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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

President Donald Trump on Sunday took a break from his Twitter feud with retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to take credit for Vice President Mike Pence’s tweet-publicized walk-out on the 49ers-Colts game after players knelt in protest during the anthem.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted.

“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen,” Trump tweeted less than an hour later.

His remark raised questions about whether Pence’s protest was planned in advance.

Trump’s tweet was just the latest of a series he posted Sunday about members of his own caucus. The President started the day by attacking Corker, who he claimed “didn’t have the guts to run” for re-election without a presidential endorsement.

Corker, who in September announced his plans to retire in 2018, fired back: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”

To top it all off, Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack said Trump in fact told Corker that he could count on Trump’s endorsement if he reconsidered his decision to retire.

“The President called the senator early last week and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times,” Womack told the Daily Beast.

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President Donald Trump told Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) that he could count on a presidential endorsement if he ran for re-election, despite Trump’s claim on Sunday that he denied Corker’s request for one, according to several reports.

CNN reported on Sunday, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the discussions, that Trump reached out to Corker when the senator announced his plan to retire in 2018 and asked him to reconsider.

“The President called the senator early last week and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times,” one source told CNN.

And Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack gave the Daily Beast on Sunday the same statement.

Trump on Sunday claimed that Corker “begged” him for an endorsement and “didn’t have the guts to run” when Trump turned him down.

“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center,” Corker responded. “Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Sunday hit back after President Donald Trump lashed out at him on Twitter.

“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center,” Corker tweeted. “Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

Trump on Sunday claimed Corker “begged” him for an endorsement and “dropped out” of the 2018 midterm elections after Trump turned him down.

“I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda,” Trump tweeted. “Didn’t have the guts to run!”

On Wednesday, Corker praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis as “those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

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President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who announced in September that he will retire in 2018, and claimed Corker “didn’t have the guts” to run for re-election without a presidential endorsement.

“Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out,” Trump tweeted.

He claimed Corker “wanted to be Secretary of State” but said his response was “NO THANKS.”

“He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!” Trump tweeted. “Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!”

Corker will remain in the Senate until 2018, and on Friday suggested that he would be more than willing to vote against any Republican tax plan that increases the deficit.

 

On Wednesday, Corker praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson amid reports that Tillerson openly characterized Trump as a “moron” in July.

Corker said Tillerson, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis “are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much.”

He said Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly “work very well together to make sure that the policies we put forth around the world are sound and coherent.”

“There are other people within the administration, in my belief, that don’t,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

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White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney on Sunday claimed “there was never that much drama in the first place” in President Donald Trump’s administration.

“From the outside, looks like the drama’s back. Is it?” Chuck Todd asked Mulvaney on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.

“No. And from the inside, there was never that much drama in the first place,” Mulvaney said.

He said under White House chief of staff John Kelly, the West Wing is “much more orderly and aligned” than it was before.

Asked about Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-TN) statement that Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are “people that help separate our country from chaos,” Mulvaney pushed back on Corker’s claim.

“I enjoy working with Sen. Corker, I think he’s going to be fun to work with and especially now that he’s announced that he’s not running for reelection because I think it sort of unleashes him to do and say whatever he wants to say,” Mulvaney said. “But I don’t think we’re that close to chaos anyway.”

Minutes after Mulvaney’s reassurance, Trump took to Twitter to lash out against Corker.

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Sunday said that if Rex Tillerson resigned as secretary of state, it would not solve the “absolutely catastrophic dysfunction of this White House.”

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether he thinks Tillerson should resign, Murphy said, “I don’t that that solves the problem.”

“I think the President should stop undermining the people in his administration,” he added. “I think he should stop doing hurtful things to the country’s national security, like telling the North Koreans that there’s no diplomatic path for them to give up nuclear weapons.”

Murphy said he has “big disagreements with Sec. Tillerson.”

“I don’t think he’s been a good secretary of state,” he said. “But I’m not sure that there’s anyone that can succeed in that position given the just absolutely catastrophic dysfunction of this White House.”

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Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long on Sunday said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz’s remarks critical of the U.S. relief effort on Puerto Rico are just “political noise.”

“We filtered out the mayor a long time ago. We don’t have time for the political noise,” Long said on ABC News’ “This Week.” “The bottom line is, we are making progress every day in conjunction with the governor.”

Cruz on Tuesday said President Donald Trump’s remarks on a visit to the island were “insulting.”

“He really has a communication issue,” she said. “You know he’s sort of like the miscommunicator-in-chief, really.”

Trump attacked Cruz last week after she criticized Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s description of relief efforts on Puerto Rico as a “good news story.”

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Contrary to his sunny public statements, President Donald Trump was none too pleased by a report that his own secretary of state had threatened to resign and openly disparaged him as a “moron,” NBC News reported Thursday evening.

In a report that doubled as a laundry list of unnamed White House sources, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell described the mobilization of top White House aides to contain the aftermath of an NBC News report on Tillerson’s actions and remarks.

Trump on Wednesday said he was “very honored” by Tillerson’s unscheduled remarks to reporters, and called the NBC News report “a totally phony story.”

In private, however, Trump was “furious” about the report, Mitchell reported, citing five unnamed senior administration officials, and White House chief of staff John Kelly abandoned plans to travel with him to Las Vegas in order to “manage the fallout.”

And Mitchell reported, citing seven unnamed senior officials, that the report left Pence “fuming.”

Tillerson’s unscheduled press conference on Wednesday, where he did not deny calling the President a “moron,” was a result of a conversation Pence had with the secretary of state, according to Mitchell.

Kelly then met with Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Mitchell reported, citing three unnamed officials, to discuss their strategy.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team met with former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, the author of a controversial dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, earlier this year, CNN reported late Thursday.

CNN reported, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that investigators on Mueller’s team met with Steele this summer.

The FBI and CIA omitted the dossier from a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that they released to the public in January, according to CNN, to avoid disclosing which allegations they had corroborated and potentially compromising methods and sources, including some from foreign intelligence services.

Reuters on Wednesday reported that Mueller had taken over the FBI investigation into the dossier.

Senate Intel Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) on Wednesday made a personal appeal to Steele to cooperate with the Senate panel’s investigation.

“My hope is that Mr. Steele will make a decision to meet with with Mark and I, or the committee or both, so we can hear his side of it versus for us to depict in our findings what his intent or what his actions were,” Burr told reporters, referring to ranking member Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). “I say that to you but also say it to Chris Steele.”

While the more salacious claims included in the dossier remain unverified, a number of the allegations Steele included in the document have been reinforced as new information comes to light.

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White House officials believe that the personal cell phone of President Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly was compromised, Politico reported late Thursday.

Politico reported, citing three unnamed U.S. government officials, that Kelly’s personal cell phone was compromised potentially as early as December 2016.

According to the report, tech support staff examined Kelly’s phone for several days this summer when he told them his phone would not update software properly and had not been working properly for months. The staff ultimately concluded that it should no longer be used and was compromised, according to Politico.

Aides in September prepared a one-page memo on the subject, according to the report, and circulated the document through the White House.

An unnamed White House official told Politico that Kelly “relied on his government-issued phone for most communications” and “hadn’t used the personal phone often” since joining Trump’s administration, but did not dispute other details.

According to Politico, the official said Kelly no longer had the phone but did not say where the device is.

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