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Shock and Awe: Trump Used Twitter Likes and Retweets to Maintain His Dangerous Decision to Withdraw From Syria

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It was the week before Christmas, 2018. Out the the blue, President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets that he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, immediately.

“We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly,” Trump said. “We have taken back the land and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”

“Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back,” Trump added later. “And they’re coming back now. We won. And that’s the way we want it. And that’s the way they want it.”

The news shocked the world. Experts called it a threat to national security.

That decision to pull out of Syria despite the threat of ISIS, a decision Trump refused to scale back until weeks later, was the final straw that led Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to resign in protest.

Now, perhaps even more shocking, is that the Commander-in-Chief used the number of “likes” and “retweets” his announcement was getting to try to convince stunned lawmakers who went to visit him in the Oval Office that his decision was correct.

Trump responded to the GOP lawmakers “by calling in the man who oversees his Twitter account,” Politico reports Thursday.

“Get Dan Scavino in here,” Trump called out in the middle of the meeting earlier this year. In walked a man in his early 40s with close-cropped brown hair.

“Tell them how popular my policy is,” Trump instructed Scavino, who, according to two people with knowledge of the exchange, proceeded to walk lawmakers through the positive reaction he had picked up on social media about Trump’s Syria decision.

The sudden pivot from geostrategy to retweets and likes surprised the lawmakers. It was a remarkable moment given that not long ago Scavino was managing Trump’s golf club. But for Scavino himself, it was just another day on the job.

Scavino, who is an attack shark on Twitter, “met Trump as a 16-year-old golf caddie and has spent much of his adult life by his side,” Politico adds.

Today, he sits just feet from the Oval Office and is present at most meetings, tapping away on his laptop in the background. He has joined Trump on trips to Saudi Arabia, Argentina and other far-flung destinations.

And officials say he talks to the president more than just about anybody else aside from Trump’s own family members, ping-ponging in and out of the Oval, sometimes more than a half-dozen times a day.

That one of the top and closest advisors to the supposed leader of the free world is a former golf cabby who went on to become general manager of the Trump National Golf Club Westchester and who now serves officially as Assistant to the President should surprise no one these days.

That he’s now being used to help the President shape foreign and military policy is beyond disturbing.

 

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COMMENTARY

‘She’s in a Cult’: George and Kellyanne Conway Are ‘Increasingly Distant’ and Jared Kushner Wants Her Gone: Report

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White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and her husband, conservative attorney George Conway, are not the first political couple with different views. But the others — Democratic strategist James Carville and outspoken conservative Mary Matalin, “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC — haven’t displayed near as extreme a cleavage as the Conways. And journalist Gabriel Sherman examines the Conways’ radically different views on President Donald Trump and some of the fallout this week in a Vanity Fair report.

Kellyanne Conway is one of Trump’s most aggressive defenders, while her husband is a Never Trump conservative who absolutely despises the president. Sherman reports that according to “three sources close to George,” the Conways’ relationship has “become increasingly distant as impeachment has gained steam.”

A Republican insider, quoted anonymously, told Vanity Fair that George Conway “tells people she’s in a cult.” And another source identified by Sherman as “close to George” told Vanity Fair, “It’s not going to get better until she’s cast out of the cult.”

Sherman reports, “Sources say George currently spends much of the time working out of Manhattan. When he sees Kellyanne in Washington, they rarely talk about Trump, except for some ‘passive-aggressive digs,’ a person familiar with the conversations told me.”

Trump, Sherman notes, is furious over George Conway’s relentless attacks, and White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner — according to a Sherman source — has pushed for his father-in-law to force Kellyanne Conway out of the administration because of her husband.

“Jared wants her gone. There’s real friction,” a White House source told Vanity Fair. And another anonymous source also described friction between Kellyanne Conway and Kushner, saying, “Kellyanne has complained that Jared has tried to do a number on her from day one.”

 

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COMMENTARY

Franklin Graham Unleashes Angry Rant About Trump Impeachment – Then Quotes the Bible: ‘The Lord Detests Lying Lips’

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Evangelical activist Franklin Graham, who is closely tied to President Donald Trump, is once again defending the Commander-in-Chief, and once again is twisting truth into a prayerful pretzel to do so.

This may be the most consequential week yet in the 146 week-long presidency of Donald Trump.

Starting Wednesday the House Intelligence Committee will hold open hearings for three administration officials who are expected to testify on live television across major cable news channels and broadcast networks that the President of the United States of America engaged in a systematic and sustained effort of extortion and bribery in an attempt to force a U.S. ally to manufacture false evidence against his top political opponent.

The hearings will give equal time to Democrats and Republicans, and the public will be able to decide for themselves if they believe the evidence against the president warrants impeachment.

But not according to Franklin Graham, who has been using his reported $765 million evangelical empire, as The New Yorker reported last year, to become “the most vociferous evangelical ally of Donald Trump.”

Graham is defending the President to his 8 million Facebook followers by misappropriating the words of the highly respected and revered journalist Bill Moyers as a weapon against the truth.

“Long-time journalist Bill Moyers said Sunday that for the first time in his life, he fears for the nation’s survival. Why? ‘Society, a democracy, can die of too many lies…’ I agree with him 100% on that—we just don’t agree on the source of the problem,” Graham wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

“For two years day after day, night after night, we heard Russian collusion—lie after lie, pushed by the liberal media,” he claimed.

Except collusion was not investigated – criminal conspiracy was.

“There was no determination on “collusion” — and there may have been at least some evidence pointing to possible conspiracy,” The Washington Post reported after Mueller testified before Congress in July.

“Then it was Ukraine and the whistleblower,” Graham continues, apparently having not watched the news for the past month or two.

“Bill Moyers shares in the interview that his ‘hope’ is that as citizens watch the impeachment hearings (which are totally partisan), they will ‘begin to doubt’ in President Donald J. Trump so there can be a shift that would sway the 2020 election.”

To be clear again: the House hearings this week will give equal time to Republicans and Democrats alike.

It is at best inaccurate, at worst a lie to say the hearings are “totally partisan.”

“It’s all about politics and winning the election, they don’t care about anything else,” he continues, falsely.

In fact, Democrats had to be forced to begin impeachment inquiry (sadly) because they were afraid impeaching Trump could hurt them in 2020.

“They are scared to death of conservative values and threatened because President Trump can’t be pushed around and intimidated politically or personally.,” Graham claims, ignoring how the world’s dictators do just that. Dictators like Turkey’s President Erdogan, Russia’s President Putin, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

(While we’re on the topic, “conservative values,” which President Trump by no means upholds, are damaging to society. As one study showed, children (regardless of sexual orientation) raised in conservative areas are more likely to attempt suicide than their peers raised in more liberal environments.)

“The lies of the progressive left and the hyper-liberal media are what is a serious threat to the future of our nation,” Graham claims, offering not an iota of proof.

“The Bible tells us, ‘The Lord detests lying lips…’ (Proverbs 12:22),” he concludes.

Graham should look in the mirror.

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Donald Trump Jr. Went on ‘The View’ – It Didn’t Go Well

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Donald Trump, Jr. and his partner Kimberly Guilfoyle went on ABC’s “The View” Thursday morning. It did not go well for the president’s eldest son and his partner.

How bad?

The Daily Beast called it “a Total Shitshow.”

It was.

Jr. is currently promoting his new book which blatantly attacks the left: “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.”

He was confronted by View co-host Meghan McCain, whose father died after a prolonged battle with brain cancer, and who was attacked and mocked for years by candidate and then President Donald Trump.

“You and your family have hurt a lot of people,” McCain charged, specifically referring to Gold Star families, but more broadly as well. “Does all of this make you feel good?”

Related: ‘That’s a Lie!’: The View’s Sunny Hostin Blasts Donald Trump Jr as He Sputters Excuses for Quid Pro Quo

Trump Jr.’s response?

“We got into this because we wanted to do what’s right for America.”

That right there shows just how warped Donald Trump Jr.’s sensibilities are: hurting Americans, especialy Gold Star families, is, in his mind, “what’s right for America.”

Not satisfied, McCain pressed on.

“Character in politics, I believe is important. It’s how I was raised.”

Interestingly, Trump Jr. pivoted to putting McCain’s blame to just his father, saying he “calls a lot of those Gold Star families.”

As every president does.

Co-host Abby Huntsman also went after Jr., for outing the alleged whistleblower whose action directly led to an impeachment inquiry of his father. Whistleblowers are federally protected and this one asked to keep their identity anonymous to avoid attacks.

Releasing the whistleblower’s name is “something that dictators do,” Huntsman said. “The whole point of releasing a name is to intimidate someone, threaten someone, and to scare other people from coming out.”

“I’ve lived in China, I’ve seen that first hand, that’s not what America does, that’s not what we do. We stand by our people.”

Junior’s defense?

“I don’t think I should have to forgo my First Amendment rights.”

The First Amendment has nothing to do with this.

His other defense: he’s a “private citizen.”

That’s not exactly correct. He’s a public figure, and he’s the son of a sitting president. Responsibility comes with both.

Jr. also suggested the whistleblower was a CIA official so somehow deserved being attacked but the Trump family has been sent “white powder,” and didn’t deserve it. He wanted to know why the left was not equally outraged.

Co-host Joy Behar had the perfect response: “He asked to be anonymous. Your family did not.”

Co-host Sonny Hostin reminded Trump Jr. that outing a whistleblower is a federal crime.

Junior said it’s not.

“My law degree says it is,” Hostin responds.

Kimberly Guilfoyle then outright lied.

“The President of the United States released the transcript of exactly what happened in that phone call. The whistleblower is giving his opinion, or her opinion, of what transpired,” she claimed.

The transcript has not been released. In fact, the call summary released by the White House, which is damning as it is for the president, says it is not a transcript.

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