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October 30, 2018

President Trump has a brand new explanation for the stock market's recent turmoil: It's just because of the midterm elections. Oh, and probably the Democrats.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump assured the nation that the stock market is just "taking a little pause" right now after rising "massively" since he was elected. Stocks have, in fact, been struggling recently, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all dropping between six and 10 percent in October, reports CNBC.

So why is this happening? Experts point to rising interest rates and trade tensions with China, but Trump suggests it's just because "people want to see what happens with the Midterms." He also "strongly" recommended those who want their stocks to go down to vote for Democrats, setting himself up nicely to continue blaming his political opponents after they likely gain some power next week.

In a second tweet, Trump quoted a strategist for Wells Fargo, who said that the S&P would quickly recover if "the Fed backs off and starts talking a little more Dovish." The president previously complained that the Federal Reserve had "gone crazy" when it raised interest rates and said he's "very unhappy with the Fed because Obama had zero interest rates.” Brendan Morrow

October 19, 2018

President Trump received plenty of criticism for celebrating a congressman's assault on a reporter, but Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is standing by him.

On Friday, Scalise, who survived a politically-motivated shooting in 2017, said "it's obvious" Trump was not "encouraging his supporters to engage in attacks" during his Thursday night rally. The president had heaped praise on Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who in 2017 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for body-slamming a journalist. Although Gianforte has since apologized, Trump seemed to approve, saying, "any guy that can do a body-slam ... he's my guy." He also gleefully pointed out that Gianforte's assault may have helped him win his election.

Now, Scalise says that Trump was "clearly ribbing" Gianforte for the incident, claiming that "not one [Trump supporter] harassed the numerous media reporters who were present." He also argued that it's "irresponsible" for the media to equate comments like Trump's with Democrats "regularly using threatening rhetoric to call on their supporters to harass Trump officials, supporters, and Republican members and candidates."

Scalise criticized former Attorney General Eric Holder for saying, "when [Republicans] go low, we kick them," calling this a "dangerous call to action." He has, however, also sometimes criticized violent rhetoric from Republicans, saying that a GOP gubernatorial candidate's threat to "stomp" on his opponent "with golf spikes" was "totally unacceptable."

The White House Correspondents' Association said that "all Americans should recoil" from Trump's comments about Gianforte's assault, but Scalise is completely certain that they were nothing more than "a joke at a rally." Brendan Morrow

October 3, 2018

John McAfee, the man who created the first antivirus software, became a "person of interest" in a murder in Belize, and has lived a generally off-the-walls life, is running for president. And he's got an eyepatch-wearing campaign manager to prove it.

McAfee previously ran as a Libertarian candidate for president in 2016, campaigning on the premise that "we are adults in a world full of mystery," per his clip-art-filled platform ad. He has since spent the past two years spewing cheap wine reviews and a truly mixed bag of ideas on Twitter. On Wednesday he tweeted to affirm that he is running again, and that the "constant warrior" Rob Loggia would be his campaign manager.

One look at this eyepatched man, and you're surely intrigued. (We're pretty sure the eyepatch is aesthetic since Loggia isn't wearing it in his profile picture.) Perhaps you'd also like to know that McAfee is seeking the conspiracy-theory peddling "Q" as his running mate. Or that "no sane person" believes McAfee could become president — not even McAfee himself. He's doing this "to promote what I believe is the only thing that can save us: The Blockchain," McAfee tweeted.

And if, by "one chance in a trillion," McAfee is elected, he says he won't stick around. McAfee tweeted Tuesday that he'd "stand down" and let Vermin Supreme — the legal name of the guy with a boot on his head who ran on a "free ponies for everyone" platform in 2016 — take over the job. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 14, 2018

Following President Trump's baseless assertion Thursday that the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was inflated by Democrats in order to make him look bad, White House aides are trying their best to ignore the outrage.

A new report from Politico on Friday notes that most White House officials have declined to provide on-the-record comments about the tweet. Aides are additionally hoping that news coverage of Hurricane Florence will overshadow what the president said, Politico reports.

The report notes that White House aides increasingly feel that it's pointless to try to prevent Trump from making bombastic Twitter statements, so the new strategy is to simply ignore them and hope the media moves on to the next story. The Washington Post also reports that Trump's advisers were "baffled" by the tweet.

Since Trump's statement, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley offered a slight defense, saying that while "every death from Hurricane Maria is a horror," the "liberal media" has attempted to exploit the tragedy with "a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations," per CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins.

But Gidley did not specifically affirm Trump's claim that the independent study, which concluded that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria, is wrong. Sam Stein, a reporter for The Daily Beast, said Thursday that he asked the White House three times to clarify whether they were disputing the findings of the study, but they would not provide a response. Brendan Morrow

September 12, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his government had identified the Russian nationals Britain named as suspects in the nerve-agent poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, and can "assure you" there is "nothing special or criminal" about them. BBC reports that he denied Britain's conclusion that they were Kremlin agents.

Britain said last week that the two men were agents of Russia's military intelligence agency and charged them in absentia with the nearly fatal poisoning of the Skripals. The men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are accused of smuggling poison into the U.K. in a perfume bottle, and British officials said there was ample evidence "to provide a realistic prospect of conviction."

Putin said the men don't work for Russia's military. "I would like to call on them so that they can hear us today," Putin said. "They should go to some media outlet. I hope they will come forward and tell about themselves. This would be best for everyone," he continued, reports The Associated Press. While the U.K. government felt confident that the men were agents of the Kremlin's GRU, Putin claimed they were "civilians, of course." Read more at BBC. Summer Meza

September 11, 2018

Donald Trump Jr. thinks that whoever wrote the New York Times op-ed about an alleged resistance inside the Trump administration is probably a "low-level person" who might not even work in the government anymore.

The president's eldest son sat down with Good Morning America on Tuesday to talk about the op-ed, calling the writer of last week's bombshell piece "disgusting." He also told ABC that he thinks the unidentified writer, whom the White House has reportedly been frantically trying to find, is a "very low-level person" and maybe even "a disgruntled person who's been thrown out because they didn't deliver what they were supposed to do."

The Times described the anonymous author as a senior administration official who currently works in the Trump administration, not a former employee as Trump Jr. suggests. But the president himself previously called into question the legitimacy of the Times' claims, speculating on Twitter that the author might not really exist at all.

Although Trump Jr. floated the idea that the source may be an unimportant former employee, he also suggested the Justice Department should investigate because the author is "subverting the will of the people." You can watch GMA's interview with Trump Jr. below. Brendan Morrow

September 10, 2018

The White House will issue sanctions against the International Criminal Court, National Security Adviser John Bolton will announce in a speech Monday, if the court proceeds with a proposed investigation of alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan.

"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court," Bolton plans to say, per an advance copy of his remarks obtained by Reuters. "We will not cooperate with the ICC," the speech continues. "We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us."

Should the ICC move forward with its probe, the Trump administration may place a travel ban on ICC judges and prosecutors, sanction any funds they have in U.S. financial institutions, or even try to prosecute them in American courts. The White House may also seek agreements from other nations to prohibit their surrendering any American citizens for prosecution.

The ICC was created in 2002 to prosecute offenses like genocide and war crimes. The U.S. did not ratify its establishing treaty. The ICC prosecutor proposing this investigation has found evidence that "U.S. armed forces and CIA personnel subjected individuals being interrogated for information to the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, and outrages on personal dignity," including "some instances of rape by CIA personnel." Bonnie Kristian

September 2, 2018

The Trump administration is withholding more than 100,000 pages on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's record of legal work within the George W. Bush administration.

The White House decided to conceal these documents, citing executive privilege as its rationale, said William Burck, the head of a team of lawyers who reviewed some 664,000 pages of Kavanaugh-related documents housed in Bush's presidential library.

Most of the records not published "reflect deliberations and candid advice concerning the selection and nomination of judicial candidates, the confidentiality of which is critical to any president’s ability to carry out this core constitutional executive function," said Burck, who was appointed by Bush. They record direct comments to the former president, The New York Times reports, summarizing Burck, along with "communications between White House staff members about their discussions with Mr. Bush, and other internal deliberations."

Congressional Democrats have cried foul, accusing President Trump of deceptively manipulating Kavanaugh's confirmation process. "We're witnessing a Friday night document massacre," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Saturday. "President Trump's decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100k pages of Judge Kavanaugh's records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms, it has all the makings of a cover up." Bonnie Kristian

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