Trump, in angry Twitter spree, declares ‘the complete power to pardon’ Colin Campbell 14 hours ago The president at a “Made in America” event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)President Trump went on a Twitter tirade Saturday morning, lashing out at multiple targets, including Obamacare, Hillary Clinton, two newspapers, his own administration and the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.Notably, he announced that “all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon.”The Washington Post reported Friday that, according to a source, Trump has asked his team about “his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself” in connection with the Russia inquiry. Another source told the Post that “Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.”Constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe and two former White House ethics lawyers contended Friday that presidents can’t pardon themselves.Trump’s Saturday Twitter flurry began with an attack against the Post. The paper reported the day before that, according to intelligence intercepts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed campaign issues with Russia’s ambassador. Sessions has repeatedly denied having such discussions with Russian officials.“A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions,” Trump tweeted. “These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!” (“Amazon” refers to the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, who founded the online retail giant.)The commander in chief’s Twitter feed quickly moved on to attack the New York Times.“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security,” wrote Trump, who earlier this week granted the Times a wide-ranging interview.President Trump leaves the White House on Saturday morning. (Photo: Zach Gibson/Reuters)His tweet was apparently referring to a Fox News report on Gen. Tony Thomas’ comments the day before at the Aspen Security Forum. Fox reported that Thomas, who heads the Special Operations Command, said the U.S. military had a “very good lead” in 2015 on Islamic State terror group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.“Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” Thomas recalled, according to the report.Those comments seemed to refer to a summer 2015 Times story, in which the paper reported that the U.S. gleaned a trove of information about ISIS from a Delta Force commando raid.“The Pentagon raised no objections with the Times before publishing the story in 2015 and no senior American official ever complained publicly about it until now,” a Times spokesperson told Yahoo News on Saturday, adding that the paper has asked the White House “to clarify the tweet.”President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel at the Pentagon. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)Trump’s Saturday Twitter tirade moved on to Clinton, his 2016 foe.“So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council [sic] looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?” the commander in chief asked. “What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.”The social media outburst is striking for including a public shot against Sessions, a longtime Trump loyalist, though the president undermined him in a recent Times interview. In that interview, Trump said he wouldn’t have appointed Sessions to his Cabinet if he knew the Alabama lawmaker would recuse himself from the Russia probe.Sessions recused himself in March after the Post revealed that he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. In his confirmation hearings, Sessions had insisted he had no such contacts. Since then, he has maintained that he never met with “Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.” The Post’s Friday report suggested that also was not true.Trump has repeatedly complained about the Russia probe, which is now overseen by the Justice Department’s special counsel, Robert Mueller, who was named to the investigation after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. (Trump has misspelled “counsel” in two prior tweets as well.)Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)The president has also repeatedly attempted to deflect the spotlight of the Russia investigation back onto Clinton and her campaign, though Clinton was defeated over seven months ago.Continuing the effort, Trump exclaimed Saturday, “My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!”Donald Trump Jr. earlier this month disclosed emails arranging a 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer and others to obtain dirt on the Clinton campaign. Despite the president’s claim, the disclosure came only when the Times was about to publish a story about the emails. And Trump Jr. has repeatedly shifted his story about that meeting.On Saturday, Trump also attacked Democrats and Obamacare, urging Republicans to repeal the law. He further defended his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, for disparaging him during the campaign.View Trump’s full Saturday-morning tweets in chronological order below.
Editorial: Trump names an anti-science blowhard as ‘chief scientist’. Help! Congress….MercuryNews.com 13 hours ago President Trump’s disdain for science apparently knows no bounds. He has now nominated climate change skeptic Sam Clovis, a talk radio host, to serve as the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist — a slap in the face of the scientific community and a disservice to those responsible for the integrity of the USDA’s research.The Senate should should reject the nomination. Naming an anti-science blowhard to a job meant for a scientist would be like Ford picking a CEO who rides a horse to work.If confirmed as the Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education and economics, Clovis would be responsible for implementing the department’s mission of providing leadership on agriculture and natural resource issues “based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.”The post, created in 1994 by Congress, demands someone who commands the respect of scientists. The 2008 farm bill clarified the requirements, saying the undersecretary “shall be appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”Clovis has none of these qualifications. His degree is in political science, and his chief claims to fame are as a conservative talk radio host and Trump’s national campaign co-chair.Like our Facebook page for more conversation and news coverage from the Bay Area and beyond.The most recent undersecretary, Catherine Woteki, had a Ph.D in human nutrition, a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry and had served as Director of of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.Woteki, under the direction of the Obama administration, had focused the agency’s research dollars largely on trying to help farmers get a better understanding of how to deal with the impact of climate change — droughts, for example — on their crops.She was vocal about this: “We really need to increase the amount of research that we’re doing to face challenges like we’re facing with this variable weather, and how can we increase productivity both in crops as well as in livestock to be able to produce more food on the same amount of land or perhaps less, depending on how climate might change over the next 30 to 40 years.”It was bad enough that Trump’s choice as USDA Secretary, Sonny Purdue, thinks climate science is “obviously disconnected from reality” and “a running joke among the public.” This even though polls show 70 percent of Americans favor aggressive action to slow global warming.Clovis calls climate change “junk science” and “not proven.” That goes against the consensus of more than 90 percent of climate scientists.He’s entitled to his opinion. He’s perfect for today’s talk radio. He is not a scientist, let alone qualified to be a “chief scientist.” Congress needs to take a stand.
World Hungary’s leader: EU and Soros seek to „Muslimize” Europe PABLO GORONDI,Associated Press 15 hours agoBUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — European Union leaders and Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros are seeking a „new, mixed, Muslimized Europe,” Hungary’s anti-migration prime minister said Saturday.Prime Minister Viktor Orban said during a visit to Romania that Hungary’s border fences, supported by other Central European countries, will block the EU-Soros effort to increase Muslim migration into Europe.While Hungary opposed taking in migrants „who could change the country’s cultural identity,” Orban said under his leadership, Hungary would remain a place where „Western European Christians will always be able to find security.”Orban, who will seek a fourth term in April 2018, said Hungary’s opposition parties were no match for his government.”In the upcoming campaign, first of all we have to confront external powers,” Orban said at a cultural festival in Baile Tusnad, Romania. „We have to stand our ground against the Soros mafia network and the Brussels bureaucrats. And, during the next nine months, we will have to fight against the media they operate.”Soros has become a key target of Orban and his government.Recent legislation in Hungary seeks to close or expel the Budapest-based Central European University, founded by Soros in 1991. There are also new rules about non-governmental organizations funded at least partly from abroad — which critics say stigmatize the NGOs, many of which are backed by Soros’ Open Society Foundations.Orban reiterated his charge that Soros-funded NGOs want to weaken Hungary’s security with their advocacy for asylum-seekers and said Hungary had managed to stop the „migrant invasion” with razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia.A recently ended anti-Soros billboard and poster campaign in Hungary has been criticized by Jewish groups for its anti-Semitic overtones.In the speech broadcast by Hungarian state media, Orban repeated his claim that the EU leadership was encroaching on member states’ rights and trying to apply policies, such as increased immigration, which he said were opposed by most Europeans.Orban said Poland, which is under pressure from the EU because of attempts to put its Supreme Court under political control, had replaced Hungary as the target of the EU’s „chief inquisitor,” whom he identified as European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans.”The main target of the inquisition, the example of national governance to be weakened, destroyed and broken is Poland,” Orban said, vowing to defend the Polish government. „Hungary will use every legal possibility in the European Union to be in solidarity with the Poles.”Asked about choosing between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Orban answered with a joke about a Pole being asked in the communist era to choose between Hitler and Stalin.”He answered that he chooses Marlene Dietrich,” Orban said with a laugh. „What I want to say with this is that you can’t give a good answer to a bad question.”Orban first expressed his support for Trump a year ago, while Putin has visited Hungary twice in two years. Hungary is expanding its energy ties with Moscow, including Russia’s construction of new reactors at Hungary’s only nuclear power plant.Orban said „Hungarian interests” would be the „guiding star” of his country’s foreign policy, not „Trump, Putin or (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel.”Orban said Hungary’s low birth rate made the country an „endangered species,” and that the government was using taxes on multinational companies to fund social policies that would spur families to have more children.