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Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed that “they say” he’s done more during his first nine months in the Oval Office “than any President in history.”

Trump has struggled to achieve his legislative agenda, but conservatives, and Trump himself, point to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court as a major accomplishment for the President.

Speaking to the crowd gathered at the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club meeting, Trump apologized to the “lobbyists” in the crowd who may lose their jobs because of his efforts to “put more Americans back to work and more lobbyists out of work” by repealing the Environmental Protection Agency’s “so called Clean Power Plan.”

“(We) have ended finally the war on clean, beautiful coal. People are going back to work,” he said. “Over the last nine months we have removed job-killing regulations at a record pace. In fact, in nine months, we have done more, they say, than any President in history.”

It wasn’t clear who “they” are, but Trump claimed there was “more to come,” saying “regulatory reform” is part of his administration’s drive to “drain the swamp.”

“We have statutory guidelines we have to go by — a period of time, but there’s much more to come,” he said. “I believe in regulation but, it has to be limited to what we need. We want clean water, we want clean air. It has to be fair. We also want, by the way, jobs.”

Watch his full speech below:

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Continuing his campaign against the Republican elite, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon rallied for Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) front-running challenger Tuesday evening, telling the crowd of rightwing activists that GOP establishment is going to “reap the whirlwind” and “that whirlwind is Kelli Ward.”

Throwing his weight behind Ward, a former state senator, is just one of several moves Bannon vowed to make in his “war” against at least 15 Republicans — who he called the “new aristocracy” — whose seats are up for reelection in 2018.

“It’s an open revolt and it should be. … We’re building a grass-roots army,” Bannon said at Ward’s campaign kickoff, Arizona Central reported. “These people hold you in total contempt. When they attack a Donald Trump and a Dr. Kelli Ward, it’s not Donald Trump and Kelli Ward that they’re trying to shut up. It’s you they’re trying to shut up. … They think you’re a group of morons.”

Last month, the Bannon-supported, controversial former Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore beat out his incumbent challenger Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) — who President Donald Trump endorsed — in the Republican runoff primaries.

Flake is next on Bannon’s attack list.

The one-term senator is considered to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection after he refused to endorse or vote for Trump last year and published a book this summer criticizing Republicans for embracing Trump.

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Swiss investor and frequent business media commentator Marc Faber thinks the U.S. is a rich country because white people, “and not the blacks,” populated America first.

The Financial Times was first to report on Faber’s comments after it obtained an investors’ newsletter that Faber — also known as “Dr. Doom” — wrote.

“And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the U.S. would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality – no matter how politically incorrect – needs to be spelled out,” Faber said.

When reached by the Financial Times reporter Tuesday, Faber said in an email that he stood by his comments because “this is an undisputable [sic] fact.”

“If stating some historical facts makes me a racist, then I suppose that I am a racist,” he said.

Later Tuesday Faber was asked to resign from the board of Sprott, an asset management company where he served as an independent director on the board since 2010.

Sprott’s CEO Peter Grosskopf told CNBC that the company was “deeply disappointed to hear these remarks” and said he was “shocked” to find out Faber thought that way, prompting the board and executives to ask for his immediate resignation.

A CNBC spokesperson said the news outlet doesn’t intend to book Faber as a business commentator in the future.

Faber’s blatantly racist comments were part of an investor letter in which he discussed recent pressure to remove Confederate statues across the U.S, according to the FT.

Faber said Confederate symbols should be considered “statues of honorable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep part of the population enslaved,” according to the Financial Times.

The discussion about removing Confederate monuments was thrust back into the national debate after a group of white nationalists protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer. The rally turned violent when a man affiliated with the white supremacists allegedly drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman.

 

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The Scaramucci Post stepped in it.

The new pet project from Anthony Scaramucci, who served a mere 10 days as White House communications director, has been tackling a random assortment of topics through Twitter polls and retweets since the media account launched in August.

On Tuesday, the Scaramucci Post apparently attempted to take on Holocaust deniers.

After retweeting posts about an Anne Frank Halloween costume asking for readers “thoughts?” on the topic, the Scaramucci Post launched a new poll, asking for feedback on “how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust?”

The tweet was apparently posted by Lance Laifer, whose Twitter profile says he runs a program called Hedge Funds vs. Malaria and Pneumonia, and who is responsible for posting Scaramucci Post’s tweets.

The poll was deleted after being live for about an hour and was apparently posted “without consulting @Scaramucci who is traveling in London.”

Laifer apologized from the Scaramucci account, saying the poll was supposed to “highlight ignorance of the basic facts of the Holocaust.”

The post caught the attention of the Anti-Defamation League, which retweeted the poll and said “this question is beyond resolved” and told Scaramucci to “take it down.” ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt spoke out from his personal account, saying the poll was “offensive” and “should not have been posted in the first place.”

It’s widely known that 6 million Jewish people were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. An estimated 11 million people total were murdered during the genocide in Europe in the 1940s, including Jews, as well as several other groups like gay people, gypsies, the physically or mentally disabled and Slavic people.

The purpose of The Scaramucci Post is vague, as Scarmucci has claimed it will discuss “what’s going on in society and how we can make this society better.”

Despite these lofty goals, the account’s feed mostly consists of emojis, Twitter surveys — asking followers about everything from “How are you?” to whether the U.S. should instigate a nuclear war — and retweets of other outlet’s stories asking followers for “thoughts?” on articles.

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Former White House aide Sebastian Gorka called Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) speech that railed against “spurious nationalism” on Monday night “very disappointing” and suggested McCain is out of touch.

“You can be a hero, but you can also — also not know what you are talking about,” Gorka said, appearing on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning. “John McCain hasn’t seen a war he didn’t like in the last 20 years and that’s not who the President is. The President believes that it’s America first and the idea that you just criticized him from the sidelines — this is a man who doesn’t want to be interventionist.”

During a speech accepting the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal, McCain encouraged American leaders to not abandon the United States’ position leading the world, apparently referencing Trump and his America-first policies, a move that highlights the continuously deepening divide between the Republican establishment and conservative Trump loyalists like Gorka.

“(Trump) uses force where it’s necessary,” Gorka said. “To say we need more of the kinds of things we saw in the last 16 years, Senator McCain, no we don’t.”

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White House legislative director Marc Short declined to tell House investigators whether some of President Donald Trump’s top aides used private emails for official business, despite multiple reports to the contrary, Politico reported Monday.

Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the chair and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, respectively, sent a bipartisan letter to the White House in September requesting the names of aides who had used private emails accounts for White House business.

Cummings and Gowdy also asked for the “the individual, cellular number and account used” by any White House officials who communicated using “text-messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software to conduct official business,” according to the letter obtained by Politico.

Short refused to even touch the issue of private email accounts. He said staffers “endeavor to comply with all relevant laws” and said the White House “consults” with the National Archives to make sure it is in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.

He repeated a previous claim that “no senior officials” have multiple emails accounts and said the White House hasn’t made any changes to how it’s required to archive presidential records since January.

“This administration is committed to the effective implementation of federal records preservation and public access laws. Thank you for your attention to this important matter,” Short wrote.

The response comes after multiple reports surfaced last month, alleging that White House adviser — and Trump’s son-in-law — Jared Kushner, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, economic adviser Gary Cohn and former Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus all used private emails at least occasionally for official business.

Short also skirted the House investigators’ request for documents related to administration officials use of private jets for official travel, telling Cummings and Gowdy to redirect their requests to heads of each department instead of Chief-of-Staff John Kelly.

Read Short’s letter below:

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While President Donald Trump maintained his frustrated rhetoric about the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election, he changed course as it relates to special counsel Robert Mueller, saying he has “no” intention of firing the investigator.

During a press conference in the Rose Garden Monday, Trump echoed his usual talking points on the Russia probe. He “would like to see it end” and labeled the investigations into Russian meddling in the election and potential collusion between the Russians and Trump’s campaign “an excuse for Democrats.”

“That was just an excuse for the Democrats, losing an election that frankly, they have a big advantage in the electoral college. They should always be able to win in the electoral college,” he said. “There was absolutely no collusion. It’s been stated there was no collusion. They ought to get to the end of it because I think the American public is sick of it.”

When asked whether he intends to fire special counsel Mueller, he said “no, not at all.”

The comments are a break from remarks Trump has reportedly made in private in recent months, raging against Mueller and questioning whether he could fire him.

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Despite reports that President Donald Trump physically mocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last month, Trump said on Monday that their relationship is “closer than ever before.”

After a lunch meeting, Trump and McConnell held an impromptu press conference in the Rose Garden, where the two leaders swatted away reports that their relationship has becoming frosty in recent months.

We have been friends for a long time and probably now, despite what we read, we are probably now, I think, as least as far as I’m concerned closer than ever before. The relationship is very good. We are fighting for the same thing,” Trump said.

McConnell concurred, saying he and the President “have the same agenda” and have been “friends and acquaintances for a long time.”

“We talk frequently, we don’t give you a readout every time we have a conversation, but frequently we talk on the weekends about the issues that are before us,” McConnell said.

Trump has been vocal about his frustrations with McConnell both publicly on Twitter and in private. Last month, Trump, in private, reportedly physically mocked McConnell’s posture and the way he reacted to Trump striking a deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling.

McConnell has dealt back similar critiques and even suggested that Trump doesn’t understand the complexities of the democratic process.

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Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a staunch conservative, endorsed Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Monday, saying that Moore’s “reputation of integrity” is needed in Congress.

If there was ever a time to ensure that Republicans maintain a seat in the United States Senate, it is now, ” Lee said in a statement released by the Moore campaign. “That is why I am proudly endorsing Judge Roy Moore for United States Senate. Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate and I am more than ready to welcome a trusted ally. Judge Moore’s tested reputation of integrity is exactly what we need in Washington D.C. in order to pass conservative legislation and protect the liberty of all Americans.”

Many Republican senators have been cautious about throwing their weight behind Moore, the candidate who beat out the incumbent, President Donald Trump-backed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in a runoff primary election last month.

Moore is a contentious conservative with a religious right cult following. He was twice removed from his post on Alabama’s Supreme Court for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse and for instructing probate judges to not sign off on same-sex marriage licenses after marriage equality became federal law in 2015.

Lee is among a few senators to endorse Moore, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — who previously backed Strange, but endorsed Moore after his primary win — and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Thomas Massie (R-WV) and Jody Hice (R-GA) have formally backed him, according to Moore’s campaign.

He’s also earned the support of big-name conservatives like Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon and former Govs. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Sarah Palin of Alaska.

While Trump campaigned for Strange leading up to the primary runoff election, he tweeted congratulating Moore after his victory and deleted some of his tweets backing Strange.

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