Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon resurfaced Sunday for an appearance on ABC's This Week to weigh in on, among other things, President Trump's honesty and what's wrong with the pope.
President Trump "has not always told the truth," host Jonathan Karl said while recalling Bannon's time in the White House, but Bannon disagreed. "I don't know that," Bannon replied. “This is another thing to demonize him." Karl pushed back: "You think the president has never lied?"
Bannon said he thinks exactly that. "Not to my knowledge, no," he answered. "Except when he called me Sloppy Steve."
.@jonkarl: "You say the president has never lied?"
Steve Bannon: "Not to my knowledge, no… I think he speaks in a particular vernacular that connects to people in this country." pic.twitter.com/RuWsmkICuW
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 17, 2018
Bannon also addressed the Trump administration's broadly condemned and not legally mandatory policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. "It's zero tolerance. I don't think you have to justify it," he said. "We have a crisis on the southern border but the elites in the city ... want to manage situations to bad outcomes. And Donald Trump is not going to do that."
In contrast with his praise for Trump, Bannon, a professing Catholic, slammed Pope Francis for his approach to Europe's refugee crisis and labeled the Catholic Church "one of the worst instigators of this open borders policy." Watch those comments below. Bonnie Kristian
After Pope Francis tweeted “Woe to anyone who stifles [children’s] joyful impulse to hope,” Steve Bannon responds: “The Pope — more than anyone else — has driven the migrant crisis in Europe... the Catholic Church is one of the worst instigators of this open borders policy.” pic.twitter.com/KCbJhfYdHa
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 17, 2018
"Chuck, let me just tell you, that nobody likes seeing babies ripped from their mothers' arms," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on NBC Sunday of the Trump administration's separation of migrant families at the border. "As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who has got a conscience ... I will tell you that nobody likes this policy," she continued.. "You saw the president on camera that he wants this to end," she continued, "but ... Congress has to act."
As host Chuck Todd protested, the family separations are not required by law and were instituted by the Trump administration as an immigration deterrent. Some of the families affected have not crossed the border illegally but rather are following legal procedure to seek asylum. Congress only "has to act" in the sense that President Trump is using the unpopular policy as a bargaining chip to obtain the immigration bill he wants.
Watch an excerpt of Conway's comments below, or read her full remarks here. Bonnie Kristian
WATCH: "As a mother, as a Catholic” nobody likes family separation policy. #MTP #IfItsSunday@chucktodd: "Why don’t you create a family detention center?@KellyannePolls: "We had those under President Obama but the Democrats are holding up the funding to expand those." pic.twitter.com/d4Y5HHWhGx
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 17, 2018
While President Trump traveled to Singapore for Tuesday's North Korea summit, his economic advisers continued his line of attack on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in appearances on Sunday shows.
On CNN, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said Trudeau's pushback on Trump's tariffs at a Saturday press conference was "a betrayal," a "sophomoric, political stunt for domestic consumption." Kudlow accused Trudeau of "stab[bing] us in the back" by undermining Trump's authority in advance of his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He urged Trudeau to make a public apology.
KUDLOW calls TRUDEAU’S criticism of TRUMP’S tariffs a “betrayal”:
“POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around.”https://t.co/BDI7P6vHjR
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) June 10, 2018
White House National Trade Council director Peter Navarro likewise condemned Trudeau on Fox.
W.H. trade adviser Peter Navarro: "There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with Pres. Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out ... that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did." pic.twitter.com/4AVR8lRPNZ
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 10, 2018
"There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," he said. "That's what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani says his client has "no intention" of pardoning himself, but former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara isn't convinced. "I hate to keep harping on this point," he said on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, but "Rudy, just like [fellow Trump lawyer] Jay Sekulow, keeps coming up with things that end up being false. So when he says the president is not contemplating something, I have no faith in that whatsoever."
If Trump were convicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's campaign and then pardoned himself, Bharara said, he should not expect to retain power for long. "I think it would be outrageous for the sitting president of the United States to pardon [himself]," he said. "I think if the president decided he was going to pardon himself — I think that's almost self-executing impeachment."
Watch a clip of Bharara's comments below. Bonnie Kristian
"That's not what the American people, I think, would be able to stand for." Former US attorney Preet Bharara says it "would be outrageous" and "almost self-executing impeachment" for a sitting president to pardon himself. https://t.co/Ke3BZkrghS pic.twitter.com/ab3EBSx2F0
— CNN (@CNN) June 3, 2018
President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani appeared on ABC News Sunday to defend the letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller published by The New York Times Saturday in which the president's lawyers sketched a robust view of executive power where the president by definition cannot obstruct justice. Giuliani was not Trump's lawyer in January, when the letter was written, but he deemed its arguments "excellent" and "very, very persuasive."
He also said Trump "probably" has the power to pardon himself. "He has no intention of pardoning himself but he probably — not to say he can't," he said. "I mean, that's another really interesting constitutional argument: 'Can the president pardon himself?'"
Giuliani was more circumspect about the letter's claim that Trump can "terminate the inquiry" at "any time for any reason," saying he "would not go that far." Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian
The evidence that occasioned the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead a probe into Russian election meddling efforts and alleged Trump campaign involvement was illegitimate, President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on CNN Sunday, arguing that therefore the entire probe is illegitimate.
"I'm not saying Mueller is illegitimate; I'm saying the basis on which he was appointed was illegitimate," Giuliani told State of the Union host Dana Bash, pointing to James Comey's leaked memos and "spygate" as the sources of illegitimacy.
Bash sought to clarify Giuliani's view of the probe's legitimacy, as distinct from Mueller as special counsel and the probe's origins. "So you think that the Mueller probe is legitimate?" she asked. "Not anymore," he replied. "I don’t. I did when I came in." Watch Giuliani's comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian
Q: "So you think that the Mueller probe is legitimate?"
Rudy Giuliani: "Not anymore. I don’t. I did when I came in. But now I see Spygate..." (via CNN) https://t.co/5hKpJxk6ID
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 27, 2018
Lindsey Graham says the Trump administration needs to apologize for the 'terrible joke' about his friend John McCain
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) "can be criticized for any political decision he's ever made or any vote he's ever cast," said McCain's longtime friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CBS News Sunday, "but he's an American hero. And I think most Americans would like to see the Trump administration do better in situations like this. It doesn't hurt you at all to do the right thing and to be big."
Graham was referring to the news that a Trump administration aide, Kelly Sadler, joked that McCain's view of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel "doesn't matter, because he's dying anyway." "It's [a] pretty disgusting thing to say," Graham said on Face the Nation. "If it was a joke, it was a terrible joke. I just wish somebody from the White House would tell the country that was inappropriate — that's not who we are in the Trump administration."
President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, could have made additional payments to other women beyond the $130,000 he paid adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged affair with the president, Trump's new personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday on ABC News.
"I have no knowledge of that. But I would think if it was necessary, yes," Giuliani said. He sought to cast Cohen's behavior as normal lawyerly stuff from which Trump was to some extent removed. Cohen "made payments for the president — or he conducted business for the president," Giuliani continued, "which means he had legal fees, moneys laid out, and expenditures — which I have on my bills to my clients."
Watch an excerpt of Giuliani's comments below. Bonnie Kristian
Did Michael Cohen make payments to other women on behalf of the president? Rudy Giuliani tells @GStephanopoulos: “I have no knowledge of that, but I would think if it was necessary, yes." https://t.co/R6JsMQN9yM pic.twitter.com/Ol0Hpb0Xp9
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 6, 2018