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Trump urges ‘bring back’ Jeanine Pirro after host pulled off air following anti-Muslim comments

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By Allan Smith

President Donald Trump called on Fox News to keep host Jeanine Pirro on the air after she didn’t appear for her regularly scheduled Saturday night program following her anti-Muslim comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a week ago.

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”

Fox News “must stay strong and fight back with vigor,” Trump added.

“Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country,” he said. “The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!”

Trump told Fox News to “stay true to the people that got you there.”

“Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine,” he said. “Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Pirro suggested last week that Omar’s religion was antithetical to the Constitution.

“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Fox News issued a rare condemnation of Pirro after her remarks, which caused several companies to pull advertisements from her show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” Pirro said in a statement that she was just trying to “ask a question and start a debate.”

“Of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution,” she said. “I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment to NBC News about why Pirro’s show did not air, saying “We’re not commenting on internal scheduling matters.” The spokesperson also did not comment on Trump’s tweets.

Pirro is one of Trump’s staunchest cable news defenders. The president’s tweets come just days after an avowed neo-Nazi allegedly killed 50 at two New Zealand mosques, which the president condemned. Asked Friday if he felt there was a growing threat of white nationalism across the globe, with this massacre following a white nationalist killing spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue late last year, Trump responded, “I don’t really,” adding, “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Trump’s mention of Fox News host Tucker Carlson is in reference to therecent unearthing of comments he made on shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show between 2006 and 2011, causing companies to pull advertising from Carlson’s show. The liberal activist group Media Matters for America released recordings of Carlson’s remarks, in which he said Iraq is populated by “semi-literate primitive monkeys,” that women are “extremely primitive,” and that a Democratic presidential candidate would cruise to election in 2008 if they promised to kill as many “lunatic Muslims” as possible.

Carlson, who joined the network in 2009, did not apologize for the comments, saying, “If you want to know what I think, you can watch” his weeknight program. “Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why,” he continued.

Fox News said in a statement that it stands by Carlson.

“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” the company said in an emailed statement.



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Bank CEO Stephen Calk charged with soliciting Manafort for Trump admin job

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By Tom Winter, Joe Valiquette and Adiel Kaplan

Bank CEO Stephen Calk tried to exchange $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort for a top position within the Trump administration, according to an indictment against the banking executive unsealed Thursday.

Calk, the president of the Federal Savings Bank, approved millions in “high-risk loans in an effort to secure a personal benefit, namely to an appointment as Secretary of the Army, or another similar high-level position in the incoming presidential administration,” said Deputy U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss of the Southern District of New York.

Stephen CalkThe Federal Savings Bank

Federal investigators were probing last year whether Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, promised Calk a job in the White House in return for $16 million in home loans, NBC News first reported in February 2018.

Calk, who surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning, allegedly approved multiple high-risk loans for Manafort, who urgently needed them to avoid foreclosure. While the loans were pending approval, Calk allegedly provided Manafort with a ranked list of positions he desired. At its head were the two top positions at the U.S. Treasury, followed by Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Defense. The list also included 19 high-level ambassadorships, among them ambassador to the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons. The three loans were questioned by other officials at the bank, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News last February.

The loans raised red flags at the bank in part because of Manafort’s history of defaulting on prior loans and that the size made Manafort’s debt the single largest lending relationship at the bank, according to prosecutors. Calk was required to authorize an unusual lending scheme to avoid passing the lending cap to a single borrower.

In exchange, Manafort provided Calk with personal benefits, prosecutors said. The bank CEO was appointed to Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016, just days after the bank approved a proposed $9.5 million loan to Manafort.

According to the indictment, Manafort and his son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, approached the bank in an effort to refinance loans tied to a construction project in Los Angeles.

During a meeting held on July 27, 2016 — while Manafort was Trump campaign chairman — Calk allegedly broached the idea of him joint the Trump campaign. By the next day, the first loan of $5.7 million was approved. Less than a week later, Manafort offered Calk a position on the economic advisory committee for Donald Trump, according to the indictment.

Calk issued another loan for over $9 million later in the fall of 2016. Then, Calk reached out to Manafort asking him if he was involved in the Trump presidential transition following the election, according to the indictment.

Manafort allegedly responded, “total background but involved directly.”

Shortly after the election, in November or December 2016, Manafort recommended Calk for an administrative position, leading to a formal interview of Calk for Under Secretary of the Army at the transition team headquarters in Trump Tower in 2017. When Manafort made the recommendation, he had more than $6 million in loans pending approval at Calk’s bank.

Calk ultimately was not hired for the position.

Months later, the loans to Manafort were downgraded by the banks regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Calk allegedly lied to regulators, telling them he never desired a position in the presidential administration.

A November 14, 2016 email Calk sent to Manafort that included his resume and list of desired positions in ranked order was as exhibit in the Manafort trial.

Charlie Gile contributed.



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European elections UK results time: What time is the result of EU election due?

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THE EUROPEAN elections kicked off in the UK this morning, with polling stations open from 7am. What time is the result of the EU election due?

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Trump lashes out at Rex Tillerson for saying Putin out-prepared him

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By Allan Smith

President Donald Trump lashed out at Rex Tillerson on Thursday morning after his former secretary of state reportedly told a House committee that the president was ill-prepared for a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany,” Trump tweeted. “I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”

The tweet followed a Washington Post report that Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Putin out-prepared Trump for the meeting at the 2017 G-20 summit. Tillerson said Putin’s higher level of preparation put Trump at a disadvantage during the meeting.

The U.S. had anticipated a shorter meeting between the two leaders, but it instead turned into a two-hour plus discussion of geopolitical issues, committee aides told the Post. Tillerson spoke before the committee for seven hours in a closed-door session on Tuesday.

“We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted,” a committee aide told the Post. “There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing.”

Tillerson spoke with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and staff at the request of the panel’s chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the newspaper reported. Unlike Trump’s solo meeting with Putin in Helsinki last summer, advisers — including Tillerson — were present alongside him at the meeting with the Russian president in Germany.

Tillerson and Trump had sparred for months before the president fired him in March of last year. The former secretary of state nearly resigned in the summer of 2017 amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, NBC News reported, citing senior administration officials. As tensions came to a head, Tillerson called Trump a “moron” following a meeting at the Pentagon with Cabinet officials and members of Trump’s national security team, three officials familiar with the incident said.

In December, Tillerson told CBS News that Trump was “undisciplined,” didn’t read much and tried to do things that would violate the law. In response, Trump said Tillerson “didn’t have the mental capacity needed” to be secretary of state.

“He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough,” Trump tweeted. “He was lazy as hell.”

In hiring Tillerson to run the State Department, Trump pointed to the former Exxon Mobil executive’s “vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments” and called him “a world class player and dealmaker.”

“He will be a star,” Trump tweeted after Tillerson was sworn in.



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