Donald Trump insists presidency is 'fine tuned machine' after extraordinary 75-minute press conference in which he attacks press
Russia and 'fake news' dominates Trump press conference
17 February 2017 • 2:15am
Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on the news media on Thursday afternoon in a wide-ranging, wild 75-minute press conference. Shortly before it emerged that Mr Trump's choice for national security adviser had turned him down, Mr Trump insisted his team was running "like a fine-tuned machine" and lampooned the mainstream media that he said was peddling "fake news". “I open the paper and I see stories of chaos, chaos,” he said. “It’s the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite not being able to get my cabinet approved.” The US president said reports in the media about his administration's relationship with Russia may make it difficult for him to strike a deal with Vladimir Putin to ease tensions between Washington and Moscow.
"Putin probably assumes that he can't make a deal with me any more because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal," he said.
Mr Trump argued that "nobody that I know of" on his campaign staff contacted Russian officials. He repeatedly denied having links with Russia, a claim he deemed "fake news". His comments came days after Mike Flynn resigned as national security adviser following reports that he withheld information from Vice President Mike Pence about his conversation with the Russian ambassador. Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward was the man chosen to replace Mr Flynn but he turned down the job amid reports that he wanted to bring in his own team. It was also announced by the justice department on Thursday afternoon that the president's executive order suspending travel from seven Muslim-majority countries would be replaced "in the near future".
In the press conference, Mr Trump defended the rocky rollout of his travel ban, which judges have put on hold while they weigh its legality. He called the rollout "very smooth" and "perfect" but says it ran into "a bad court". Mr Trump insisted that he had inherited a "seriously divided" country. He said that "this isn't Donald Trump that divided a nation":
“It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country,” he said.
He also stated he would be announcing his replacement for Obamacare in early March. "We're doing Obamacare, we're in the final stages," he said. "So we will be submitting sometime in early March, mid-March."
Appeals court suspends proceedings over Trump travel ban
Afederal appeals court says it will hold off on deciding whether to have a larger panel of judges reconsider a ruling that kept president Donald Trump's travel ban on hold. The 9th US circuit court of appeals made the announcement after Trump said he planned to issue a new travel ban next week. The administration had asked the 9th circuit to put the case on hold until the new order is issued. It then wants the court to toss out last week's decision by a three-judge 9th Circuit panel that kept the ban on hold.
Harward report sign of 'utter disarray' at White House
Nancy Pelosi has reacted to the report of Robert Harward turning down the job of national security adviser. The Minority Leader of the House said:
Robert Harward 'pulls out of national security adviser role'
Mr Trump's choice for national security adviser, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, has turned down the offer, the Financial Times is reporting. Mr Harward was offered the job after Michael Flynn resigned on Monday for misleading Vice President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States. Read the full article here.
Trump asks black reporter if she knows members of the Congressional Black Caucus and says: 'Can you set up a meeting?'
During the press conference, Mr Trump asked a black reporter whether the Congressional Black Caucus was “friends of yours” after she questioned him on whether the parliamentary group would be involved in inner-city policy decisions. April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked Mr Trump whether the CBC would be asked to help work on urban renewal. Mr Trump initially appeared to be unaware of who the group was.
“Are you going to include the CBC, Mr President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda?” he was asked. “Am I going to include who?” he replied.
When Ryan explained she was referring to the 45-member congressional association, he asked if the reporter could set up a meeting. “I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” he asked. “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?” Ryan, taken aback, replied: “I'm just a reporter.” Mr Trump continued: “Well, then set up the meeting. “Let's go set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the Black Caucus. “I think it's great, the Congressional Black Caucus. I think it's great.” In response the CBC immediately tweeted that they had written a five-page letter to Mr Trump on January 19, on the eve of his inauguration, suggesting ways to improve the urban environment – but had never heard back. Read the full article.
Mark Zuckerberg sparks speculation about political future with 5,800 word global manifesto
Mark Zuckerberg has sparked further speculation about a future political career after publishing a 5,800-word global manifesto, writes. The Facebook co-founder and chief executive spent a month writing the missive in which he opened by asking the question: "Are we building the world we all want?"
He suggested that some people had been "left behind by globalisation" and that efforts must be made to "bring communities together". Mr Zuckerberg, 32, said: "Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community. Yet now, across the world, there are people left behind by globalisation, and movements for withdrawing from global connection." Read the full article.
'Donald Trump's decision to fight chaos with chaos is a winning strategy for now - distracting from his troubles with Russia'
writes: By any conventional measure it has been a disastrous week for Donald Trump. He has lost a labour secretary before he could even be sworn in and his National Security Adviser was forced out after just 24 days in the job. Each day brings fresh chaos and an escalating sense of crisis. The conventional response is to cultivate calm. Cue bland announcements of dull initiatives or an interview with a friendly journalist. But Donald Trump is no conventional president. His response was 75 rambling, ranting minutes during which he fought chaos with chaos. It was classic Trump. Unmissable and unwatchable TV at the same time. Imagine David Brent addressing the United Nations. Yet it produced exactly the result he wanted. Read the full article.
CBC claim Trump never responded to letter
The Congressional Black Caucus has stated they wrote to Mr Trump on January 19 - but he did not respond.
'Are they friends of yours?'
An awkward moment as Mr Trump is asked whether he will meet with the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss urban issues. He joked that the reporter, who is black, should set up the meeting and said, "are they friends of yours?"
Trump defend Putin's aggression against US
Russia has buzzed a US destroyer in the Black Sea, sent a spy ship to the US East Coast and deployed a prohibited nuclear missile. Mr Trump excused Mr Putin's behaviour, saying negative media coverage had probably convinced the Russian president that a possible alliance was off. "If you were Putin now you would say, okay we're back to the old ways. There's no way Putin can do a deal with us." Asked if he felt Mr Putin was testing him, he said: "No I don't think so. I think Putin probably assumes he can't make a deal with me anymore because politically it would not be popular."
Trump: I'm having a great time up here
Tomorrow they will say, 'Donald Trump rants and raves at press conference', I'm not ranting and raving. I'm actually having a good time. Mr Trump is also clarifying why he always refers to negative coverage of him as "fake news". Apparently, it's all about tone. "I know what's good, I know what's bad. When they make something that should be good negative" that's when i have a problem.
Trump: fine with me that Flynn discussed sanctions
Mr Trump says he did not tell Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador but, "it certainly would be OK for me to do it, but I would have directed him if he didn't do it," he says. He says Mr Flynn was fired not for discussing the sanctions (a possible violation because Mr Trump was not yet president) but for giving incomplete information about the call to Mike Pence. He also reiterates that he was not in communication with Russia during the campaign: "I have nothing to do with Russia. I have no deals there, I have nothing to do with it."
'The leaks are real but the news is fake'
Mr Trump was asked whether the news reports he is criticising are "fake news" or based on leaked secrets. It would appear that they could not be both. The president disagrees. The leaks are real but the news is fake
Trump on false claims on margin of victory: 'I was given that information'
After an extended diatribe about "fake news" coming from prominent news outlets, Mr Trump was confronted with the fact that he has repeatedly claimed to have won the presidency by the largest margin since Ronald Reagan, despite the fact that that is nowhere near true. "I was given that information," he said. "I don't know, I was given that information. I've seen that information around. It was a big margin."
Trump: Russia links are fake news
Donald Trump has denied that his senior aides were in "constant contact" with Russia during the campaign. "The good thing is it's starting to turn. People are starting to focus on the illegal giving out classified information." He says the reports surrounding links between his allies and Russia are "fake news" and that leakers should be ashamed of themselves.
Trump: new executive action coming on national security
Mr Trump has said that he believes the ruling blocking his immigration and refugee ban was "incorrect and unsafe", but that a new executive order will be coming soon to protect the American people. He did not offer any details. More highlights from his opening statement. "Every country takes advantage of us" "Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars"
Fact-checking Trump's electoral college claim
Mr Trump just said he won the biggest electoral college landslide since Ronald Reagan. He didn't. Barack Obama won by larger margins than him in both of his victories. So did Bill Clinton. Twice. And George HW Bush in 1988.
What Trump is saying
Paraphrasing the commander-in-chief: Isis has "spread like a cancer" (another "mess") We're going to build and rebuild a military like the world has never seen before Some things I'm doing are not going to be popular, but I'm doing what I said I was going to do I won the election. People didn't think I would. The media is attacking me because they don't want me to succeed Administration is "running like a fine tuned machine" despite reports of chaos
Trump: America is a mess
"I don't think there's ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we've done," he says, in between swipes at the news media for not reporting on him fairly.
Reading from prepared remarks he says the press represents special interests and not the people, and has become "so dishonest". "The level of dishonesty is out of control," he says, adding that he needs to find out what's going on and will not "let it happen" because he'll take his message "straight to the people". Now he transitions: I inherited a mess. At home and abroad. A mess.... no matter where you look, a disaster... we'll take care of it. I just wanted to let you know- a mess.
Trump takes the podium
He confirms the pick of Alex Acosta, calling him a "great student" who has had a "tremendous career". He says he WILL be taking questions after some announcements.
UN ambassador: US still supports two state solution
Mr Trump made waves yesterday in saying, alongside Benjamin Netanyahu, that the US would support a one state solution to Middle East Peace. Now Nikki Haley, America's UN ambassador, appears to have directly contradicted him:
The outgoing pick: Andy Puzder
Andy Puzder, a fast food executive, faced opposition from Democrats over employment practises at CKE foods, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. It was when Republicans began to express reservations that Mr Puzder’s nomination became untenable. A primary concern was that he had employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper.
The pressure on Mr Puzder grew after a 1990 video was published by Politico of his ex-wife appearing in disguise on the Oprah Winfrey show and accusing him of abuse. Mr Puzder denied the accusations and his ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, later revoked them. Six Republican senators reportedly asked the White House to delay a confirmation vote for Mr Puzder because they could not see themselves supporting him.
Minutes away from press conference
We know that Donald Trump is about to unveil Alexander Acosta as his pick to be the next secretary of labour.
But will he take any questions? If so, he'll likely be asked about links between his campaign and Russia, and his vow to punish leakers in the US government.
And will he comment on reports that billionaire Stephen A Feinberg will oversee a review of the US intelligence agencies?
The pick: Alexander Acosta
Donald Trump is about to unveil Alexander Acosta as his nominee for secretary of labour after Andy Puzder dropped out last night. Veteran of George W Bush administration Former member of national labour relations board Would be first Hidivic to join Mr Trump's cabinet
Paul Ryan: investigate the leakers
The Speaker of the House is on board with Donald Trump's plan to track down the intelligence sources who are leaking information about links between Donald Trump's allies and Russia, along with other sensitive information, and punish them.
Trump: leakers will pay
Mr Trump took one question at the end of his meeting with members of Congress, on his war with the intelligence community. "We're going to find the leakers, and they'll pay a big price for leaking," he said.
Trump: labour pick is a "star"
Mr Trump is now meetings with the Congressional "Trump caucus", Republicans in Congress who endorsed him early and have remained firm supporters. He alluded to his upcoming announcement in the meeting: We're going to have a press conference, I think in the East Room if the press wants to show up.... Historically they didn't care about these sorts of things, for me they show up.... The man I'll be announcing for labour is a star.
Russia tells state media to stop fawning over Donald Trump
The Kremlin has ordered Russian state media to scale back its coverage of US President Donald Trump, According to a Russian political commentator , the editorial team at the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) has received orders from management that "could be reduced to a short sentence: there will be no more of Trump". He said the broadcasters had been told to stop running fawning coverage of the President.