Donald Trump Gushed About 'Winner' Robert Kraft ... at White House Event

Breaking News
SUPPORTIN' THE PREZ

Donald Trump is still on the Patriots bandwagon ... praising both Robert Kraft and Tom Brady at a White House event Wednesday -- despite the new Pats video scandal.

Kraft was Trump's guest at a special Hanukkah event where the two also spoke about their support for Israel. And, they were joking like two old pals.

"I also want to bring a friend of mine up," Trump said ... "He's a tremendous success in so many other businesses, but they only know him because he signs Tom Brady's check every week!"

POTUS added, "He's a champ, he's a winner."

"As usual, his team is mired in 1st place," Trump continued ... "Have you ever been in 2nd place?"

Obviously, no mention of the new investigation into the Pats -- after the team admitted their video crew broke league rules by filming the Bengals sidelines from the Browns press box.

The NFL is investigating the Patriots. The team has insisted they weren't trying to cheat -- claiming the video crew made an innocent mistake.

GOODELL ON PATRIOTS' INVESTGATION

Trump and Kraft go back decades -- and while they're on great terms right now, they've had some rocky moments.

As we previously reported, Kraft was critical of the way Trump handled the Colin Kaepernick kneeling situation ... and spoke out against POTUS at a 2017 NFL meeting.

But, clearly, that's all water under the bridge now.

kraft criticizes trump at '17 nfl meeting
TMZSports.com

President Trump's Campaign Thanos Creator Pissed ... Over 45 & Villain Meme

TMZ/Alamy

President Trump's reelection campaign apparently likes to think of their boss as an equal to the destroyer of worlds, the villainous Thanos ... but the 'Avengers' character's creator is NOT having it.

A Twitter account managed by Trump's reelection team posted a super-produced clip in which DT's head is superimposed over Thanos' body from 'Infinity War' ... and he snaps his Democratic enemies -- who just introduced articles of impeachment -- to dust.

They captioned the post, "House Democrats can push their sham impeachment all they want. President Trump's re-election is ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ." Funny, right? WRONG ... so says the comic book writer and artist who brought Thanos to life back in 1973. He ain't laughing.

Jim Starlin -- the creator of Thanos -- says he finds it pretty disturbing that Trump's goons are comparing him to a mass murderer -- Thanos literally goes around blowing up planets in "The Avengers." He says, "How sick is that? These are sad and strange times we are going through. Fortunately all things, even national nightmares, eventually come to an end."

Starlin also said he felt violated by the creative hijacking, and said DT has an infantile ego.

Funny enough ... the scene of Thanos snapping that Trump's team used in their hypercut is actually from the part where he dies in the final movie. Spoiler alert ... Tony Stark ends up with all the Infinity Stones, and then snaps Thanos and his henchmen to oblivion.

So, basically ... Trump and co. didn't even get the right death snapping scene right. Oof ...

Soledad O'Brien Pay Up on My Impeachment Bet!!! TMZ Photog a Little Short

Exclusive
double or nothin'?
TMZ.com

Soledad O'Brien was right about President Trump getting impeached -- and now, she's here to collect on her bet ... which we'll have to pay her back for later.

We got the veteran TV journalist Tuesday at LAX, and our photog recalled she'd placed a bet with our D.C. guy about whether the Dems would actually go through with impeachment.

You'll recall ... Soledad and our boy pinkie promised on a whopping 5 bills -- dollar bills -- with Soledad taking the over/under on the House pulling the trigger. Obviously, she won and we lost. Pelosi and co. intro'd 2 articles ... abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

10/2/19
BANK ON IT
TMZ.com

Fast-forward to Tuesday ... and our cameraman in L.A. was desperately trying to pay up on behalf of his TMZ coworker. Sadly, he came up short by a buck so -- and Soledad wasn't trying to get paid in parts. Don't worry ... our man in D.C. will pay up, SO!!!

Just for kicks, we asked if Soledad wanted to run another bet on whether the Senate would convict -- but she pumped the brakes on that one. It ain't happening, she says.

Now, on the topic of 2020 reelection ... it sounds like Soledad is a bit more confident. We'll circle back in a few months.

Congresswoman Karen Bass Sure, We'd Impeach Trump Again!!! If THIS Senate Won't Convict Him, Future Criminal Behavior Likely

Exclusive
IT'S IN OUR HANDS
TMZ.com

Rep. Karen Bass has bad news for President Trump if he wins a second term, and especially if the Democrats take back the Senate -- more impeachment, baby!!!

The U.S. congresswoman -- whose 37th district includes parts of L.A. -- was on "TMZ Live" Tuesday, shortly after the House announced the articles of impeachment. Dems in the House allege Trump abused his presidential power and obstructed justice, regarding the whole Ukraine thing.

Two questions we just had to get off our chest. First, if Trump wins reelection next year, does that definitively confirm the American people just don't give a crap about this?

Check out Bass' answer -- she's pretty optimistic about another opponent being able to win, and she's hoping her party can whip up national enthusiasm toward that cause.

Secondly, we asked if Trump does win again -- and if Dems win enough seats to take control of the Senate -- would they try impeaching him again? It's allowed ... there's no double jeopardy in impeachment.

Republicans, and especially staunch Trumpers, aren't gonna like Rep. Bass' response here. Basically, she's warning the Prez and the American public to buckle up -- we could be talking impeachment for years to come.

Sen. Kamala Harris Drops Out of Presidential Race Julian Castro Responds

Breaking News
TMZ.com

3:12 PM PT -- Kamala Harris' sudden bowing-out from the 2020 race is getting sympathy from at least one of her former opponents thus far ... Mr. Julian Castro.

a job well done
TMZ.com

We ran into the Democratic presidential candidate in DTLA hours after Sen. Harris announced she was pulling the plug, and he tells us she's got a lot to be proud of -- 'cause he thinks she ran a great campaign. Besides that, he says they even got to bonding on the campaign trail over family and, specifically, being close to your siblings.

As you know ... Julian's got a twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro.

Anyway, we get to asking about billionaire Michael Bloomberg entering the race late with seemingly unlimited funds ... and whether that might start making others drop out early.

Check it out ... Julian's got a pretty telling answer as to who he thinks Americans want repping them on the biggest stage, and it ain't people made of just money. As for what he thinks might be next for Kamala -- he says she'll be just fine back in the U.S. Senate.

12:28 PM PT -- Harris just released a message to her supporters, saying her "campaign simply doesn't have the financial resources to continue."

Kamala Harris is no longer in the running for President of the United States -- she says she's bowing out 'cause the money ran out.

The California Senator made the announcement to her staff Tuesday and plans to release a video statement soon. She says the reason for the move -- which she calls "one of the hardest decisions of my life" -- is simple ... her campaign doesn't have the financial resources it needs to continue.

She adds that she's not a billionaire and can't fund her own campaign like some of the others, and it's become too hard to raise the money needed to compete.

The news comes on the heels of Harris canceling a high-profile fundraiser in New York for what was called a "personal matter." Sen. Harris dropping out also comes after recent polls showed she has dropped to sixth place in the Democratic primary ... even behind late entry Michael Bloomberg.

Her husband, Douglas Emhoff, tweeted a message of support as the news broke ... saying he's always got her back.

Senator Harris has had her share of highs and lows since announcing her 2020 presidential candidacy in January ... especially at the debates. A couple of her best moments include the most recent debate, when she declared "Donald Trump got punked" by North Korea.

And, back in the first debate in June, she famously went toe-to-toe with Joe Biden.

However, she also took some heat at an early debate for the way she treated fellow candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

SHE'S NOT IN MY LEAGUE
CNN

Just to update your scorecards ... with Kamala's departure, there are still a whopping 15 candidates left.

Originally published -- 10:37 AM PT

Common Just a Tip for Mayor Pete ... Here's How to Win Over Black Voters

Exclusive
BE AUTHENTIC
TMZ.com

Common has some advice for Pete Buttigieg, and any other Democratic candidate, on how to win the black vote -- be yourself and be present.

The rapper, actor and activist was leaving LAX Monday night when he gave us his 2 cents on Mayor Pete's efforts to get black voters' attention. It's been a focal point for Buttigieg's campaign after polls showed him lagging in that department.

To that point, perhaps, Common told us he doesn't know a lot about Pete specifically -- but he offered some tips, saying it's important to spend time in the community and not just for face time. He said the key is sincere engagement with voters on the issues.

Mayor Pete was down in the Carolinas this past weekend, including a trip to meet students at South Carolina State University. Common also advises ... black folks know a real one when they see it.

As for Pete's chances -- Common is noncommittal, and says he has to learn more about him. Watch, it sounds like his vote is still up for grabs.

Melania Trump Unveils Patriotic Winter Wonderland For Holidays in White House

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and so is "The Spirit of America" ... impeachment hearings be damned, as far as the First Lady's concerned.

Melania Trump unveiled the patriotic theme for this holiday season's decorations at The White House, saying ... "I am delighted to share this beautiful exhibit of patriotism for all to see."

SENDING HOLIDAY CHEER

In a video, Mrs. Trump walked down the halls, cruising through different wings to reveal the USAwesome highlights ... like a White House advent calendar, a gingerbread house in the State Dining Room featuring the WH and famous landmarks from across the country and multiple gorgeous Christmas trees.

The trees include A Gold Star Family Tree to honor those who lost their lives serving in the military ... and the official 18-foot-tall White House Christmas tree.

At one point, Melania's seen sprinkling snow on the tree's branches, and the ornaments include red, white and blue flags and ribbons ... and Scrabble tiles spelling out "Be Best" -- the name of her anti-bullying initiative.

FLOTUS added she's excited for everyone to experience the beauty of the Christmas season. Everyone except Rep. Adam Schiff, we're guessing.

President Trump ISIS-Killing Dog's Medal ... Special Ops Just Made It Up!!!

Exclusive
TMZ.com

President Trump couldn't give Conan, the ISIS-killing dog, a real Medal of Honor ... so U.S. Special Forces just cooked up a new award so DT could present it to the four-legged hero.

We've learned U.S. Special Operations fashioned a one-of-a-kind medal for Conan -- the Belgian Malinois canine credited with helping off ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi earlier this month in a U.S.-led raid -- which 45 gave the pooch during Monday's visit to the White House.

A U.S. Special Ops spokesperson tells TMZ ... the award has no specific name, and it was created specifically to recognize the dog for his contribution to the al-Baghdadi operation. We're told Special Ops created the award specifically for Trump to present to Conan.

HONORING A GOOD GIRL
Fox News

As you know ... Conan wasn't eligible for the actual Medal of Honor, because those only get dished out to humans.

We're told the White House and the Department of Defense had nothing to do with Conan's unnamed award ... it was purely a Special Ops creation.

President Trump Honors ISIS-Killing Dog at White House Warns the Press, She Bites!!!

HONORING A GOOD GIRL
Fox News

President Trump might not be giving Conan, the ISIS-killing dog, the Medal of Honor, but he did settle for a pat on the head in front of cameras at the White House.

DT brought out Conan -- the Belgian Malinois canine who's credited with helping take out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a few weeks ago in a U.S.-led raid -- and introduced her to the press in the Rose Garden ... going on to say he'd given the pooch a medal and plaque.

Of course, she wasn't eligible for the actual Medal of Honor -- those don't get dished out to nonhumans -- but it sounds like 45 wanted to honor Conan properly nonetheless.

He went on to explain Conan has recovered nicely after being injured in the raid, and apparently ... she's already gone on to do other missions for us. Trump also said that she's at peak age, and nowhere near retirement. These dogs go strong for around 6 years.

VP Mike Pence had the honor of petting the pooch through much of the announcement, and Conan certainly appeared to like it. She was calm and collected the entire time.

One last thing ... Trump jokingly warned at least one member of the press that they were lucky Conan was in a good mood that day, suggesting he could sic her on anyone ... as these dogs are obviously trained to attack. He wasn't serious, but still ... ease up, DT.

Rep. Eric Swalwell Letting It Rip on TV, Congressman?!? #Fartgate Blamed on Mug

SOMETHING STINKS...
MSNBC

Rep. Eric Swalwell seemed to cut the cheese live on national TV ... but the cheese, as it turns out, was apparently a studio mug.

The California congressman was doing an interview Monday on MSNBC's 'Hardball' with host Chris Matthews -- and while he was going on and on about Ukraine and alleged malfeasance by DT ... something that sounded like a loud, wet fart blasted through the airwaves.

It certainly seemed like flatulence, and Rep. Swalwell even paused a moment right afterward in what many viewed as an acknowledgment of the ripped gas. And, of course, #fartgate and #shartgate soon started to trend everywhere on Twitter as a result.

Funny enough, the official 'Hardball' account excused the noise away as someone dragging a coffee mug across a table in the studio -- which just happened to get picked up on a mic.

Swalwell was ecstatic, quickly using the network's cover as what he described as "TOTAL EXONERATION!" -- very Trump-like, right?! And yes, everyone had a good laugh over it -- Republicans and Dems alike. It might've been the most uniting thing in a while, actually.

And, for those looking to go even deeper down the rabbit hole ... some have pointed to a theory that the would-be fart actually came from Matthews. Apparently, there's a history of gas being passed on his show over the years, as one Twitter user dutifully pointed out.

Anyway, if these impeachment hearings are lacking pizzazz -- as NBC News itself noted last week -- then Swalwell (or Matthews) just dropped a much-needed fun fart bomb.

Thanks, guys!!!

Adam Carolla on Joe Biden Still Calling Weed 'Gateway Drug'??? C'mon, JB, It's 2019 Already

Exclusive
LIFE IS A GATEWAY
TMZ.com

Adam Carolla thinks Joe Biden is a bit of a dinosaur trying to roam the 2019 landscape -- and when he calls weed a "gateway drug" ... AC thinks Biden's making himself extinct.

We ran into the comedian Monday night in WeHo and asked him about something JB said recently on the campaign trail that's kinda having people -- mostly millennials, frankly -- rolling their eyes and looking at the former VEEP as an old-timer and out of touch.

ICYMI ... Biden was at a Vegas town hall this weekend and got asked if his stance on legalizing recreational marijuana nationally has changed. Apparently, Joe wasn't for it in the first place, and still isn't -- saying there's not "enough evidence" to pull the trigger.

Adam notes that the term "gateway drug" is incredibly antiquated, and then goes on to list a number of things and experiences in life that can potentially lead to some damage.

Watch ... he gets pretty introspective, and it kinda makes you think about it. It should also be mentioned -- Adam sits on a weed advisory board, so he's about that life.

Akon Kanye and I Could Join Forces ... Take The White House in 2024

Exclusive
KANYE 2024 FT. AKON
TMZ.com

Akon's ideal winning ticket in 2024 is Kanye West for President and himself for Vice President, but there's a small caveat ... he says it's all up to God.

We got the singer outside Avra restaurant in Beverly Hills Monday night, and he elaborated on some recent comments he made about Ye running for Prez -- he's definitely supportive, even though he knows many are skeptical.

Akon suggests Kanye could use some help ... and who better than a guy who's got his back, but also offers different viewpoints. Meaning, someone who does NOT align with Donald Trump -- like Akon!

Not sure that would work, since Kanye sure seems like he'd run as a GOP candidate, but still ... Akon says he'd be cool riding shotgun as VP.

CHANGING MY NAME AND THE GAME

As we reported, Kanye got some unintended laughs earlier this month in NYC when he doubled down on his presidential aspirations, and had to emphasize for the audience ... he's dead serious.

He went on to say when the time comes for him to launch his campaign, his Yeezy brand "will have created so many jobs, I'm not gonna run [for President], I'll walk."

Akon, at least, believes anything is possible ... even West/Thiam in 2024.

Fun fact: The potential VP-wannabe's full name is Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam. Yeah, he'd probably need a bigger desk for the nameplate.

Dan Bilzerian If I'm Elected President ... I'll Give Up Sex, Drugs and Drinking!!!

Exclusive
Getty

Dan Bilzerian's dead set on running for President of the United States and winning, and to show he's serious ... he's willing to give up a few of his favorite things.

The popular playboy poker player tells TMZ ... he wasn't joking when he recently told us he plans to run for Prez in 2024, and he vows to go straight edge if he's elected -- no sex, drugs or alcohol -- and will abstain his entire time in office.

Dan says he'll be quitting those activities to both focus on the task at hand and prove to voters he means business ... consider it his major campaign promise.

As for what else he'll run on ... Bilzerian tells us he believes the world needs his help, there's too much corruption and too many laws, and saving the environment should be a top priority.

He also says he'll run as a Republican, but points out he has some traditionally liberal views too. For instance -- Dan's very pro-gun, but he's also pro-choice. He says he's pro-gay rights but doesn't agree with hormone treatments or sex changes for people under 18.

ANNOUNCING MY CAMPAIGN
TMZ.com

Bilzerian does give us a caveat -- he recognizes becoming a presidential candidate will drastically alter his life, so he says he might need more time to commit ... in which case he'll run in 2028.

Dan's already got one thing going for him -- he's pretty damn rich. With an estimated net worth of $150 million, he says he plans to use half his money for his campaign and the other half for philanthropy.

He tells us he plans on giving it his all and thinks he has a pretty good chance of winning. Of course, he seems to think he'll have an even better shot if Kanye West isn't one of his opponents.

Pete Buttigieg Glad I Got Trump's Odds ... But Our Campaigns Are Way Different

Exclusive
PART OF THE PROCESS
TMZ.com

Pete Buttigieg says while his odds to the win the White House might be similar to Donald Trump's a year out from election day ... he's going about getting there with a full 180.

The South Bend Mayor spoke to us Wednesday on "TMZ Live" after news broke that he's the leading Democratic candidate in Iowa, according to a new poll ... not to mention that his chances at going the distance are eerily similar to DT's from this time 4 years ago.

He weighs in on both, telling us the new poll reflects what he's been feeling on the ground ... a connection to voters and a groundswell that just can't be stopped.

As for the Trump comparison, he says the only thing he wants to share with 45 is the final destination. That said, he does admit there are similarities in how folks perceived their campaigns early on -- namely, they were seen as odd men out despite later success.

EVEN NASCAR LIKES ME!
TMZ.com

Then, we got into what could become a problem ... how PB plans to deal with religious voters -- especially in the South -- who may view the fact he's gay as a dealbreaker.

Check out his answer ... sounds like he believes even the most homophobic of folks can look past that, so long as he gives them something to believe in. He's confident he can.

Gov. Gavin Newsom Trump's Threats Don't Scare CA ... His Economy NEEDS Us!!!

Exclusive
COME AND GET IT
TMZ.com

California Governor Gavin Newsom says President Trump isn't going to bully the Golden State into doing what he wants -- even with threats that could put thousands of lives at risk.

The Gov. was on "TMZ Live" Tuesday with a fierce response to POTUS tweeting he might cut federal funding to help fight California's wildfires ... if Newsom didn't get his "act together" to stop the fires.

Newsom made it clear he's not about to bow because the reality is the Prez needs Cali more than it needs him. He says Trump likes to spew threats as "political theater," and also because he can't stand NOT getting his way in the most populous state.

As the Gov. put it, Trump's political pressure won't fly in Cali.

CALIFORNIA'S FINEST
TMZ.com

On a much lighter note, we also got Gov. Newsom -- who just might have the best gubernatorial hairline in America -- to talk about this year's CA Hall of Fame inductees ... who include George Lopez, RuPaul, Wolfgang Puck and the late Dr. Maya Angelou.

The ceremony goes down in Sacramento on December 10, and Newsom's honored to be inducting such a diverse group of talented people.

Pete Buttigieg Riding the 2015 Trump Wave??? Similar Presidential Odds

Exclusive
TMZ.com

Pete Buttigieg is now the Democratic favorite in Iowa, but he might have even more good fortune based on how his odds stack up against Donald Trump's from 4 years ago.

According to USBookies.com, Mayor Pete is in a similar position to Donald Trump during the same time frame -- 1 year out from the 2016 election. Pete is sitting at a 6/1 chance to nab the Democratic nom, while Trump was 3/1 around this time in 2015. As for the Presidency -- Pete's odds are 12/1 and Trump was at 10/1. Pretty dang close, if you ask us.

The odds were set by gamblers betting on USBookies.com, BTW.

As for who's gonna take the big prize next November, Trump is still the odds-on favorite -- regardless of who runs against him -- at 6/5.

Back to Pete though ... the reason why it's interesting that he's got a bit of a Trump vibe (to his odds, that is) around the same time the guy did back then is because -- like DT -- Mayor Pete is very much viewed as a dark horse candidate.

Take into consideration that he is now the leading candidate out in Iowa as of Tuesday, and it makes ya wonder if he'll have the same success Trump himself had in the run-up to 2016.

LESSER OF TWO EVILS
TMZ.com

We're guessing Pete doesn't care to have much in common with the man in the White House, but something tells us he's happy to share in his chances ... so long as it means he wins.