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Trump, Biden ‘eviscerate’ each other as press questions POTUS’ polls

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Trump, Biden 'eviscerate' each other as press questions POTUS' polls

CNN had the “breaking news” banner headline up for hours on its morning news show:

BIDEN TO EVISCERATE TRUMP TODAY IN IOWA SPEECH.”

Does that sound like a balanced headline on “New Day”? Or does it sound like the show is saying the president is very much in need of eviscerating?

I harp on this because CNN promotes this as a news program, not an opinion show. I have no problem with playing up a speech leaked in advance by Joe Biden’s campaign (Fox and many others reported it as well). The CNN anchors and panelists didn’t say anything terribly biased. But that headline undercut them. Would the average viewer get the sense that CNN is subtly cheering Biden on?

WARNING SIGNS FOR TRUMP AS NEW POLL SHOWS BIDEN, OTHER DEMS WITH 2020 EDGE

Here’s how Axios handled the same leak: “Biden Hits Trump 76 Times in Iowa speech.” That’s a statement of fact. The story included such Biden applause lines as “I believe Trump is an existential threat to America.”

The media treated yesterday as a general-election preview because the president was also in Iowa. And the advance speech prompted Trump to do his own eviscerating at a press gaggle before leaving Washington.

“I think he’s the weakest mentally,” Trump said of Biden. “I like running against people who are weak mentally.” He called the former VP a “dummy” in terms of his approach to China.

The president also called him a “loser” and said that for Biden to mention him 76 times in a speech, “that means he’s in trouble.”

CNN CRITICIZED FOR CHYRON CLAIMING BIDEN WILL ‘EVISCERATE’ TRUMP IN SPEECH

And Trump not-so-subtly raised the age issue, saying Biden “looks different than he used to. He acts different than he used to. He’s even slower than he used to be.” Biden is 76, Trump is about to turn 73.

The New York Times, meanwhile, kicked off Trump’s day in Iowa with a behind-the-scenes story that raised questions about his veracity.

After the president’s pollster, Tony Fabrizio, briefed him on a “devastasting” 17-state survey, Trump “told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical Rust Belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well.”

At the helicopter gaggle, Trump said only, “My poll numbers are great.”

A CNN reporter earlier asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the president told his aides to deny that internal polling showed him trailing Biden.

She deflected the question more than once, saying, “Look, I think the polling got it completely wrong in 2016, I don’t think it’s right now.”

Another passage from the NYT story: Trump “rarely if ever speaks to aides about what he hopes to accomplish with what would be a hard-won second term; his interest is entirely in the present, and mostly on the crisis of the moment. He has shown no interest in formulating a new message for his campaign, instead continuing with the winning “Make America Great Again” slogan from his last race and adding that he also wants to ‘keep America great.’”

Hey, the guy was elected despite all the polls and all the odds, so it’s little surprise that he trusts his instincts. He devises his message hour by hour. Nor is it a shock that he lives in the moment.

RACHEL MADDOW TO HELP MODERATE FIRST DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATE

As for Biden, all three cable news networks took his Iowa speech, delivered in a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone. He called Trump a “threat to our core values,” a “threat to our standing in the world” and a “genuine threat to American democracy.” He declared that “this is really dangerous stuff” and that “four years of Donald Trump will be viewed as an aberration in American history and around the world.”

On one level, it’s just another day of sparring, but it benefits both men. Trump, apparently convinced that he’ll be facing Biden, wants to rough him up during the primaries. Biden, who still has to win Iowa and a whole bunch of other states, wants to foster the notion that it’s him against Donald and the other 23 candidates are irrelevant.

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Footnote:  NBC announced its moderators for the back-to-back debates at the end of June: Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Jose Diaz-Balart and…Rachel Maddow.

Maddow, a Rhodes scholar, is a smart woman and talented broadcaster, but she’s a fierce partisan who despises Trump, has pounded away at the Mueller probe for two years and conducts friendly interviews with Democratic candidates. Yet virtually no one in the press is questioning her selection.

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Didn’t the DNC ban Fox from the debates on grounds that the network wouldn’t be fair? If Fox was hosting a Republican debate with several journalists plus, say, Sean Hannity or Lou Dobbs, there would be a media uproar.

But because it’s a popular figure on the left, nobody raises an eyebrow.

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U.S. president confirms no withdrawal from security pact: Japan

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday the United States has confirmed its defense treaty with Japan after a report suggested U.S. President Donald Trump considered withdrawing from the pact.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Trump has recently spoken privately about withdrawing from the treaty as he is of the view that the pact treated the United States unfairly.

“The thing reported in the media you mentioned does not exist,” Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo.

“We have received confirmation from the U.S. president it is incompatible with the U.S. government policy,” he added.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Darren Schuettler

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Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works

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Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works

It’s a headline that captures the establishment’s disdain for the president’s unorthodox style of governing.

“Trump’s Erratic Policy Moves Put National Security at Risk, Experts Warn,” says The Washington Post.

Never mind that the first three critics quoted — after a defense from Mike Pence on CNN — were Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

The other “experts” were two professors who were mildly critical and a lawyer who was supportive of Trump.

But the piece does get at a central question about this president in the wake of the aborted airstrikes against Iran, which he called off with 10 minutes to spare.

Does Trump preside over a messy and sometimes chaotic process? Of course. But sometimes that style gets results.

On Iran, for instance, many liberals liked that he pulled back on bombing over the downing of an unmanned drone, even as they say he extinguished a fire that he had started. (Maureen Dowd: “As shocking as it is to write this sentence, it must be said: Donald Trump did something right.”)

TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER DELIVERING ‘HARD-HITTING’ SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

In negotiations, the president often makes a dramatic demand or threat, sparking a media and diplomatic furor over whether this time he’s gone too far — then hammers out a compromise and claims victory. It’s the style of a blustery New York real estate developer who’s always one minute from walking away from the table, transferred to the staid, tradition-bound world of Washington.

Over the weekend, Trump called off a wave of ICE arrests that was to begin on Sunday, which he said would begin deportations of “millions” of illegal immigrants. That set off the predictable uproar.

Trump, after a reported call with Nancy Pelosi, said he was delaying the arrests for two weeks to allow time for negotiations with the Democrats. Nobody seems to think a deal can be struck in so short a period, but Trump won points with his base by threatening the mass arrests and again drove the news agenda.

SUBSCRIBE TO HOWIE’S MEDIA BUZZMETER PODCAST, A RIFF OF THE DAY’S HOTTEST STORIES

The Post’s take: “Three policy turnarounds by President Trump this month have underscored his freewheeling governing style, an approach that some experts warn sends mixed messages and puts U.S. national security at risk …

“The results of Trump’s strategy on policy have been mixed at best — and few issues offer as complete a picture of the president’s habitual brinkmanship as his effort to overhaul U.S. trade policy.”

Remember when Trump threatened to close the Mexican border? The Beltway went ballistic. He didn’t.

PELOSI SAYS ‘VIOLATION OF STATUS’ NOT A REASON TO DEPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Then he threatened to slap tariffs on all Mexican products, beginning at 5 percent, if the country didn’t crack down on migrants fleeing Central America for the U.S. border. Lo and behold, Trump got a last-minute agreement. It’s hard to judge how concrete these steps are, and The New York Times said most of them had been previously agreed to, but the perception — or perhaps the reality — is that he got Mexico to move.

Trump even used the tough-talk tactics against Canada before finally hammering out a trade deal. Whether the tariffs imposed on China ultimately lead to an agreement is another question.

The point is that while Trump’s approach horrifies the traditionalists, he rarely carries out the well-publicized threats.

I see a link between the zig-zagging negotiating style and the repeated failures of Trump’s vetting operation. Rather than wait for full-fledged inquiries and background checks, the president announces who he wants to nominate — and often has to pull back.

That was painfully on display when acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan had to withdraw over a violent family past that would have made clear he would be impossible to confirm. The same was true when the president had to drop his planned nominees to the Fed, Herman Cain and Steve Moore.

Axios obtained nearly 100 Trump transition vetting documents that clearly show the RNC and others were overwhelmed in trying to check on potential nominees. The documents show that ethical and management questions were raised about Scott Pruitt and Tom Price, who later had to resign their posts at EPA and HHS.

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As president, Trump has far more resources available to vet nominees, yet still rushes to name them before any real investigation.

This president isn’t going to win any awards for a tidy management process. But when it comes to military action and trade talks, he sometimes wins ugly.

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Emergency aid bill challenges Pelosi’s grip on Democrats

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Emergency aid bill challenges Pelosi’s grip on Democrats

A $4.5 million House bill aimed at providing more funding to migrant families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border is posing a challenge to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s grip on her party, as its liberal faction argue that the bill doesn’t go far enough while moderates worry that pushing for perfection will result in inaction at the border.

Calls for more funding at the border come amid reports that children detained entering the U.S. from Mexico are being held under harsh conditions. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News on Monday that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is dire. Azar said HHS shelters are at capacity and the budget is not there to increase it unless Congress acts.

Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer John Sanders told The Associated Press that Border Patrol stations are holding 15,000 people – more than three times their maximum capacity.

A $4.5 trillion House bill aimed at alleviating circumstances like these is up for a vote Tuesday, but liberal Democrats are calling for provisions to strengthen protections for migrant children, and challenge the Trump administration’s border policies. Democrats met on Capitol Hill with Pelosi late Monday to try and reach a compromise. The meeting reportedly eased some Democratic complaints.

PELOSI TELLS NEW YORK CROWD ‘VIOLATION OF STATUS’ NOT A REASON TO DEPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Asked before the meeting about her concerns that Democrats’ push for perfection might result in inaction at the border, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called it “a delicate situation.” Afterward, she appeared to have left the door open saying: “My main goal is to keep kids from dying,” before calling the humanitarian bill a “short-term” measure.”

But others weren’t swayed. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said after the meeting: “We cannot continue to throw money at a dysfunctional system. We are not just asking for simple changes to be made into this bill, but to go back to the drawing board and really address this from a humanitarian issue.”

The White House accused lawmakers in a letter earlier Monday of trying to undermine its efforts at the border, arguing that the House package does provide enough money to toughen border security or funds for Trump’s proposed border wall.

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Congress plans to leave Washington in a few days for a weeklong July 4 recess. While lawmakers don’t want to depart without acting on the legislation for fear of being accused of not responding to humanitarian problems at the border, it seems unlikely that Congress would have time to send a House-Senate compromise to Trump by week’s end.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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