Ryan: Trump and Corker should ‘just talk it out’

Paul Ryan is pictured here. | Getty Images

“My advice is for these two gentleman to sit down and just talk through their issues. I think that’s the best way to get things done,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday downplayed the ongoing feud between President Donald Trump and GOP Sen. Bob Corker, advising the two men to talk through their differences but also joking that he’s been there, too.

The Wisconsin Republican, known for his no-drama approach to Trump, quipped that “I’ve had my share too” when asked about the Corker-Trump spat. Trump often hit Ryan last year for initially refusing to endorse his candidacy and then later refusing to campaign with him following Trump’s “Access Hollywood” scandal.

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“I think just talk it out amongst yourselves,” Ryan suggested. “My advice is for these two gentleman to sit down and just talk through their issues. I think that’s the best way to get things done.”

That echoes other GOP lawmakers who are pleading with both men to stop bickering for the good of the party.

Corker made waves recently for suggesting Trump’s penchant for drama could lead to World War III. Trump responded by saying the Tennessee Republican, whom he’s dubbed “Liddle Bob Corker,” begged for his endorsement for reelection and decided to retire because he didn’t get it.

Corker said that, in fact, Trump encouraged him to run but he declined.

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Trump suggests challenging NBC’s broadcast license

President Donald Trump is pictured. | AP

President Donald Trump has regularly complained about coverage he views as unfairly critical, labeling stories, reporters and entire outlets “fake news.” | Alex Brandon/AP

His tweet follows a story by NBC News Wednesday that the president calls ‘pure fiction, made up to demean.’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that NBC’s broadcast license should be pulled as punishment after NBC News published a report stating that the president sought a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning, equating the two TV news outlets he has most often lashed out against. “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

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It is the second time in as many weeks that Trump has felt compelled to attack NBC News, which reported last week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came close to resigning last summer and called the president a “moron” following a meeting with members of the national security team and members of the cabinet. It was at that meeting, NBC News reported Wednesday, that Trump said he wanted a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

Tillerson has denied that he ever considered resigning and a State Department spokeswoman said the secretary had never called the president a “moron.” The reporting from NBC News was attributed to multiple anonymous sources.

The president’s stated willingness to potentially challenge the broadcast licenses of networks whose coverage he objects to opens a new front on Trump’s long-running battle with the press. The president has regularly complained about coverage he views as unfairly critical, labeling stories, reporters and entire outlets “fake news.”

The FCC, an independent federal agency, issues broadcast licenses to stations and oversees license holders. It does not license networks. NBC is owned by Comcast, which holds broadcast licenses for several stations. NBC also airs on affiliate stations owned by other companies.

The FCC did not immediately comment on Trump’s tweet.

Margaret Harding McGill contributed to this story.

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Trump: ‘Fake NBC News’ nuke story ‘pure fiction’

President Trump on Wednesday forcefully denied an NBC News report that he asked to dramatically expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal and suggested he might pull the network’s broadcasting license.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” he tweeted.

In a subsequent tweet, the president wrote: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

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The news network on Wednesday reported the president’s request, which it said shocked top military brass and senior administration officials.  

At a July meeting at the Pentagon, the president said he wanted to expand the country’s nuclear capabilities after seeing data showing the U.S. weapons stockpile decreasing over the past 50 years, according to the report. 

Top military officials reportedly told him that such a buildup would be prohibitively expensive and violate international disarmament treaties.

Trump’s threat against NBC alarmed some media figures and policy makers, who viewed it as an attempt to infringe on free-speech rights. Others said stripping a broadcast license is not feasible. 

“Not how it works,” tweeted Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Television and radio stations require a license from the FCC in order to broadcast. They are issued to individual stations and local affiliates, not entire networks like NBC.

A 2008 commission document states that the First Amendment “protects broadcasts that criticize or ridicule established customs and institutions, including the government and its officials.”

It also said the FCC “generally will not intervene” in “allegations that stations have aired inaccurate or one-sided news reports or comments.”

–This report was updated at 10:44 a.m.

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Blackburn calls Twitter ad reversal ‘our first Senate conservative victory’

Marsha Blackburn is pictured here. | AP Photo

Rep. Marsha Blackburn had launched her candidacy for retiring Sen. Bob Corker’s seat with a video posted to Twitter in which she boasted that she had “fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God.” | Cliff Owen/AP

Twitter’s decision to reverse course and allow Rep. Marsha Blackburn to promote a video featuring anti-abortion language is “our first Senate conservative victory,” the Tennessee Republican and 2018 Senate candidate told Fox News Wednesday morning.

Blackburn had launched her candidacy for retiring Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) seat with a video posted to Twitter in which she boasted that she had “fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God.” Twitter initially deemed the “baby body parts” language too “inflammatory” for Blackburn to promote but later reversed that decision.

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“The American people have just risen up, and I said this is our first senate conservative victory,” the Republican lawmaker told “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning. “Because we stood firm and Twitter reconsidered, and they are going to allow us to put my campaign announcement back up to push it out on their platform, which is exactly what we’re going to do.”

While Blackburn complained that her anti-abortion stance had been unfairly censored by Twitter, the Republican lawmaker also utilized the incident to fundraise, telling potential donors that “Silicon Valley elites” had attempted to “impose their values.” Wednesday morning, she complained that “the liberal left cannot continue to think they have the right to sensor free speech.”

Blackburn called the Senate she is running to join “totally dysfunctional” and said she stands “with the president of the United States,” perhaps a subtle dig at Corker, who has grown increasingly vocal in his criticism of President Donald Trump in recent weeks.

“They need a chief mama in charge that can help straighten them out and get some things done,” she said. “The American people are unbelievably frustrated, and rightfully so, with the U.S. Senate.”

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