This Day in Trump, Day 28: ‘I’m Not Ranting and Raving’

WASHINGTON — Angry tweets about intelligence leaks. A new budget director. Reports that a former administration lied to the FBI. An argument over basic arithmetic. And, most notably, an announcement of a nominee for labor secretary, which turned into a 78-minute presidential screed the likes of which have rarely been in the White House.It was a busy day for Trump news. Here’s what you need to know.Highlight of the dayFor more than an hour, Trump fielded questions about everything ranging from his insistence on calling the press “fake news” to reports that several members of his campaign team had collaborated with Russian intelligence agencies before the election. But on Russia-related matters, there were still more questions than answers.Trump did deny that he personally had contact with Russia during the campaign, but refused to say whether the same was true of his top advisers. At several points, he declared that “Russia is fake news.” He also defended former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who he fired last week, after reports surfaced that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others about Flynn’s involvement with the Russian government.“Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation,” Trump told reporters.As part of a different, highly convoluted answer, Trump also said he had not directed Flynn to discuss changes with the Russian ambassador, but added that if Flynn hadn’t done so, Trump would have told him to do it.At the same press conference, Trump repeated a mathematical falsehood about the size of his Electoral College victory margin. On numerous occasions, Trump has falsely claimed that his margin of victory was larger than that of any president since Ronald Reagan. In fact, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all won by larger margins, and Clinton and Obama did so twice.“Why should Americans trust you?” asked Peter Alexander, a reporter for NBC News.“I was given that information,” Trump immediately replied. “I don’t know, I was just given it.”Must-see TVAt the same press conference, reporter April Ryan asked Trump if he planned to include members of the Congressional Black Caucus in his conversations about reducing violence in minority communities.Trump asked Ryan, who was black, if members of the caucus “were friends” of hers, and then told her she should set up the meeting.  Continue reading...

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