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.
A liberal activist group is behind a smear campaign against Jared Kushner. The son in law of President Trump registered to vote as a woman in New York City, the allegation goes. But that’s not true. The idea first came from American Bridge, a Democrat oppo research group founded by left-wing hatchet man David Brock. But the New York Daily News investigation found that Kushner was registered as a male in 2011, and the public record peddled by Brock’s group was simply an error by New York’s board of elections. The phony scandal appears to have been a back door to advance criticisms of Kushner’s prominent White House role.
—QUOTABLE: “Kushner can’t even fill out the most basic paperwork without screwing it up, so it’s a mystery why anyone thinks he’s somehow going to bring peace to the Middle East.” -American Bridge spokesman Brad Bainum
Democrats’ “Medicare For All” plan would eliminate Medicare and private insurance, President Trump wrote in a rare USA Today op-ed published Wednesday. Trump wrote that the $32 trillion single payer health care plan proposed by Bernie Sanders and embraced by many Democrats would gut health insurance as we know it. That’s a threat to senior citizens as well as the private insurance plans most Americans use, Trump wrote, and combining it with open borders would be a taxpayer nightmare. 123 Dems in the House and 15 in the Senate have officially co-sponsored the costly Sanders bill.
—QUOTABLE: “Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was created for seniors and paid for by seniors their entire lives should always be protected and preserved. I am committed to resolutely defending Medicare and Social Security from the radical socialist plans of the Democrats.” -Trump op-ed
Kanye West is headed to the White House. He’ll meet with President Trump on Thursday to discuss gang violence and promoting American manufacturing — probably a nod to Yeezy’s fashion empire. He’s following in the footsteps of wife Kim Kardashian-West who earlier this year successfully lobbied for the early release of a convict.
A former FBI official says he thinks Rod Rosenstein was serious about taping President Trump’s conversations and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Former FBI attorney James A. Baker told congressional investigators he conversation happened in May 2017 not long after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Baker, however, did not attend the meeting and simply didn’t think the deputy AG was joking when he made the comments. Trump recently hinted he will not fire Rosenstein despite months of bad blood between the two over his role overseeing the Mueller Russia investigation.
Michael Avenatti has challenged Donald Trump Jr. to an MMA fight. The lawyer famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels and discredited Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick told an NBC reporter he was challenging President Trump’s eldest son to a mixed martial arts fight for charity. Trump Junior didn’t respond, but the two have traded jabs on social media in the past—as has the president, who recently tweeted that Avenatti is a “total low-life.” Avenatti is being talked about as a possible Dem presidential candidate in 2020.
Nikki Haley is resigning as ambassador to the United Nations. Haley and President Trump announced on Tuesday that she would hang it up at the end of the year after about two years on the job. While the announcement surprised many in The Swamp—including senior White House staffers—Trump and Haley had agreed about six months ago that she would step down at the end of the year.
—QUOTABLE: “She’s done a fantastic job and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re all happy for you in one way, but we hate to lose you.” -Trump
—QUOTABLE: “I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else to do the job.” -Haley
President Trump doesn’t plan to fire Rod Rosenstein. Trump said on Monday he has no plans to let the embattled deputy attorney general go, despite many months of bad blood between the two. The president’s comment came after the two spent time together on Air Force One, speaking for 45 minutes. The meeting was the much anticipated climax to weeks of speculation that Trump would can Rosenstein, who oversees the Robert Mueller probe and has been the subject of many a Trump tweet criticizing the investigation.
—QUOTABLE: “We flew down together…The press wants to know ‘What did you talk about?’ But we had a very good talk, I will say.” -Trump
—QUOTABLE: “I didn’t know Rod before, but I’ve gotten to know him, and I get along very well with him.” -Trump
The swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was interrupted by protesters wailing outside. They also scratched and clawed at the door. The protesters broke through a police line outside, where they were mostly being held at bay, and barged into the Court’s chamber, outside the door to the room where Chief Justice John Roberts was administering the oath of office late Saturday. In a video posted online, the protesters—angry about the confirmation vote earlier in the day—screamed and tried to pry to obviously very heavy, and very locked, doors open.
President Trump says there’s more progress in the quest to pry nuclear weapon out of the hands of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Citing “progress” his administration has made with NoKo, Trump tweeted that he plans to meet with Kim again in the near future after a good meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim in Pyongyang. Pompeo had met with Kim for two hours in an effort to kick stalled denuclearizing meetings back into gear, nearly four months after an historic meeting between Trump and the Little Rocket Man back in June.
—QUOTABLE: “@SecPompeo had a good meeting with Chairman Kim today in Pyongyang. Progress made on Singapore Summit Agreements! I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim again, in the near future.” -Trump tweet
President Trump’s approval rating has hit 50 percent, according to a new Rasmussen poll. While 50 percent approve, 49 percent also disapprove—a sharp divide. 37 percent strongly approved of Trump’s job performance, and 40 percent strongly disapproved. The Rasmussen daily tracking poll is the only poll that tracks the president’s job approval every day.
A lawsuit is seeking to stop those “presidential alerts” you may have gotten on your phone yesterday. The new lawsuit, brought by three New Yorkers, argues the system violates their First Amendment rights and is an unconstitutional seizure of electronic devices. Unlike some other alerts, cell phone users can’t opt out of receiving these new alerts—they’re essentially mandatory. The presidential alert has been in the works for six years, and in 2016 failed former president Barack Obama signed a law restricting its use to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters or threats to public safety. That’s not enough, the plaintiffs contend. It could be used by President Trump or future presidents to force propaganda on hundreds of millions of people, they argue.
—QUOTABLE: “Without more specific definitions…officials — including President Trump — are free to define ‘act of terrorism’ and ‘threat to public safety’ as they see fit, potentially broadcasting arbitrary, biased, irrational and/or content-based messages to hundreds of millions of people.” -Official complaint
Pieces of mail delivered to the White House and the Pentagon tested positive for Ricin. A Defense Department official says two suspicious envelopes addressed to President Trump, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson initially tested positive for the deadly compound, but never cleared security or made it past the White House’s or Pentagon’s off-site mail processing facilities. The suspicious packages were taken into possession by the FBI for further testing.
President Trump is celebrating a huge new trade deal. On Monday, a new trade pact with Canada and Mexico emerged just before an important deadline. The agreement replaces NAFTA, the Clinton-era trade compact that Trump has spent years bashing as a terrible deal. “NAFTA was perhaps the worst trade deal ever made,” Trump said at a press conference Monday. He added the new agreement will protect American farmers and retailers, and reverse the mass exodus of American manufacturing jobs. The president also commended his counterparts in Mexico and Canada, who he has previously criticized. According to Trump’s remarks, next on the list is China.
The White House expanded an FBI investigation into allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. The probe, ordered by President Trump as a condition for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to move Kavanaugh’s confirmation to full senate, could wrap up as soon as Tuesday. But on Monday President Trump authorized the FBI to go beyond a narrow list of people it was ordered to talk to, on the condition that it still gets completed quickly. The expanded scope came after Sen. Amy Klobuchar complained that the White House was trying to “micromanage” the investigation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists the final confirmation vote will be held this week.
—QUOTABLE: “I think the FBI should do what they have to do to get to the answer…Now with that being said, I’d like it go quickly…And the reason I’d like it to go quickly — very simple, so simple — because it’s unfair to [Kavanaugh] at this point.” -Trump
After a morning of posturing and speechifying, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee finally voted on advancing Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court to the full body. The early afternoon vote followed maneuvering by Republican Jeff Flake and his Democrat buddy Chris Coons. Flake agreed to vote yes provided the Senate called for a week-long investigation of the harassment allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.
MEANWHILE – President Trump deferred to the Senate on an investigation, but it was revealed over the weekend that the FBI was directed to carefully limit the scope of the investigation, and not include any other women who might come forward against Kavanaugh.
Kanye West furthered his future political aspirations this weekend. After performing on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, he launched into a tirade about the media not telling the true story about what’s happening in America with Trump as president — implying good things, not bad. But the speech was cut and throw to commercial; only the studio audience saw all of it. He was even wearing a red Make America Great Again hat. President Trump chimed in Sunday morning, reminding the Twitterverse that he doesn’t watch SNL any more but is glad Kanye is leading the charge.
MEANWHILE — Kanye tweeted that the 13th Amendment should be repealed — that’s the amendment that makes slavery illegal. He later clarified … sort of: “The 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise meaning it never ended We are the solution that heals.”
Stephen Colbert is ripping Jim Acosta. The CNN grandstander-in-chief had another confrontation with President Trump during a news conference on Wednesday, with Acosta asking if one of his female colleagues could ask Trump a question after he was done. “It would be great if a female reporter would ask you a question about this issue,” Acosta said in a nauseating display of virtue signaling while asking about accusations against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. The president said he “wouldn’t mind that at all,” then called on a female correspondent…from NBC. Acosta and Trump have had a rocky relationship, and the president has dubbed ol’ Jim and his employer “fake news.”
President Trump postponed his meeting with Rod Rosenstein, which was set for Thursday. The two were supposed to meet to mull over Rosenstein’s future, but you might have heard there was a hearing going on. According to White House Sarah Sanders, Trump didn’t want to do anything to interrupt or interfere with the remarks by Kavanaugh and his accuser. But on Wednesday, the president offered a hint at the embattled bureaucrat’s fate: “My preference would be to keep him,” Trump told reporters. Rosenstein has fallen out of favor with the president because he oversees Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian agents. Sanders said the two will likely meet next week.
Kayne West is a conundrum. West showed up at The Fader offices to discuss his new design for the MAGA hat and the “positive energy” that he put into it. West was sporting the newly designed MAGA hat as well as a sweatshirt with Colin Kaepernick’s name on it. Cue the confusion. The rapper famously came out in support of President Trump but appears to also support Kaepernick. The former 49er was referred to as a Son of a B***h by President Trump for kneeling during the anthem. Meanwhile, West came out in support of Nike signing the blacklisted quarterback saying, “I stand for giving everyone a voice”.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will meet with President Trump on Thursday to mull over his fate. The embattled bureaucrat, who was caught on tape joking about wearing a wire while talking to the president, was rumored to be on the chopping block just days ago. Now, many observers of The Swamp think he’ll hold onto his job for politics’ sake. Rosenstein first went to the White House on Monday, when many thought he’d leave an unemployed man, but the day of reckoning will have to wait. It’s generally accepted that the deputy AG—a focus of Trump’s ire for his role in the Russia investigation—will eventually be replaced, but perhaps only after the midterm elections, conventional wisdom goes.
President Trump on Tuesday called on world leaders to take serious action against Iran. The Islamic Republic must be sanctioned and isolated until it stops bankrolling terrorism and ceases its nuclear program, Trump said during a speech to the United Nations general assembly in New York. The president also touted progress with North Korea and went after the idea of globalism, saying the International Criminal Court “has no legitimacy,” adding that OPEC is “ripping off the rest of the world” and other UN programs hand over American sovereignty to global bureaucracies. That’s unacceptable, Trump said.
—QUOTABLE: “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unaccountable, unelected global bureaucracy…We reject the ideology of globalism.” -President Trump
The lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels claims to be representing a third Kavanaugh accuser. Michael Avenatti, a prominent foe of President Trump and attorney for the former adult film star who claims to have had an affair with the president years ago, says the new allegation will be coming out of the woodwork in the next 48 hours. Avenatti, also known at “the creepy porn lawyer,” told reporters on Monday the supposed new accuser is a former employee of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Mint and has information of a sexual nature about both Kavanaugh and longtime friend, Mark Judge. She will be “100 percent credible,” Avenatti said.