Friday morning on the White House lawn President Trump claimed he does not know Matthew Whitaker, the man he just installed as Acting Attorney General after firing Jeff Sessions. He also insists Whitaker is “highly thought of.”
Both of those claims are false.
Whitaker, who was on the board of a company that scammed retirees of their life savings, literally auditioned for a DOJ job by becoming a CNN contributor. His appointment has been declared by several legal experts as illegal, unconstitutional, and he has been declared a constitutional “nobody.”
No one with credibility on the matter believes Whitaker is a great legal mind, nor do they believe Whitaker has the credibility to do the job.
Trump delivered an entirely different sales job Friday morning.
“I don’t know Matt Whitaker. Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions. And he was always extremely highly thought of, and he still is. But I didn’t know Matt Whitaker. He worked for Attorney General Sessions.”
President Trump: “Well, Matt Whitaker, I don’t know Matt Whitaker…” pic.twitter.com/OHVZxbjwdq
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 9, 2018
Trump also claimed Whitaker is a “very respected man in the law enforcement community,” which is debatable. He adds that his decision to install Whitaker “was greeted with raves, initially, and it still is, in some circles.”
Then, in typical Trump victimization fashion, he adds, “it’s a shame that no matter who I put in, they go after him.”
Again, all false.
In late September, The New York Times reported, “Mr. Whitaker cuts the kind of central-casting figure whom Mr. Trump prefers, and he has served as what one White House aide called a ‘balm’ on the relationship between the president and the Justice Department.”
Here’s the part that debunks Trump’s lie.
“He has frequently visited the Oval Office and is said to have an easy chemistry with Mr. Trump. On Monday morning, Mr. Trump himself called Mr. Whitaker, not with an explicit job offer but a reassurance that he has faith in him.”
That was Sept. 26. Barely six weeks later, Whitaker was elevated to Acting Attorney General.
UPDATE: 11:55 AM ET –
ABC News Supervising Producer just posted this tweet and video:
Trump said 4 times today "I don't know Matt Whitaker." Here is he is on Fox News last month saying, "I can tell you Matt Whitaker's a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker."
Interview: Donald Trump Calls in to Fox and Friends – October 11 https://t.co/WNiTu621NY via @YouTube
— Justin Fishel (@JustinFishelABC) November 9, 2018
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Marco Rubio: ‘Not a Crime’ to Break Federal Law by Taking Top Secret National Security Documents From the White House
In a rare Fox News moment, host Bret Baier reported that many are concerned about the lack of Republican “alarm” over Donald Trump absconding with at least 15 cartons of documents and other items, some of which were classified, or even “top secret” classified, and storing them in his suite at Mar-a-Lago, compared to the massive coverage the media gave the Hillary Clinton email story.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is the Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee, and also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, responded by saying “it’s not a crime” to break federal law – the Presidential Records Act of 1978, in this case, by removing the documents or flushing them down the toilet.
It seems odd that the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee would be unaware of federal laws about retention of presidential documents, especially handling of classified and top-secret national security documents.
The Florida Republican also suggested Trump had turned over all the missing documents, which is false.
Rubio began by claiming he doesn’t know what’s true because “they” have made up so many stories about Trump “over the years.”
He goes on to suggest, apparently erroneously, that Hillary Clinton’s treatment of classified documents was pleaded in a federal court case.
Rubio: The documents that were at Mar-a-Lago by all accounts were turned over. Look if the process wasn’t followed then there needs to be something that happens about that. It’s not a crime I don’t believe pic.twitter.com/gFMxqSBxHE
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 14, 2022
‘That’s a Lie!’ MSNBC’s Hayes Destroys Kayleigh McEnany for Blatantly False Claim About Trump’s COVID Tests
MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Thursday night played a clip of then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany discussing former President Donald Trump’s timeline of COVID-19 test results after he was diagnosed with the virus last year.
Hayes played the clip during a report on former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’s claim that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 26, prior to his first debate with President Joe Biden.
“All of the evidence points to Trump having COVID, knowing he had COVID, and spending a week spreading it around while covering it up and refusing to admit he’s sick,” Hayes concluded.
He went on to recall that after Trump finally announced he had COVID on Oct. 2, White House officials were “so sketchy” about when he had last tested negative — and then he played the clip of McEnany “trying to evade this simple question” on Oct. 4.
McEnany was responding to a reporter’s question about whether Trump had been tested prior to the debate on Sept. 29, or before a fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Oct. 1.
“I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps of every time the president is tested,” McEnany said. “He’s tested regularly, and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster.”
“Again, I’m not giving a detailed readout of his testing, but it’s safe to say his first positive test was upon return, or at least after, Bedminster, that trip,” McEnany added.
“That’s a lie. We now know, that’s a lie. That clip there is a lie,” Hayes said, recalling that at the time, “the squirrelliness around this was hard to ignore.”
PBS News White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor agreed, saying, “When I watched Kayleigh lie there, it just reminded me of all the different times she lied, so many times, from the podium, from the White House lawn, from the stakeout location where she is in that clip.”
“It really just underscores that this was an administration that was never really playing it straight with the American people,” Alcindor said.
Trump Issues Stunningly False Statement Criticizing Biden for ‘Attack’ on US Oil Reserves
Donald Trump, the disgraced, former president who is reportedly planning a third campaign, on Tuesday released an exceptionally false statement criticizing President Joe Biden for taking action to combat increasing gas and home heating oil prices.
President Biden Tuesday morning announced he has authorized 50 million barrels of oil to be sold from the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserves, a move that should help lower oil and gas prices that have risen because of OPEC+ policies. Biden is making the move in conjunction with similar moves by five other countries: China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K.
“We expect the industry to be passing through these savings to consumers as quickly as possible,” a White House official said, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
“The president stands ready to take additional action, if needed, and is prepared to use his full authorities working in coordination with the rest of the world to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic,” the White House added.
Trump, in a statement released to the press, outright lied about Biden’s move, and about his own performance and that of other U.S. Presidents.
“For decades our Country’s very important Strategic Oil Reserves were low or virtually empty in that no President wanted to pay the price of filling them up. I filled them up three years ago, right to the top, when oil prices were very low. Those reserves are meant to be used for serious emergencies, like war, and nothing else,” Trump falsely claimed.
As The New York Times’ Peter Baker notes, the Strategic Oil Reserves (technically the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,) were far from empty when Trump took office, but they were far less full when he left:
Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the day Trump took office: 695 million barrels
Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the day Trump left office: 638 million barrelshttps://t.co/P4esCfDbNB
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) November 23, 2021
That’s not the only lie Trump told.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is authorized to hold up to 714 million barrels (in 2009 it was 727 million barrels), so they were nearly full when Trump took office. He also exposed his ignorance about how the federal government “buys” the oil. The oil is effectively traded to the government as payment (royalties) for drilling leases so presidents not wanting to “pay the price of filling them up” is false as well.
Here’s a graph from the U.S. government showing how many barrels of oil are in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves, starting in 1980. At no time were they “low or virtually empty,” not ever. The chart is highlighted to indicate the day Trump was sworn in to office:
The Reserves have been tapped about 20 times since they were first created in 1975, including to reduce the deficit in 1996 and 1997, in 2011 during the Arab Spring, and as loans to oil companies.
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