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Sunday
Oct152017

Pelosi: President Trump 'went rogue' on Iran deal, health care

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic leader of the House of Representatives said President Donald Trump "went rogue" with his decisions on ending Obamacare subsidies, changing birth control coverage mandates and decertifying the Iran nuclear deal.

“President Trump went rogue," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on This Week Sunday. "He went rogue on women's health in particular, the Affordable Care Act, the Iran decision that he made. And ... he continues his war on the middle class with his unfair tax plan.”

On Thursday, Trump announced he is ending subsidy payments to health care insurers that help low- and middle-income Americans afford premium costs and other expenses under Obamacare.

The next day, Friday, Trump “decertified” the Iran nuclear agreement but left it up to Congress to decide whether to go further by renewing sanctions on Iran that ended when the deal took effect in 2015.

Pressed by Stephanopoulos about what can be done about these decisions, Pelosi said, “I've tried to suggest to him that while we understand our differences, we can find our common ground if we have evidence-based decisions.”

Pelosi referenced two Republican governors, John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, as being against Trump’s latest health care executive order because it would destabilize the market even more.

“Either the president doesn't know or he doesn't care,” said Pelosi.

Stephanopoulos asked Pelosi about fellow California House Democrat Linda Sanchez saying "it's time for change" and “a new generation of leaders” for the Democratic Party.

Pelosi said she thinks there’s “a great array of talent” in the party that she has “promoted all along the way,” but also noted “it’s up to the caucus to elect its next leadership.”

The Democratic House Leader stressed that she’s not ready to leave government while Obama’s health care system is under attack by the Republican Party.

“The Affordable Care Act, as you know, is very important to me... When the president became the president and I saw the threat to it, I said, ‘I've gotta stay to take care of the Affordable Care Act.' That's my fight. That's my mission,” she said.

“What [Trump is] doing is hurting the American people. This isn't about policy or politics. It's about the American people.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Oct152017

Golfing buddies: Trump hits the links with Lindsey Graham again

Ron Sachs/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., hit the links together Saturday, marking the second time they did so in a week.

The commander in chief and Graham were spotted arriving Saturday morning at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, located about 30 miles from the White House. They went golfing there on Monday, as well.

Golf clubs were spotted being loaded into one of the motorcade vehicles Saturday morning, according to one of the White House pool reports.

In a rare move, deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters confirmed to the pool earlier Saturday, "The President will be golfing with Senator Graham today."

When asked about the pair's second round of golf, a spokesman for Graham said, "Why not? Senator Graham loves golf. South Carolina is home to some of the best courses in the world."

Following Graham's Monday outing with the president, the senator tweeted about the experience.

In an interview with Golf.com published Wednesday, Graham described Trump as an ideal host.

"I ran out of golf balls," he said. "He started giving me golf balls. He's a gracious host. They didn't have the presidential seal. You know, they make TaylorMade golf balls in South Carolina. I'm going to have some made for him. They make them 10 miles from where I live."

On Saturday evening, according to a pool report, the president and first lady Melania Trump dined at Trump International Hotel near the White House.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Oct142017

Trump takes hard line on Iran, but keeps Obama deal in place 

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump slammed Iran Friday, called the country a "menace" and announced new sanctions against the regime -- but didn't do anything that would alter the Obama-era deal that he has denounced since his presidential campaign.

The deal, Trump said, is no longer in the national security interest of the United States. This decision, which has been referred as “decertification,” is a shift in official position.

It is a significant declaration that leaves the nuclear agreement in place, but puts Congress in charge of whether or not to follow up with action -- triggering a 60-day window for lawmakers to re-impose sanctions against Iran that were suspended in 2015 as part of the agreement.

Trump outlined three steps as part of America's path forward: to counter "destabilizing activity" in the Middle East, impose new sanctions on non-nuclear aspects of the regime and address the country's nuclear ambitions.

"Our policy is based on clear assessment of Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world," Trump said.

While the president portrayed the decision as having originated with his administration, he acknowledged that Congress holds the key to the deal's future.

"I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal's many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons," he said.

Tehran and world powers in July 2015 crafted a deal that eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for stepped-up international monitoring of its nuclear development activities. The agreement reduced the amount of nuclear fuel Iran can keep and extended the "breakout time" needed for Iran to create a single bomb. Some of Iran's facilities are now also subject to constant monitoring, with others subject to inspections after a waiting period.

The president accused Iran of "not living up to the spirit of the deal," while the U.S. abides by its promises, despite top officials on his national security team, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying Iran has technically complied with its restrictions.
"By its own terms, the Iran deal was supposed to contribute to regional and international peace and security," Trump said. "And yet while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended his country's participation in the deal Friday after Trump's speech and attacked the decision, saying that the U.S. was "completely alone" in its policy toward Iran. He added that Iran would not hesitate to respond if the deal's other parties "do not stay loyal."

Rouhani further characterized Iran’s missile program as purely defensive in nature and necessary in the face of U.S. aggression.

“We always tried to produce weapons ourselves,” he said. “And from now on we will redouble that effort... to defend ourselves.”

Trump also announced sanctions Friday on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, whom he accused of providing assistance to terrorist groups. He encouraged U.S. allies to take action to counter the group's efforts "including thorough sanctions outside the Iran deal that target the regime's ballistic missile program in support for terrorism and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many."

Though Trump did not go so far as to end the nuclear deal, he told reporters on the White House South Lawn after his speech that his prior threat to "rip it up" was still a possibility.

"I may do that. I may do that," Trump said. "The deal is terrible. So what we've done is, through the certification process, we'll have Congress take a look at it and I may very well do that. But I like a two-step process much better."

Republicans critical of the initial deal have urged the administration to enforce it.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement Friday that he agrees with Trump that the deal doesn't benefit U.S. interests, but that he is interested in approving, rather than ending, it.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress on additional legislation to increase sanctions and other pressure to hold Iran accountable for its broader destructive behavior in the region," McCain said in the statement. "I am also eager to collaborate with our partners and allies to revisit the most problematic provisions of the nuclear deal, and support a unified, forceful international front in the event that Iran materially breaches the terms of the agreement."

On Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif. said in a hearing that while he felt the deal was "flawed," he believed the U.S. "must now enforce the hell out of it."

“Let’s work with allies to make certain that international inspectors have better access to possible nuclear sites, and we should address the fundamental sunset shortcoming, as our allies have recognized," said Royce.

Even Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., one of the most vocal critics of the Iran deal and supporters of decertification, has recommended holding off on “snapping back,” or restoring immediately, the nuclear sanctions lifted as part of the deal. He called the move a “backward-looking step” and said Congress should instead impose new ballistic sanctions and lift some of the Iran agreement’s sunset provisions which allow some regulatory measures to expire after certain periods.

The goal with such actions, according to Cotton, would be to bring Iran back to the negotiating table to strengthen the original deal.

But some Obama-era officials who worked on the agreement said that hope was unrealistic.

“I would love to see Iran come back to the table, apologizes for everything and agree to all of our demands,” Philip Gordon, White House coordinator for the Middle East during the Iran negotiations, told ABC News. But he called such a notion a “fantasy.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who led the charge against the bill and wrote a law forcing congressional oversight of the Iran agreement, has also expressed skepticism that decertifying the deal is the right decision.

“You can only tear these things up one time. It might feel good for a second, but one of the things that's important for us is to keep our allies with us,” he said, referring to the other signatories of the Iran deal which include China and Russia as well as the European Union.

The White House has been in touch with Capitol Hill for the past two weeks over its Iran decision. White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster was on Capitol Hill Wednesday evening briefing top Republican lawmakers on the administration’s forthcoming announcement.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also been briefing key lawmakers on the administration’s plans for the agreement, and met with Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Wednesday at the State Department.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who was among a group of Senate Democrats who met with McMaster last week, said the White House was open to negotiating the Corker-authored bill that requires the president to certify the deal every 90 days in the first place.

Coons told reporters in a conference call earlier this week that he believes Trump should just continue to affirm that Iran is complying with the deal but said he’d be open to amending the requirement “if that’s what’s required to get the president to continue to embrace” the Iran deal.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Oct142017

Steve Bannon slams 'establishment' Republican senators

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump's controversial former chief strategist Steve Bannon said he plans to go to "war" against the GOP senators who didn't rush to Trump's defense during his public feud with Sen. Bob Corker.

"Nobody can run and hide on this one. These folks are coming for you," Bannon said Saturday to the crowd at the Value Voters Summit of social conservatives.

Bannon, who called for Corker to resign last week after the Tennessee senator said Trump's rhetoric put the United States at risk of "World War III," told the conservative gathering that such comments undermine U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

"Bob Corker has trashed the commander in chief of our armed forces while we have young men and women in harm's way," Bannon said.

Bannon departed the White House in mid-August and immediately rejoined conservative media outlet Breitbart News as executive chairman, promising to be an outside bomb-thrower against those in opposition to Trump and targeting, in particular, GOP lawmakers who have opposed the president or spoken out against him.
    
The former Trump strategist also responded to a write-up in Vanity Fair earlier this week that said Bannon has told associates he believes the president has a “30 percent chance” of making it through his first term.

In contrast, Bannon told the crowd that he believes Trump is “going to win with 400 electoral votes in 2020.” Winning the presidency requires getting 270 of the total 538 electoral votes.

Bannon also pointed with pride to the victory of a GOP firebrand -- former judge Roy Moore -- in the primary for Alabama senator over the establishment candidate endorsed by Trump.

He said he believes Trump’s recent actions, such as decertifying the Iran nuclear deal and other moves that Bannon said “blow up” the Obamacare insurance exchanges, are a direct result of Moore’s victory putting pressure on the president to follow through on campaign promises.

“Those are not random events, folks. That is 'victory begets victory.' We owe that to Judge Moore,” Bannon said. “Every day is like Christmas Day now.”

Bannon predicted Trump will soon name the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.



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Saturday
Oct142017

Obama Foundation enlists Gloria Estefan, Chance the Rapper for inaugural summit

Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Obama Foundation is getting ready to rock.

The nonprofit foundation -- whose mission is "to inspire and empower people to change their world" -- announced on Friday a trio of musical acts for the closing event for its inaugural summit, slated for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Chicago: Chance the Rapper, Gloria Estefan and the indie rock band The National. Additional artists will be announced at a later date.

The event will be livestreamed at Obama.org on Nov. 1 at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Chance the Rapper posted a video to his Instagram account about his involvement with the summit.

And The National lead singer Matt Berninger posted a video to Instagram announcing the band's involvement with the summit.

David Simas, Chief Executive Officer of the Obama Foundation, said in a statement, "The Obama Foundation’s goal is to encourage and empower young people to create positive change in their communities. With the Obama Foundation Summit, we’re bringing together young leaders from across Chicago, the country and the world to share ideas. We look forward to joining these leaders, Chance, Gloria Estefan, and The National in an event that inspires individuals to see themselves as change agents and celebrates civic engagement."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Oct142017

President Trump pats himself on back after health insurance stocks take a dive

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is pointing to a fall in health insurance stocks as a sign of the success of his order immediately ending payments to insurers that help cover out-of-pocket costs for low- and middle-income Americans.

In tweets Saturday morning, the president also suggested that insurance companies had received a "windfall" from Democrats under Obamacare.

The president's self-congratulatory tweets come after the White House announcement Thursday night that the administration will immediately end subsidy payments estimated at about $7 billion per year to insurers for helping to reduce costs to modest-income people for premiums and similar health expenses.

The elimination of the monthly subsidies is expected to roil the insurance markets, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted it will raise premium costs for millions of Americans and increase the federal deficit.

Health insurance stocks fell after the White House announcement.

The administration has cited an ongoing lawsuit that Republicans in Congress brought during the Obama administration claiming that the subsidy payments to insurers are illegal because there was no official authorization for them.

Trump has also largely framed his decision as an attempt to bring Democrats to the negotiating table on health insurance. But Senate Democrats said they will insist on the payments being restored in the upcoming government funding bill, which must pass by Dec. 9 to keep the federal government running.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct132017

Trump to end Obamacare subsidies that help low-income Americans

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The White House announced Thursday night that the administration will slash Obamacare subsidy payments to insurers.

The "cost-sharing reduction payments," worth an estimated $7 billion this year, are intended to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans on Obamacare.

These subsidies are paid out in monthly installments, and cutting them will likely further roil the already unstable insurance market. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that such a move would immediately bump up the number of uninsured people.

Health and Human Services said the payments will be discontinued immediately.

Trump tweeted about the situation on Friday morning, saying Obamacare was "imploding."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a written statement that the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services concluded that it would be unlawful to continue the payments, because there are no appropriations.

"The government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments," Sanders said. "The United States House of Representatives sued the previous administration in federal court for making these payments without such an appropriation, and the court agreed that the payments were not lawful."

Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan released statements to that effect, saying the payments overstepped legal bounds because Congress is responsible for appropriating money.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., reiterated Sanders' point in a late-night statement on Thursday.

"Under our Constitution, the power of the purse belongs to Congress, not the executive branch," Ryan said. "Today's decision by the Trump administration to end the appeal of that ruling preserves a monumental affirmation of Congress's authority and the separation of powers. Obamacare has proven itself to be a fatally flawed law, and the House will continue to work with Trump administration to provide the American people a better system."

The president has threatened for months to cut these payments, with many insurers already planning for this possibility. Lawmakers have also been anticipating the action. One bipartisan group has been working to find a solution to preserve these payments and shore up the markets. The pressure will now grow on them to act.

Democratic Congressional leaders were quick to react to a Politico news report Thursday night that the Trump administration was expected to announce that it would cease to continue the subsidy payments.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint calling the action "pointless sabotage."

"Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems President Trump will singlehandedly hike Americans' health premiums," they said in a joint statement. "It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America."

The move by the White House comes after the president on Thursday signed an executive order directing his administration to look into increasing access to Association Health Plans and short-term limited duration insurance. The president said the plans have the potential to make health insurance more affordable, but critics argue that the plans would not cover basic health benefits such as maternity care and prescription drugs.

Former Barack Obama administration official Austan Goolsbee defended his former boss's plan in an interview late Thursday.

"This is 'crazy town,' " the former chair for Obama's Council of Economic Advisers said. "This is a decision that is opposed by every major medical organization, the doctors, the nurses, the hospitals, the insurance companies, the consumer groups -- and every other leading expert group has opposed this decision."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct132017

FCC chairman silent amid Trump's attacks on press 

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump continued his assault on NBC News Friday, retweeting former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's assertion that "the President will not be able to impact licenses, but he is doing major damage to the NBC brand."

Trump added, "Sadly, they and others are Fake News, and the public is just beginning to figure it out!"

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has yet to weigh in on the commission's role in upholding the First Amendment after Trump called Wednesday for network news licenses to be revoked based on "partisan, distorted and fake" reporting.

A petition started by nonpartisan advocacy group Free Press garnered thousands of signatures within the first hour of it being posted online, including the signature of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa., members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, are calling for a hearing with Pai and the other FCC commissioners so that “they can publicly disavow President Donald Trump’s repeated threats.”

Though Pai has a history of defending free speech rights, he made no mention of the issue while speaking at a “Fireside Chat” on entrepreneurship Thursday in Indianapolis.

The president’s threat to revoke NBC News' license is the latest battle in a war he began waging against the media during his presidential campaign.

The attacks have grown even more intense during his presidency.

In July, the president shared an edited video of him body-slamming someone with the CNN logo superimposed on his face. At a Phoenix rally in August, Trump railed against journalists as “sick people” who “don’t like our country,” blaming the media for misrepresenting his words responding to the violence in Charlottesville.

Last week on Twitter, Trump urged the Senate Intelligence Committee, the same committee investigating possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government, to launch a congressional investigation into “Fake News Networks.”

A closer look at the threat

Lori Brainard, a professor at George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, said revoking news networks' licenses could happen -- if the FCC allowed it.

“The FCC can do what it wants. The FCC can investigate whatever it wants,” Brainard said.

That’s what makes Pai’s silence so unsettling to advocates, Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said, “I think it would be good for the FCC to come out and clarify that they don’t intend to start limiting licenses based on the content of the speech.”

The FCC has not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

While it is unusual for the FCC to revoke a broadcast license based on content, Brainard said there is precedent. In 1969, WLBT, an NBC-affiliated station in Jackson, Mississippi, was stripped of its right to broadcast by the FCC for “failing to serve the public interest.” According to the Jackson Free Press, activists complained that the station hired few blacks, routinely cut programming featuring blacks and refused to air some political ads.

Brainard said the Trump administration might lean on the FCC to launch an investigation into news programming, or fund or back interest groups to challenge licenses that go up for renewal. While there is no single license for any national television network, local television stations’ licenses are subject to FCC review every eight years.

This also wouldn't be the first time an administration has tried to meddle in the license approval process. President Richard Nixon’s Oval Office recordings revealed that he wanted The Washington Post to be given “damnable, damnable problems” getting its FCC licenses renewed for a station the paper owned in Florida.

Leslie said he found some solace in the way the Nixon interference played out.

“Appropriately, that was treated as a scandal…that it was horrible that a president would try to take action and interfere with the rules of a federal agency,” he said.

Response and Condemnation

Trump’s threats this week were condemned by some members of Congress, as well as Democrats serving on the FCC.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted a link to Trump that gives an overview of FCC license rules. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn tweeted that revoking a broadcast license on such grounds “will only happen if we fail to abide by the First Amendment.”

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, wrote a letter to Pai, asking him to publicly refuse any presidential challenge to broadcasters’ licenses because of coverage disagreements. Markey is also requesting any communications from the Trump administration on the matter by Nov. 1.

The president’s comments also drew condemnation from some Republican lawmakers. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., asked if the Trump was renouncing his oath of office. House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to weigh in directly, telling ABC News, “I’m for the First Amendment...I don’t always agree or like what you guys write, but you have a right to do it, and I’m a constitutional conservative and I’m just going to leave it at that.”

In a speech last month in Washington, Pai stressed the need for a “shared cultural commitment to the importance of free speech,” pointing to college campuses that silence views perceived as unpopular or offensive. However, he also pointed to demands from people on Twitter, requesting the FCC “yank licenses from cable news channels...because they disagree with the opinions expressed on those networks.”

“Setting aside the fact that the FCC doesn’t license cable channels, these demands are fundamentally at odds with our legal and cultural traditions,” he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct132017

Jimmy Kimmel says he wants to have Trump on his show: 'I feel like I could turn him around on a couple of things'

ABC/Todd Wawrychuk(NEW YORK) -- Jimmy Kimmel admits he would love to have frequent target President Donald Trump as a guest on his hit live show, telling ABC News, "I have a lot of questions for Donald Trump."

"Maybe this is crazy, but I feel like I could turn him around on a couple of things," Kimmel said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Amy Robach for "Good Morning America." "I think he needs to be surrounded by better people. ... I just think he's changed positions so frequently.

"I want to know what happened to the Donald Trump ... who was a Democrat?" added Kimmel, who has recently made headlines for speaking out about issues such as gun violence and health care.

'Brooklyn is a magical place'

The comedian, who will be broadcasting his hit live show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live," from his birthplace of Brooklyn, New York, all throughout next week, told ABC News that "Brooklyn is a magical place."

"And not just the food ... but the people there," Kimmel added. "Every time I bring my kids there, I feel guilty that they don't get to just run around the neighborhood with a bunch of other kids, cause we don't really do that here in L.A."

Kimmel added that in Los Angeles, "We don't really know our neighbors until we're being deposed by them."

"Jimmy Kimmel Live: Back to Brooklyn" will tape at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Howard Gilman Opera House, and is slated to feature former long-time "Late Show" host David Letterman in his first late-night appearance since retiring.

"This is the first time he's done a late-night show since his last show, and that's terrifying for me," Kimmel admitted. "I feel like I've been preparing questions for Dave for my whole life."

In addition to Letterman, Kimmel said his Brooklyn shows will also feature guests including Billy Joel, Howard Stern, Amy Schumer and Tracy Morgan.

'I had to say something'

This May, Kimmel spoke candidly about his son, Billy, who was born with a heart defect and had to have an emergency life-saving surgery. His monologue quickly garnered an outpouring of support from fans. Kimmel said he received letters from former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama following his plea with politicians to guarantee American families universal health care.

Kimmel said Billy is currently doing well, and described his son as "very smiley" and "very cute."

"We're getting ready to have another operation," Kimmel added of his son.

"We needed him to just get big because it makes an operation easier," he added. "A bigger heart is easier to operate on. And he's been doing very well with that."

When asked by Robach what made him veer from his usual comedy routines to tackling issues such as the health care, Kimmel said that it wasn't "something that I discussed with anyone, other than my wife."

"But I did know that I had to say something when I came back," he said. "I'd been talking about the fact that my wife was pregnant for some time. And then all of a sudden, I was gone for a week."

Kimmel also explained his swift reaction when President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., questioned why he didn’t immediately speak publicly on Harvey Weinstein, the powerful movie producer now facing dozens of accusations of sexual misconduct.

“Harvey Weinstein is … not a friend of mine. I'm not in the movie business,” said Kimmel, who added that Trump Jr.’s “job seems to be tweeting.”

“And I'll add that story came out, like, I think moments before we went to tape on Thursday, and we didn't have a show on Friday,” Kimmel continued.

Kimmel discussed the allegations against Weinstein on his show Monday. He called it “convenient” that Trump Jr., as well as pro-gun advocates, are criticizing his reactions to Weinstein and the recent Las Vegas mass shooting. “Now what they’re doing now is they're trying to drag up any kind … take any comedy bit I did out of context and use it as some kind of proof,” he said. “They're saying that I'm calling myself the moral conscience of America, which I most certainly never did and most certainly never would.”

Kimmel said that fans can expect some "surprises" from his Brooklyn shows.

"We have some people that are going to show up. We have some events that I think will be meaningful to tell people about," he added. "We hope it'll be a great week."

The first of the five "Jimmy Kimmel Live: Back to Brooklyn" shows will air on Monday, Oct. 16, on ABC.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct132017

Trump touts First Amendment rights for religious groups

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump fervently advocated for religious liberty in a speech before a group of conservative Christian voters Friday, citing the protection of religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment, even as his critics pointed to that same amendment earlier in the week as he suggested blocking freedom of the press.

Trump's remarks came at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., where he became the first sitting president to address the event hosted by the Family Research Council -- a religious nonprofit lobbying organization that promotes what it describes as "traditional values." As was the case in his two prior appearances at the summit as a presidential candidate, Trump focused much of his energy on the theme of protecting freedom of religion, and argued he has followed through on his campaign promises.

"I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation's religious heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before," the president said. "That's what's happening. That's what's happening. You see it every day. You're reading it."

Earlier in the address, Trump commented that the nation's founding fathers "invoked our creator four times in the Declaration of Independence," and he pointed to the Bill of Rights as the guiding principle on the issue.

"Religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights, and we all pledge allegiance to -- very, very beautifully -- one nation under God," Trump said. "This is America's heritage, a country that never forgets that we are all, all, every one of us, made by the same God in heaven."

Trump's utilization of the First Amendment's protection of the free exercise of religion comes in a week in which he threatened to challenge the broadcast licenses of network news organizations, spurring criticism that he was ignoring the First Amendment's protection against laws "abridging the freedom of speech."

Only individual television stations -- some of which are owned at the network level -- have licenses that could potentially be disputed.

As evidence of his efforts to further the interests of the religious community, Trump discussed his reinstatement of the so-called "Mexico City policy," which prevents foreign organizations from receiving U.S. federal government funding for health-related programs if they perform or promote abortions. First instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, the policy has been revoked twice and reinstated twice as Democrats and Republicans have traded the White House back and forth since the early 1990s.

The president's overtures to Judeo-Christian Americans has not waned in the aftermath of his election victory last year. In a moment that received widespread attention in June, Trump welcomed religious leaders to the Oval Office, where he was photographed praying with the group.

Friday's speech further doubled down on a prior promise that Trump has made at the Values Voter Summit: to encourage the public to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" during the holiday season.

"We're getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don't talk about anymore," the president said. "They don't use the word 'Christmas' because it is not politically correct. You go to department stores and they'll say, 'Happy New Year,' and they'll say other things, and it'll be red, they'll have it painted, but they don't say -- well, guess what, we're saying 'Merry Christmas' again."


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