Happening Today: Trump, ‘Fake News,' Intelligence, Chris Christie

What to Know

  • At a lengthy news conference Thursday, President Trump dismissed reports about Russia amid growing controversy
  • The director of the CIA denied reports that the intelligence community is withholding information from President Trump
  • Thousands of people are expected to strike and protest Friday across the nation

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Trump Holds Lengthy News Conference

Aggrieved and spoiling for a fight, President Donald Trump used a marathon encounter with reporters Thursday to denounce the "criminal" leaks that took down his top national security adviser and revived questions about his own ties to Russia. Trump slammed a "bad court" of appeals judges for blocking his refugee and immigration executive order and denied that his White House was paralyzed by chaos and infighting among top advisers. "This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine," he boasted. Here’s a fact check of what the president said at the 77-minute news conference.

Trump Continues War Against Media

At the press conference, President Trump wasted little time getting to one of his favorite subjects: bashing the "fake news media." "The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that — the tone is such hatred,” he said. Trump did make one concession during the news conference. He would stop addressing the media as "fake news." "I’m changing it from fake news, though," he said. "Very fake news." Supporters of Trump cheered his combative stance; he's holding a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, 1,354 days before the 2020 election. 

Thousands Plan to Protest Friday

Tens of thousands of people across the United States are expected to skip work and attend rallies and marches Friday as part of a "general strike" to "get our democracy back." Strike4Democracy, one of the groups organizing the nationwide event, which is called the "#F17 General Strike," said more than 100 public protests are expected. Event pages on Facebook indicate the potential for high participation: Nearly 20,000 people have responded to the page for a New York City march alone. 

Vice Admiral Turns Down Flynn's Old Job

Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward has turned down an offer to become President Trump's national security adviser, a White House official told NBC News Thursday. "It's purely a personal issue," Harward told The Associated Press Thursday evening. Harward would have replaced retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned at Trump's request Monday after revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he held with a Russian diplomat.

CIA Director: We’re Not Withholding Info

CIA director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the agency is providing President Trump with the best intelligence it can, disputing reports that the spy community is withholding information from the commander in chief. "The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the president, period. We are not aware of any instance when that has occurred," Pompeo said in a statement aimed at quelling reports that the intelligence community and Trump were in conflict.

Judge: Christie Case Can Go Forward

A municipal court judge ruled for the second time Thursday that the citizen's misconduct complaint against Gov. Chris Christie stemming from the closures at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 has probable cause to move forward. Judge Roy McGeady had previously ruled in October that the case had merit to proceed, but a state Superior Court Judge overturned his decision and kicked it back to McGeady's court for another hearing Thursday. Again, McGeady found there was probable cause for the complaint, despite statements last month from the Bergen County prosecutor's office that it would not pursue charges.

Steve Irwin’s Son on “Tonight Show”

Even though it’s been 10 years since beloved crocodile hunter Steve Irwin died, the Australian’s spirit is still alive and well. On Thursday, Steve Irwin’s son, Robert, joined Jimmy Fallon on the “Tonight Show” stage. “It’s really nice to follow in his footsteps,” the 13-year-old said, dressed in a khaki Australia Zoo uniform, of course. Robert added that his enthusiasm for wildlife, like his dad, is “just in my blood. I think I’m the luckiest kid on planet Earth."

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