Trump, en route to golf club, predicts Michael Cohen won’t ‘flip’

President Donald Trump’s motorcade arrives at Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach this morning. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post)

Moments after he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach this morning, President Donald Trump blasted a New York Times article that said his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, “could end up cooperating with federal officials who are investigating him for activity that could relate, at least in part, to work he did for Mr. Trump.”

Cohen’s office, residence and hotel room were raided by federal investigators April 9. In a series of tweets this morning, Trump called Cohen “a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if……..it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

Trump accused the Times of relying on “non-existent ‘sources’ and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael.” The Times said its story is based on “interviews with a half-dozen people familiar with” the Trump-Cohen relationship.

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone is quoted as saying “Donald goes out of his way to treat him (Cohen) like garbage.” Former Trump associate Sam Nunberg is quoted as saying Trump has “taken Michael for granted” and that “Michael now holds the leverage over Trump” and “should maximize” that leverage.

The Palm Beach Post asked Stone if he had any comment on the article or the president’s tweets and if he knew the identity of the “drunk/drugged up loser” Trump mentioned.

“Not a reference to me. Beyond that I have no comment,” Stone replied.

Nunberg told CNN’s Abby Phillip: “I have no idea who POTUS is talking about so I have no response.”

 

 

 

Mar-a-Lago Club member to Trump on Mueller probe: ‘Stay away from it’

West Palm Beach resident Christopher Ruddy talks with CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday.

PALM BEACH — After tweeting several times Saturday about the Russian collusion probe and his view that a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump,'” President Donald Trump maintained Twitter silence on the topic Sunday while wrapping up his latest weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

While it’s too early to tell whether Sunday’s restraint represented a strategic shift or a mere aberration, Trump friend and Mar-a-Lago Club member Christopher Ruddy had to be pleased.

Update: Before 8 a.m. today, Trump was back to tweeting about the Russia probe…

Ruddy, CEO of Boca Raton-based Newsmax Media, told CNN on Sunday that “this whole case has been about a false, fake, phony allegation of a crime” and that neither special counsel Robert Mueller nor the media has produced any evidence of collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Ruddy, who said he chatted with Trump on Saturday night, said he doesn’t think the president should fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, two personnel moves that have drawn much speculation.

Ruddy said Trump should take a hands-off approach to dealing with the investigation, emulating Ronald Reagan rather than Richard Nixon.

“There’s two ways of a president approaching an investigation like this. One is the Nixon model. Nixon didn’t know about the burglary, he didn’t order it. Yet he got involved in the investigation, he fired the prosecutor. It did not end up well for him. Reagan model – 26 indictments and plea agreements of officials. Reagan stayed completely out of it. He remained popular the whole time,” Ruddy said.

“My view is the president should wall himself off from this. None of the crimes that have been involved so far with Mueller involve his campaign or impact him. The president should stay away from it,” said Ruddy, who said he had chatted briefly with Trump on Saturday night.

Trump in Palm Beach: En route to golf course, president claims vindication

President Donald Trump arriving at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday night with son Barron and first lady Melania Trump. (Andres Leiva/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump this morning says Friday’s release of a Republican House Intelligence Committee memo “totally vindicates” him in the Russia collusion probe.

The president made the declaration via Twitter at 9:40 a.m. as his motorcade rolled from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach to the Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

Trump arrived Friday night for his 12th presidential visit to Mar-a-Lago. He’s expected to go back to Washington on Sunday night.

Click here to check out Christine Stapleton’s running coverage of Trump in Palm Beach County all day at palmbeachpost.com.

Of note to Trump Twitterologists: Today’s tweet, referring to himself in the third person and quotation marks (“Trump”) is only the second time Trump has used this formulation as president. The only other time was last October:

“Can’t believe I got a good story in the @washingtonpost. It discusses the enthusiasm of ‘Trump’ voters through campaign…” the president tweeted Oct. 7.

Palm Beach-bound Trump OKs memo release; Bill Nelson calls it ‘huge victory’ for Vladimir Putin

Sen. Bill Nelson in his West Palm Beach office last year. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump, expected to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport this evening for a Mar-a-Lago weekend, has approved release of a controversial Republican memo that alleges abuses by the FBI in its 2016 decision to launch an investigation of potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The House of Representatives is expected to formally release the memo later today.

Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson blasted the president’s decision in a statement today.

“By releasing this memo, the President of the United States is undermining the credibility of our intelligence community and serving a huge victory to Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, and many other intelligence services.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, defended the memo’s release earlier this week.

“This memo reflects the result of months of diligent investigation by the Committee,” Rooney said. “This is why we voted to ensure that every Member of the House could read and learn for themselves our findings. As the Committee determines the most appropriate process in which to do so, I support making this memo available to the American people. Any delay in the release of the memo should only be to protect sensitive sources and methods of the Intelligence Community.”

Shutdown ends: How Palm Beach County members voted, Trump’s analysis

Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation for the 115th Congress, clockwise from top left: Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City; Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach; Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, voted for a short-term spending measure to end the federal government shutdown on Monday night while Palm Beach County’s three Democratic House members — Reps. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach — voted against it.

The final vote was 266-to-150, with 221 Republicans and 45 Democrats in favor of the bill to finance the government through Feb. 8.  Voting no were 144 Democrats and 6 Republicans.

The House voted after most Senate Democrats, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, reversed course from Friday night and allowed the stopgap spending bill to proceed.

“Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown,” President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday night. “Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!”

Here’s what Palm Beach County House members said about their votes:

Mast: “I’m relieved to say that the government is going to be back open, but this was an entirely avoidable crisis. The bill passed today by the Senate is fundamentally the same as the one the House passed last week. The fact that a minority of Senators were able to hold the government hostage for 3 days—and make no real changes to the bill—shows just how broken the system really is. Sadly far too many people in Washington remain more interested in helping themselves than the people they represent.

“With this manufactured crisis behind us, we need to get back to work—fix the broken system, stop governing from crisis to crisis, get our country’s finances back on track, cut wasteful spending and do what we were sent here to do: put power back in the hands of the American people.”

Frankel: “I want government open, but short-term funding is ridiculous and the failure to protect DREAMers is wrong. Month to month federal funding, in this case 17 days, endangers our national and domestic security. Without stable fiscal planning, all our federal agencies, including our military, are hampered. I will continue to fight alongside my fellow Democrats to get a deal for the DREAMers and pass a responsible long-term funding bill that allocates appropriate resources to important areas such as defense, veterans, infrastructure and medical research, and pressing crises facing Florida, like opioid abuse and hurricane recovery.”

Deutch: “Governing by chaos is not governing. Using band-aids to move from one emergency to another is irresponsible and dangerous. Americans need to know that their government will be there for them. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership has failed them. We need a spending bill that will ensure certain, stable, and robust funding of both domestic and military spending for the remainder of the year. We need to instill confidence and ensure stability. We owe it to our military, our troops, our veterans, and our national security. We owe it to our seniors and low-income families, to Social Security beneficiaries and Medicare and Medicaid recipients. We owe it to the groundbreaking and life-saving federally-funded medical research, and to those still struggling to recover from the disastrous natural disasters.

“This bill offers no assurance for a long-term spending bill. It’s time to govern – responsibly and in a bipartisan way. The American people deserve better.”

Hastings: “The Trump Shutdown was the first in modern history where one party controlled the House, Senate, and White House. Our country is just four months into the fiscal year, yet the Republican-run Congress has needed four short-term continuing resolutions to keep the government running. It is absolutely shameful that Congress has needed to pass a three week spending bill, kicking-the-can down the road yet again. This is no way to run our government.

“The clock is ticking. Over the next 17 days, the American people will face grave uncertainty. This is not leadership, this is no way to function, and it must stop.

 

 

Donald Trump looms large in Florida governor’s race

Two weeks after President Donald Trump tweeted praise for U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, DeSantis has entered the race for Florida governor.

President Donald Trump always figured to loom large in this year’s midterm elections across the nation, and Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantisentry into the Florida governor’s race today confirms Trump will be a big factor in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis — praised by Trump in a Dec. 22 tweet from the tarmac of Palm Beach International Airport — invoked the president and part-time Palm Beach resident while announcing his candidacy on Fox News this morning. Democratic governor candidate Gwen Graham, meanwhile, was the first of what will likely be many Democrats to slam DeSantis for his Trump ties.

“Ron DeSantis running as Trump’s hand-picked candidate with the backing of out-of-state billionaires may endear him to the most partisan primary voters, but he is too extreme for Florida,” Graham said.

DeSantis faces Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and, possibly, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, in the GOP primary. Graham is seeking the Democratic nomination against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

Trump’s tweet that DeSantis “would make a GREAT Governor of Florida” instantly boosted the three-term congressman’s profile. DeSantis mentioned the Trump tweet on Fox and Friends.

“As you remember a few weeks ago, the president tweeted support for me as a candidate for governor of Florida,” DeSantis said. “So today, we’re going to be filing the paperwork to begin that effort. As somebody who’s a military officer, Iraq veteran, a proven conservative and then with the support of the president, I’m in a position to exercise the leadership that can build on the great work that Gov. Rick Scott has done to advance economic opportunity, reform education and drain the swamp in Tallahassee, which needs to be drained just like Washington.”

While eager to associate himself with Trump, DeSantis said he disagrees with a Trump Administration proposal to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling. Scott and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio have joined Democrats in criticizing the idea.

“I agree with Gov. Scott,” on opposing drilling, DeSantis said on Fox and Friends. “In Florida our coastline is so important to our economy, it’s important to property values, it’s important to tourism. And we need to protect our coastline…I’m going to be fighting with Gov. Scott to protect Florida’s coastline. And you know what, I think this is just a draft proposal and I think that the White House will ultimately be with us and I think we’ll be able to work it out so that Florida’s beaches will be protected.”

Trump in Palm Beach: What the president said to local firefighters

President Donald Trump at West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Station 2 on Wednesday (Photos by Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to a fire station in West Palm Beach on Wednesday.

Click here to read Wayne Washington’s story on the president’s day (Spoiler alert: Golf was involved).

Trump tweeted about the experience afterward.

“Just left West Palm Beach Fire & Rescue #2. Met with great men and women as representatives of those who do so much for all of us. Firefighters, paramedics, first responders – what amazing people they are!” Trump told Twitter followers.

Here’s a transcript from the White House of the president’s remarks while he was at the station:

THE PRESIDENT: How’s the media? Good? Everyone good? These are great people. These are great people.

I just want to thank everybody for the fantastic job you’ve done and are doing. What you do, in terms of paramedics and fire and all of the other things you do that people don’t appreciate like they should. But we appreciate it. And we’re giving you a lot of equipment. We’re giving you a lot of help. You know, we’ve opened it up.

So, again, thank you very much. Fantastic job. (Inaudible.) Okay? (Inaudible.) This is real power over here, right? (Laughter.) This is real power. Any questions? Go ahead?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Things are going great. That’s the kind of question we like. (Laughter.)

I think our country is doing well. We’re setting records with stocks. How are your 401(k)s doing, pretty well?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s doing well, right? They’re all doing well. The 401(k)s doing well, the stocks are doing well, a lot of companies coming back into this country. And they’re coming back into the country that we love, which is what we care about, and then even before the tax cut.

And I tell you, that tax cut bill is something with what’s it’s kicking in. Literally we know when the big companies — AT&T, Comcast, so many others, Wells Fargo — they’re giving thousands of dollars to their employees. And nobody saw that happening right away, but that happened early. And now what’s happening is many other companies are following suit.

So the country is really — you have a big, big beautiful ship that we’re turning around. And a lot of good things are happening. You know with the military, we’re rebuilding our military. It was depleted. You guys were a little bit depleted too.

We’re giving you — and particularly the police, we’re giving them military equipment, which was taken away by the previous administration. You know all about that. And now you’re getting the military equipment. They didn’t want them to use the military equipment. Somebody will explain why. But now you have the best military equipment, and you’re able to use it for the police force.

But I want to thank the job you do medically and with the paramedics — the job you do with the fire has been incredible.
So they said, would you like to come over here and say hello? Some of you I’ve met, many of you down in Palm Beach.

But you do a fantastic job, so we just wanted to thank you very much. Really fantastic people. And hopefully with the media surrounding us, they’ll understand exactly what’s happening because we want to give these people credit for the great job they do.

So thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Now I’ll go back to Palm Beach, and you go back and also watch yourselves on television, huh? (Laughter.) We created some stars in here, Chief. You know that, right?

Chief, you have any questions?

CHIEF DONATTO: Yeah, you know the House and the Senate, at record levels, passed the SAFER and Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. And that should be coming to you soon (inaudible). In your opinion, is that a good thing?

THE PRESIDENT: Well they just passed it, and it’s coming to me, and it’s a good thing. And you like it, right?

CHIEF DONATTO: We love it. And we just appreciate —

THE PRESIDENT: You know, one of the things that people don’t understand, we have signed more legislation than anybody — we broke the record of Harry Truman. And they were saying, if we get this big tax break — because that’s the legislation of all legislation, that’s the biggest there is.

And that included ANWR, as you know. And it included the repeal of the individual mandate, which is a disaster. That’s where you have the privilege of paying a lot of money so that you don’t have to buy health insurance. All right? The most unpopular thing, which most people thought should have been unconstitutional. But we repealed it. And we got ANWR, which is going to be one of the great drilling sites of the world — great oil reserves.

But we have a lot of things. But we had a lot of legislation passed. And here’s an example of something that soon will be passed and signed. So yeah, we’re going to take care of it. I know you folks have been fighting for that for a long time.

We had a lot of legislation pass. They were saying that if we got this one done, we would have succeeded with legislation. But I believe we have — and you’ll have to ask those folks, but I think they know the real answer — We have more legislation passed, including the record — was Harry Truman. That’s a long time ago. And we broke that record. So we have a lot done.

In addition, we have a lot of executive orders. We’ve gotten a lot of the rules and regulations. You people suffered from that to a certain extent, too, in all fairness. But a lot of the regulations were voided. And now you can go back to work and do your jobs. In the case of builders, in the case of farmers, and so many others, they can now go back and do their jobs.

So we have the all-time record for stopping ridiculous regulations, and we’re very proud of that record. That’s one of the reasons the stock market has done, you know, at a record level. It’s a record level. We broke it 84 times this year. The stock market hit a new high 84 times since we won the election on November 8th of last year.

So that’s something we can all be proud of. And that makes you all very smart. Then your families say, “Boy, you’re a great investor.” Right? (Laughter.) When you have big numbers go up and your stocks go up and everything else. You know when the stock market goes up that affects everybody, not just — you know you think of the rich, you think of the big — the fact is it affects everybody because people own stocks, whether it’s in 401(k)s or otherwise. So it’s really been great.

Yeah, we’ll get that signed. It will to be signed. I know it will.

PARTICIPANT: We actually have 15 of those brave (inaudible) firefighters from last year’s (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: Oh good. We have 15 of them. You know who we’re talking about here? Come on over here. Come on over. That’s great. (Applause.)

I better sign it. Now I have no choice, right? (Laughter.)

You love this stuff, right? Huh? That’s good.

Congratulations. I’ll go back and sign fast, okay? (Laughter.)

So, again, continue doing what you do better than anybody in the world. We appreciate it a lot. And the safety and the lives that you save — incredible. Chief, thank you. And, Chiefs, thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 4:24 P.M. EST

Who’s on golf’s Donald Trump Tour?

Professional golfers who have joined President Donald Trump on the links, from top left: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Jim Herman, Rory McIlroy, Brad Faxon, Ernie Els, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods.

Before he teed off on the FBI Saturday in a series of tweets, President Donald Trump teed off at Trump International Golf Club with three PGA stars.

Trump’s golf partners Saturday were Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Jim Herman.

They are the latest professional golfers to hit the links with Trump since he became president.

Trump has also golfed with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, who between them have won 32 majors, as well as Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon.

 

Always a Palm Beach County connection: Roy Moore edition

Debbie Wesson Gibson of Delray Beach looks through a scrapbook from her senior year in high school, where several pages include what she says is evidence of her relationship with Roy Moore when she was 17 and he was 34. (Photo by Jon Gerberg/The Washington Post)

Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore — the accused child molester who on Monday won the explicit support of President Donald Trump ahead of next week’s special election — once dated a 17-year-old high school student while he was a 34-year-old assistant district attorney, the woman recalled this week.

Debbie Wesson Gibson, now 54 and living in Delray Beach, said she decided to share her story and a handwritten graduation note she says was written by Moore after hearing Moore say “I do not know any of these women.”

Moore is in a close race with Democrat Doug Jones in a Senate contest rocked by a Washington Post report that Moore initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 and pursued relationships with other teenage girls around the same time. Moore has denied any misconduct.

Trump, initially silent on the Moore allegations, began criticizing Jones last month and on Monday tweeted that “we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama.” Trump will likely promote Moore on Friday night when he holds a campaign rally in Pensacola, which is part of the Mobile, Alabama media market.

 

Trump in Palm Beach with Alabama and Roy Moore on his mind

President Donald Trump’s motorcade rolls west on Southern Boulevard this morning en route to Trump International Golf Club. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump began his day with a pair of tweets promoting Republican Roy Moore in the upcoming Alabama Senate election — without mentioning the name of the GOP nominee who’s been accused of sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl  and making overtures to other teenagers in the 1970s.

Trump is wrapping up a five-day Thanksgiving trip to his Mar-a-Lago estate. He’s visiting his Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach this morning — the fifth consecutive day he’s been there or his Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

“The last thing we need in Alabama and the U.S. Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is WEAK on Crime, WEAK on the Border, Bad for our Military and our great Vets, Bad for our 2nd Amendment, AND WANTS TO RAISES TAXES TO THE SKY. Jones would be a disaster!” Trump tweeted at 8:52 a.m., shortly before leaving Mar-a-Lago for the golf course.

“Jones” is Democratic nominee Doug Jones, who’s trying to become the first Democratic senator in deep-red Alabama since Howell Heflin left office in 1997. The special election is Dec. 12.

Moments after the presidential motorcade arrived at the golf club, Trump tweeted about the Alabama race again.

“I endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama Primary. He shot way up in the polls but it wasn’t enough. Can’t let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones would be BAD!” Trump tweeted.

Moore defeated Strange in a special GOP primary in September. He was considered a lock to keep the seat for Republicans until The Washington Post reported that four women said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s in the 1970s. Moore has denied any inappropriate conduct.

“Roy Moore denies it. And, by the way, he gives a total denial. And I do have to say, 40 years is a long time,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday in Washington before heading to Palm Beach.