DC Daily: President Trump goes on extended rant about 'fake news' media, Russia, national security

Trump announces new Labor Secretary nominee
Posted at 7:50 AM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 19:37:10-05

President Donald Trump continues to respond to questions about his campaign/administration's connection to the Russian government, but much is being made about the president's current relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies.

What's happening today:

Trump blasts media during news conference, says: "Leaks are real ... the news is fake"

-- President Donald Trump repeatedly complained about unfair media coverage while defending his administration's performance on Thursday.

"The media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they're not happy about it, for whatever reason," he said. "I turn on the news and I see stories of chaos. And yet it is the exact opposite. The administration is running like a fine-tuned machine."

After announcing Alexander Acosta as his for Secretary of Labor nominee, Trump spent nearly 20 minutes defending his performance and listing the accomplishments of his first month in office.

"I inherited a mess," Trump said three times before listing his achievements, including pledges from companies to hire more American workers.

Trump also claimed that he had the largest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan. When told later in the news conference by NBC's Peter Alexander that information was false, Trump did not defend the argument, which he has made repeatedly in recent days, but said he was "talking about Republicans."

"I was given that information," Trump said, before quickly moving onto another questioner. "Actually, I've seen that information around. It was a very substantial victory. Would you agree with that?"

President names new Labor Secretary nominee
-- President Trump has named Alexander Acosta as his choice to be the next Secretary of Labor. Acosta, who is currently the dean of the Florida International University School of Law, is a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, a position he was nominated to by former President George W. Bush.

The nomination comes one day after Andy Puzder, Trump's first pick to lead the department, withdrew his nomination.

Trump touches on leaks, stock market in early morning tweets
-- In separate tweets Thursday morning, President Trump celebrated gains on Wall Street and promised that "low-life leakers" would be caught.

In his first tweet of the day (6:34 a.m. Eastern), the president said:

Trump's economic program is expected to include deep tax cuts, stimulus spending and deregulation. His initiatives are intended to achieve his goal of doubling growth to around 4 percent, up from the 2 percent pace that prevailed since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

Less than 30 minutes later, Trump took on those who he believes have leaked classified information in the following tweets:

About two hours later, Trump went on Twitter again to say:

Trump's national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned at Trump's urging this week after a series of reports revealed Flynn held addressed the issue of sanctions with a Russian diplomat before Trump was in office.

Trump's OMB nominee confirmed
-- The Senate Thursday morning confirmed the president's pick to run the White House budget office, giving Republicans' tea party wing a voice in Trump's Cabinet.

Office of Management and Budget nominee Rep. Mick Mulvaney squeaked through the Senate on a 51-49 vote. Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, who's emerging as perhaps the most vocal Republican critic of the Trump administration, opposed Mulvaney for backing cuts to Pentagon spending.

Signs of disarray at White House?
-- President Trump thrived on drama during his campaign -- but signs of disarray in a White House beset by controversy and internal tensions are exposing the downside of his signature style.

Mushrooming drama over the Trump campaign's alleged connections to Russia, which claimed the scalp of his national security adviser Michael Flynn, is working its way relentlessly closer to the president himself.

FBI not expected to pursue charges against Flynn

-- Law enforcement officials told CNN today that, barring new information, they would not pursue charges against former national security advisor Michael Flynn. However, there's still and ongoing, broader review being conducted of Flynn and Russia-related dealings. 


Secretary of Labor nominee withdraws nomination
-- Andrew Puzder, CEO of the company that owns the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast food chains, withdrew Wednesday as President Trump's choice for labor secretary.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said of Puzder: "No matter how you cut it, there is no worse pick for labor secretary than Andrew Puzder, and I'm encouraged my Republican colleagues are starting to agree. He does not belong anywhere near the Labor Department, let alone at the head of it. Puzder's disdain for the American worker, the very people he would be responsible for protecting, is second to none."

Trump announces Florida rally
-- The president announced Wednesday on Twitter that a rally would be held Feb. 18 in Orlando. It will be Trumps first rally since his inauguration.

An administration official said Trump would rally supporters at an airport hangar there, the same venue where he held a rally in September.

Mom angry over Trump "Valentine's Day" card her child received
-- A Florida mom wants an apology after her half-Mexican daughter was given a Valentine's Day card inspired by President Trump's proposed border wall.

The homemade card featured a picture of President Trump pointing, next to a message that reads "I want you on my side of the wall."