At CPAC, Trump Delivers a Journalism Lecture — and a Threat

Donald Trump on Friday issued a blistering attack on news organizations he dubbed “fake news,” appearing to threaten those outlets and again calling them an “enemy of the people.”

The president’s latest broadside on the media came a few hours after he attacked the FBI with two morning tweets for an alleged inability to stop and find individuals within the government — including in its own ranks — that leak sensitive information to news outlets.

“We are fighting the fake news,” the president told the audience at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, calling news reports about his administration that use anonymous sources as “phony.”

Media outlets who have published such pieces “are the enemy of the people,” Trump said. “They have no sources, they just make them up when there are none. … The fake news is the enemy of the people.”

[White House Official: FBI Said Trump-Russia Story is ‘BS’]

Since Trump first uttered that phrase a week ago, he accused journalists of altering his meaning: “They take the word ‘fake’ out. … That’s the way they are.”

“I'm not against the media, I’m not against the press,” he said, declaring himself against media outlets that “make up” stories and use sources he contends do not exist.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless their name is put out there,” Trump said of articles using information and quotes from anonymous individuals.

(Media outlets, including Roll Call, use anonymous sources to allow individuals with information they deem important to public discourse and policymaking to allow them to be candid and protect them when they fear retribution, for instance, from an employer.)

An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud.

Trump did say there are plenty of “talented” and fair reporters, but told the friendly audience a lot of stories would “dry up” if media organizations could not use anonymous sources.

[Bannon, Priebus Deny Talk of Tension Inside White House]

Notably, about an hour before he spoke in Oxon Hill, Md., the White House conducted a briefing — and instructed reporters to attribute it to a “senior administration official” — about recent conversations between Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the top two senior FBI officials about stories of contacts between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian agents.

In a potentially chilling remark, Trump appeared to issue a threat to organizations that publish reports with anonymous sources disclosing unflattering information about his presidency.

“The fake news doesn’t tell the truth,” he said. “It doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people. We’re going to do something about it.”

Trump did not say what he intends to do, however.

Other highlights from Trump’s much-anticipated CPAC address, which included lots of red meat for his conservative audience:

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Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over the controversial student art contest painting that was removed from the Capitol.

Clay’s office said in a news release that the removal by the Architect of the Capitol violated the constitutional rights of David Pulphus, whose “Untitled #1” was a winner in the annual high school competition in Clay’s district.

The painting depicted police officers in Ferguson, Mo., as pigs in showing strained police-community relations there.

“His artwork was initially reviewed, accepted and approved for public display under the very same standards and criteria that apply to all student entries in this prestigious, annual competition,” Clay said in a statement.

It has been the subject of controversy on Capitol Hill, with the portrait frequently being removed by Congressional Republicans. The Architect of the Capitol eventually removed the portrait.

In a statement announcing the lawsuit, Clay said Architect of the Capitol Steven Ayers made his decision based after coming under “enormous political pressure from the Speaker of the House and certain right-wing media outlets.

“Seven months after being displayed as part of a public exhibit, a deluge of alternative right media, aided by the unauthorized actions of certain reactionary Members of Congress, deprived Mr. Pulphus of his constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment Right of Free Expression,” Clay said in his statement.

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The National Republican Congressional Committee named 10 members to its Patriot Program for incumbents who are expected to face tough re-elections in 2018.

“Our Patriots are a group of battle-tested members who won hard fought races in 2016 and are ready to win once again,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement Wednesday.

“The NRCC stands squarely behind each of them and will work tirelessly on their behalf to ensure their important voices continue to represent their constituents,” Stivers said.

Patriot status usually comes with fundraising and organizational assistance. Stivers is a previous chair of the program, which is now helmed by Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello.

This cycle’s initial Patriots include five members elected in 2016, three members of the class of 2014, one member of the class of 2012, and one long-term congressman, California Rep. Darrell Issa, who had a closer than expected re-election last fall and is already facing a rematch from his 2016 Democratic challenger. All 10 members are on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's initial target list.

Here’s the full list:

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