Posts tagged with "Fake news"

Mutiny on the bounties: Trump balks at briefing House members on Russian perfidy

June 30, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for the Trump Administration to brief all House members immediately about allegations that surfaced on June 27–detailing that Russians have been paying Afghan militants to assassinate U.S. soldiers, Politico reports.

Most recently, President Donald Trump has claimed that he knows nothing about the disclosures—and that he and Vice President Mike Pence never have been briefed on the matter by U.S. intelligence agencies. He has not said that he intends to follow up on the accusations against Russia and, by extension, against President Vladimir Putin—which he does not believe to be credible.

However, The New York Times has countered that story, saying that senior White House and intelligence officials knew about the bounty allegations since at least March but took no action.

Indeed, the Times has reported that Trump was briefed on the matter and that it was included in his Presidential Daily Brief, but Trump denied ever learning of the intelligence and late Sunday said his leaders in the intelligence community told him it wasn’t credible.

“The questions that arise are: Was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed? Congress and the country need answers now,” Pelosi wrote in her letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel. “I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

Since the news reports emerged, Politico reports, Democrats and some Republicans have been demanding details from the Administration. Early Monday, congressional aides indicated no briefing had been set up for the House intelligence, armed services or foreign affairs committee. It’s unclear if the Gang of Eight—the leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the intelligence committee—will be briefed, but as of Monday morning there was no meeting scheduled, per a congressional source.

The new allegations —which The New York Times and The Washington Post reported may have led to the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan—have once again brought Trump’s relationship with Russia under scrutiny.

Senior House Democrats were furious with the reports, which first surfaced Saturday. Pelosi told ABC ‘s ‘This Week” on Sunday: “This is as bad as it gets.”

“If reports are true that Russia offered a bounty on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Trump wasn’t briefed, that’s a problem,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) tweeted Sunday. “What will it take to get Trump to abandon the fiction that Putin is our friend?”

“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump said. “Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”

Democrats, however, hammered the president over the bounties.

“It’s sickening that American soldiers have been killed as a result of Russian bounties on their heads, and the Commander in Chief didn’t do a thing to stop it,” Representatuve Max Rose (D-N.Y.), a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, told Politico.

Research contact: @politico

Is Trump’s middle-class tax cut fake news?

October 24, 2018

Politico calls it “the mystery middle-class tax cut.” President Donald Trump first floated the idea on October 20 at a Nevada rally, saying that his administration is “studying very deeply right now round the clock a major tax cut for middle-income people.” He upped the ante before leaving for a campaign stop in Texas on October 22, telling White House reporters that the administration plans to produce a “resolution” calling for a 10% tax cut for middle-income earners

It was not clear what he meant by resolution, the political news outlet said, noting that there are no current plans in Congress for any kind of large new tax cut for the middle class. In fact, Politico reported, White House officials, congressional leaders (who already have left town to campaign in their home states), and tax nerds “mostly have no idea what he’s talking about.”

Aides were left to conjecture exactly what the president had read in his newspaper clippings, or seen on Twitter, to inspire this grand promise from his rally podium. One senior administration official on Sunday night had not even heard about the president’s tax cut remark on Saturday in Nevada and said they had no idea what he was talking about.

“I guess I’ll hear about it when I get to work on Monday,” the official told Politico reporters Nancy Cook and Ben White.

The tax cut has been proposed by the POTUS at a time when the GOP already is scurrying to avoid rebukes for the ballooning debt and deficit under Trump’s watch. The president’s own Treasury Department reported last week that the deficit hit $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year— the highest level since in six years.

“This is the height of cynicism,” Greg Valliere, chief global strategist for Horizon Investments, told Politico of Trump’s tax cut talk. “Number one, I think even Republicans would be gun-shy about adding this much more to the deficit. And the public actually seems pretty indifferent to tax cuts. This doesn’t pass the smell test or the laugh test.”

One potential clue to Trump’s thinking: Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) released a tax proposal aimed at the middle class late last week. Some Republicans close to the White House speculated that Trump is trying to one-up his potential 2020 presidential rival.

Research contact: @nancook

Trump glorifies GOP candidate for body-slamming journalist

October 22, 2018

At a rally in Missoula, Montana, on October 18, President Donald Trump glorified a local candidate’s physical attack on a U.S. newspaper reporter in May 2017 —hoping to electrify the crowd and mobilize his base’s support in the coming midterm elections.

In urging the crowd to vote for Representative Greg Gianforte (R-Montana)—who punched and body-slammed Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political correspondent—the president jocularly warned the crowd to “never wrestle” with the candidate, The New York Times reported on October 19.

“I had heard he body-slammed a reporter,” Trump said, noting that he was initially concerned that Gianforte would lose in a special election last May. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well; I think it might help him.’ And it did.”

“Anybody that can do a body-slam,” the president added, according to the Times,“that’s my kind of guy.”

In his continuing attacks on the First Amendment—which include slams against the “Fake News” and characterize the U.S. press corps as the “Enemy of the People’—Trump has not paused to mention (or condemn) the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared this month after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Backlash against the president over his attacks on the news media and over his administration’s mild response to allegations that the Saudi government orchestrated the killing has been swift, the Times said. However, there has been no pushback from the GOP base.

Research contact: emily.cochrane@nytimes.com

‘Whatever’ continues to be the most annoying word in America

December 20, 2017

For the ninth consecutive year, Americans say that “whatever” is the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation, based on results of a Marist poll released on December 18. However, fewer Americans—just 33% as opposed to 38% last year—feel that way now than in polls conducted previously.

Respondents under the age of 45, compared with their older counterparts, do not find the word all that bothersome. And pollsters think they know they reason why: “Since 2015, we have seen a narrowing between ‘whatever’ and the rest of the list,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “It has been more than 20 years since ‘whatever’ first gained infamy in the movie Clueless. While the word irks older Americans, those who are younger might not find ‘whatever’ to be so annoying.”

Twenty-eight percent of the younger respondents cited “no offense, but” as the phrased that provoked them.

Among the other words and phrases that annoyed respondents this year was “fake news”—which took second place overall, with 23%; followed closely by “no offense, but,” which peeved 20%. Add to that the 11% of U.S. adults who think “literally” is the most grating word used in conversation; while 10% assert “you know what I mean” is the most vexing..

Last year, “whatever” led the list; followed by “no offense, but,” which angered 20% of respondents. “Ya know, right” and “I can’t even” each garnered 14%. Eight percent of Americans deemed “huge” to be the most irritating word or phrase spoken in casual conversation.

Opinions differ based on age. A plurality of U.S. residents 45 and older, 40%, believe “whatever” is the most annoying spoken word. In contrast,. A similar 26% of these residents consider “whatever” to be the most grating word or phrase used in casual conversation.

Research contact: Daniela Charter (@DanielaCharter)