The article originally appeared on India Today on October 12.

Preet Bharara, former US Attorney and a known critic of US President Donald Trump, mocked him for trying to threaten news networks. Bharara was appointed by Barack Obama as US Attorney for Manhattan where he served for many years before being fired by Trump this March, a fact that Bharara has mentioned in his Twitter bio.

While replying to a tweet where Trump indicated he might challenge broadcast license of media houses, Bharara quipped, “Adult day care shift alert, please report for duty”, in an apparent reference to Republican Senator Bob Corker, a supporter-turned-critic of Trump, who has called the US president a political novice whose outbursts have become so routine that the White House has become an adult day care centre.

Bob Corker heads the powerful US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has been a strong anti-Trump voice on issues like Trump Administration’s handling of the North Korean nuclear crisis and the changes Trump is trying to make to the US tax regime. Trump and Corker are engaged in a bitter war of words these days and they routinely exchange barbs.

Bharara also questioned if it was possible to a get a ruling it happens so tagging Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates the media and communications industry in the US.

Earlier in the day, Trump had blasted the NBC News alleging it for producing a fake story which said Trump had asked for tenfold rise in US nuclear arsenal in a meeting with national security officials earlier this summer after which Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, had termed him a “moron”.

While dismissing the row if Tillerson really called him a moron, Trump said in an interview yesterday, “I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.” And today, in a series of tweets, he complained that the NBC report was “pure fiction, meant to demean.




The article originally appeared on India Today on October 11.

US President Donald Trump asked when it would be “appropriate” to challenge the licenses of American media outlets like the network NBC, which he accused of carrying a fake story about him.

Quoting three sources, the NBC report in question said Trump told the US’ “highest-ranking national security leaders” that he wanted “what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase” in America’s nuclear arsenal.

It also said Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was heard calling his boss a “moron” after the meeting.

On Wednesday, Trump complained in a tweet that the report was “pure fiction, meant to demean.”

Trump says that since he won last year’s presidential polls, media outlets have run several fake stories targeting him.

He routinely blasts networks running stories he finds uncomfortable – be it CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post.

In March, Trump threatened to end White House Press briefings after a row over the ouster of former FBI director James Comey, even thought it was his press office that was at fault.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was then the White House’s deputy Press Secretary, first said Comey’s firing wouldn’t affect the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

Then, she said Comey’s removal would hasten the investigation. But Donald Trump himself later said he’d fired Comey to ensure that “the Russian meddling investigation is done absolutely properly.”



US President Donald Trump is threatening media outfits again, this time raising a possibility that he in fact can challenge their broadcast license in future.

Blasting a NBC News investigation that said Donald Trump wanted a tenfold increase in the US nuclear stockpile, Trump wrote on his Twitter handle, “NBC News made up a story that I wanted a “tenfold” increase in U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”, declaring the whole piece fake.

The meeting with highest ranking national security officials of the US where Trump made the comment took place this summer. NBC News also reported that after Trump’s remarks, Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State, termed him a moron, something which was also called a fake news piece by Trump. While dismissing the row over Tillerson’s moron jibe, Trump, in fact, went on to say that even if Tillerson said that, he was ready for an IQ test.

While blasting NBC News, Trump further said that media networks producing fake stories was bad for country and questioned when and “at what point was it appropriate to challenge their License.”

Trump says since he won the Presidential polls, media outfits have run multiple fake stories targeting him and he routinely blasts networks running stories uncomfortable to him, be it CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post or any other one.

In March, Trump had threatened to stop the White House Press briefings after row over FBI director James Comey’s ouster even if it was his press office that was at fault.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy Press Secretary of the White House then, first said Comey’s firing would not affect at all the investigation into the Russian meddling in the US presidential election last year. Then she said Comey’s removal would hasten the investigation. But all of this was latter dumped by Donald Trump himself who said he fired Comey to ensure that “the Russian meddling investigation is done absolutely properly.”

Also, before it, several White House officials sent out messages that Comey’s firing was for mishandling the email leak issue of Hillary Clinton and was, in no way, related to the investigation into Russian hacking. The White House press briefings have been a tradition since 1929 when the first White House Press Secretary George Akerson was appointed by President Herbert Hoover.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

Republican US Senator Bob Corker told a leading American daily on Sunday that the threats President Donald Trump has made to other nations could put the US “on the path to World War III.”

Corker, an influential voice on US foreign policy, made this grim forecast in an interview with the New York Times (NYT). The newspaper called it “an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party.”

Donald Trump had earlier posted a series of tweets in which he claimed Corker had “begged” him to endorse his re-election bid in the US state of Tennessee (which he represents as a Senator), and that he left the race when the President refused.

He said Corker wanted to be Secretary of State, and accused the senator of being responsible for “the horrendous Iran Deal” – a 2015 agreement that limited Tehran’s nuclear program, which Trump has now threatened to decertify.

“…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!” he wrote in the last tweet.

Bob Corker told NYT that Trump was behaving “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something,” referring to a reality show that Trump hosted for many years.

“I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Corker told the newspaper.

The senator, who in the interview refuted the President’s claims that he’d asked for his endorsement, also hit back on Twitter.

Bob Corker heads the powerful US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He is a supporter-turned-critic of Donald Trump – especially of his handling of issues like the North Korean nuclear crisis, or the changes he’s trying to make to the US tax regime.



A day after Trump’s vitriolic verbal attack, Republican Senator from Tennessee, Bob Corker, has hit back saying Trump is running the White House like a reality show and his reckless acts may push the United States to the World War III.

In what was described as “an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party”, the New York Times quoted Corker saying “President Trump was treating his office like a reality show….like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something….and his reckless threats toward other countries could set the nation on the path to World War III.” The Apprentice, a reality show judging business skills of its participants, was hosted by Donald Trump for many years.

Corker didn’t stop at it. He further said that “Trump was a political novice who failed to make the transition from show business and with his irresponsible outbursts, every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.”

Corker also rejected Trump’s claims that he had begged him for mercy. Donald Trump had tweeted yesterday to let the world know, “Corker begged me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee as he could not win without my endorsement.”

Corker said in his New York Times interview that he had already decided that he would not seek re-election and it was instead Trump who was insisting him to run for re-election, “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.”

In his outburst against Corker yesterday, Trump had also reminded us that Corker was behind the ‘horrendous’ Iran nuclear Deal and that he wanted to be the US Secretary of State and that how Trump could have allowed the re-election of such a person! Conservative Republicans blame Corker for passage of Barack Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal as even if Corker sounded his opposition to the bill, he did not really act when it came to voting. Now Trump has threatened to decertify the Iran deal.

Senator Corker who also heads the powerful US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has been representing Tennessee since 2007. Last month, after weeks of speculation, he finally announced that he would not seek re-election the next year.

Corker is an influential voice on US foreign policy. And he is a strong supporter turned strong critic of Donald Trump, especially of his ways to handle issues like the North Korean nuclear tension or the changes he is trying to bring to the US tax regime.

And this strong rebuttal says Corker is expected to become even more critical of the Trump administration in the days to come, and as he is an influential voice, so, in a seemingly pre-emptive offensive, Trump has also tried to set the narrative from his perspective by saying that “he fully expects Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of his ‘great’ agenda.”



We don’t know so we can’t say whether it was a Donald Trump day, as he has tried to convey – that Bob Corker, Republican senator from Tennessee, begged him for mercy, for his re-election next year.

A boastful Donald Trump tweeted to let the world know, “Corker begged Trump to endorse Corker for re-election in Tennessee as Corker could not win without Trump’s endorsement.”

Trump also reminded us that Corker was behind the ‘horrendous’ Iran nuclear Deal and that he wanted to be the US Secretary of State and that how Trump could have allowed the re-election of such a person!

Now our good senses will question us, especially when it comes from a US president with historically low approval ratings right from his initial months into the White House, with almost simultaneous analytical pieces and possibilities on his impeachment and so a big question mark on his re-election chances when the US electorate goes to elect its next president.

Also, as Bob Corker has been increasingly critical of Trump’s decisions, of his ways to handle issues like the North Korean nuclear tension or the changes he has brought to US tax regime, and is expected to become even more critical of the Trump administration in the days to come, and as he is an influential voice, in a seemingly pre-emptive offensive, Trump also tried to set the narrative from his perspective by saying that “he fully expects Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of his ‘great’ agenda.”

Now, whether Corker begged Trump for mercy or not only Corker can tell us but given the way Trump and his presidency have been, Trump and his vitriol can go on to say anything. Let’s see when Corker chooses to rebut the invectives.



Now we don’t need to wait for controversies to tail US President Donald Trump when most of them are his own creation. And they are aplenty – even if it is just six months for Trump in the White House – he brought presidential order to block people from Muslim majority countries in the US; he withdrew the US from global trade and climate deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris Climate Deal; he has tried hard but has failed so far in repealing his predecessor Barack Obama’s healthcare act; he has cracked down on immigrants and introduced an immigration bill this week to slash down the number of legal immigrants; and his campaign pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.

The 45th US President is writing the newest chapters of the book on few controversial US Presidents so far. A CNN analysis few days back, in fact, had found a term to describe Trump – The Most Un-presidential President. Ever since Trump’s inauguration, his popularity has been rapidly coming down and new survey has found 61 per cent of registered American voters disapproving his way of governance.

Now another major US publication, The Washington Post, that has already done its series of revelations and expose on Trump’s misadventures and has been in Trump’s firing line of his vitriolic wit and tweets, has come out with another bombshell. The Post has released leaked transcripts of Trump’s phone conversations with his Mexican and Australian counterparts. And like said, they are so un-presidential that the White House did not release them in first place.

When we go through the entire transcript, we can easily look into the mind of Donald Trump, that why he is so – someone who believes he is the greatest person on the earth and then goes on to boast it.

There is no denying to this established fact that the US President is the most powerful person on the earth – but he is certainly not the greatest one. That is a human virtue that doesn’t need the power corridors of the White House. By virtue of being the US President, Donald Trump, indeed could have been the most powerful person in the world. But the irony is, he is not even the most powerful one in America, owing to the spate of controversies around him and his family. The robust system of checks and balances in the US administration cannot allow him to be so. What can be a better testimony to this than his failed attempts to repeal Barack Obama’s healthcare act that he so vehemently detests or wide criticism in the US that his travel ban plan from Muslim majority nations attracted.

The transcript shows him fighting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull like some small time, factional politician and not the President of the United States of America, an office that is most powerful in the world and is also supposed to be the most dignified one. But how can it be dignified when its inhabitants are not.

This one ‘I am the greatest person on the earth’ is a perfect example of it. While discussing with his Australian counterpart an already agreed deal to take in Nauru and Manus islands refugees who were trying to enter Australian through sea route but were caught and imprisoned, he can be seen using un-parliamentary words not just for human lives but also for his predecessor Barack Obama who had signed the deal with Australia. Trump declares the deals signed by Obama stupid and rotten.

Portions of this Trump-Turnbull conversation were leaked earlier which had created tension between the US and Australia. Reportedly, after the 20-minute conversation had ended, Trump had described Turnbull, who is considered a moderate, a brawler and not a shrinking poppy, something that Trump had expected before the call.

But what shocks is the utter disregard for human lives that Trump has. During the course of conversation with Turnbull on January 28, Trump says, “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.”

Even if Turnbull assures that they are not bad people but economic refugees and Australia has full knowledge of their backgrounds, Trump keeps on repeating his scorn for the refugees as if he is not hearing what Turnbull is saying, “I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.”



Time magazine has put Donald Trump Jr. on its cover page with an aptly curated tag – ‘red-handed’ and the Twitter handle of the magazine has tweeted an interesting video about it.

The video highlights words like ‘Russia – Clinton – private and confidential – info – Trump Jr. writing I love it – very high level and ultra-sensitive information’ – from Trump Jr. email conversation to on possibility of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton that he himself had tweeted after the New York Times story about his meeting with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connection in June 2016 that promised compromising and sensitive information about the democratic rival of his father Donald Trump Sr.

While releasing the email chain, Trump Jr. had claimed that he was doing so in order to be totally transparent. Trump Sr. appreciated it saying his son Donald did a good job and he was open, transparent and innocent. Trump Sr. then went on to add his routine line about the ongoing FBI probe into Russian meddling into last year’s US presidential election – ‘this is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!’

But the New York Times immediately hit back saying that Trump Jr. was forced to do so as he was aware that the Times was going to release the email conversation. Trump Jr. act has brought a storm in America as it has effectively shut down all those tall claims by Donald Trump, his family and his associates that the whole story about Russian collusion was fake and phony and they had nothing to do with Russians.

Both, Trump Sr. and Trump Jr. used to claim in past that there could not be a bigger lie than the alleged Russian help for the Trump campaign. But the email conversation clearly proves that the Trump campaign team was in touch with Russians irrespective of the fact the email chain doesn’t prove that the Trump team indeed colluded with the Russians. And it has changed the whole discourse about the affair in the American political and media circles with experts even asking if Donald Trump Jr. can go to jail for it.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to host South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on June 29 and 30. It is the first bilateral summit between two close allies after both countries got new presidents. Trump took oath in January while Moon was elected only last month after mid-term polls necessitated by the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The meeting is expected to be eclipsed by three issues, North Korea, China and the deployment of US missile defense system in South Korea.

If the Trump administration had termed the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to America in April historic, the expectation that China will exert its influence to rein in North Korea was one of the major factors apart from some trade deals signed that Trump said would help American businesses and would create jobs. China is the only big market for North Korea and it accounts for over two-thirds of total North Korean trade.

But that expectation has become frustration in just two months. Donald Trump has realized that China will not help in reining in North Korea which reflected in his tweet last week, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” But what belies this line that “he knows that China at least tried” is the fact* that out of growing frustration over the Chinese inaction on North Korea and bilateral ties, Trump is thinking to take punitive action by imposing tariff on imports like Chinese steel.

North Korea has already conducted almost a dozen missile tests this year and is preparing to conduct another nuclear test aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The threat from the rogue state has reached to new heights under the present dictator Kim Jong-un so much so that the US had to deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense system, inviting strong Chinese protests which sees the presence of the system on the Korean peninsula, in its backyard, breach of its sovereignty and a security threat. China has been lashing out at the US and South Korea for it.

And the optics of its deployment has also been a thorny issue for Trump as well as for Moon. While Trump has demanded South Korea pay $1 billion for THAAD deployment, Moon has termed the system which went live last month a total failure of democracy.

While campaigning, Moon who is seen as a liberal having soft approach towards China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, and having a conciliatory tone towards North Korea, had promised to review the THAAD agreement by his predecessor. Moon, in fact, ordered a probe last month after it emerged that four more missile launchers were added to the THAAD system in South Korea. South Korea maintains that the US asked only for land and support infrastructure for THAAD deployment and all other cost was to be borne by the US only.



The article originally appeared on India Today. 

While appearing on several talks shows on Sunday, Jay Sekulow, a lawyer from US President Donald Trump’s legal team, denied that Trump was under investigation for firing former FBI director James Comey.

In a tweet yesterday, Trump appeared to confirm that that he was being investigated for firing former FBI director James Comey.

The Post reported that Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the FBI’s probe into Russia’s meddling in last year’s US presidential election and possible links with the Trump campaign, has expanded his inquiry to probe whether Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as FBI chief.

Trump said he was being investigated by the man who, in the first place, told him to fire James Comey. Trump’s tweet could be targeting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe into Russia’s intervention into the last year’s presidential polls.

Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice’s chief counsel, tried to downplay the content of the tweet and defended Trump’s firing of Comey as a constitutional act.

On CNN’s “State of the Union”, he said that the tweet in question was Trump’s response to the Washington Post story that claimed that Trump was under a possible obstruction of justice probe after firing James Comey. Sekulow added that the confirmatory tone of Trump’s tweet was due to Twitter’s word limit, “There’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know. The President’s response was as it related to the Washington Post report. He cannot in a Twitter statement include all of that in there. That’s it. Simple explanation.”

He reiterated his claims on NBC’s “Meet the Press” saying that Donald Trump “was not and had not been under investigation for obstruction.” He said that “Donald Trump was not afraid of the investigation — there was no investigation” and defended Trump’s tweet in question saying that “Donald Trump is responding to what he’s seeing in the media in a way in which he thinks is appropriate to talk to those people that put him in office.”

“There has been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation,” he told on CBS’ “Face the Nation” programme. Questioning veracity of the Washington Post story, Sekulow asserted that the President could not be under investigation for doing something that the Department of Justice asked him to do. In this case, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had written to Trump to fire James Comey. Sekulow asserted that “the president could not be investigated, or certainly could not be found liable for engaging in an activity he clearly had power to do under the constitution.”

James Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, publicly testified this month that Trump had told him to ease off on his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was under the FBI investigation for his Russian links. Comey said he believed Trump’s advice to be a direction and thus felt uncomfortable by it. Terming Comey’s allegations untrue, Trump later said he was willing to testify under oath.