John T. Bennett

Trump feared ‘one of these independent counsels.’ He got something else
Amid Democrats’ criticism, is Barr trying to protect Trump or the office he occupies?

Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, ended a phone call and returned to the Oval Office. It wasn’t long before President Donald Trump was in an angry rage.

Sessions, since unceremoniously fired, had just taken a phone call from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who informed him he had appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to look into Russia’s 2016 election meddling, including whether there was coordination with Trump’s campaign.

Trump has been all over the place on ‘crazy’ Mueller report
President contends Donald McGahn’s damning notes ‘never existed until needed’

President Donald Trump on Friday broke his uncharacteristic silence about Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, calling it “crazy” just 25 days after dubbing it “great.”

In a tweet from rainy Palm Beach, Fla., where he is spending a long Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort and nearby golf club, the commander in chief also lashed out — without naming him — at former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who offered Mueller’s team some of the most damning testimony about Trump and his chaotic West Wing.

Trump painted as media-obsessed in Mueller’s report
At times, focus on press was a blessing for Trump; at other times, it was a burden

ANALYSIS — Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation of the Trump White House reveals a presidency calibrated to drive and respond to media coverage of itself. Though unconventional, Donald Trump’s unique approach helped save his presidency.

At several critical points of his turbulent term, Mueller found that Trump — who once cold-called New York reporters claiming to be a public relations agent named “John Barron” to promote his real estate ventures — was mostly focused on responding to negative press reports or trying to generate positive ones. When the president took several questionable actions, the former FBI director concluded, it was because he was focused on a “press strategy” — and misleading or even lying to reporters is not a crime.

Mueller report shows Trump aides routinely ignored his orders on crucial matters
Special counsel highlights chaotic West Wing where staff tried to save president from himself

Presidential orders given but often ignored. Ample cursing. Aides working behind the scenes to protect Donald Trump from his own anger and impulsiveness. And an effort to prevent the president from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III despite his determination to do so.

Mueller’s long-anticipated report reveals a chaotic West Wing driven by paranoia and frequent outbursts from a green president who wanted to remove the special counsel and demanded that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, be more like predecessors Robert F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr., whom he felt “protected” the respective presidents they served, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

Trump takes victory lap on Mueller report: ‘I’m having a good day’
Jubilant president spoke at a Wounded Warrior Project event at the White House

A jubilant President Donald Trump, eager to shape public opinion about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, declared Thursday that he is “having a good day.”

Why? “It’s called ‘no collusion, no obstruction,’” Trump said during an event with wounded U.S. military personnel, adding that a probe like Mueller’s “should never happen to another president.”

Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ tweet: President declares ‘GAME OVER’
‘No collusion, no obstruction,’ text on latest Twitter image reads

Minutes after Attorney General William Barr delivered an across-the-board vindication of his claims of “no collusion” with Russia and “no obstruction” of justice, President Donald Trump declared victory in one of his favorite ways: using imagery of himself in the style of “Game of Thrones.”

Trump’s personal Twitter account posted an image of the president standing amid fog and the words “GAME OVER” prominently displayed. 

White House braces for Mueller report as obstruction questions linger
Only a ‘bombshell’ would dramatically change public opinion, expert says

The White House is bracing for the public’s first glimpse at some of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings, but it likely would take a bombshell to alter President Donald Trump’s approach to campaigning for a second term.

Attorney General William Barr is set to release on Thursday morning a version of the former FBI director’s report — though a substantial portion is expected to be blacked out, redacted that is, for legal and security reasons. White House aides have long echoed Trump’s contention that his 2016 campaign did not conspire with Russians to influence the race, besides mirroring his denials about obstructing justice since taking office.

White House gives Herman Cain an out on Fed amid GOP opposition
Kudlow: ‘It would probably be up to Herman Cain if he wants to stay in’

The White House appears to be giving Herman Cain, who was forced from the 2012 presidential race amid sexual misconduct allegations, an out in his candidacy for a seat on the Federal Reserve board of governors amid Republican senators’ mounting opposition.

President Donald Trump said earlier this month he is considering Cain for the central bank’s leadership. The president has voiced his anger with the Fed’s decisions on key interest rates, claiming it has slowed economic growth that will be key to his 2020 reelection fight. Cain is a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but exited the race amid a slew of sexual harassment charges.

Trump refers to Fox News as ‘we,’ after years of echoing the network
Anchor defended network to DNC chief, claiming ‘line’ between daytime and evening shows

President Donald Trump on Tuesday acknowledged what his critics have charged for his entire tenure in office, referring to Fox News as “we.”

His morning and late-night tweets have closely resembled the themes of one cable network’s morning show since he took office in January 2017. Sometimes he has even quoted directly from “Fox & Friends” segments, and the right-leaning outlet’s other shows. He’s shared a campaign rally stage with one of its top hosts, Sean Hannity.

‘Renovation, what’s that all about?’ Trump asks about burning Notre Dame
Highlights of president’s most-eyebrow raising lines at economic roundtable in Minnesota

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump lingered on Air Force One in Minnesota on Monday, later telling workers at Nuss Truck and Equipment in Burnsville that he and others were watching coverage of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris engulfed in flames.

Trump said he had been briefed on the blaze, adding that it looked like “one of the great treasures of the world” was “burning to the ground. … That puts a damper on what we are about to say.”

Trump will give Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods after dramatic win
Golfer has recovered from scandal and demons, won fifth Masters on Sunday

President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he will present professional golfer — and his sometimes-golfing partner — Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom one day after he won his fifth Masters championship.

Trump said he would put the medal around Woods’ neck not merely for his career on the course, but for his “incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”

There’s one problem with Trump’s call for Congress to act fast on immigration
Trump ally Sen. Graham made clear Sunday his effort to find a deal is in early stages

President Donald Trump wants Congress to end its April recess before it’s even really started to work on an immigration overhaul bill.

There’s only one problem: One of his closest Senate allies made clear the only bill in town isn’t ready yet.

Trump, Trump administration not on same page on forced sanctuary city migrations

Someone in the Trump administration might want to tell President Donald Trump what the Trump administration is, or is not, doing on immigration. 

Despite a couple of days’ worth of statements from officials in the Homeland Security Department that the administration is not considering taking recently arrived migrants to so-called sanctuary cities to send a message to congressional Democrats, the president said Friday the administration is “strongly looking at” sending “thousands” to so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Trump piggybacks on Barr comments on 2016 ‘spying’
President says he might be open to a small deal with North Korea to keep talks alive

President Donald Trump on Wednesday alleged there was “unprecedented” and “illegal” spying into his 2016 campaign, and also signaled he could be open to a smaller deal with North Korea to keep talks alive.

Trump was asked if he agrees with comments made — and then clarified —during Senate testimony Wednesday by Attorney General William P. Barr said “spying did occur” before closing the session with this clarification: “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying I am concerned about it and looking into it — that’s all.”

Trump accuses Dems of ‘treason’ even as Mulvaney seeks a border deal with them
‘No one views the White House as credible on this issue,’ says senior House Democratic source

President Donald Trump continues accusing congressional Democrats of treason — a crime punishable by death — over their border security policies even as his acting chief of staff was on Capitol Hill Wednesday seeking a deal.

And a senior Democratic aide expressed doubt that a deal is likely over what promises to be among 2020’s most contentious campaign trail issues.

Trump tries to revive North Korea talks in meeting with South Korea’s Moon
Experts see Moon urging U.S. leader to pursue ‘small deal’ with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump will try to revive his push to strip North Korea of its nuclear weapons when he hosts South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday. The visit comes as lawmakers worry about Kim Jong Un’s arsenal, with experts encouraging talks in hopes of even a “small deal.”

Trump’s second nuclear disarmament summit was cut short in late February after he and Kim reached an impasse over several issues, including the latter’s demand for some sanctions to be lifted before he started dismantling his atomic arms and long-range missile programs. Trump has signaled he was at least partially distracted during the meetings in Vietnam by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony before a House panel at the same time.

Trump finally finds a Bush he likes: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush
‘This is the only Bush that likes me,’ POTUS exclaims at non-political event

President Donald Trump on Wednesday found a member of the Bush family he likes: George P. Bush.

The 42-year-old son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a 2016 GOP primary rival of the president, holds one of the most powerful offices in Texas, that of land commissioner. He is the nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush. Trump during the 2016 Republican primary fight dubbed his father “Low Energy Jeb.”

Trump says he won’t release his tax returns by House deadline, hasn’t seen Mueller report
Defiant POTUS defends aide Stephens Miller, falsely claims the Mueller report ‘fully exonerated’ him

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has not seen Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s report, but again falsely claimed it “fully exonerated” him.

The president’s comments came one day after Attorney General William P. Barr declined to tell a House subcommittee whether the White House has been provided a copy of the report on Russia’s 2016 election meddling and whether Trump obstructed justice in trying to stop or interfere with the probe.

Trump renews misleading claim about Obama and child separation policy
POTUS claims he’s not restarting the controversial program — but describes it as effective

President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed it was the Obama administration that began the practice of separating migrant children from adults at the U.S.-Mexico border, a contention nonpartisan fact-checkers call “misleading.”

“Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children. Those cages that were shown — I think they were very inappropriate — were by President Obama’s administration, not by Trump. President Obama had child separation.

Trump likely to put economic, military ties ahead of human rights with Egypt’s Sisi
POTUS expected to warn Egyptian leader against closer military ties with Russia, official says

When Donald Trump welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House on Tuesday, expect the U.S. president to stress military cooperation even amid questions about that country’s human rights record.

Human rights groups are accusing Sisi’s government of torturing political foes and using death sentences against opponents. What’s more, the Egyptian parliament has approved constitutional changes that would extend Sisi’s time in office.