Corker Speaking Truth About trump

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, last week in Washington.TOM BRENNER/THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON — Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Mr. Corker’s comments capped a remarkable day of sulfurous insults between the president and the Tennessee senator — a powerful, if lame-duck, lawmaker, whose support will be critical to the president on tax reform and the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.


It began on Sunday morning when Mr. Trump, posting on Twitter, accused Mr. Corker of deciding not to run for re-election because he “didn’t have the guts.” Mr. Corker shot back in his own tweet: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

The senator, Mr. Trump said, had “begged” for his endorsement. “I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement),” the president wrote. He also said that Mr. Corker had asked to be secretary of state. “I said ‘NO THANKS,’” he wrote.

Mr. Corker flatly disputed that account, saying Mr. Trump had urged him to run again, and promised to endorse him if he did. But the exchange laid bare a deeper rift: The senator views Mr. Trump as given to irresponsible outbursts — a political novice who has failed to make the transition from show business.

Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview.

The deeply personal back-and-forth will almost certainly rupture what had been a friendship with a fellow real estate developer turned elected official, one of the few genuine relationships Mr. Trump had developed on Capitol Hill. Still, even as he leveled his stinging accusations, Mr. Corker repeatedly said on Sunday that he liked Mr. Trump, until now an occasional golf partner, and wished him “no harm.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Corker’s remarks.

Mr. Trump’s feud with Mr. Corker is particularly perilous given that the president has little margin for error as he tries to pass a landmark overhaul of the tax code — his best, and perhaps last, hope of producing a major legislative achievement this year.


If Senate Democrats end up unified in opposition to the promised tax bill, Mr. Trump could lose the support of only two of the Senate’s 52 Republicans to pass it. That is the same challenging math that Mr. Trump and Senate Republican leaders faced in their failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Corker could also play a key role if Mr. Trump follows through on his threat to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal, kicking to Congress the issue of whether to restore sanctions on Tehran and effectively scuttle the pact.

Republicans could hold off on sanctions but use the threat of them to force Iran back to the negotiating table — a strategy being advocated by Senator Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican. But that approach could leave the United States isolated, and it will be up to Mr. Corker to balance opposition to the deal with the wishes of those, including some of Mr. Trump’s own aides, who want to change the accord but not blow it up.

Beyond the Iran deal, Mr. Corker’s committee holds confirmation hearings on Mr. Trump’s ambassadorial appointments. If the president were to oust Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of state, as some expect, Mr. Corker would lead the hearings on Mr. Trump’s nominee for the post.

In a 25-minute conversation, Mr. Corker, speaking carefully and purposefully, seemed to almost find cathartic satisfaction by portraying Mr. Trump in terms that most senior Republicans use only in private.

The senator, who is close to Mr. Tillerson, invoked comments that the president made on Twitter last weekend in which he appeared to undercut Mr. Tillerson’s negotiations with North Korea.


“A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true,” Mr. Corker said.

Without offering specifics, he said Mr. Trump had repeatedly undermined diplomacy with his Twitter fingers. “I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Mr. Corker said.

All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he said, adding that “of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

As for the tweets that set off the feud on Sunday morning, Mr. Corker expressed a measure of powerlessness.

“I don’t know why the president tweets out things that are not true,” he said. “You know he does it, everyone knows he does it, but he does.”

The senator recalled four conversations this year, a mix of in-person meetings and phone calls, in which he said the president had encouraged him to run for re-election. Mr. Trump, he said, repeatedly indicated he wanted to come to Tennessee for an early rally on Mr. Corker’s behalf and even telephoned him last Monday to try to get him to reconsider his decision to retire.

“When I told him that that just wasn’t in the cards, he said, ‘You know, if you run, I’ll endorse you.’ I said, ‘Mr. President, it’s just not in the cards; I’ve already made a decision.’ So then we began talking about other candidates that were running.”

One of the most prominent establishment-aligned Republicans to develop a relationship with Mr. Trump, the senator said he did not regret standing with him during the campaign last year.

“I would compliment him on things that he did well, and I’d criticize things that were inappropriate,” he said. “So it’s been really the same all the way through.”

A former mayor of Chattanooga who became wealthy in construction, Mr. Corker, 65, has carved out a reputation over two terms in the Senate as a reliable, but not overly partisan, Republican.

While he opposed President Barack Obama’s divisive nuclear deal with Iran, he did not prevent it from coming to a vote on the Senate floor, which exposed him to fierce fire from conservatives, who blamed him for its passage.

Mr. Trump picked up on that theme hours after his initial tweets, writing that “Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it. We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!”

Mr. Corker was briefly a candidate to be Mr. Trump’s running mate in 2016, but he withdrew his name from consideration and later expressed ambivalence about Mr. Trump’s campaign, in part because he said he found it frustrating to discuss foreign policy with him.

To some extent, the rift between the two men had been building for months, as Mr. Corker repeatedly pointed out on Sunday to argue that his criticism was not merely that of a man liberated from facing the voters again.

After a report last week that Mr. Tillerson had once referred to Mr. Trump as a “moron,” Mr. Corker told reporters that Mr. Tillerson was one of three officials helping to “separate our country from chaos.” Those remarks were repeated on “Fox News Sunday,” which may have prompted Mr. Trump’s outburst.

In August, after Mr. Trump’s equivocal response to the deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Va., Mr. Corker told reporters that the president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”

He said on Sunday that he had made all those comments deliberately, aiming them at “an audience of one, plus those people who are closely working around with him, what I would call the good guys.” He was referring to Mr. Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly.

“As long as there are people like that around him who are able to talk him down when he gets spun up, you know, calm him down and continue to work with him before a decision gets made, I think we’ll be fine,” he said.

Mr. Corker would not directly answer when asked whether he thought Mr. Trump was fit for the presidency. But he did say that the commander in chief was not fully aware of the power of his office.

“I don’t think he appreciates that when the president of the United States speaks and says the things that he does, the impact that it has around the world, especially in the region that he’s addressing,” he said. “And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me.”

Get politics and Washington news updates via FacebookTwitter andthe Morning Briefing newsletter.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Thomas Kaplan and Noah Weiland from Washington.


HelpSubscribeFeedbackTerms of ServicePrivacy

I’d been living in the Sandia Mountains for a couple of seasons

The sun was just beginning to paint the sky as dawn crept , like an awakening lover, over the distant mountain ranges.
I’d been living in the Sandia Mountains for a couple of seasons.
I had a Toyota pickup, a tent and assorted camping gear stowed in the back.
I heard the quiet chirping of birds in the fragrant Douglas fir overhead and the hectic chatter of a family of squirrels.
I guess they were complaining about me being here.
I was invading their space, and they were letting me know it.
My campsite was on a grassy field off of a rock covered four-wheel trail at the timberline.
I stretched in my sleeping bag in the red, heat-encapsulated tent, grabbed some matches, put on a pair of cut off jeans and walked outside through the yielding soil towards the fire ring six feet from my tent. The morning air was chilly.
I poured some gasoline on the logs in the center, struck a match and stood back as the pile exploded into flames.
As the flames died down, I leaned over the burning logs to warm up.
I looked around.
The firs and pines of the forest were covered with sweet dew, the grass looked healthy and alive, the hills and valleys around me were pink from the rising sun.
I hiked down a rocky slope and through a thicket of reeds where I knelt beside a cold, clear stream and bathed, goose bumps breaking out on my body as I braved the frigid water.
I pulled the cutoffs over my hips and trotted back to the fire.
The warmth of the flames on my skin felt good.
The smell of burning pine mixed with the scent of the forest was invigorating.
I looked at my watch.
It was 7:30 in the morning; I had to be at work by 8.
I put on a pair of faded jeans and a black t-shirt, a pair of tennis, threw my tent and accoutrements in the back of the truck, stuck the key in the ignition, cranked the Toyota’s four cylinder engine to life, and gravel spraying behind me, bounced over the rock strewn four-wheel trail into town.
The countryside was lit with the blazing fire of the sun, which now was burning over the horizon.
The valley below was alive with brush and green cacti,
The green jungle- like strip of forest bordering the Rio Grande snaked it’s way through the middle of the valley, only occasional glimpses of reflective silver betraying the river running through it.
I gunned the engine as I left the wild country and pulled onto Tramway, heading downtown.
20 minutes later I wheeled the pick-up onto the gravel covered parking lot of the yellow cab company.
I was covering for another driver today.
Usually I worked nights.
If you want to see the raw underbelly of life in a city, drive a cab for a while.
I got behind the wheel of cab 64, guided her out of the lot and drove over to 15th and Summer where Kevin lived with his wife Liz.
Liz was a beautiful Spanish girl with lustrous black hair, soft brown eyes, and an intelligent, cheerful, soft-spoken manner.
Kevin was a match for her physically, and had a kind of animal magnetism that made him irresistible to men and women.
I liked the neighborhood, I had survived quite an ordeal there, and I had come back to life, from the brink of self-destruction, in an addition to Kevin’s house that he and I built over a couple of summers and winters.
I reached into the pocket of my beaten leather jacket and extracted a joint, which I proceeded to smoke while I watched the rustic little neighborhood come to life.
The dispatcher’s voice crackled over the radio as I blew a stream of bluish smoke through my nose.
‘Sixty-four, you got a personal call. A young lady wants you to pick her up at the restaurant on Central next to the
Imperial Inn.  Her name is Marcia.”
I coughed up a lungful of potent marijuana as I clicked the mike, “Ten-four, dispatch.  My ETA is 10 minutes.”
I shoved the transmission into drive and maneuvered the cab onto 15th as I headed for central.
The dew had burned off of the lawns and young Hispanic kids were plodding towards their respective schools.
I caught the traffic light at 15th and Central, and the eye of a pretty 15 or 16 year old schoolgirl.
She waved and stuck out her thumb.
I waved back and smiled, but kept driving.
I pulled into the rear of the restaurant as Marcia walked up and got beside me in the cab.
Marcia and I had been dating for a couple of months.
She was a hooker, but I wasn’t a customer. It was personal.
We talked a lot, she was quite intelligent, really.
She was pretty, a brunette with very short hair, not butch, but short, just past her ears.
She looked about thirty, but she was only 27.
We talked about life, philosophy, and morality.
She was a very moral person, for a prostitute.
She put a soft hand on my knee and said, hoarsely, “I’m tired, Michael, take me home. I just want to soak in a hot tub, relax, drink a beer.”
“Sure thing, Babe.” I said as we headed out into the rush hour traffic heading west on Central.
I looked over at her.
She really looked tired.
She had been a middle-class kid from a good home in the suburbs when she started working for a high-class escort service as a teenager.
Years later she was on a whole other level, selling her body to strangers, and as a cabbie, I knew, some pretty unpleasant strangers, for the money to survive and pay for her habits, whatever they might be.
She told me that she wanted to go back to school, get out of the life, but it was her life now.
She felt stuck in it.
I leaned over and kissed her softly on the mouth.
She smiled. “You’re nice, Michael. I like being around you. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy.”
I chuckled. “I  know some women that would take issue with that assessment.”
She rolled her eyes, “They don’t know you like I do.”
Marcia lived in a motel near the Rio Grande, one of those weekly rates places, a little run down, almost abandoned after the freeways were put in.
I keyed the mike, “Dispatch, I’m out of service for a few.”
The dispatcher drawled back, with what sounded like an edge of sarcasm, “Check, 64.”
I walked her to the door.
“What do I owe you?” She asked as she reached into the pocket of her tight, worn, blue jeans.
“It’s on Yellow Cab.” I smiled.
She reached up and clasped her hands around my neck, “I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
I leaned closer, her perfume was soft, enticing. “Take advantage of me, Marcia.”
She ran her hands down my back; I tingled.
“Alright, Darlin’, come inside.” She whispered.
We walked into her room, furnished with a TV, a small gas range, a bed, a mini-refrigerator and a couple of worn looking chairs.
Marcia kicked off her high heels and said, “I’ve gotta use the little girl’s room. Make yourself comfortable. Kick your shoes off, and whatever.”
She looked so pretty.
She was safe here, at home, I liked her, and I felt like she knew it.
I turned on the TV. It looked to be a slow news day, a couple of muggings, an assault or two, and a rape. Nothing unusual or particularly news worthy.
The newscaster was a frankly sexual- looking blonde.
I really felt like Marcia and I were friends more than anything else, but I was still a young man with normal desires, and I couldn’t help but think of what she would be wearing when she emerged from the “little girls room.”
I think she got a kick out of my expression when she wore something particularly sexy.
I looked at my watch. She was certainly taking her time in there, I thought.
I waited a few minutes more and said, “Hey Marcia, you ok in there?”
The silence, as they say, was deafening.
I walked over to the bathroom and knocked softly, “Marcia?”
Not a sound.
Something was wrong, I felt it.
“Marcia!” I banged on the door.
I cracked the door and the world focused sharply in one terrible moment.
Marcia lay sprawled out on the floor, her feet up against the door, pale as a cadaver.
I forced the door open, her legs bending at the knee stiffly.
She was dead.
A needle dangled from a vein in her arm, her eyes stared unseeing into the vacuum of space.
“F**k!” I cried “F**k!” I knelt beside her body and placed my fingers on the side of her throat, checking for a carotid pulse.
I could see she wasn’t breathing, either.
I placed one hand on her forehead, tilted her head back, pinched her nostrils shut and blew into her mouth.
Buttons popped as I ripped her blouse open and felt for her sternum.
I’d done this kind of thing before, I mean CPR, but not on someone who I cared about, someone who I’d expected to be relaxing in bed with about now.
I gave her a couple of breaths and began chest compressions.
Suddenly there was a man standing in the doorway, staring at us wide-eyed.
He looked like a junkie.
I turned towards him, “Call 911!”
I turned back and continued performing CPR on Marcia.
The junkie was still staring, frozen to the spot.
“Mother-F*cker!” I shouted  “call 911, NOW!”
He stammered,  “I can’t, I’ll get busted..”
“I will track you down, motherf*cker, if this girl dies, and I will beat you to death. Don’t give your name. Tell them what you saw. Give them the address and walk away. Call, Goddammit!”
The junkie started walking backwards, “OK,” he said.
I could hear him on the phone as I forced air into Marcia’s lungs and pushed her sternum against her lifeless heart.
My hands were sliding across her  chest from perspiration, I was almost blind from sweat pouring into my eyes as I worked on Marcia’s unresponsive body.
In what seemed like an eternity, Firemen where rushing into the bathroom.
“We’ll take over, fella.” A tall, muscular looking Paramedic said.
I fell back against the shower stall, dazed, saddened and nearly exhausted.
The Paramedic shoved an endo-tracheal tube down Marcia’s throat while another medic injected her with Narcan.
He looked at me while he attached a bag to the endo-tracheal tube and began hyper-ventilating Marcia.
“How long has she been down?”
I wiped perspiration from my forehead with the back of my hand. “Five minutes, ten. I’m not sure. She was in here alone when I found her.”
Suddenly Marcia coughed and began gagging.
My eyes widened.
I could not believe it.
She was alive!


Are Twitterers Criminals?

Last month Elliot Madison was arrested for twittering about police movements to protesters during the G-8 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA.

Thursday, the FBI also raided Mr. Madison’s home in Queens, NY, followed on Friday by Mr. Madison’s filing of a motion in the Eastern District of New York federal court in Brooklyn for the return of his seized property.
As a resource to journalists and interested readers, we are posting Mr. Madison’s motion and his lawyer’s supporting declaration; attached to the declaration are copies of the search warrant, an inventory of the seized items, and the original criminal complaint.

Mr Madison is being charge with possession of a criminal device, i.e., his cell phone.

Below Are the Court Documents in this case:
Madison_motion_EDNY.pdf 1.15 MB

This story is based on reporting from