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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Trump contradicts Gorsuch spokesman, accuses Blumenthal of misrepresenting comments

Trump contradicts Gorsuch spokesman, accuses Blumenthal of misrepresenting comments
By Rebecca Savransky - 02-09-17 07:13 AM EST

President Trump on Thursday contradicted a spokesman for his Supreme Court nominee in a tweet blasting Sen. Richard Blumenthal  (D-Conn.), who told reporters that Judge Neil Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "demoralizing."

"Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" the president tweeted Thursday morning.

Blumenthal said Wednesday that Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

In a later statement, Blumenthal urged Gorsuch to make his concerns public.

"Behind closed doors, Judge Gorsuch expressed disappointment with President Trump's attacks on the judiciary, but a Supreme Court Justice must prove that he has the courage and independence to stand up to a President in public," Blumenthal said.

"I asked Judge Gorsuch to make that statement publicly, and he declined."

A spokesman for Gorsuch later confirmed to CNN that the judge used the terms "disheartening" and "demoralizing" to describe Trump's tweets  during his meeting with the Blumenthal.

On Saturday, Trump ripped the "so-called judge" in Seattle who halted his travel ban, saying the ruling was "ridiculous and will be overturned."

Federal Judge James Robart, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush and approved by a 99-0 Senate vote in 2004, issued an immediate nationwide restraining order late last week on Trump's order, which bars refugees and people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

Trump has fought the decision since.

On Wednesday president also went after the panel of federal judges weighing the Department of Justice's appeal to restore the travel ban.

"I don't want to call a court biased, so I won't call it biased," Trump said at a gathering of the Major Cities Chiefs Association in Washington.

"Courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they could read a statement and do what's right."

Lawmakers on both sides have condemned Trump's attack on the judiciary.

Blumenthal said during a press conference in 2010 that he had misspoken about his service in the Vietnam War. He was in the Marine Corps Reserves for six years during the war. He said he meant to say he served "during Vietnam" instead of "in" Vietnam.

"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said, according to a Washington Post report. "But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."

A report last year found that Trump has received five deferments from the military draft during the Vietnam War. He was granted one medical and four education deferments, which kept him out of the conflict.

--This report was updated at 8:55 a.m.

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