Trump’s dark Thanksgiving call

Donald Trump has had a strange and dark Thanksgiving, issuing a series of threatening comments and attacking government officials.

The US President - who said he was most thankful for "having made a tremendous difference in this country" - started his day by quoting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, tweeting: "It's a mean & nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular."

He followed the quote with a remark about how Saudi Arabia spends billions in the US, as he continues to anger his party by refusing to condemn the nation over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Despite the conclusions of the CIA that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman almost certainly knew of the murder plot, Mr Trump again distanced himself from his own intelligence officials.

"They didn't conclude," he told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. "They have feelings certain ways. I have the report … they have not concluded, I don't know if anyone's going to be able to conclude the Crown Prince did it.

"Whether he did or whether he didn't, he denies it vehemently. His father denies it, the King, vehemently. The CIA doesn't say they did it, they do point out certain things and in pointing out those things you can conclude that maybe he did or maybe he didn't.

"I hate the crime, I hate what's done, I hate the cover-up. I will tell you this: the Crown Prince hates it more than I do.

"Maybe the world should be held accountable, 'cause the world is a vicious place."

He spent the morning on a conference call, thanking members of the military for their service - but took the opportunity to escalate his feud with the federal judiciary.

"It's a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border. It's a disgrace," he told the soldiers.


He praised the deployment of US troops to the Mexico border, comparing operations there against Islamic militants overseas.

"We took an old broken wall and we wrapped it with barb wire plus. I guess you could really call it barb wire plus. This is the ultimate. Nobody is getting through these walls," Mr Trump told the troops.

Afterwards he told reporters that soldiers on the border were authorised to use lethal force if necessary.

"If they have to, they have to use lethal force. I hope they don't have to, but you're dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals. So I'm not going to let the military be taken advantage of," Mr Trump said.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said earlier this week the troops would be armed only with batons.

More than 4300 Central American migrants have gathered in Tijuana, Mexico - across the border from San Diego, California after a weeks-long "caravan" journey.

Mexican police said 57 Central Americans have been detained and tensions have been growing between the local authorities and the arrivals from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.




"If we find that it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or where people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control," said Mr Trump.

"The whole border. I mean the whole border. Mexico will not be able to sell their cars into the United States where they make so many cars."

The President earlier this week tried to ban people from applying for asylum if they had entered the country from somewhere other than at a designated border points.

But San Francisco federal judge Jon Tigar temporarily blocked the measure, infuriating Mr Trump', who attacked him as an "Obama judge".

Chief Justice John Roberts then defended the judiciary in his first ever rebuke to the President.

"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," he said.

"What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them," he said.

Mr Trump was clearly furious, spending Thanksgiving lashing out at the judge, and calling the courts a "big thorn in our side".

"Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit (appeals court) is a complete & total disaster. It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any Circuit in the Country," he tweeted.

"Judges must not Legislate Security … and Safety at the Border, or anywhere else.

"They know nothing about it and are making our Country unsafe. Our great Law Enforcement professionals MUST BE ALLOWED TO DO THEIR JOB! If not there will be only bedlam, chaos, injury and death."




Mr Trump has increasingly been alienating members of his party and White House aides, with a slew of Republicans denouncing him this week.

Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Wednesday that he was "astounded" by Mr Trump's "press release" for Saudi Arabia.

"This was, sadly, predictable and avoidable," said CNN military analyst retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. "The President's conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicised it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means."

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has been critical of Mr Trump in recent days, tweeted: "Outrage & scandal dominates the news because it attracts viewers & online clicks.

But everyday our fellow Americans are committing acts of kindness. Most never make the news."

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Mr Trump on his backing for "great ally" Saudi Arabia, saying the US had already placed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials suspected of involvement in the killing of The Washington Post columnist at the Istanbul consulate.

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