2016 presidential primary rivals buried the hatchet, and Trump propped up not only Cruz but a bunch of Congressional candidates in the state, too. He aggressively went after Cruz challenger Beto O’Rourke, as well as employing his typical campaign stump rhetoric.
The FBI is acknowledging that it used multiple informants to obtain information against Carter Page, a former adviser to President Trump’s campaign. That’s according to court filings revealed on Friday shedding more light on how the FBI obtained enough info to apply for a FISA warrant to spy on Page. The documents reveal that the FBI used paid human sources in addition to former British spy Christopher Steele, who wrote the infamous Trump dossier of discredited propaganda. The court filings were the first time the government revealed that it had human sources, paid or otherwise, beyond Steele, but the bureau insists any more information on who was tipping them off would risk their security.
Hours after being turned around and seemingly disbanding, a caravan of thousands from Honduras is apparently back on the march. Despite efforts by Mexico to stop the band of would-be illegal immigrants. About 2,000 of them swam and rafted across a river separating Mexico and Guatemala, re-forming the caravan in Mexico and insisting they will carry out their plan to waltz right into the U.S. Their continued quest is despite warnings from President Trump.
—QUOTABLE: “So as of this moment, I thank Mexico…I hope they continue. But as of this moment, I thank Mexico. If that doesn’t work out, we’re calling up the military – not the Guard…They’re not coming into this country.” Trump in Scottsdale, Ariz.
President Trump has a warning for anyone thinking about engaging in voter fraud. In a Saturday tweet the president said authorities are on the lookout for cheating, especially during early voting. Anyone found guilty would be subject to penalties both “civil and criminal,” he said. While Democrats continue to insist voter fraud is a myth and voter ID laws are unjust, irregularities continue to be caught, and Dems benefit from them disproportionately.
—QUOTABLE: “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!” -Trump tweet
President Trump’s job approval is surging. According to a new Fox News poll, the president’s approval stands at 47 percent, with 51 percent disapproving. That’s up from 44 percent approving in September—and from a low of 38 percent in October of last year. That’s not spectacular, but it’s a good sign of how well Trump is doing in red states, many of which feature competitive senate elections with vulnerable Democrats running for re-election. The Real Clear Politics average of Trump’s approval is now at 44 percent, which is up from around 40 percent just a month ago.
Rep. Mark Meadows is calling for Rod Rosenstein to step down. The North Carolina Republican blasted the embattled deputy attorney general on Twitter on Thursday, calling for the immediate resignation based on new information he said he’s learned. Rosenstein was scheduled to meet with Republican lawmakers last week to answer questions on reports he said he wanted to wear a wire in conversations with President Trump—Rosenstein claims he was joking. Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has been a leading voice urging Trump to fire Rosenstein, which Trump has indicated he will not do.
—QUOTABLE: “Based on additional information we’ve learned over the last week, it is clear Rod Rosenstein should resign immediately. He has not cooperated with Congress, failed to be transparent about his actions, and shown a lack of candor in the way he’s characterized a number of events.” -Meadows on Twitter
Rod Rosenstein says the Mueller investigation is “appropriate and independent.” The deputy attorney general who oversees Mueller’s probe told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the special counsel has yielded results by exposing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The interview ticked off some Capitol Hill Republicans, who have been pressuring President Trump to fire Rosenstein. Trump recently hinted he does not plan to do that.
—QUOTABLE: “People are entitled to be frustrated, I can accept that…But at the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence and that it was an appropriate use of resources.” -Rosenstein
In the midst of another “train” of immigration coming from Honduras, new numbers show illegal immigration by parents with children is at an all-time high as of September. A total of 16,658 people traveling with families were arrested by the Border Patrol at the southwest border last month. That’s the highest single monthly figure on record and an 80 percent increase since July, when family separations at the border ignited a national controversy. That policy has since been ended by President Trump.
There’s no love lost between Chrissy Teigen and Kanye West over his politics and support of President Trump. Teigen tells Vogue that Kanye’s always been outspoken and opinionated — she acknowledges she’s a left-winger but also lets others disagree. Trump famously blocked Teigen on Twitter after heated criticisms.
President Trump continued his Twitter feud with porn star Stormy Daniels and her sleazy lawyer, Michael Avenatti, on Tuesday. The salacious pair just lost a defamation lawsuit against Trump and were ordered to pay his legal fees, too. But in what would probably sink any other president, Trump nicknamed her “Horseface” in a tweet, adding she’s a “total con” and Avenatti is a “3rd rate lawyer.” Avenatti slung his own poo back, calling Trump “a disgusting misogynist.” Daniels poked Trump too, nicknaming him “Tiny.”
—QUOTABLE: “You are a disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States. Bring everything you have, because we are going to demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are. How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home?” -Avenatti
—QUOTABLE: “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present your president. In addition to his…umm…shortcomings, he has demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN! And perhaps a penchant for bestiality. Game on, Tiny.” -Porn star
President Trump is eviscerating Glenn Simpson on the Twitters. Simpson, who co-founded the firm that complied the discredited Steele Dossier using campaign cash from the Democrats and Hillary Clinton, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before congress on Tuesday. The president ripped the decision, saying his testimony in front of another House committee conflicted with that of Bruce Ohr, another anti-Trump Swamp creature. “Ohr was used by Simpson and Steele as a Back Channel to get (FAKE) Dossier to FBI,” Trump tweeted. He followed that with incredulity that Ohr—whose wife worked for Simpson’s firm—is still working for the Department of Justice.
A senior FBI official took bribes, lied about it, and won’t face prosecution. The official’s first misstep was accepting free tickets for sports events from a journalist who covers the FBI, a violation of federal ethics regulations. Then, the unnamed senior official—since retired—told an inspector general that he or she paid for the tickets, a lie. But according to a report released by the office of inspector general Michael Horowitz, there will be no prosecution. That was met with scorn by conservatives who are still furious about FBI corruption in the “witch hunt” investigations of President Trump.
-QUOTABLE: “Total hypocrisy…DOJ prosecutes Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos for lying to the FBI. But a senior FBI official accepted free gifts from a media member, lied to the FBI about it, and faces no prosecution. With the DOJ: ‘Lying to the FBI is a crime for thee—but not for me.’” -Tweet from Rep. Mark Meadows, N.C. Republican
A judge has thrown out Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Trump. The federal judge on Monday dismissed the suit in which the porn star said the president defamed her when he said she lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their supposed affair. Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles said there aren’t First Amendment grounds for the claim, and he also ordered Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) to pay Trump’s legal fees. That’s a big defeat for Daniels’ sleazy lawyer, potential 2020 presidential candidate Michael Avenatti.
-QUOTABLE: “No amount of spin or commentary by Stormy Daniels or her lawyer, Mr. Avenatti, can truthfully characterize today’s ruling in any way other than total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels.” -Trump lawyer Charles Harder
The federal budget deficit shows no sign of shrinking. In fact’s it’s the highest it’s been in six years. In President Trump’s first full fiscal year in office the gap between federal revenue and spending grew $113 billion, up 17 percent, according to final numbers from the Treasury department. That puts the final fiscal year 2018 deficit at $779 billion, the worst since 2012 and more than the country spends on Medicare or defense. But the growth in the deficit was fueled by spending, not any revenue shortfall. DC took in $14 billion more than the last fiscal year, but spending jumped by $127 billion.
“Who cares?” That was President Trump’s reaction to the news that Sen. Elizabeth Warren got her genealogy results back. Trump has mocked Warren as “Pocahontas” for claiming Native American ancestry to help advance her career at politically correct Harvard. The test shows that Warren has between 1/32nd and 1/1024th Indian DNA, which she claimed vindicates her. That would put Trump on the hook for giving a million dollars to the charity of Warren’s choice after he dared her to take the test, but the president brushed that off, saying he never said that, adding he hopes “Pocahontas” runs for president.
—QUOTABLE: “She will destroy the country. She will make our country into Venezuela…With that being said I don’t want to say bad things about her because I hope she would be one of the people that would get through the process. Going to be a long process for the Democrats.”
Kanye West faced some fallout from a few of his fellow artists after his meeting with President Trump. Rapper T.I. expressed his disappointment via social media, posting, “This is the most repulsive, disgraceful, embarrassing act of desperation & auctioning off of one’s soul to gain power I’ve ever seen.”
MEANWHILE—TMZ caught up with rapper Mally Mall outside of the Staples Center, where Drake performed on Saturday. Mally told them that Kanye West is “nothing less than a genius” and is “doing great work, trying to help the United States.”
President Trump said he won’t shut down the Mueller investigation. In a “60 Minutes” interview the president was asked point blank if he would end the probe into alleged collusion between Russian and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. “I don’t pledge anything,” Trump said. The president has called the investigation a “rigged witch hunt” many times.
—QUOTABLE: ”Well, I– I don’t pledge anything. But I will tell you, I have no intention of doing that. I think it’s a very unfair investigation because there was no collusion of any kind.” -Trump
NBC news is backing off a fake news assertion. The network made a giant blunder that it attempted to correct on Sunday—initially, the network claimed in a tweet that President Trump had praised confederate general Robert E. Lee as “incredible.” In fact, Trump had praised union general Ulysses S. Grant—an error that’s not exactly splitting hairs. The tweet came out hours after Trump attacked the network for misleading its audience at a campaign rally. The fake news NBC tweet became the basis for a Washington Post headline. Trump thanked NBC for the too little, too late correction.
—QUOTABLE: ”CORRECTION: An earlier tweet misidentified the general President Trump described as ‘incredible’ at a rally in Ohio. It was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, not Gen. Robert E. Lee. An attached video clip lacked the full context for Trump’s remark.” -NBC News tweet
More Americans see a President Trump re-election as more likely than him losing. A new CNN poll found that an increasing number of people believe Trump will be re-elected than in previous polls, but that number is still less than half. 46 percent said they think the president will win re-election in 2020, while 47 percent said he wont’t. That’s a big change from a poll taken last March, when 54 percent said he’d probably lose re-election. The increase in optimism about the president’s prospects increased most among men, independents, and people who are enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections.
Pennsylvania could be the deciding state for determining control of the House of Representatives in the election less than a month from now. A court earlier this year ordered the re-drawing of the state’s congressional maps, moving most of them from overwhelmingly Republican to competitive and favoring Democrats. The state was one of the most gerrymandered in the country. But if things go the Dems’ way, Pennsylvania could account for more than one quarter of the 23 seats that they need to seize control of the House in the November 6th elections. The populous Pennsylvania districts add to many other suburban House seats around the country that might flip from Republican to Democrat—prognosticators say this is the result of President Trump losing educated, suburban women voters.
—QUOTABLE: “They’re all suburban seats, they’re all places where we’re having trouble with women, and they’re all places where Republican voters — not necessarily Trump voters but Republican voters — want to send a message to the administration.” -Mike McKenna, GOP wonk
President Trump is kicking back. After former attorney general Eric Holder said at a campaign rally that “when they go low, we kick them,” the president said Holder’s off the cuff remark is a “disgusting statement.” “He better be careful what he’s wishing for,” Trump said of the top aide to failed former president Barack Obama. Holder is a rumored 2020 Dem presidential condender, and the president sent some shots across the bow. “Holder was held in contempt of Congress. Holder went after Christians,” he said. It looks like the midterms aren’t even over, and the next election is already on.
—QUOTABLE: ”He better be careful what he’s wishing for, that I can tell you. That’s a disgusting statement for him to make. For him to make a statement like that is a very dangerous statement…They better be careful with the rhetoric because it’s very dangerous what Holder said. Holder was held in contempt of Congress. Holder went after Christians. He went after our great evangelicals. He went after our tea party people, you know that, the IRS just settled that case.” -Trump
Kanye West is giving President Trump a big bear hug, figuratively speaking. West visited the White House on Thursday to discuss his ideas for criminal justice reform and unifying the country. In particular he encouraged the president to oppose stop and frisk policies in places like Chicago. Afterwards, West told reporters, “I love this guy” and credited Trump with making progress on North Korea.
—QUOTABLE: “A liberal would try to control a black person through the concept of racism, because they know we are very proud, emotional people…When I say I like Trump, they say ‘Oh, but he’s racist.’ Do you think racism could control me? That won’t stop me.” -West
—QUOTABLE: “He can speak for me anytime he wants. He’s a smart cookie. He gets it.” -Trump
Kanye West and President Trump’s lunch discussion is scheduled for today, and Ye will stick around for a special bill signing ceremony. Trump will be signing the Music Modernization Act into law. The bill is intended to be a boon for both artists and streaming services by decreasing the liability those services can incur if they stream music according to appropriate guidelines. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is going to be on hand too.
President Trump plans to kick his “America First” doctrine up a notch, foreign policy experts are saying. Now that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has announced her resignation at the end of the year, Trump is said to be gearing up for a hard-line shift on foreign affairs. Foreign diplomats are fretting a new “hard-line unilateralist to replace Haley,” said one foreign policy wonk. Speculation about that ramped up when Trump quietly decided to move up Haley’s departure so he could name a successor within three weeks that can be confirmed by a Republican Senate.