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Trump says White House ‘fine-tuned machine,’ despite turmoil

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President Donald Trump spoke during a news conference, today, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

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President Donald Trump spoke during a news conference, today, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

Swipe or click to see more


President Donald Trump spoke during a news conference, today, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> Donald Trump mounted an aggressive defense of his young presidency today, lambasting reports that his campaign advisers had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and vowing to crack down on the leaking of classified information.

Nearly a month into his presidency, Trump insisted in a free-wheeling White House news conference that his new administration had made “significant progress” and took credit for an optimistic business climate and a rising stock market.

The president denounced media reports of a chaotic start to his administration marked by his contentious executive order — rejected by a federal appeals court — to place a ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Trump said he would announce a “new and very comprehensive order to protect our people” next week.

“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” Trump declared in a lengthy news conference that saw the new commander in chief repeatedly interrupting reporters’ questions and airing his grievances.

Throughout the encounter the new president delivered recurring criticism of the news media, accusing it of being “out of control” and promising to take his message “straight to the people.”

He dismissed recent reports in The New York Times and on CNN that Trump campaign aides had been in contact with Russian officials before his election. Trump called Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager who has ties to Ukraine and Russia, a “respected man.”

Pressed repeatedly, Trump said that “nobody that I know of” on his campaign staff had contacted Russian officials. He called such reports a “ruse” and said he had “nothing to do with Russia.” Trump added, “Russia is fake news. This is fake news put out by the media.”

Amid reports of widespread leaks within his administration, Trump also warned that he would clamp down on the dissemination of sensitive information, saying he had asked the Justice Department to investigate. “Those are criminal leaks,” adding, “The leaks are real. The news is fake.”

He blamed any problems on the outgoing Obama administration. “I inherited a mess at home and abroad — a mess,” Trump said.

Democrats said Trump’s refusal to say for sure that his campaign staff wasn’t in contact in the Kremlin underscored the need for an independent investigation through a special congressional select committee, a commission styled after the review of the 9/11 attacks or an independent counsel from the Justice Department. “His silence speaks volumes,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

The president announced that Alexander Acosta, the dean of the Florida International University law school, would be his nominee for Labor secretary. That came a day after fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination for Labor after losing support among Republican senators.

Trump, a reality television star and real estate mogul who was elected as an outsider intent on change, said his ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was “just doing his job” in talking with Russian officials before the inauguration. But he said he was “not happy” with how Flynn described his phone call with a Russian diplomat to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump knew for weeks that Flynn had misled Pence but did not inform the vice president, according to a timeline of events supplied by the White House.

Trump said he had identified a strong replacement for Flynn, which made the decision to let him go easier.

Trump is said to favor Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, as his next national security adviser, according to a White House official. Harward met with top White House officials last week and has the backing of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He was meeting with officials later today.

Addressing immigration, one of the biggest issues of the past campaign, Trump said it was difficult dealing with the policy known as DACA, which allows young adults to get work permits and Social Security numbers and protects them from deportation. Referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals rule, he said he would “deal with DACA with heart.”

While Trump has promised to halt illegal immigration as a cornerstone of his administration, he has also promised to focus on people who have committed crimes. He said he had the “best lawyers” working on the policy now and the “new executive order is being tailored to the decision we got from the court.”

Earlier in the day, Trump had a breakfast meeting with some of his staunchest House supporters.

The White House has said Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation because he had misled Vice President Mike Pence over his dealings with Russia and whether he had discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Flynn previously had denied those conversations to Pence and other top officials.

He warned in a pair of tweets today that “low-life leakers” of classified information will be caught. As journalists were being escorted out of the breakfast meeting, Trump responded to a reporter’s question on the subject by saying: “We’re going to find the leakers” and “they’re going to pay a big price.”

31 responses to “Trump says White House ‘fine-tuned machine,’ despite turmoil”

  1. bsdetection says:

    In his deranged press conference, Trump again bragged about his Electoral College victory, saying that he won by the biggest margin since Reagan, but a reporter from the “fake media” challenged him immediately by listing recent electoral victories bigger than Trump’s, which include both of Barack Obama’s victories, both of Bill Clinton’s victories and George H.W. Bush’s 1988 victory, all since Reagan.

    “Well, I was talking about Republicans,” Trump said. George H.W. Bush, who was also a Republican, received 426 electoral votes, well above Trump’s 304.

    The fact is this: Trump’s margin of victory was smaller than 45 of the last 53 elections.

    Hundreds of times over the past 3 months, the press has called Trump on his lies about his margin of victory, but he keeps telling the same lie over and over again. Compulsively repeating a lie, even when he knows that he’ll be caught is pathological behavior.

    • roughrider says:

      I saw that, and when a reporter disputed that claim with facts (Trump’s 306 votes are actually the third-lowest in the eight elections since Reagan), his response was: “(Uhh), I was given that information.” Lots of clueless people in the WH, feeding misinformation to their mouthpiece. Maybe Trump doesn’t really intend to lie and offer “fake facts,” maybe he’s just misinformed.

      And I literally choked on my sandwich when he said the rollout of his immigration ban went smoothly.

      At least he’s swallowed his considerable ego and plans a makeover of the “ban” after first warning the judicial system .. “See you in court!” Crazy, crazy times in our country.

    • CCH says:

      Thank god we have a free press. We need all the help to keep this guy in check.

      • Vector says:

        Thank God we have the First Amendment of the Constitution. Trump is doing his darndest to silence freedom of speech, the freedom of journalism, the press and the media with his incessant insane attacks.

    • 808ikea says:

      I know this doesn’t sound very nice, but I was watching Trump’s news conference on PBN and I was thinking ‘why does he always have to be so orange?’ It a strange look with the white eye sockets and the orange face. May be my TV setting is messed up.

  2. 808comp says:

    Watched for about 10 mins and had to turn if off. His favorite words very bad and unfairly.

  3. bsdetection says:

    The “fine-tuned machine” is missing a couple of parts.

    Politico reported today that “Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter. Some of the aides were ‘walked out of the building by security’ on Wednesday after not passing the SF86, a Questionnaire for National Security Positions for security clearance.”

    • Dai says:

      I think I understand what he’s trying to say. Just like our choo choo train. It is a “fine tuned machine”(talking about the choo choo)…once we get it on the tracks and running (I hope before I pass on).
      The process like the Trump many initiatives, not so “fine tuned”. They got to question him about how Mexico going to pay for the wall. I really don’t want us to pay for it and then try to collect the cost from Mexico. You know how this is going to work. We’ll never get any reports or expenditures for this huge project. Like his taxes, “well it’s under audit and after it’s done we’ll let you see”…to “nobody cares about it so we won’t show it”. Heck, I’m a nobody and I want to see it!

  4. Keonigohan says:

    POTUS Trump…great presser..refreshing.
    New MSM label…”VERY Fake News”

  5. CCH says:

    There is just too much conflicting information and messages coming out of Trump’s inner circle. It is causing them to spend way too much time putting out fires. And blaming the press and Obama is getting old. You can only do that for so long before people begin to ask, ‘What have you done to fix the problems?’

  6. dtpro1 says:

    It has been a rough start for Trump. He has not helped the situation much either. This causes the media feeding frenzy. He does have a point about the press…under the guise of reporting the news and supposed objectivity, in general the main stream media is left of center and does have an agenda. If they could separate their opinions,slants, and “tone” from the facts (e.g be professional) think we all would be better off.

    • btaim says:

      So when Trump lies and such can be clearly shown with undisputed facts, the press should not call it a “lie” (which is what it is), but they should “separate their opinion, slants and ‘tone’ from the facts”as you say and call it … what? If something is a lie and you characterize it as something else, isn’t that in itself a lie?

    • bsdetection says:

      It’s quite interesting to watch Trump, Spicer and Conway come up with three completely different versions of why Flynn was fired. Trump’s explanation of the firing was that Flynn was for “forthcoming” with Pence, but 12 days passed between when the Justice Department informed Trump that Flynn had lied and when Pence found out. So Trump wasn’t “forthcoming” either. And Pence didn’t find out that he had been lied to from Trump; he read about it in the Washington Post. So, if you follow Trump’s “logic,” Flynn was fired for “fake news.”

  7. klastri says:

    The next controversy is Trump’s incredible taxpayer-funded travel expenses. Over eight years, Obama travel expenses for vacations and weekends at Camp David and elsewhere totaled $97 million according to the GAO. $97 million over EIGHT YEARS.

    The Trump family is racking up something like $30 million EVERY MONTH – about $10 million just for the three weekends at Mar-A-Lago trips.

    Trump zombies won’t complain, of course, like they did with Mr. Obama. Ignorance is bliss.

  8. bsdetection says:

    This ignorant, impulsive, self-absorbed buffoon has the power to end humanity at his fingertips.

  9. nomu1001 says:

    He is always quick to claim credit, always says he is the smartest person in the room, never takes responsibility for what he does, is quick to blame others, is vindictive, misleads and worse outright lies to you and thinks nothing of it, and oh btw, he seems to have total disregard to our most sacred institutions and attacks our judiciary for a poorly written and executed immigration EO. The point being, what leadership??

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