B3fcbygfyul3rihsge5b

Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

A sinkhole opened Monday in front of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and the reaction was full of bad jokes.

The 4′ by 4′ sinkhole “appears to be in the vicinity of the newly installed water main,” according to an alert on the town’s website asking drivers to “please pay attention to signs.”

Observers on Twitter joked that the sudden subsidence might be another kind of sign entirely.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday said he does not see any reason President Donald Trump should apologize for reportedly sharing Israeli intelligence with top Russian diplomats.

“I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for,” Tillerson told reporters on Air Force One, according to a travel pool report. “To the extent the Israelis have any questions, or clarification, I’m sure we’re happy to provide that.”

The Washington Post reported last week that Trump shared highly classified information about an Islamic State threat with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a meeting in the Oval Office. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Israel was the source of that intelligence.

Standing next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for a photo op, Trump denied that he ever specifically mentioned Israel, though the Times did not claim that Trump explicitly named the source of the information.

“Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel,” he said. “Never mentioned it, during that conversation.”

“Intelligence cooperation is terrific, and it’s never been better,” Netanyahu added.

President Donald Trump was so averse to signing the spending bill preventing a government shutdown earlier this month that aides turned to former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to convince Trump not to veto the measure, Axios reported Sunday.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told Boehner that Trump was considering vetoing the spending bill and asked him to convince Trump to sign it instead, according to the report.

Per Axios, Boehner agreed to Priebus’ request, and told Trump in a phone conversation that a shutdown was the last thing he needed.

Though Trump has criticized Boehner (for crying) and the former House speaker predicted in January that “four years from now, Donald Trump may be the immigrant’s best friend,” the President went on to sign the bill and avert the shutdown.

Boehner is no stranger to funding fights. In 2013, he led his conference to a shutdown over House Republicans’ demands for a one-year delay to a key Obamacare provision, a tactic that rebounded on GOP lawmakers and was ultimately fruitless.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Sunday responded to other Republican lawmakers’ pleas for less drama from President Donald Trump’s administration by saying that “people got what they voted for.”

Responding on CBS’ “Face The Nation” to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) request for “a little less drama from the White House,” Rubio compared Trump’s presidency to his campaign.

“People got what they voted for. They elected him,” Rubio said. “I don’t understand why people are that shocked.”

He said the drama surrounding Trump’s presidency is “unique,” but said it is “not much different” from Trump’s “very unconventional campaign.”

“And that’s what the American people voted for,” Rubio said.

“I do think the White House would benefit from some systems in place that perhaps avoids some of the unnecessary friction points that come up on a daily basis,” he added.

In November 2016, Rubio — who endorsed Trump in July last year — implied that he cast his vote for the Republican candidate, though he declined to use Trump’s name.

In a speech to Muslim leaders during his first trip abroad since taking office, President Donald Trump invoked “shared interests and values,” striking a less incendiary tone toward a religion he repeatedly railed against on the campaign trail.

“We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” Trump said, speaking at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “Instead, we are here to offer partnership based on shared interests and values to pursue a better future for us all.”

He said that “terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.”

Trump did not use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” one he has used often in the past and criticized President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for not using.

He referred instead to “Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds,” though his prepared remarks cited only “Islamist terror groups” and “Islamist extremism.”

“Of course there is still much work to do,” Trump said. “And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.”

He called for “gradual reforms, not sudden intervention.”

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations,” Trump said. “Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.”

In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” ahead of Trump’s speech, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster suggested that Trump would lean away from his usual rhetoric and phrasing, saying, “The President will call it whatever he wants to call it.”

As first the Republican nominee and then candidate over the last two years, Trump apparently wanted to call it “hatred.”

 

In December 2015, Trump proposed “a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until out country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

“We have no choice,” he said. “It is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine.”

In a March 2016 interview with CNN, Trump said: “I think Islam hates us.”

“There’s something there that is a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it,” he said. “There is an unbelievable hatred of us.”

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday said he does not remember whether President Donald Trump told Russian officials that fired FBI Director James Comey was “a real nut job.”

“I don’t remember exactly what the President said,” McMaster said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak that Comey was “crazy, a real nut job.”

According to the report, Trump also said he had “faced great pressure because of Russia” that was “taken off” by his decision to fire Comey.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not deny the accuracy of the quotes in the Times’ report. McMaster, however, appeared to question them.

“The notes that they apparently have I do not think are a direct transcript,” McMaster said on Sunday. “It’s very difficult to take a few lines, to take a paragraph out of what appear to be notes of that meeting.”

He said the “intent” of Trump’s comments was to say that he “feels as if he is hamstrung in his ability to work with Russia to find areas of cooperation because this has been obviously so much in the news.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday gave a similar explanation for Trump’s comments, though he did not blame media coverage for rocky U.S.-Russia relations.

“I think what the President was trying to convey to the Russians is, ‘Look, I’m not going to be distracted by all these issues that are here at home,'” Tillerson said on “Fox News Sunday.”

McMaster also refused to say whether Trump confronted the officials about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“There already was too much that’s been leaked from those meetings,” he said. “I’m not going to divulge more.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday said he was “almost speechless” about a report that President Donald Trump disparaged former FBI Director James Comey during a meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office.

“I’m almost speechless because I don’t know why someone would say something like that,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump expressed relief about Comey’s termination to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

According to the report, Trump called Comey a “real nut job” and said he had “faced great pressure because of Russia” that was “taken off” by his decision to fire Comey.

The White House did not deny the accuracy of those quotes.

McCain on Sunday called Lavrov “nothing but a propagandist” and “the stooge of a thug and a murderer” who “had no business in the Oval Office.”

With regard to Comey’s firing, McCain said he could not explain Trump’s decision.

“Mr. Comey was highly respected and highly regarded, so I can’t explain it. I don’t think it was a smart thing to do,” he said. “Honestly, I cannot explain a lot of the President’s actions.”

House Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Sunday said he hopes a report that President Donald Trump disparaged former FBI Director James Comey to Russian officials is not true.

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” to respond to a report that Trump told Russian officials Comey was a “nut job,” Chaffetz said, “Well, I hope that’s not true.”

“I don’t know if that was said or not said,” he said. “You would like, I would think, the President to kind of beat them over the head with the fact that if they did, the Russians, if they actually did interfere in any way, shape, or form, how wrong that is and how outraged America is on both sides of the aisle.”

The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak that Comey was “crazy, a real nut job.”

“I faced great pressure because of Russia,” Trump said, according to the Times. “That’s taken off.”

The White House did not dispute the accuracy of those quotes.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday said that President Donald Trump discussed his abrupt termination of former FBI Director James Comey with Russian officials to prove he was not “distracted” from working to improve the U.S.-Russia relationship.

“I think what the President was trying to convey to the Russians is, ‘Look, I’m not going to be distracted by all these issues that are here at home, that affect us domestically, I’m not going to let that distract from our efforts to see if we can engage with you, engage with Russia,’” Tillerson said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said that Trump “reemphasized the message to the Russians that the relationship is at a low point.”

The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump expressed relief about Comey’s termination to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

Trump called Comey “crazy, a real nut job,” according to the Times, and said he “faced great pressure because of Russia.”

“That’s taken off,” he said, according to the report. “I’m not under investigation.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not deny the accuracy of those quotes, but said Comey “created unnecessary pressure” on U.S.-Russia relations by “grandstanding and politicizing the investigation” into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

LiveWire