US Vice President Mike Pence '100 per cent confident' his staff weren't involved in NYT column criticising Trump

Vice President Mike Pence says he’s "100 per cent confident" that no one on his staff was involved with the anonymous New York Times column criticising President Donald Trump’s leadership.

"I know them. I know their character," Pence said in a taped interview aired today by CBS' Face the Nation.

Some pundits had speculated that Pence could be the senior administration official who wrote the opinion piece because it included language Pence has been known to use, like the unusual word “lodestar.”

The op-ed writer claimed to be part of a “resistance” movement within the Trump administration that was working quietly behind the scenes to thwart the president’s most dangerous impulses.

More than two dozen high-ranking administration officials have denied writing the column. And Pence said his staff has nothing to do with it.

“Let me be very clear. I’m 100 percent confident that no one on the vice president’s staff was involved in this anonymous editorial. I know my people,” Pence said on “Face the Nation.” ″They get up every day and are dedicated, just as much as I am, to advancing the president’s agenda and supporting everything ... President Trump is doing for the people of this country.”

Asked whether he had asked his staff about the op-ed, Pence said, “I don’t have to ask them because I know them. I know their character. I know their dedication and I am absolutely confident that no one on the vice president’s staff had anything to do with this.”

He restated that he thinks the essay writer should do the “honourable thing and resign.”

Publication of the op-ed followed the release of stunning details from an upcoming book by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward in which current and former aides referred to Trump as an “idiot” and “liar” and depicted him as prone to rash policy decisions that some aides either work to stall or derail entirely.

Both releases are said to have infuriated Trump, who unleashed a string of attacks on Woodward’s credibility and dismissed the celebrated author’s book as a “work of fiction.” Some of the officials featured in the book’s anecdotes about the president, including defense secretary Jim Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly, issued statements denying the comments attributed to them by Woodward.

Woodward has said he stands by his reporting. The book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” is scheduled to be formally released Tuesday (local time), all but ensuring that the debate over Trump’s leadership ability and style will extend into a second straight week.

Trump, meanwhile, has denounced the Times opinion piece as “gutless” and its publication as a “disgrace” bordering on treason.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Trump ally, has said the president would be justified in using lie detectors to ferret out the anonymous writer. The president has yet to say whether he’d go that far, but Pence says he’d be willing to submit to such an examination.

“I would agree to take it in a heartbeat and would submit to any review the administration wanted to do,” he said in a taped “Fox News Sunday (local time)” interview.

Both Pence and Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to Trump, pushed back during separate television appearances Sunday on the portrayals of Trump as anything but a thoughtful leader. Both also said they had no idea who wrote the piece; Trump has said he can name up to five people who could have written it.

“What I see is a tough leader, a demanding leader, someone who gets all the options on the table,” Pence said on Fox News. “But he makes the decisions, and that’s why we’ve made the progress we’ve made.”

Trump has said the Justice Department should investigate and unmask the anonymous author. He cited national security concerns as grounds for what would amount to an extraordinary criminal probe should attorney general Jeff Sessions decide to pursue one.

Neither Pence nor Conway answered directly when asked if Sessions should treat Trump’s comments as an order. The Justice Department is supposed to make investigative decisions free of political pressure from the White House and the president.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the senate intelligence committee, disagreed that the opinion piece amounted to a national security threat and attributed Trump’s musing about a Justice Department investigation “to a president who’s lashing out.”

On an unrelated matter, Pence said on CBS that he has not been called for an interview by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s Republican presidential campaign as well as Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Pence said he’s willing to sit down with Mueller if he is asked and added that he so far has cooperated with all requests for information from the special counsel and will continue to do so.

FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2018 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence gestures while speaking to the Republican National Lawyers Association in Washington. President Donald Trump is lashing out against the anonymous senior official who wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times.  Washington is consumed by a wild guessing game as to the identity of the writer, and swift denials of involvement in the op-ed came Thursday from top administration officials, including from Vice President Mike Pence's office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, and other Cabinet members.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Vice President Mike Pence. Source: Associated Press


Topics



404

Error 404

Guru Meditation:

XID: 636601034


Varnish cache server


Winston Peters explains party's support for raising refugee quota

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says NZ First shared the Labour Party's "aspiration" to increase the refugee quota, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced it will be raised to 1500 today.

The NZ First Party leader's position was in stark contrast to comments made at the start of the month at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

"We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota," Mr Peters told media at the time.

The Deputy PM went on to argue there were other priorities for the Government.

"We've got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, with people living in degradation.

"We have to fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like."

However, while standing next to Ms Ardern during the announcement today he took a much softer line on the refugee issue.

"This is about people not about politics and controversy, the fact is it was put to me in Nauru that the 1500 figure was already there, which it wasn't.

"The Labour Party policy I knew was an aspiration towards that, so was New Zealand First's an aspiration towards that, and I knew the Greens had a higher target," Mr Peters said.

"All I did was put out the plain facts and to say that it was a work in progress and I'm not surprised with the speed at which the progress has taken place.

"This was always on the cards that we'd get it done when we had all the background work done on refugee centres and a host of other things," he continued.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's refugee quota was previously 1000, after being increased by the National-led Government from 750 in 2016.

The new quota will take effect from July 2020. 

Major points

- There will be six new settlement locations, on top of re-establishing Christchurch as a settlement location.

- Expanding the public housing supply for 150 extra refugee families is expected to cost $32.5 million over three years.

- Budget 2018 included money to build new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre  

The NZ First leader said the increase was “always on the cards”. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

New Zealand's refugee quota jumps to 1500 per year from July 2020, Government announces

New Zealand’s refugee quota will be raised to 1500, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. 

It was previously 1000, after being increased by the National-led Government from 750 in 2016.

"It is the right thing to do," said Ms Ardern. 

"It puts New Zealand much more in line with the humanitarian policies of other developed countries."

Deputy PM Winston Peters said the increase was "about people, not about politics and controversy". 

The NZ First leader said the increase was “always on the cards”. Source: 1 NEWS

The new quota will take effect from July 2020. 

Major points

- There will be six new settlement locations, on top of re-establishing Christchurch as a settlement location.

- Expanding the public housing supply for 150 extra refugee families is expected to cost $32.5 million over three years. 

- Budget 2018 included money to build new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre 

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Background

Yesterday, Ms Ardern told media she wanted to see the current quota increased but a sticking point has been the vastly different policy positions of Labour's Government partners. 

Labour pledged to raise the quota to 1500 and the Green Party aimed for a quota of 5000.

Earlier this month NZ First's Winston Peters told media in Nauru that the focus needed to be on New Zealanders struggling at home.

"We have 50,000 people who are homeless back home and I can show you parts of Northland where people are living in degradation," Mr Peters said, while being questioned at the Pacific Islands' Forum.

National's Simon Bridges said yesterday if the refugee quota was lower than 1500 it would be a demonstration of "Winston Peters undermining the Prime Minister".

"If you look at the Prime Minister's rhetoric she's made great play about being a globalist, a progressive with soaring rhetoric on these issues.

"It's all very well to do the photo ops, the international pieces, but when you've got important questions like this back home that... [are] now are up in the air because of a lack of unanimity and cohesion."

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS


Don Brash says Massey's Vice Chancellor should consider resigning after email dump

Former National Party leader Don Brash is calling for Massey University's vice-chancellor to consider her position, saying it's "almost untenable".

The university prevented Dr Brash from speaking at its Manawatū campus last month.

He was due to give a speech about his time in politics, but vice-chancellor Jan Thomas cancelled the talk for security reasons.

The university had cited a Facebook post on 3 August that linked to the event page and included the comment "take a gun".

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act contain correspondence to and from Ms Thomas in the run-up to the cancellation.

In one email, on 9 July, the vice-chancellor said she did not want a "te tiriti led university to be seen to be endorsing racist behaviours".

On 10 July, Ms Thomas emailed to say she would like to know the options for banning the politics club from holding events on campus.

She said the "racist behaviour of Dr Brash - given te reo is an official language of NZ and we are a tiriti-led university - can't be ignored".

Speaking from China, Dr Brash said he considered Ms Thomas' position almost untenable and told RNZ that he believes she was "totally misleading".

"Quite frankly, I don't know if she can stay in her position."

Dr Brash has previously said he believed it was his views, rather than safety concerns, that led to him being banned from the publicly-funded university.

The documents also contain many emails sent to the university objecting to its cancellation decision.

- By Amy Williams

rnz.co.nz

Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas and Don Brash Source: rnz.co.nz