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April 29, 2018

President Trump on Saturday threatened to shut down the federal government in September if Congress does not appropriate funds for his much-promised wall construction along the southern border.

"We have to have borders, and we have to have them fast. And we need security. We need the wall. We're going to have it all," he said at a campaign-style rally in Michigan. "We come up again on September 28, and if we don't get border security we will have no choice: We will close down the country because we need border security."

On the campaign trail, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. Watch his comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

April 29, 2018

President Trump skipped the White House Correspondents' Dinner for a campaign-style rally in Washington, Michigan, Saturday evening. "Is this better than that phony Washington White House correspondents thing? Is this more fun?" he asked his approving audience.

Trump's talk hit on familiar themes: the need to maintain GOP control of Congress ("We gotta go out, and we gotta fight like hell"); former FBI Director James Comey ("a liar and a leaker"); immigration ("We have the worst laws anywhere in the world"); and Kanye West ("He gets it").

The president spoke hopefully of further progress toward peace with North Korea, and the crowd chanted "Nobel!" in response, referencing the Nobel Peace Prize. "I had one of the fake news groups this morning. They were saying, 'What do you think President Trump had to do with [North Korea's pledge to work toward denuclearization]?'" Trump said. "I'll tell you what. Like, how about everything?"

On Twitter Sunday morning, Trump dubbed the night a win:

Watch Trump's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

March 27, 2018

President Trump insists he wants to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the Russia probe, so NPR did a little digging into the president's many depositions past to get an idea of how that conversation may play out. A common theme in Trump's behavior was lack of preparation, as perfectly typified in this exchange from a 2016 deposition:

Baum: What did you do to prepare for the case today, for the deposition?

Trump: I would say virtually nothing. I — I spoke with my counsel for a short period of time. I just arrived here, and we proceeded to the deposition.

Baum: Thank you. So you didn't look at any documents or —

Trump: No, I didn't.

Baum: — anything. [NPR]

Trump also displayed a habit of disregarding his lawyers' advice, willingly and even boastfully answering questions to which they objected. His responses were sometimes contradictory: In one 2011 conversation, he first claimed to be involved in all the decision-making in his organization and then professed ignorance of individual decisions. Trump admitted inattention to pertinent legal documents, like the very deposition notice that had summoned him to appear.

The president was also rude to his interviewers. "I think they're stupid questions you're asking me," he said in the 2011 session. "I think you're asking very stupid questions." Perhaps the rumors that Trump is having trouble securing legal representation don't seem so stupid, though. Bonnie Kristian

February 25, 2018

President Trump phoned in for an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro Saturday night, holding forth on a wide range of topics.

He declared the Democratic counter-memo, published earlier that day, "really fraudulent" and its congressional authors worthy of investigation. Trump specifically targeted for critique Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who oversaw the counter-memo's creation and release, labeling him a "bad guy."

On guns, the president again proposed arming teachers as an antidote to school shootings. A mass shooter would be deterred by "some offensive power in there," Trump said, while "a gun-free zone is like target practice" and beloved of "bad guys."

And though he insisted "the generals would love" a military parade, the president seemed to back off from the idea by noting it could be too expensive. "We'll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost," he said. "If we can't, we won't do it." A Military Times poll found nine in 10 readers believed the parade is "a waste of money and troops are too busy."

Watch two excerpts of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian

December 30, 2017

When President Trump gave an interview to The New York Times on Thursday, no one on his staff knew it was happening. That's because the president is at the "Winter White House," his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where The Washington Post reports aides cannot maintain the structured schedule and information flow they have created for Trump in Washington.

"Nobody tells Donald Trump where he can and cannot go" at Mar-a-Lago, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone told the Post. "The president is able to get a lot of information that is normally blocked from getting to him," Stone continued. "You don't have the minders. There is no doubt that he makes more calls."

He interacts more freely with members of the public, too — well, members of the public who are also members of the Mar-a-Lago:

"At Mar-a-Lago, anyone who can get within eyesight changes the game," said a former White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss a sensitive subject, and referring to club members and guests who sometimes try the influence the president on policy, share an opinion on his administration or simply say hello. "Everyone who is angling for something knows to be there." [The Washington Post]

Read the Post's full report on Trump's Florida freedom here. Bonnie Kristian

October 14, 2017

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) is an 1881 painting by impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir which is presently housed in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Therefore, it is not housed in President Trump's New York City penthouse.

That's relevant because Trump reportedly insists he owns the original work, as Vanity Fair recounts in a piece published Friday night:

Years ago, while reporting a book about a real-estate developer and reality-TV star named Donald Trump, Tim O'Brien accompanied his subject on a private jet ride to Los Angeles. The plane, as you can imagine, was overly ornate; hanging on one wall, for instance, was a painting of two young girls — one in an orange hat, the other wearing a floral bonnet — in the impressionistic style of Renoir.

Curious, O'Brien asked Trump about the painting: Was it an original Renoir? Trump replied in the affirmative. It was, he said. "No, it's not Donald," O'Brien responded. But, once again, Trump protested that it was. [Vanity Fair]

On the return flight, O'Brien said, Trump mentioned the painting "as if the conversation had never happened" and again announced it to be an original. Then, shortly after the 2016 election, Trump gave a 60 Minutes interview in his New York home. In the background, visible behind Trump and Mike Pence, then vice president-elect, was the faux Renoir.

Trump's long-term commitment to his claim that the painting is authentic is emblematic of the president's relationship to the truth, O'Brien told Vanity Fair. Trump "believes his own lies in a way that lasts for decades," O'Brien argued, and he'll "tell the same stories time and time again, regardless of whether or not facts are right in front of his face." Bonnie Kristian

July 5, 2017

President Trump spent much of last week taking swipes at the news media, and CNN was a major target of Trump's ire on Twitter and at a closed-door campaign fundraiser, after the network retracted an article about one of his advisers and a Russian investment fund. But at the end of the week Trump drew more attention for personal attacks against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski.

"Some White House advisers said they were frustrated that the Brzezinski feud," The Washington Post reported late Friday, "overtook the president's fight with CNN, which seemed in their eyes to have clearer villains and heroes." Early Sunday, Trump tweeted a gif of himself body-slamming a man whose head was replaced by the CNN logo, drawing statements of concern from CNN and the Committee to Protect Journalists about promoting violence against journalists.

On Monday, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who claimed credit for creating the original gif, he reported Tuesday, and right after he tried to contact him, the user, "HanA**holeSolo," posted an apology on the pro-Trump subgroup /The_Donald. The user told his fellow Redditors he is sorry for his "racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic" posts, called internet trolling an addiction and "nothing more than bullying a wide audience," and said the Trump-CNN "meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation."

"HanA**holeSolo" then called and confirmed his identity, Kaczynski says, and he "sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family." Not everyone was sympathetic.

But CNN is honoring the request because the guy "is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," Kaczynski said, adding that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The White House won't say where Trump found the gif, but insists it wasn't at Reddit. Peter Weber

July 2, 2017

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert on Sunday defended President Trump's tweet depicting himself physically beating "CNN." Trump is "the most genuine president and the most non-politician president we've seen in my lifetime," Bossert said in an appearance on ABC News, and "no one would perceive [the tweet] as a threat. I hope they don't. I do think that [Trump is] beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to."

CNN did not share Bossert's take. The network's response said the tweet "encourages violence against reporters":

The tweet depicts Trump whaling on Vince McMahon in a staged fight at Wrestlemania XXIII in 2007. McMahon's face has been covered with the CNN logo. Bonnie Kristian

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