11 curious quotes from Trump’s New York Times interview

President Trump sat down with the New York Times's Michael S. Schmidt on Thursday for a wide-ranging half-hour interview. And while he didn't make any really big news, there were plenty of worthwhile nuggets, bold claims and factual inaccuracies. Below are 11 of them, with a little analysis of each (and click here for the full excerpts from the Times): 1. On special counsel Robert S. Mueller III: “It doesn’t bother me, because I hope that he’s going to be fair. I think that he’s going to be fair. ... There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair.” This might have been the newsiest bit from the interview. Trump seemingly contradicts many of his supporters by saying he thinks Mueller will be fair. Conservative media and Republicans in Congress have spent much of the past few weeks attacking the credibility of the Mueller investigation. Trump hasn't really joined in that effort publicly, but he has attacked the FBI and the Justice Department. 2. “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.” And here's the other side of the coin. In this quote, Trump seems to buy into what those same supporters have been arguing about his authority to control the Justice Department. This is a rather remarkable assertion of power, even as it's not terribly surprising from a president who clearly has some authoritarian tendencies. It seems Trump is suggesting he can do things like fire Mueller if he wants to, even as he says he thinks Mueller is being fair and as the White House denies that is even being considered. [The fight for control over the special counsel's Russia investigation] 3. “I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that — I will say this: [Eric] Holder protected President Continue Reading

Donald Trump and the agony of H.R. McMaster

SpyTalk Donald Trump H.R. McMaster Updated | Is H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, on the way out? By some signs, he is: President Donald Trump not only excluded him from a key meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his national security adviser Monday night in Jerusalem, he was kept “outside the King David [Hotel] room during the course of the entire meeting,” according to an eye-catching Israeli account. Taken alone, the perceived shaming wouldn’t amount to much: Trump has a habit of slighting his aides in public. But the incident came only days after a report in The New York Times that McMaster had fallen out of favor with the president. Trump had “complained that General McMaster talks too much in meetings,” and “the president has referred to him as ‘a pain,’” The Times said in a report that was not challenged by the White House. By the time Trump left Israel for his meeting in Rome with the Pope, right-wing news sites closely allied with the so-called “nationalist” wing of the White House were serving up full throated criticism of McMaster, a distinguished Army general. “Gen. McMaster Squanders Tremendous Capital Trump Earns in Saudi Arabia,” screamed a headline at Frontpage, a web site that has championed the president’s travel ban and other anti-Muslim themes. McMaster “acknowledged that the President had used the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ in his speech” in Riyadh,” the news site complained, “then immediately tried to back away from it.” The general had “returned to the Obama-era white-washing of Islam [and] bending over backwards out of fear of offending Muslim leaders whose support we need to fight ISIS,” it claimed. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Breitbart News Network, formerly edited by Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, went further, Continue Reading

I Went To Find Myself After Feeling Betrayed By God

At a very young age, I understood that I was different. Even as a preteen, I knew I was interested in women, as well as men. I was sexually curious, wanting to know what sexual pleasure felt like, what it tasted like. Through my desire, like a low hum in my belly, I sought to learn by reading erotica and anything that detailed sex, acquiring intel; the dirty virgin. Understanding that I wasn’t allowed to, religiously or culturally, explore this side of myself, I disguised in secrecy, and felt ashamed of what I felt to be a gaping, obvious truth; that I was a deeply sexual being.more normal, like the family friends I had who were all so delicate and so contained — wearing pink salwar kameezes that fit right (neither tight nor loose), having etiquette that I never had (nor cared to have), and willing to wait for marriage to be sexually plumed. In contrast, I was messy and spilled out at the edges. Yet, I had also spent much of my youth following a certain doctrine, the principles that I considered necessary: I actively prayed, fasted, and turned to the divine for guidance, always. I took particular solace in the concepts of surrendering, understanding that to be a Muslim, your iman (faith) would allow you to conceptualize such submission to Allah. When I was around God, I felt a deep hallowed catharsis. But, at the age of 18, I felt abandoned by God. I felt punished for doing things like being in a relationship and loving someone — things that came naturally to me. So, I distanced myself from the faith of my upbringing. I resented Allah and felt confused by the meaning of “Islam.” I felt lost because I had created a fiction of what I deserved. I was dislocated and shattered in two, because I had sacrificed so much to be a good Muslim, at the expense of myself. I felt bitter and enraged when my life, as a young dedicated Muslim, didn’t come into magical fruition. The abandonment came as a spiritual shift, and as a loss of self. Continue Reading

I was arrested for protesting the tax bill. Here’s why I’m fighting it: Dialogue Delaware

"Stand out.  Someone has to.  It is easy to follow along.  It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without unease there is no freedom. Remember Rosa Parks. The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow."On the final Tuesday of November, with a diverse group of activists, I went to the sixth floor of the Dirksen Senate office building on Capitol Hill to voice my disagreement with the proposed tax reform bill.I exercised my right to assembly and to have grievances redressed. The managed show of the political process doesn’t allow much in the way of disagreement.  So, I was arrested. Other voices: Republicans' extremism on taxes broke Congress The Senate Budget Committee hearing we interrupted was prematurely and ignobly adjourned after only fifteen minutes. We voiced our displeasure by sitting in the hallway and giving interviews to the press.  For “crowding, obstructing (and) incommoding” about three dozen of us were arrested by Capitol Police. A special van was included in the fleet of wagons to transport those who are wheelchair-bound. Other voices: Stop the stall tactics on Sussex right to work We were afforded due process. It was mildly unpleasant and inconvenient. Nearly all of us who protested in the prescribed manner paid a $50 fine and were released. The police were professional and civil.I want to tell this story without irony or cliché. I want with all my being to make a persuasive argument. But I am finding it difficult to conjure an angle that will compel someone to really consider this deeply. The difficulty is getting over the fact of my own identity.  I am a financially comfortable and relatively healthy white male aged 43.  This legislation would do me no injury.Many in our group were ill or disabled. The repeal of the healthcare mandate included in the considered legislation would push them into Continue Reading

Jordanian king quotes Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven,’ promises revenge after ISIS executes pilot: U.S. representative

Jordan’s king is furious over ISIS’s unforgiven brutality. King Abdullah quoted Clint Eastwood’s vengeful Western “Unforgiven” while discussing the savage terror group that burned a Jordanian pilot alive, the Washington Examiner reported. The king met with the U.S. House’s Armed Services Committee Tuesday, hours after ISIS released a horrific video showing Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh’s execution. The pilot — whose high-profile family is fiercely loyal to the royal family — was caged and then set on fire. "He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn't seen," Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. told the publication. "He mentioned 'Unforgiven,' and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie." Hunter, a Republican from California and a Marine Corps veteran, did not say which part of the violent movie the king cited. In “Unforgiven,” a gunslinging Eastwood vows retribution on two cowboys who disfigured a prostitute. When discussing his plans for vengeance, Eastwood’s characters says: "Any man I see out there, I'm gonna kill him. Any son of a b---h takes a shot at me, I'm not only going to kill him, I'm going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down." The movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1992. "(King Abdullah) is angry," Hunter said. "He said, 'The only problem we're going to have is running out of fuel and bullets.'" Hunter continued: "It reminded me of how we were after 9/11. We were ready to give it to them." That anger swiftly turned into tangible retaliation: Jordan executed two terrorists and began planning an increased airstrike attack against ISIS. Twelve hours after ISIS posted the horrific execution video, Jordan killed a death-row prisoner it previously offered to trade in exchange for Kaseasbeh. Jordan hanged Al Continue Reading

Clark Gregg reveals top secrets behind ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

BEVERLY HILLS — Clark Gregg admits he was pretty sure Agent Phil Coulson was dead, right up until he wasn't. Quoting the old joke "It's a comic book universe, how dead can you be?" Gregg gave TV writers the timeline of his death in Joss Whedon's movie "The Avengers" and now his resurrection for the TV show "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which premieres Sept. 24 on ABC. "My next-to-last day on 'The Avengers' involved this certain Asgardian fellow [Loki] impaling me quite convincingly," Gregg said. "I made jokes like, 'Is there a rewrite going to be coming from the governor at any point? Do you want to shoot one where he grazes me a little bit?' And there were a few pathetic answers, like, 'Oh, sad. No.' "And it was really clear that I was dead." With which he was okay. "I'd had a great run, and I thought what Joss did with the character was such a magnificent kind of resolve. "Then somebody sent me a tweet saying that they heard that Coulson's funeral was going to be in 'Thor 2.' I'm pretty sure the Asgardians do that thing where they burn a guy on top of the thing. I didn't think I was going to be coming back from that." In truth, though, he had nothing to worry about. "There was never going to be a show called 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' without Clark," says Whedon. Early in the first episode of the TV show, hotshot young agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) says he knows the legendary Agent Coulson was killed. Seconds later, Agent Coulson walks in. He faked his death, he says. But even in a comic book universe, it's not that simple. "Joss and I talked about how much we wanted to have whatever reason Coulson had for still being alive not be anything that undermines the reality of 'The Avengers'," said Gregg. "And when he explained to me a little bit more than what you saw in the pilot about the stuff that Coulson doesn't know, I hung up the phone, very deeply on board." Whedon said there's more Continue Reading

George H.W. Bush wasn’t a great President, but has led such a great American life

There came the news on Thursday, in this time when the Republican Party is run by so many of these bozo self-promoters telling you what great Americans they are, that George H.W. Bush, 88, has been in and out of a Houston hospital. The former President is seeking treatment for complications from bronchitis, and concerns about pneumonia. The quote from Bush’s chief of staff, Jean Becker, went like this: “We have kept this quiet out of respect for him.” Everybody in this country ought to respect the man known as Bush 41, now more than ever. It’s not that he was a great President — he wasn’t, though he was so much better than his own son — but he has led such a great American life. There really is no place for him in the current Republican Party. Bush the elder isn’t nearly mean or stubborn enough. He is too much of a gentleman, possesses too much of a quality almost gone from modern politics, both sides, a quality called grace. On the day when there was this painful, fake show of bipartisanship from President Obama and Mitt Romney, this lunch of theirs at the White House, it was also a moment to remember the real bipartisanship of George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton (who took the White House from Bush in 1992), the amazing work they did together after the tsunami in Asia eight years ago, the $100 million they helped raise after Hurricane Katrina. “Because you run against each other, that doesn’t mean you’re enemies,” Bush said at the time. “Politics doesn’t have to be uncivil and nasty.” It just seems that way now, even as both parties say they will find a way to work together to avert the country going over the “fiscal cliff” that has become the constant news cycle of American life. Maybe they should all be forced to go back and look at the pictures of Bush and Clinton in New Orleans after Katrina. “I’m an old-fashioned Continue Reading

Roseanne Barr in the White House? TV star says, ‘I am running for President’

Roseanne Barr wants her own party, but not the type you might expect.famously outspoken star appeared on Thursday night's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and made a startling announcement: "I am running for President of the United States." COULD ROSIE BE DIVORCEE IN CHIEF? A LOOK AT H'WOOD SPLITS But don't expect Barr, who has famously bucked tradition at almost every turn, to join an established political party.  "Roseanne's Nuts" details her life on a Hawaiian macadamia nut farm, think she could bring to the table?Entertainment Weekly spoke to a "Tonight Show" insider who quoted Barr as saying, "I'm totally serious. I want to be part of the debates, because I want to represent the taxpayer. In fact, I'm choosing the taxpayers as my vice president." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Primaries heat up in N.H

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP)  — Her voice quavering, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton struggled Monday to avoid a highly damaging second straight defeat in the Democratic presidential race. Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney scrapped for success on the eve of a New Hampshire primary that neither could afford to lose. "You're the wave, and I'm riding it," Sen. Barack Obama, the new Democratic front-runner, told several hundred voters who cheered him in 40-degree weather after being turned away from an indoor rally filled to capacity. Obama has been drawing large, boisterous crowds since he won the Iowa caucuses last week, and a spate of pre-primary polls showed him powering to a lead in New Hampshire, as well. Clinton runs second in the surveys, with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina third, and the first lady and her aides seemed to be bracing for another setback. At one stop, she appeared to struggle with her emotions when asked how she copes with the grind of the campaign — but her words still had bite. "Some of us are ready and some of us are not," she said in remarks aimed at Obama, less than four years removed from the Illinois Legislature. Opinion polls made the Republican race a close one between McCain, the Arizona senator seeking to rebound from last summer's near collapse of his campaign, and Romney, the former governor from next-door Massachusetts. After sparring over taxes and immigration in weekend debates with McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Romney cast himself as the Republican best able to hold the White House. "I think Barack Obama would be able to do to John McCain exactly what he was able to do to the other senators who were running on the other side," he said as he sped his way through a half-dozen events on a final full day of campaigning. Mindful of the polls, though, he declined to predict victory in a state where he had led in surveys for months. McCain wasn't nearly as reluctant. "We're not Continue Reading

‘I’M THE RAVING LUNATIC’ Fiend in H’ween sex rap calls days on lam a ‘blur’ Exclusive: Phony firefighter’s first interview

THE ACCUSED Halloween sex fiend has broken his silence. Seated on a plastic chair inside a caged room on Rikers Island, a pudgy, aged Peter Braunstein told the Daily News in an exclusive jailhouse interview that he knows exactly how he's viewed by New Yorkers. "I'm the raving lunatic," the phony firefighter said. His hair now significantly grayer and thinner, the 42-year-old former journalist struck a very different image than the dazed, disheveled madman who nearly took his own life last year after leading cops on a nationwide manhunt. Braunstein's comments mark the first time he has spoken publicly since his arrest in Memphis last December, when he described slicing open his neck "like Edward Scissorhands." He was clean-shaven, relaxed and almost pleasant. Wearing a gray prison jumpsuit and no handcuffs, Braunstein said he didn't remember much about his time in Memphis. But he showed that he had dutifully followed the tabloid coverage after he allegedly donned a firefighter's uniform, barged into a 34-year-old woman's Chelsea apartment and sexually assaulted her last Oct. 31. "It was all kind of a blur," Braunstein told The News. And then, a slight smile crept across his face and he began shaking his head as he referred to the now-infamous quote that appeared exclusively in The News after his arrest. "So, you heard me talk about 'Edward Scissorhands,' " he said. "I just kind of shouted that out there, didn't I?" Despite his reputation as a media-obsessed psychopath with a lust for fame, Braunstein, the inmate, was mostly reticent. He refused to answer several questions related to his alleged misdeeds, but he seemed to enjoy speaking with a reporter. "Look, I used to do this. I used to be you," he said. The failed playwright was referring to a far different period in his life. Five years ago, Braunstein was an accomplished writer working for the highly regarded fashion newspaper, Women's Wear Daily. But then his behavior grew Continue Reading