PRESS SECRETARY: Dems leaving Trump ‘no choice’ on border

WASHINGTON — Democrats are leaving President Donald Trump “no choice” but to crack down hard on border security, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee- Sanders said on Tuesday, and the president will do “whatever it takes” to protect the American people.

“Democrats in Congress are leaving us no choice,” Sanders said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” referencing the president’s vow to close the southern border. “This is not the path the president wants to take. They’re leaving us no choice because they’re unwilling to fix the problem. They’re too busy playing politics.”

Sanders’ comments come one week after Trump threatened to shut down the border between the U.S. and Mexico after House Democrats refused to authorize funds needed to build the wall.

Mexico, Sanders said, must step up its efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S. or face the financial ramifications.

“That’s certainly a big part of this process, is Mexico stepping up and helping the United States do more by helping stop people from coming across our border by stopping them in Mexico,” Sanders said. “We need them to continue to do that so that we aren’t forced take drastic action like closing the ports of entry at our border because we simply have no choice.”

“The president is the one that is responsible for the last two years of economic growth, economic boom, and the number of jobs that we have in this country. We don’t want to see that hurt,” Sanders continued. “But at the same time, the president’s No. 1 responsibility is to protect American life.”

Despite pushback from the left, border patrol agents have come out in support of the president’s plan to shut down the border, claiming doing so will better help them gain better control of illegal immigration.

“If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States [through] our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the border, or large sections of the Border next week,” the president vowed last week on Twitter. “This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and “talk.” Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.), that the Border closing would be a good thing!”

Democrats, angered by the president’s commitment to shutting down the U.S. border have called his threats “racist” and a “violation” of his presidential authority.

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‘TREASONOUS’: President slams collusion accusors for their ‘evil’ acts

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump came out swinging Monday against those who had for more than two years accused him of colluding with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “And hopefully people that have done such harm to our country — we’ve gone through a period of really bad things happening — those people will certainly be looked at. I have been looking at them for a long time. And I’m saying, “Why haven’t they been looked at?” They lied to Congress. Many of them — you know who they are — they’ve done so many evil things.”

“I will tell you, I love this country. I love this country as much as I can love anything: my family, my country, my God. But what they did, it was a false narrative. It was — it was a terrible thing,” Trump continued. “We can never let this happen to another President again. I can tell you that. I say it very strongly. Very few people I know could have handled it. We can never, ever let this happen to another President again.”

The president’s comments come just one day after an official report released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller failed to tie the president to any unethical activities relating to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mueller’s investigation, which had gone on for nearly two and one-half years had encompassed the entire first half of Trump’s first term in office.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday called for congressional hearings to investigate many of the president’s most prominent critics including former CIA Director John Brennan, Former FBI Director James Comey and former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“The media and Democrats have called the president an agent of a foreign government,” Sanders said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today”. “That is an action equal to treason, which is punishable by death in this country.”

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WHITE HOUSE: Inaugural probe part of ongoing anti-Trump ‘hysteria’

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal subpoena seeking documents from Donald Trump’s inaugural committee is part of “a hysteria” over the fact that he’s president, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors in New York issued the wide-ranging subpoena Monday, furthering a federal inquiry into a fund that has faced mounting scrutiny into how it raised and spent $107 million on events celebrating Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

Inaugural committee spokeswoman Kristin Celauro told The Associated Press the committee was still reviewing the subpoena and “It is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry.”

The investigation is the latest in a series of criminal inquiries into Trump’s campaign and presidency.

“Actually, I think the common thread is a hysteria over the fact that this president became president,” Sanders said Tuesay in response to a CNN question. “The common thread is that there is so much hatred out there that they will look for anything to try to create and tie problems to this president.”

Later, Sanders told reporters the investigation “has nothing to do with the White House.”

“I think the biggest focus and the thing that most Americans care about has nothing to do with the inaugural and it has everything to do with what the path forward looks like,” she said.

The subpoena seeks “all documents” related to the committee’s donors and vendors, as well as records relating to “benefits” donors received after making contributions, according to a person familiar with the document. The person was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

“They want everything,” the person said, referring to federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment.

Among other things, the subpoena sought documents related to any payments made by donors “directly to contractors and/or vendors” who worked for the committee, the person familiar with the document said. Any such payments sent directly from donors to vendors, without being passed through the committee, could potentially violate public disclosure laws.

The subpoena also requested documents relating to donations “made by or on behalf of foreign nationals, including but not limited to any communications regarding or relating to the possibility of donations by foreign nationals,” the person familiar with the document said.

The New York Times reported late last year that federal prosecutors were examining whether anyone from Qatar, Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern countries made illegal payments to the committee and a pro-Trump super political action committee. Foreign contributions to inaugural funds and PACs are prohibited under federal law.

The head of the inaugural committee, Tom Barrack, confirmed to The Associated Press that he was questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017. But he told The AP last year that he is not a target of the Mueller investigation, which is focused on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

The subpoena issued Monday does not mention Barrack or any members of the inaugural committee by name.

But it did request documents related to Imaad Zuberi, a Los Angeles based financier, and his company, Avenue Ventures, which gave $900,000 to the inaugural committee. Zuberi’s company also gave $100,000 to the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee to pay off debt from the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Zuberi has given more than $1.1 million to Trump-backed organizations and has accompanied the foreign minister of Qatar during meetings with Trump officials.

A spokesman for Zuberi, Steve Rabinowitz, said Zuberi has not had any contact with federal investigators about the inaugural committee.

“It’s well known that after supporting President Obama and later Hillary Clinton, Imaad gave generously and directly to the Trump inaugural committee but others gave substantially more,” Rabinowitz said. “If in fact he is named on this subpoena, never mind somehow named alone, he is bewildered why.”

___

Associated Press writers Jim Mustain and Chad Day contributed to the contents of this report.

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CRISIS AT THE BORDER: Trump to address nation as government shutdown heads into third week

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will address the nation Tuesday evening regarding the ongoing government shutdown and the Democrat’s refusal to fund a border wall between the United States and Mexico, Trump tweeted Monday.

“I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border,” the president wrote.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders also announced Monday that the president will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to “meet with those on the frontlines” in the ongoing battle to secure America’s southern border.

The announcement comes as a government shutdown orchestrated by Trump in response to Democrat’s refusal to fund a $5 billion border wall between the U.S. and Mexico enters its third week.

President Trump attempted to work with Democrats last week by offering the use of steel instead of concrete to fund the project after Democratic leaders slammed the use of concrete as “ineffective”.

They “don’t like concrete, so we’ll give them steel,” the president said, yet Democrats still refused to cooperate, calling the use of any type of wall to keep illegal aliens from entering the U.S “immoral”.

Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency in order to build the wall without congressional approval, if necessary, a move that Democrats claim would be illegal.

The televised address to the nation is scheduled to broadcast on Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. EST.

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STANDING FIRM: Trump swings back against Fox, CNN over Acosta ban

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Wednesday pushed back against criticism its received over President Trump’s decision to revoke CNN journalist Jim Acosta’s “hard pass” to cover White House press briefings, saying it has “broad discretion” to regulate who attends such press events.

In a legal filing ahead of a Wednesday hearing on CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order to restore Acosta’s access, the attorneys for the Trump administration argued it “was lawful” to revoke Acosta’s pass in light of his behavior during a heated exchange between he and President Trump during a press conference last week.

But twelve news organizations, including Fox News and The Associated Press, joined forces to file an amicus brief in the case Wednesday, claiming the Trump administration revocation of Acosta’s press pass represented a danger to the First Amendment.

“Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy, or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions. It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the President and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons,” a representative from the law firm Ballard Spahr said in a statement on behalf of the news outlets.

In a startling break from its typical support of Trump, Fox News President Jay Wallace said that Secret Service passes for working White House journalists “should never be weaponized.”

“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Wallace said in a statement.

Hitting back, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the lawsuit “just more grandstanding from CNN.”

“This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against this lawsuit,” Sanders said. “CNN, who has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders, and Mr. Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment. After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions. This was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters.”

In a separate statement, the White House Correspondents’ Association said it supports CNN’s decision to take legal action.

“We continue to urge the administration to reverse course and fully reinstate CNN’s correspondent,” WHCA President Olivier Knox said. “The President of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him.”

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TERROR IN PITTSBURGH: Trump to visit; Sanders slams liberal media over ‘blame game’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and wife Melania announced plans Monday to visit the site of a synagogue massacre that left 11 people dead in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

“Tomorrow the president and first lady will travel to Pennsylvania to express the support of the American people and grieve with the Pittsburgh community,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders said during Monday’s press briefing.

In a series of heated exchanges with reporters that shortly followed, Sanders slammed the liberal media over their allegations that the president’s rhetoric may have influenced the synagogue shooter or a suspect who sent numerous pipe bombs in the mail to well known Democratic figures.

“The president is not responsible for these acts,” Sanders said. “Again, the very first action of the president did was condemn these heinous acts. The very first thing the media did was condemn the president and go after and try to place blame not just on the president but everybody that works in this administration.”

Sanders also responded to criticism from Jewish leaders who’ve said the president should’tt visit the city unless he condemns white nationalists.

“The president has denounced racism, hatred and bigotry in all forms on a number of occasions,” Sanders replied. “We’ll continue to do that. I’m doing it here today.”

Despite the pushback from some Jewish leaders, the synagogue’s rabbi said he’d welcome the president’s visit in the aftermath of the attack.

“The president wants to be there to show the support of this administration for the Jewish community,” she said. “The rabbi said that he is welcome as well. Certainly, we want to show our support.”

Sanders then went on to point out that his daughter, Ivanka, is married to a Jewish man and is the mother to three Jewish children.

“The president cherishes the American-Jewish community for everything it stands for and contributes to our country,” Sanders said. “He adores Jewish-Americans as part of his own family. The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren. His daughter is a Jewish-American and his son-in-law is a descendant of Holocaust survivors.”

Police say Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Pittsburgh last week.

Bowers, who appeared in federal court Monday, was charged with 29 federal counts that include obstructing the free exercise of religious belief resulting in death, and using a firearm to commit murder. Federal prosecutors said Monday that they will pursue the death penalty.

Bowers also faces 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 12 counts of ethnic intimidation.

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WHITE HOUSE STRIKES BACK: Press Secretary slams ‘anonymous’ source of New York Times op-ed piece

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House on Thursday hit back hard at a supposed administration insider who anonymously wrote an opinion piece published by the New York Times questioning Donald Trump’s mental stability.

In a statement released to Twitter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders wrote:

“For those of you asking for the identity of the anonymous coward:

The media’s wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward is recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump. Stop.

If you want to know who this gutless loser is, call the opinion desk of the failing NYT at 212-556-1264.”

The response caused an almost instantaneous uproar on social media, with some demanding that Sanders be fired for releasing the telephone number to the Times’ opinion desk.

Richard Painter, a chief ethics lawyer under former president George W. Bush, tweeted that Sanders was “misusing her official position” and that her post “is a direct affront to the First Amendment.”

“She should be fired,” Painter told Newsweek on Thursday.

Norm Eisen, the top ethics official under ex-President Barack Obama and chairman of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, echoed Painter’s observation, adding that he saw Sanders’ actions as a federal ethics violation.

“A government official inciting the public to flood the phones of a private corporation & media outlet with harassing calls–openly interfering with its work–is a violation of the prohibition on “Misuse of Position” in 5 CFR 2635.702,” Eisen tweeted on Thursday. “Oh, the 1st Amendment is kinda relevant too.”

Calls to the White House for statement on the matter were met with “there will be no further comment”.

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LOCK AND LOAD: Trump aides urged to arm up in wake of threats by Dems

Washington, D.C. (Washington Examiner) — Facing a new wave of potentially dangerous threats, called for by a top Democratic lawmaker, legal and gun experts are calling on top Trump aides to get their concealed carry permit and back it up with a pistol.

“There are simply not enough police in D.C. or Virginia or Maryland to protect all Trump officials at their homes and when they go out to restaurants. Getting a concealed handgun permit would be helpful to protect themselves and their family,” said John R. Lott Jr., president of the influential Crime Prevention Research Center.

“High level officials in the Trump administration, especially if their faces are likely to be recognized by many in the public as a result of appearances on TV, might want to consider applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon in the District of Columbia, and/or other states they frequent, in view of the call by Rep. Maxine Waters for the public to ‘absolutely harass’ these officials in public places, and other recent events indicating the increased danger they are in,” added public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

And Emily Miller, who wrote a book about the difficult process getting a gun permit in “Emily Gets Her Gun,” tweeted, “Trump admin officials can get DC gun carry permits to defend themselves from the crazies who obey Maxine Walters.”

Mark Smith, author of #Duped: How the Anti-gun Lobby Exploits the Parkland School Shooting – and How Gun Owners Can Fight Back, added, “While I do not think Maxine Waters wishes violence on anyone including on Trump supporters, the reality is her rhetoric that liberals should ‘harass’ Trump supporters could easily be misconstrued by someone predisposed to criminal violence as encouragement to commit violence on Trump supporters and staff.”

He added, “All law-abiding citizens should exercise their Constitutional right to choose whether to own and carry a gun to protect themselves and their families.”

Recent legal decisions have lowered the hurdle for Washington residents to get a concealed carry permit but it can take a long time to get one, unlike in neighboring Virginia.

As a result, Banzhaf suggested Trump aides move now.

“Since the application process, including a detailed background check, can reportedly take some time, they may wish to begin the process now,” he said. “That way, if and when they decide that they should carry a small firearm to protect themselves and/or their families, they will be able to do so. Obviously it will always be their own choice, since having a permit certainly does not require them to carry a gun at all times, or even at any time,” added the George Washington University law professor.

The issue was sparked when three top Trump aides were harassed at restaurants. In the last case, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Lexington, Va., restaurant owned by a Trump critic.

Waters over the weekend told her legion of followers to confront Trump aides.

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” Waters said Saturday in Los Angeles.

Lott noted that even though it is less hard to get a D.C. carry permit, there are many areas where packing heat is unlawful. “There are so many places in D.C. where you can’t carry, that a permit is of very limited use there,” he told Secrets.

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CHOKING BACK TEARS: Sarah Huckabee Sanders issues emotional response to boy who says he fears being shot at school

Washington, D.C. — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fought back tears on Wednesday after a junior reporter told her he feared being the victim of a school shooting.

The comment, which came from Benje Choucroun, a student at Marin Country Day School in California who was invited to the White House as a reporter for Time for Kids magazine, took Sanders visibly by surprise.

“One thing that effects mine and other students mental health is we are worried about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school. Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies,” the 13-year-old asked.

“As a kid and certainly as a parent I think there is nothing that can be more terrifying for a kid than to go to school and not feel safe,” said Sanders, herself, a mother of three, as she fought back tears. “So I’m sorry that you feel that way.”

“This administration takes it seriously and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week again in an official meeting to discuss the best way forward and how we can do every single thing in our power to protect kids in our schools and make them feel safe and their parents feel good about dropping them off,” Sanders said after steadying herself.

Thus far in 2018, there have been 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed.

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POTUS DOUBLES DOWN; Refuses to apologize for M-13 ‘animals’ comment

Washington, D.C. (The Daily Caller) — President Trump is not backing down on his claim that MS-13 gang members are “animals.”

Trump caused a stir in the media when he classified members of the ultra-violent gang by using the word during a White House roundtable on sanctuary cities.

Some in the press ran with the misleading and selectively edited clip, claiming Trump was speaking about all immigrants.

At a conference with the head of NATO, Trump was asked by a reporter if he could “clarify” his animal comment.

“Mr. President, could you clarify the context of your use of the word “animal” yesterday?” the reporter asked.

Trump wasted no time.

“I’m referring to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in,” Trump immediately responded. “If you look a little bit further on in the tape, you’ll see that.”

“So I’m actually surprised you’re asking this question because most people got it right,” Trump trolled, before doubling down. “Ms-13, these are animals.”

“They’re coming into our country. We’re getting them out,” Trump said, “We need strong immigration laws. We have the weakest laws in the entire world. We have laws that are laughed at on immigration.”

Then Trump made his stance very clear, “So when the MS-13 comes in – I referred to them as animals and guess what? I always will.”

Sarah Sanders reiterated the sentiment in the White House press briefing, saying “This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of rape, control and kill,” Sanders said, “Frankly, I don’t think the term that the president used was strong enough. MS-13 has done heinous acts. It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out. It took an animal to beat a woman they were sex trafficking with a bat, 28 times, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap and rape a 13-year-old Houston girl.”

Sanders concluded, saying “The president should continue to use platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these kinds of horrible, horrible, disgusting people.”

Trump concludes his remarks about his proposed U.S. government effort against the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, to a gathering of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Brentwood, New York