The Note: Under Trump, 'fake news' takes on new meaning

It looks as if a new entry might be developing, just in time for awards season.

ByABC News
January 17, 2018, 6:12 AM

— -- The TAKE with Rick Klein

It looks as if a new entry might be developing, just in time for awards season.

The day that President Donald Trump has promised to present his “Fake News Awards” provides a clear and stark example of how the concept has evolved over the past year.

“Fake news” has gone from useful dodge and easy applause line to a license to create entirely new realities. “Alternative facts” seems quaint compared to the weaponization of misinformation that’s occurred under the president’s leadership.

In that vein, it’s remarkable that two U.S. senators are claiming on the record that the president did not use a profanity – and a Cabinet secretary even under oath that she “did not hear" it — a profanity that multiple other people in the room – members of both political parties - assert flat out that he used.

Accounts have evolved to match the White House’s claims. The officials who back up the president would happen to be ones that share Trump’s policy goals – or, at least, the goals he has as of now.

Maybe they’re telling what they believe to be the truth. But they won’t even get trophies for their recollections, or for what they’re forgetting.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Democrats may have backed themselves into a corner.

If they sign a short-term spending bill now, they run the risk of looking like they caved.

Sen. Cory Booker yesterday referred to the Dreamers — those roughly 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. undocumented as children — as “our fellow Americans.”

In an impassioned speech about the reality and dangers of racism and immigration, he did in plain terms what the president often does in veiled terms. He, too, defined who counts as “American.” For Booker, a clear 2020 prospect for the Democratic Party, being American is not contingent simply on citizenship or paperwork.

If you assume that frame of mind and following that logic to its conclusion, how could Democrats not fight to the bitter end to protect Dreamers?

While the far right will call any deal that provides a path to citizenship for these people mass amnesty, the far left will just as quickly call any deal that doesn’t a green light to mass deportation.

There's no evidence, yet, that Democrats are regretting their position. Rep. Jacky Rosen, a star recruit in Nevada running against Republican Sen. Dean Heller, whose seat the party sees as one of its best chances for a pickup next year, yesterday introduced a bill to permanently protect "Dreamers."

The TIP with Benjamin Siegel

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, the daughter of Haitian immigrants who has denounced Trump's comments to senators at the White House last week, met with him Tuesday for 30 minutes to discuss immigration reform.

In a statement, Love says the meeting was "substantive and productive." There's no comment in the statement about Trump's remarks and whether he apologized.

“I believe Congress can solve the vast majority of the immigration issues the nation faces. There is already agreement on many important aspects. We need to fight against those who have a vested interest in keeping immigration a wedge issue. This has gone unaddressed for far too long. Let’s have a real conversation, so Congress can finish the important work we were elected to do,” the statement reads.

On CNN on Sunday, Love called Trump's comments racist, and said the White House had reached out to her about a meeting.


  • This afternoon the president heads to the Capitol to attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will be on ABC’s “The View” this morning. Durbin is a leading senator in the DACA negotiations and stands by his assertion that Trump used “s---hole” to describe African countries during a meeting in the Oval Office last week.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will speak about Congress and the threat of North Korea at the American Enterprise Institute today in Washington.
  • Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is expected to deliver scathing remarks today on the Senate floor, comparing President Trump to former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin for his use of the phrase “enemy of the people.”
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will depart Vancouver today for California and deliver remarks to Stanford students alongside former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
  • Leaders from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be on the Hill today for a hearing to examine social media and terrorism by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

    "I told the president if he'd had a better diet over the last 20 years he could have lived to 200 years old. The answer is he has incredibly good genes, it's just the way God made him,” — Dr. Ronny Jackson, the president’s physician, said in response to a question about how to reconcile the president’s appetite for McDonald’s and Diet Cokes with his “excellent” health.


  • Roberts County: A year in the most pro-Trump town in America. Roberts County, where Miami is the only incorporated community, was dubbed the “most pro-Trump county in America” after national voting records showed it had the highest percentage -- more than 95 percent -- of Trump voters. A handful of Trump voters and local residents spoke with ABC News and agreed to be interviewed over the course of the first year of the Trump administration. Why? Because ABC News wanted to learn and observe: What issues mattered most to their lives, and how -- if at all -- their initial impressions of Trump evolved a year into his presidency. (Meghan Keneally, Amna Nawaz, Jessica Hopper and Jason Kurtis)
  • Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon subpoenaed over questions about White House tenure. The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon Tuesday after members said he refused to answer questions about his time in the Trump White House and on the Trump transition team during a roughly ten-hour-long interview behind closed doors. (Benjamin Siegel and Tara Palmeri)
  • Homeland Security secretary grilled over Trump 's---hole' comments. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, said she "did not hear" the word "s---hole," or one similar, as she was asked about her recollection of the bipartisan White House meeting, but did say she remembered "rough talk" and "tough language" during the conversation on immigration reform. (Adam Kelsey)
  • DOJ says it plans to ask Supreme Court to allow it to end DACA. "It defies both law and common sense for DACA — an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA policy — to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Geneva Sands)
  • Obama undone: In first year, Trump unravels predecessor's signature achievements. What started with an executive order signed hours after Trump was sworn into office has become a signature of his presidency so far: undoing the policies of his predecessor. Here’s a look at some at some of those policies President Trump, with the help of a Republican controlled Congress, has managed to unravel after one year into his historic presidency. (Erin Dooley)
  • Checking on 13 of Trump's biggest campaign promises, one year later. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump had had a signature a list of promises that's proved to be a guide for what he's prioritized as president. Now, one year into his administration, some promises have been kept-- while others haven't-- and the results are mixed. Here is where things stand on 13 of those promises. (Meghan Keneally)
  • Trump makes impromptu appearance at White House women's panel. President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance at a White House event for women on Tuesday, thanking the women for attending and making a brief but wide-ranging speech with points on the economy and DACA. (Cheyenne Haslett)
  • Trump's 'overall health is excellent' says doctor, weight loss a goal. "I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so would be [for Trump] to lose 10 to 15 pounds," Dr. Ronny Jackson said. "We talked about diet and exercise a lot. He is more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part but we're going to do both." (Katherine Faulders and Adam Kelsey)
  • Tillerson calls on global community: 'Nuclear-armed' N. Korea not acceptable. Sitting beside his counterparts from Canada, Japan and South Korea, Tillerson told top diplomats assembled in Vancouver, Canada, for a global summit on North Korea that they are sending a "unified message" to Kim Jong Un's regime: "We will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea." (Elizabeth Mclaughlin)
  • Navy files criminal charges against commanders in deadly collisions. The U.S. Navy is filing negligent homicide charges against the former commanding officers of two destroyers involved in collisions last summer that killed 17 American sailors. (Luis Martinez)
  • Former CIA officer arrested for retaining classified information. A former CIA case officer has been charged with illegally possessing government secrets. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, was arrested Monday night at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and stands charged with unlawful retention of classified information. (Jack Date)
  • Keeping with tradition, former Virginia governor leaves a special gift for newly sworn-in Gov. Northam. Outgoing Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe followed a longstanding state tradition of pranking successors by leaving a special gift for the newly minted Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam: a pillow set plastered with McAuliffe's grinning face. (Kendall Karson)
  • 4 congressional Democrats will boycott Trump's first State of the Union after 's---hole' remark. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said they will not attend the president’s address after Trump made the derogatory comment during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers on immigration. (Kendall Karson)
  • Democratic National Committee rolls out 'Trump at One Year' strategy. Eager to capitalize on a political environment that looks more and more favorable, national Democrats Tuesday unveiled their political strategy as President Trump nears one year in the White House. (John Verhovek)
  • Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. implored the president to stop his attacks on the media in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
  • Politico reports that with a slew of Republican challengers for reelection dropping out of races against Democrats like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the GOP is giving potential 2020 Trump challengers a free pass.
  • The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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