London (CNN Business)Deutsche Bank’s head office and other locations in Frankfurt were raided by 170 police officers and tax investigators on Thursday as part of a money laundering probe.
London (CNN Business)Deutsche Bank’s head office and other locations in Frankfurt were raided by 170 police officers and tax investigators on Thursday as part of a money laundering probe.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s tough tactics with investigation targets and witnesses are fueling complaints about the probe from President Trump and his allies at a critical stage, as key cooperation efforts seem to break down.
Just this week, conservative author Jerome Corsi balked at a plea deal after complaining the Mueller team wanted him to admit to lying (which he claims he didn’t do) only after he “couldn’t give them what they wanted.” He tweeted Wednesday he now plans to pursue a complaint against Mueller’s team.
Further, Mueller’s team has accused ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of violating his plea deal by lying to investigators, amid reports his cooperation agreement was not panning out how prosecutors had hoped.
More information also has come to light about the nature of those Mueller-Manafort interactions, as it emerged Manafort’s legal team has been briefing Trump’s team about their discussions. The briefings reportedly fueled tensions with Mueller’s investigators, though it was already known that the president’s and Manafort’s legal teams have a joint defense agreement, meaning they share information.
But through these briefings, Trump’s team learned about Mueller’s focused line of questioning.
Specifically, top prosecutor Andrew Weissmann has been pumping Manafort for information about the president, with a focus on the highly scrutinized meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and whether Trump knew about it in advance.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the president is very upset with how Manafort has been treated, saying they keep hammering him with the same questions apparently seeking different answers.
Manafort already was convicted on multiple counts of financial fraud over the summer in connection with work he completed in Ukraine as a political consultant. A subsequent deal in a related case was seen as an opening for Mueller’s prosecutors to get new information, but that possibility seems to be diminishing.
In a court filing on Monday, Mueller, Weissmann and several other investigators accused Manafort of violating his plea deal, which was agreed upon in September.
“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement,” Mueller, Weissmann, Jeannie Rhee and Greg Andres wrote in a court filing Monday.
But Manafort’s attorneys say he believes he has provided “truthful information” and “does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement.”
James Trusty, a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official, noted a judge will ultimately decide whether Manafort violated his plea deal.
“The breach of a plea agreement is a spectacularly ugly moment for everyone involved,” Trusty, now a white-collar attorney at Ifrah Law, told Fox News. “If you are found by the judge by a preponderance of evidence to have breached the agreement, you lose every good thing in it, but you’re stuck with the bad.”
He added: “This is going to see daylight and be fully litigated, and then we can make an informed judgment whether Mueller’s team is asking him the same questions over and over, or pursuing a real investigation and being sidetracked by a liar.”
Regardless of how that dispute resolves, Mueller’s tactics run the risk of shutting down witnesses like Corsi.
In Trump World, anger and resentment toward the probe into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 election is only building, as seen in the president’s incendiary tweet-storm on Tuesday saying the probe is “ruining lives.” He added Wednesday, “While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief. This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!”
Former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova, a Trump ally, called Weissman “one of the most unethical prosecutors ever to be in the Justice Department.”
Weissmann has overseen controversial prosecutions in the past that ultimately resulted in dismissed convictions and allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
Meanwhile, Corsi plans to reject a potential deal with Mueller involving a perjury plea. The crucial piece of information was that he purportedly notified Trump associate Roger Stone in August 2016 that WikiLeaks intended to release information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
But Corsi complained he was cornered by Mueller, blasting the probe in an interview with Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” He said he did not knowingly give prosecutors false information, claiming he forgot about emails shown to him during his first interview, noting they were among 60,000 contained on a laptop he provided to the special counsel’s office.
“The special counsel came in … and they actually sent me home and gave me an opportunity to review the emails,” Corsi said Tuesday. “When I came back, I amended the testimony to say that I now remember the email. The special counsel was happy with that until I couldn’t give them what they wanted, which was a connection that I had with [Julian] Assange—that they assumed I had, which I didn’t have.”
He added: “Now suddenly, they forgot they allowed me to amend my testimony and they’re going back to the mistake I made when I forgot the email.”
Corsi described the investigation as “a political witch hunt,” echoing the president’s long-standing sentiment of the probe, further describing his interviews with investigators as a “memory test.”
“They ask you a question, they have material they won’t show you, you’ve forgotten about it, and they say, ‘You just lied because this email you forgot about in 2016 proves your current memory is wrong,” Corsi said. “If you can’t give them what they’re looking for to fill their narrative, they blow you up and charge you with a crime.”
Mueller’s team has secured several guilty pleas related to making false statements to federal investigators as part of the probe.
But Trusty told Fox News that “does not suggest a particularly successful investigation.”
“It’s heavy on false statement charges, and that doesn’t suggest that it’s moving in the right direction for the prosecution,” Trusty said. “It doesn’t suggest to me that they’re making a lot of headway on the substance of their investigation which is Russian collusion.”
He added: “As an ex-prosecutor, false statements are very distant second place.”
Trusty also said that during the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, investigators and former FBI Director James Comey “swore off ever pursuing false statements charges,” quoting a recent Justice Department inspector general report.
“Are there two sets of rules?” Trusty said. “It’s a fair question that someone in the FBI or Justice Department ought to answer at some point.”
DiGenova, who has informally advised the president throughout the probe, suggested that Mueller was running a “parallel Justice Department.”
“These threats to Dr. Corsi and to Paul Manafort are a manifestation of a fatally flawed constitutionally corrupt investigation,” diGenova said. He added: “If you’re a Democrat, you get off scot-free, with immunity, and are able to destroy evidence and ignore subpoenas. If you’re a Republican, you’re going to jail no matter what.”
Despite the drama with witnesses, speculation is widespread that Mueller has much more information than prior reports indicate and could be preparing to strike with more indictments.
The president submitted his written answers to Mueller’s questions in the probe last week, marking a major milestone in the investigation. His attorneys said that despite their serious issues with the probe, the president has provided “unprecedented cooperation.”
Fox News’ John Roberts, Jake Gibson, Samuel Chamberlain and Christopher Wallace contributed to this report.
Conservative author Jerome Corsi told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators accused him of lying under oath only after “I couldn’t give them what they wanted.”
Corsi insisted he did not knowingly give prosecutors false information. He said he forgot about the emails in question during his first interview with Mueller’s team, noting they were among 60,000 contained on the laptop he provided to the special counsel’s office.
Corsi spoke to Fox News one day after he announced he would reject a deal with investigators that would have required him to plead guilty to perjury. A draft court filing prepared as part of the abortive plea deal, which Corsi has provided to multiple media outlets, said Corsi notified Trump adviser Roger Stone in August 2016 that WikiLeaks intended to release information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging,” Corsi wrote to Stone in an email apparently referencing Assange. “Time to let more than [Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop [Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about.”
Days earlier, on July 25, the document stated that Stone emailed Corsi asking him to “Get to [Assange] [a]t Ecuadoran Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails.” The document indicated that Corsi forwarded Stone’s email to Ted Malloch, a London-based author and Trump supporter who has said he was also questioned by Mueller.
Corsi told host Tucker Carlson that he has had “no contact with Julian Assange whatsoever” and claimed he initially told investigators that he did not remember forwarding Stone’s initial email to Malloch.
“The special counsel came in … and they actually sent me home and gave me an opportunity to review the emails,” Corsi said. “When I came back, I amended the testimony to say that I now remember the email. The special counsel was happy with that until I couldn’t give them what they wanted, which was a connection that I had with Assange – that they assumed I had, which I didn’t have. Now suddenly, they forgot they allowed me to amend my testimony and they’re going back to the mistake I made when I forgot the email.”
Corsi, the onetime Washington bureau chief of the website Infowars, told Carlson that despite having no contact with Assange, he had “figured out that Assange had Podesta’s emails. I figured that out and told Roger Stone and told many people in August and it just happened that I was right.”
“I gave them everything voluntarily. I had a time machine on that computer which recorded everything precisely and kept it in the time machine back through 2015,” Corsi said.
Corsi said he believes his political views are playing a role.
In echoes of Trump, Corsi described the Mueller investigation as “a political witch hunt,” “completely rigged” and “politically driven by Clinton operatives who have an agenda.” He also described his interview with investigators as a “memory test.”
“They ask you a question, they have material they won’t show you, you’ve forgotten about it, and they say ‘You just lied because this email you forgot about in 2016 proves your current memory is wrong,'” he said.
“Roger’s right,” added Corsi, referring to Stone. “If you can’t give them what they’re looking for to fill their narrative, they blow you up and charge you with a crime.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Newly released tax documents showing a plunge in Clinton Foundation donations after Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election defeat have fueled long-standing Republican allegations of possible “pay-to-play” transactions at the organization, amid a Justice Department probe covering foundation issues.
The tax filings, which were made public this month, show the Clinton Foundation pulled in $ 62.9 million in 2016, but only $ 26.6 million the following year, representing a nearly 58 percent drop. Tax documents for 2018 are not yet available.
A spokesman for the foundation told The New York Post, which first reported the figures, that they “anticipated a decline” in 2017 and said it was “largely attributable to the absence of sponsorship and membership contributions for CGI [Clinton Global Initiative].”
The final CGI meeting was held in 2016, and the wind-down was a likely factor in the donation drop. Representatives for the Clinton Foundation did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
But the filings further emboldened congressional Republicans concerned the foundation benefited first from Clinton’s position atop the State Department and later as a presidential candidate, by way of donors seeking political favors — only for that cash flow to dry up when it was clear Hillary Clinton was out of government.
“The remarkable significance of the drop in Clinton foundation donations raises grave concerns their operations were not above board as the American people have been led to believe,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said in a statement to Fox News. “Whenever we look at the possibility of ‘pay to play’ by government officials, current or former, it demands answers–and anyone who uses public office to sell access for their own financial benefit must be held accountable.”
President Trump, citing reports about the foundation’s fundraising, tweeted Sunday that it “shows that they illegally played the power game” and “monetized their political influence through the Foundation.”
The foundation repeatedly has denied the allegations. The organization, which receives a high four-star rating from Charity Navigator, has a wide-ranging mission to “improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, and help communities” and more.
But former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired almost immediately after the midterm elections, revealed in March that he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Huber to lead an evaluation into a range of Clinton-related issues — including the FBI’s handling of the email case as well as the foundation’s operations.
Huber has been mum on the investigation since the start, but House Republicans last week announced they plan to hold a hearing on Dec. 5 to hear Huber’s testimony—just one month before Democrats take control of the House.
Rep. Meadows, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, told The Hill last week that it was time to “circle back” with Huber on developments in the probe.
“Mr. Huber with the Department of Justice and the FBI has been having an investigation—at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December 5th,” Meadows said.
When appointed, Sessions said that Huber was conducting his work “from outside the Washington D.C. area” and would cooperate with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Sessions said, at the time, that Huber’s review would “include a full, complete and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and facts.”
Huber is the twice Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney for the district of Utah. He previously served in leadership roles within the U.S. Attorney’s Office as national security section chief and executive assistant U.S. attorney.
It is noteworthy that the new acting attorney general is Matthew Whitaker, who before joining the Justice Department led The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative nonprofit that focused heavily on scrutinizing Clinton.
Whitaker, while leading FACT, appeared in more than 200 television and radio appearances from 2014 to September 2017 when he became chief of staff for Sessions. According to The Washington Post, Whitaker criticized Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, the investigation into her private email server and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation during those appearances more than 700 times.
For statements like these, Whitaker has been criticized by Democrats since assuming his acting post at the Justice Department. Eighteen state attorneys general called for him to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion supporting Trump’s appointment of Whitaker.
The scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation, however, will likely continue to be overshadowed by the expected conclusion of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump continues to deny any such collusion, while suggesting as recently as Monday that Democratic figures should face similar scrutiny.
“When Mueller does his final report, will he be covering all of his conflicts of interest in a preamble, will he be recommending action on all of the crimes of many kinds from those ‘on the other side’ (whatever happened to Podesta?), and will he be putting in statements from hundreds of people closely involved with my campaign who never met, saw or spoke to a Russian during this period?” Trump tweeted Monday.
He added: “So many campaign workers, people inside from the beginning, ask me why they have not been called (they want to be). There was NO Collusion & Mueller knows it!”
Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
A federal agent on suspension since May is awaiting trial after being accused of damaging an FBI investigation by having a romantic relationship with a Syrian businessman who is suspected of being a terrorist, according to reports.
Authorities say the businessman threw a birthday party for the agent, identified as Leatrice Malika De Bruhl-Daniels, 45, and paid for her vacation in Greece, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“I can’t stop thinking about … you. I haven’t slept for days,” the agent wrote in an email to the businessman, according to court documents cited by the Chronicle. “I’m deeply attracted to you and I can’t think about you like that. Don’t worry, I will still fight for your visa situation as much as I can.”
“I can’t stop thinking about … you. I haven’t slept for days. I’m deeply attracted to you and I can’t think about you like that. Don’t worry, I will still fight for your visa situation as much as I can.”
De Bruhl-Daniels is free on bond and staying at her mother’s home in Virginia as she awaits further court action in Houston in connection with the case, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The agent appeared at a hearing in Houston in October, where she pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to obstruct, influence or impede justice, the report said.
According to the Chronicle, De Bruhl-Daniels worked for the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which handles criminal, terrorism and intelligence investigations for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
While stationed in the United Arab Emirates, De Bruhl-Daniels met Nadal Diya, 46, who is accused of using fake Guatemalan and Argentine passports in Texas and Louisiana, where he and three co-defendants now face fraud charges, the Chronicle reported.
At the time that they met in 2016, Diya was trying to obtain a tourist visa so he could enter the United States, the Post reported. DHS believed Diya was involved in illegally exporting goods from the U.S. to Iran, the Washington Post reported, citing court documents.
De Bruhl-Daniels contacted the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security on Diya’s behalf but was told to “stay away” from him, and that he would be arrested if he entered the U.S., the Post reported.
But instead, the agent entered a romantic relationship with the businessman, told him he was being investigated and warned him that he would be arrested in the U.S., the report said.
De Bruhl-Daniels herself was arrested Sept. 28 on the obstruction charge, according to the report.
House Republicans plan to hold a hearing into the Department of Justice’s probe into the Clinton Foundation in December — a month before Democrats will take control of the chamber.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, told The Hill he wants to hear testimony on Dec. 5 from the prosecutor appointed to investigate the controversial foundation, which has been dogged by allegations of “pay to play” when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The foundation has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Meadows said it was time to “circle back” with U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was appointed to investigate the foundation.
“Mr. Huber with the Department of Justice and the FBI has been having an investigation — at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December the 5th,” he said.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed in March that he had appointed Huber to lead the evaluation into issues involving the FBI, the Clinton Foundation and the sale of Uranium One, but said he did not intend to appoint a special counsel.
“Mr. Huber is conducting his work from outside the Washington D.C. area and in cooperation with the Inspector General,” Sessions said, noting that Huber’s review would “include a full, complete, and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and facts.”
Huber is a federal prosecutor, twice confirmed, unanimously, by the Senate as U.S. attorney for the District of Utah in 2015 and again in 2017. Huber previously served in leadership roles within the U.S. Attorney’s Office as national security section chief and executive assistant U.S. attorney.
Meadows told The Hill that it’s time for Huber to update Congress, and is also looking to secure testimonies from whistleblowers who could have more information about any wrongdoing.
“We’re just now starting to work with a couple of whistleblowers that would indicate that there is a great probability, a significant improper activity that’s happening in and around the Clinton Foundation,” he said.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
President Trump on Tuesday submitted written answers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s questions in the ongoing Russia investigation, marking a major milestone in the long-running probe as it seemingly nears its conclusion.
“The President today answered written questions submitted by The Special Counsel’s Office,” Jay Sekulow, Counsel to the president, said in a statement. “The questions presented dealt with issues regarding the Russia-related topics of the inquiry. The President responded in writing.”
Added Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani: “It has been our position from the outset that much of what has been asked raised serious constitutional issues and was beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry. This remains our position today. The President has nonetheless provided unprecedented cooperation. The Special Counsel has been provided with more than 30 witnesses, 1.4 million pages of material, and now the President’s written responses to questions. It is time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion.”
Speaking to “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, Trump told host Chris Wallace that he had personally dictated his responses to his team, who was “writing what I tell them to write.”
Trump emphasized, however, that he probably would not sit for an in-person interview with Mueller, amid fears voiced by his attorneys that the could be tricked into a so-called “perjury trap” in which, even if the president is honest, his version of events differs from other witness accounts enough to trigger a criminal prosecution.
“We’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is, probably, that we’re finished,” Trump said.
‘We’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is, probably, that we’re finished.”
He continued: “We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions that I shouldn’t have even been asked, and I think that should solve the problem. I hope it solves the problem, if it doesn’t, you know, I’ll be told and we’ll make a decision at that time. But probably this is the end.”
Trump announced on Friday in the Oval Office that he had completed his written responses and was looking over them before sending them in.
“I was asked a series of questions. I’ve answered them very easily,” Trump said, adding one has to “always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
House Oversight Committee Democrats will investigate Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, in connection with use of private email accounts for official White House business, relaunching a 2017 probe into whether officials in President Trump’s administration are complying with the Presidential Record Act.
Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who is expected to become chairman at the beginning of the 116th Congress in January, said Tuesday he wants more information about Ivanka Trump’s use of a personal email account while conducting official administration business.
“We launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials’ use of private email accounts for official business, but the White House never gave us the information we requested,” Cummings said in a statement to Fox News. “We need those documents to ensure that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and other officials are complying with federal records laws and there is a complete record of the activities of this Administration.”
The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump, who serves as her father’s senior adviser, may have violated federal records rules by using a personal email account to contact “White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistant” concerning government matters, as well as her personal travel arrangements. The report, though, does not indicate any of the “hundreds” of emails contained classified or sensitive government information.
The committee’s probe began in March 2017 under the joint leadership of Cummings and former committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News contributor. The committee subpoenaed information about Kushner, Trump’s husband, and his private email use. The White House, last year, claimed they couldn’t share details because they were conducting an internal review, according to the committee.
Kushner had a private email account on the domain “ijkfamily.com,” according to the report. While Trump and Kushner had a private domain name—giving them a personalized dot-com email address—they reportedly did not maintain their own server hardware to physically store the emails sent to it.
“My goal is to prevent this from happening again—not turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton,” Cummings said. “My main priority as chairman will be to focus on the issues that impact Americans in their everyday lives.”
The House Oversight Committee had jurisdiction over the years-long investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while conducting business as secretary of state. Republicans extensively investigated Clinton’s move to communicate classified information on an unsecured server and used it against her during the 2016 presidential election. Former FBI Director James Comey said Clinton’s behavior was “extremely careless,” but did not recommend any charges against her.
The committee has jurisdiction over all records and transparency laws—Cummings authored an update in 2014 that was signed into law which requires that every federal employee, including the president, must forward any message about official business sent using a private account to the employee’s official account within 20 days.
A source familiar with the committee’s investigation into Trump and Kushner told Fox News that according to statements from their attorneys, it appeared that the two White House officials did not comply with the law.
But Trump’s lawyer blasted the “misinformation being peddled” against his client and emphasized the distinctions in this case versus Clinton’s.
“To address misinformation being peddled about Ms. Trump’s personal email, she did not create a private server in her house or office, there was never classified information transmitted, the account was never transferred or housed at Trump Organization, no emails were ever deleted, and the emails have been retained in the official account in conformity with records preservation laws and rules,” said Peter Mirijanian, the spokesperson for Trump’s ethics lawyer Abbe Lowell.
He added: “When concerns were raised in the press 14 months ago, Ms. Trump reviewed and verified her email use with White House Counsel and explained the issue to congressional leaders.”
The Clinton investigation found that 22 of the emails the former secretary of state held on her private server contained top secret information, and nearly 2,100 emails contained some form of classified information. Approximately 31,000 emails were also deleted—and never recovered –from Clinton’s server following a congressional subpoena. Because Clinton owned, operated, and maintained the private server, investigators faced additional challenges in seeking to recover that information.
Other government officials have dealt with the consequences of using a personal email account—Comey used a private account to “conduct unclassified FBI business,” according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which he found to be “inconsistent with Department policy.”
Horowitz also revealed that former FBI agent Peter Strzok used his personal email account for government business. Most notably, Horowitz wrote that Strzok forwarded an email to his personal account regarding a proposed search warrant for former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop computer. Horowitz wrote that the email on Strzok’s personal account contained information “that appears to have been under seal at the time” in federal court
Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation last year after Horowitz’s office discovered anti-Trump text messages between him and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok was fired from the bureau this summer, and Page left her post in May.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.
Sunday may be a day of rest for a lot of people – but it clearly wasn’t this week for President Trump.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the president addressed a range of topics – including the behavior of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta and his appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
He also answered questions about this month’s elections, his written responses to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and foreign policy concerns regarding North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
But the president also had an active day on Twitter, starting off with a highly noticed critique of a frequent Trump critic, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
“So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” Trump wrote, deliberately altering the spelling of the lawmaker’s last name.
More than 57,000 readers responded to the message – including Schiff.
“Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one,” Schiff wrote. “Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”
In other Trump tweets on Sunday, the president expressed solidarity with the mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, saying the U.S., like Tijuana, was “ill-prepared” to absorb the caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. border.
Trump also urged Democrats to “approve Border Security & Wall NOW!”
But on “FOX News Sunday,” in a taped interview with host Chris Wallace, Trump was able to go beyond the confines of Twitter’s 280-character limit to share his thoughts on a variety of recent topics. Here are some highlights:
On CNN’s Jim Acosta:
Trump said CNN’s White House correspondent was “unbelievably rude to [White House Press Secretary] Sarah Huckabee” during a recent press briefing.
Although a judge recently ordered that Acosta’s revoked White House press pass be returned, if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference,” the president warned.
On acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker:
Trump told Wallace he was unaware of Whitaker’s past remarks about the Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia when he appointed Whitaker to replace Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice.
“I did not know that,” Trump said, when asked if he was aware prior to appointing him that Whitaker had argued Mueller was coming close to exceeding his authority. “I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such.”
On GOP election wins in Florida:
“Look at Florida,” Trump said. “I went down to Florida. [GOP Senate candidate] Rick Scott won, and he won by a lot. I don’t know what happened to all those votes that disappeared at the very end. And if I didn’t put a spotlight on that election before it got down to the 12,500 votes, he would have lost that election, OK? In my opinion he would have lost. They would have taken that election away from him. Rick Scott won Florida.”
“Rick Scott won, and he won by a lot. … if I didn’t put a spotlight on that election before it got down to the 12,500 votes, he would have lost that election, OK? In my opinion he would have lost.”
On North Korea:
Trump told Wallace that former President Barack Obama had offered him some important guidance in the White House shortly after his 2016 election.
“I think North Korea’s been very tough because you know we were very close. When I took that over — President Obama right in those two chairs, we sat and talked and he said that’s by far the biggest problem that this country has,” Trump said. “And I think we had real decision as to which way to go on North Korea and certainly at least so far I’m very happy with the way we went.”
On Saudi Arabia:
“You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “But at the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”
“We give Pakistan $ 1.3 billion a year . … [bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $ 1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Trump sounded a note of regret for not visiting Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
“I should have done that,” Trump said. “I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling, as you know. … I probably, you know, in retrospect I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year. But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state doing other things.”
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this story.
The lawmaker expected to head the powerful House Oversight Committee in the new U.S. Congress says one of his first priorities will be investigating why President Donald Trump’s administration decided to ask about citizenship on the 2020 census questionnaire.