NBC Tonight Show hose Jimmy Fallon invited his audience members to play the game show “Talk Like Trump,” where “contestants” were asked to predict how President Donald Trump will mispronounce a common word or phrase from archived clips of his speeches.
Up first was the word “Nascar,” the name of the stock car racing league. But Fallon’s first rhetorical Trump stand-in, whose guess was “Mascar,” got it wrong. The president instead pronounced it as “Nascare.”
Next was “factory,” which the contestant predicted would come out of Trump’s mouth as a garbled, stuttering “fat-fat-fat-fatcry.” Again, the president’s real-life version eluded prediction. When Trump misspoke, he inserted an “r” to make it “fractory.”
Fallon’s final contestant was given “natural gas,” which he guessed would get converted into a series of guttural grunts by the president that sounded like “nurture girls.” No luck. In this case, Trump skipped the “r” altogether and said “national gas.”
While Fallon’s bit poking fun at the president’s occasional linguistic failures was in good fun, it comes amid a charged atmosphere where Democrats and Republicans have targeted the speech of leaders from the opposite party for both ridicule and to imply questions about their fitness to serve.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) questioned the president’s “well being” and called for an “intervention” by his family after he conducted an angry, rambling press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday.
The following day, the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tweeted — and then later deleted — a fake video of Pelosi being spread by fringe right-wing sites. It purported to show Pelosi slurring her speech and appearing at public events while drunk. In fact, someone had both slowed down the speed and altered her voice on the recording.
Then, Trump himself tweeted out a link to a doctored, Fox Business Network video from Lou Dobbs Tonight that looped Pelosi speaking a phrase four times in an effort to embarrass her.
Honestly, “failing to correctly tweet a link about an Italian restaurant you like” is a much more better activity for elderly, alcoholic New Yorkers than working to ensure a lawless autocracy. https://t.co/sCmlwXYXsI
Giuliani’s Mama Lisa tweet is not his only Twitter gaffe on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Giuliani tweeted out this bit of incoherence.
ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern, she should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an “intervention.” Are pic.twitter.com/ZpEO7iRzV8
MSNBC host Ari Melber warned that President Donald Trump’s delegation of broad intelligence declassification authority to his attorney general was “not normal” and effectively made Bill Barr “the most powerful figure in the entire Trump administration.”
Earlier this week, Trump announced that he was granting Barr his own unitary power to declassify intelligence about CIA sources in Russia, as part of the Justice Department’s review of the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russian influence during the 2016 campaign. That probe escalated into a Special Counsel investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey two years ago.
“President Trump has handed off his own intelligence powers to a cabinet official and it is not one in the intelligence agencies or one overseeing the military.” Melber pointed out. “Why did he suddenly get this power, which has never been taken from the intelligence agencies before? Well, I’ll tell you the answer. On this one, it is a pretty clear story line. The White House isn’t even claiming this is for national security or a forward-looking policy to serve the public. The White House admits this is all about strengthening Barr’s hand and reviewing the Mueller probe.”
Trump’s decision drew a strong rebuke from vocal Trump critic and former CIA director John Brennan, who characterized it as both an “unprecedented act” and an “outrageous move” aimed at helping the president’s political standing.
In playing out Barr’s new role, Melber contemplated a worst-case scenario where the attorney general seeks to declassify information that CIA officials believe would harm the country if released to the public. “We may be headed for an epic clash between what Trump’s own intel chiefs think is required for security and what Mr. Barr thinks is necessary to probe or undercut Mueller,” he warned.
Kanye West got a lot of attention last year for his public embrace of President Donald Trump, and in a new interview he says that Trump supporters are being bullied by liberals.
The Daily Beast has an exclusive on West’s interview with David Letterman for the late night veteran’s Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
The in-depth interview with West touched upon a great many subjects, per the Daily Beast report, but at one point West himself brought up the president in the context of talking about the #MeToo movement.
“This is like my thing with Trump—we don’t have to feel the same way, but we have the right to feel what we feel,” he said.
He apparently told Letterman he didn’t actually vote for Trump, and after Letterman asked him about voter suppression, West defended Trump supporters and said liberals are bullying them:
Instead of addressing Letterman’s point, Kanye turns around and expresses sympathy for Trump voters who are “treated like enemies of America because that’s what they felt.” After Letterman makes his forceful case against the idea that Trump is some sort of savior to those who voted for him, Kanye takes a long pause.
“Have you ever been beat up in your high school for wearing the wrong hat?” he asks eventually. Asked who is doing the bulk of the bullying in America right now, he replies, “Liberals bully people who are Trump supporters!”
Season two of Letterman’s show debuts on Netflix May 31.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani reportedly conducted a five-hour meeting with a former Ukrainian diplomat last week to dig up dirt on Democrats as part of his increasingly public role acting as 2020 Trump campaign “fixer.”
According to the Washington Post, Giuliani met with the 28-year-old Andrii Telizhenko in New York City. Telizhenko formerly worked in the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office and now claims, without evidence, that the Democratic National Committee and U.S. Embassy officials conspired with the Ukrainian government during the 2016 campaign to help the Clinton campaign.
Per the Post story, Telizhenko has accused former Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, of direct involvement in the effort to defeat Trump. Also, Telizhenko alleges “the black ledgers” — internal bookkeeping from deposed president’s Viktor Yanukovych’s political party, which alleged $12.7 million in payments to Manafort — were forgeries.” Former members of Poroshenko’s government, the U.S. Embassy, and the DNC have all denied Telizhenko’s allegations.
“I can’t tell you a thing about the meeting,” Giuliani told the Post. “When I have something to say, I’ll say it.”
Telizhenko, however, was more forthcoming and confirmed to the paper that the pair discussed politics in the two countries.
Giuliani drew broad condemnation earlier this month when he announced plans to travel to Ukraine and meet with prosecutors there to discuss a probe into Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s is a potential 2020 presidential rival to Trump. The gaffe-prone former mayor of New York City unabashedly acknowledged the purpose of the trip as “meddling in an investigation.” Giuliani eventually canceled the high-profile effort.
To combat the impression that he is acting on behalf of the White House as a member of the administration, Giuliani said he notified the Ukrainian government in writing that he is only representing the president as his personal attorney.
Former CIA Director John Brennan blasted President Donald Trump’s decision to grant his attorney general unfettered access to sensitive intelligence material about agency sources in Russia as an “outrageous move” and an “unprecedented act.”
Appearing on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Brennan warned that delegating so much authority to the Attorney General Bill Barr as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the investigators of Trump’s 2016 campaign appeared to prioritize political expediency over national security. Brennan, a longtime, vocal critic of Trump’s, notably had his security clearance revoked by Trump last summer in a move broadly seen as payback by the president.
“Is [Barr] just going to be looking for information that…Mr. Trump can just give to some of his defenders on the right and cherry-pick information that could be taken out of context?” Barr asked. “More fundamentally, the concern is that very, very precious and sensitive sources and methods of the United States intelligence community as well as our papers and allies abroad. Those who share this sensitive information with us, is Mr. Barr, who doesn’t have the understanding, is he going to release information that he deems appropriate for Mr. Trump’s defense? This is very serious and know that my former colleagues in the intelligence agencies are looking upon this with great concern and worry.”
Addressing still-active members of the U.S. intelligence community, Brennan urged them to be vigilant against political manipulation of sensitive agency information. “I hope they stand up to this effort by Mr. Trump that does seem to go into the sensitive files, the very sensitive technical or human source files that they may see fit to defend Mr. Trump,” he said. “I implore them to stand up to this unprecedented act on the part of Mr. Trump, who doesn’t understand nor care about the national security concerns of the intelligence community.”
Pressed by Hayes about the scourge of over-classification among the U.S intelligence agencies, and their reputation for blindly defending their turf, Brennan said that the Congressional intelligence committees are the best vehicle for rigorous oversight. Not the president’s hand-picked attorney general.
“I am deeply, deeply concerned about what is going on right now,” Brennan added. “Mr. Trump is authorizing what appears to be his personal attorney to pursue these efforts in the agencies and uncover and to potentially release this information that could, in fact, put people’s lives in great jeopardy as well as put very sensitive and very exquisite U.S. intelligence capabilities at risk. This is something I think the committees of jurisdiction, Senate intelligence and House intelligence, need to exert their appropriate authorities and to stop any reckless and irresponsible release of information that could harm this country for years to come.”
After fellow panelist Bakari Sellers was asked his views about the Trump-Pelosi feud, Urban could not hold back.
Sellers noted that he remembers “a time when we were talking about Barack Obama’s decorum in the White House and that was because he liked dijon mustard and wore a tan suit. The disrespect that Donald Trump shows for the presidency is not anything new.”
That prompted Cooper to remind: “Nancy Pelosi is — I mean, she’s playing into this, as well, saying the president needs an intervention.”
Sellers replied: “I think that what Nancy Pelosi is going off of is what many people say is that the president behaves in a manner in which draws some concern…”
Urban wasn’t having it.
“Oh, come on, Bakari!” Urban snapped back. “Come on, Bakari, you can call her out. You can say — be brave, Bakari. Be brave and say she shouldn’t have said that.”
“You have someone who acts like a petulant child and threw a temper tantrum,” Sellers replied, not taking the bait.
“Bakari, just say that Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t have said it either,” Urban taunted. “It’s okay, Bakari. You’ll feel better.”
Cooper then asked Sellers if he thought that Trump needed an intervention.
Sellers said he did and Trump’s friends — if he has any — are enabling him.
“How about me, Bakari?” Urban then snapped.
Then, a few minutes later, Sellers got his own dig in.
“I mean, we’re giving out props for individuals who say the president is wrong for sharing deceptively edited videos.” Sellers said, referring to Urban’s earlier remarks. “How low is the bar here? Thank you for showing up, David.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper had some tough questions for Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert in an an interview that aired on Friday night, at one point telling her if the social media giant is going to be in the news business “you’ve got to do it right.”
Cooper started off the video by pointing out that a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi appearing to be drunk has been spread over a million times on the social media site even though Facebook is aware it is a fake.
“They’re not even commenting on it,” he said, before introducing Bickert, who he said was serving as Facebook’s spokesperson.
“Facebook has repeatedly told Congress and the American people that you’re serious about fighting disinformation and fake news, yet this doctored video that I think your own fact checkers acknowledge is doctored of Speaker Pelosi remains on your platform. Why?” Cooper asked her.
Bickert then said that Facebook has acted.
“Anybody who is seeing this video in their news feed, anybody who is going to share it to somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past, they are being alerted that this video is false,” she said. “And this is part of the way that we deal with misinformation. We work with internationally certified fact-checking organizations that are independent from Facebook, and we think these are the right organizations to be making decisions about whether something is true or false. And as soon as we get — and we did in this case, as soon as we get a rating from them that content is false, then we dramatically reduce the distribution of that content.”
Cooper then pointed out the content is still up.
Bickert said that it is their philosophy that “people make their own informed choice about what to believe. Our job is to make sure we’re getting them accurate information.”
“You have no problem removing 3.39 billion fake Facebook accounts from October through March. So why is it okay for you to remove fake Facebook accounts, but it’s not okay to remove a clearly fake video?” Cooper then pressed.
The Facebook exec noted that fake accounts were part of their community standards.
Cooper pressed further.
“I guess I still just don’t logically understand — I understand it’s a big business to get into of trying to figure out what’s true or not, but you’re making money by being in the news business. If you can’t do it well, shouldn’t you just get out of the news business?” Cooper asked.
“Look, I reject the notion that we’re not doing a lot to counter misinformation…” Bickert replied.
“Again, you’re in the news business. There’s a responsibility that comes with that. And this is, this isn’t even a question [about the video],” Cooper pushed on.
Bickert then suggested she was actually in the “social media business.”
“Well, you are in the news business,” Cooper countered. “The reason you’re sharing news is because you make money from it. It keeps people watching you and more involved in your site, which I get, and that’s fair. But if you’re in the news business, which you are, you’ve got to do it right and this is false information you are spreading.”
Bickert once again doubled down on Facebook’s decision to keep the video up.
Another Republican joined the chorus calling for impeachment of President Donald Trump, as former Rep. Tom Coleman (R-MO) slammed the president’s constant lying and blanket refusal to comply with Congressional oversight: “That’s what autocratic dictators do.”
Appearing on CNN’s Outfront with Erin Burnett, the former eight-term Congressman from northwest Missouri echoed an op-ed he wrote advocating impeachment for both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence published Wednesday in the Kansas City Star.
“I’m calling for impeachment now because the Mueller report is out. And in it, he describes 10 obstructions of justice charges that he could not bring because of the Department of Justice rule and regulation that says you can’t indict a sitting president. That’s number one,” Coleman explained. “Number two, I believe this is an illegitimate president because he welcomed help and influence from the Russians in his campaign.”
Coleman also noted that the Constitution’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” clause is often misinterpreted as too narrow in defining misconduct by the president. “I think there is some confusion that it has to be a crime to be impeachable,” he explained. “You know, abuse of power, lying to the American people were two grounds for Nixon’s articles of impeachment before he resigned. So you don’t — it’s not a crime to the lie to the American people, but if you do it every day 10, 20 or 50 times you’re in the area where you should be impeached.”
“I am so concerned about the risk to our democracy that I’m speaking up,” said Coleman, who urged the current members of Congress, including those in his own party, to do the same. “I would hope that the people in the Congress who took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution would get that Constitution out again and read it and find out what their responsibilities are as the first article in that Constitution. And that is oversight and to conduct business that the president can’t do by himself, but he would really like to do it by himself. That’s what autocratic dictators do. We don’t need that in this country.”