White House: Trump has ‘voiced some frustrations’ with Rosenstein

President Donald Trump may be frustrated with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, but the White House is refusing to tip its hand on Rosenstein’s future in the administration.

“I don’t have any announcements at this time,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday, when asked whether Trump has plans to fire Rosenstein. “The president’s voiced some frustrations, but beyond that, I don’t have anything to add.”

Rosenstein has been the focus of criticism among many Trump allies after he authorized a raid on longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen earlier this week. Trump met with Rosenstein at the White House on Thursday, amplifying concerns that Rosenstein could be on his way out.

Ousting Rosenstein could be one way for Trump to rein in the ongoing Russia investigation, given that he has the authority to fire Mueller but has said Continue reading “White House: Trump has ‘voiced some frustrations’ with Rosenstein”

Brown agrees to send National Guard troops to Mexico border

LOS ANGELES — In an apparent de-escalation of the raging conflict between California and President Donald Trump over immigration, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday agreed to increase California National Guard operations along the state’s border with Mexico, while insisting personnel will not be used to support any immigration enforcement or to build a border wall.

The announcement comes less than a week after Trump called for National Guard deployments along the U.S.-Mexico border until a border wall is built. The Republican governors of Texas and Arizona already committed to participate.

But Brown, whose state has clashed repeatedly with Trump over immigration and other issues, was far more cautious in his response.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis, the four-term Democrat said California “will accept federal funding to add approximately 400 Guard members statewide to supplement the staffing of its ongoing Continue reading “Brown agrees to send National Guard troops to Mexico border”

Stormy Daniels to appear on ‘The View’ next week

“The View” has a busy lineup in store next week, with shows featuring former FBI Director James Comey and now, adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“JUST ANNOUNCED: Stormy Daniels sits down with the co-hosts for her first LIVE national television interview,” the show tweeted. Daniels’ interview is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17.

This isn’t the first time Daniels has been slated to appear on “The View.” She was expected to join the co-hosts for their “Hot Topics” segment on Feb. 1, but ultimately pulled the plug the day prior to her scheduled booking.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has been in the limelight for months after news surfaced of her reported affair with President Donald Trump in 2006. She is now suing Trump over an alleged hush agreement and $130,000 payment.

Her appearance will come just a week after the FBI raided the home and office of Continue reading “Stormy Daniels to appear on ‘The View’ next week”

Zuckerberg hearing: Grasping — and grasping for — tech terms

Technology can prove confusing for even the most knowledgeable. There were a few moments during Tuesday’s testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before the Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce committees that left lawmakers — and viewers and even Zuckerberg — scratching their heads.

Stanford Analytica?

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) asked Zuckerberg whether he’d heard of Peter Thiel’s company Palantir, which specializes in big-data analysis. She added that “some people have referred to [Palantir] as a Stanford Analytica,” suggesting that Palantir may have taught Cambridge Analytica some of its own data-collection methods. Palantir has denied working with Cambridge Analytica, but former Cambridge contractor Christopher Wylie said that some of Palantir’s staff helped work on the models Cambridge was building. Cantwell’s peculiar phrasing of this question, however, left Zuckerberg at a loss for words.

Cross-device tracking (or lack thereof)

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) spent a large portion of his allotted Continue reading “Zuckerberg hearing: Grasping — and grasping for — tech terms”

Key moments from Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate testimony

Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook, appeared before lawmakers for the first time on Tuesday to answer questions about how his social networking juggernaut handles its 2.2 billion users’ private data, as well as the role the company played in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

The 33-year-old tech titan faced an onslaught of 44 senators from the chamber’s Judiciary and Commerce committees — all eager to maximize their allotted five minutes for grilling the witness.

Zuckerberg had at least a few friendly faces stationed outside on the Capitol lawn — but they were all his own. A 100-strong infantry of life-sized cutouts bearing the Facebook chief’s likeness were stationed there as part of an activist campaign to halt the spread of misinformation on social media.

Here are the key moments from his testimony:

First and foremost, Zuckerberg told lawmakers, he’s sorry. Although Facebook has been Continue reading “Key moments from Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate testimony”

Jeb Bush mocks Trump: My children ‘actually love me’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took a few swings at President Donald Trump during a lecture this week at Yale University — saying he goes home every day to children “who actually love me."

He also joked that he’s still working through his 2016 presidential election experience.

“I’m not going to talk about the 2016 election,” Bush said, according to the Yale Daily News. “I’m still in therapy.”

But beyond those remarks, Bush made a push for more polite political discourse.

Bush, who ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, also took the opportunity to dive into the current state of American politics and the conservative movement across the country.

“If there was ever need for a Bill Buckley-like approach to transforming conservativism in this country, it is right now,” Bush said, referring to the conservative author and commentator who founded the National Review magazine. “Maybe Continue reading “Jeb Bush mocks Trump: My children ‘actually love me’”

Kellyanne Conway’s husband jabs at White House via Twitter

Kellyanne Conway’s husband has had some strong words for President Donald Trump lately.

Shortly after the Wednesday afternoon publication of a New York Times report that Trump’s former lawyer had discussed potential pardons for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, George Conway called the report "flabbergasting.”

It wasn’t the first time George Conway, who is of counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, took a stance that might raise eyebrows in the administration. Earlier on Wednesday, he retweeted a post emphasizing the importance of the lawsuit by Stormy Daniels, who says she once had an affair with the president, and another post that highlighted Trump’s lack of public events this week.

George Conway confirmed on Wednesday that the Twitter account, which is not verified, belongs to him. He did not immediately respond to follow-up questions about why he appeared at odds with the president.

George Conway also took issue last Continue reading “Kellyanne Conway’s husband jabs at White House via Twitter”

Trump tweets support after Orange County, California, opposes ‘sanctuary’ law

President Donald Trump praised Orange County on Wednesday after its board of supervisors voted unanimously to oppose California’s “sanctuary” law.

The Justice Department earlier this month filed a lawsuit arguing that the California law, which limits police cooperation with federal immigration officials, is unconstitutional. The Orange County supervisors decided to join the lawsuit.

“My Administration stands in solidarity with the brave citizens in Orange County defending their rights against California’s illegal and unconstitutional Sanctuary policies,” Trump tweeted. “California’s Sanctuary laws release known dangerous criminals into communities across the State. All citizens have the right to be protected by Federal law and strong borders.”

"Look, the president is encouraging people to follow federal law," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during Wednesday’s briefing. "There’s a reason that we have laws in this country, and he expects that individual cities and states should follow the federal law."

During Continue reading “Trump tweets support after Orange County, California, opposes ‘sanctuary’ law”

Candy Carson rebuffs claims she was scapegoated over furniture dust-up

Candy Carson rejected claims Friday morning that her husband, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, threw her under the bus in the midst of uproar over a $31,000 furniture set for his office.

Carson’s office recently ordered 17 pieces of furniture totaling $31,000 — a purchase that he said was done in the interest of safety, not redecorating. Carson canceled the order after news of his purchase sparked outrage from the public and lawmakers alike. But during a hearing before House appropriators on Tuesday, Carson appeared to pass the blame for the decision entirely to his wife.

“I invited my wife to come and help,” Carson said. “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something. I dismissed myself from the issues.”

Candy Carson, however, was quick to defend the secretary’s testimony.

“Although many in the media would like to depict me as a victim who was ‘thrown under Continue reading “Candy Carson rebuffs claims she was scapegoated over furniture dust-up”

Trump criticizes predecessors in defending congratulatory call to Putin

President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized his three predecessors in defending his recent congratulatory call to President Vladimir Putin of Russia — a move that’s been widely criticized in the wake of news that Trump was specifically instructed not to congratulate Putin on his reelection.

“I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in the past, Obama called him also),” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

“They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race,” Trump followed up in another tweet. “Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the ‘smarts.’ Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH Continue reading “Trump criticizes predecessors in defending congratulatory call to Putin”

Ex-Playboy model’s lawyer says her coming forward has nothing to do with politics

The lawyer representing former Playboy model Karen McDougal says his client’s decision to speak out about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump has nothing to do with politics.

“Let me be clear,” Peter Stris said. “Karen is a Republican. She voted for the president. She holds no ill will. If there was ever a case that was not motivated by naked politics, it’s this one.

Stris added that McDougal is looking to “get out from under the thumb” of American Media Inc. — the parent company of the National Enquirer and several other tabloid publications — which Stris says has “effectively controlled her life for over a year.”

“What she wants is to correct the lies that AMI has told about her motivations, her honesty,” he added. “She does not want publicity.”

McDougal alleges that she had an affair with Trump spanning 10 months in 2006 — Continue reading “Ex-Playboy model’s lawyer says her coming forward has nothing to do with politics”

Mnuchin defends Trump’s name-calling

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s new comments about Rep. Maxine Waters, saying he “likes making funny names.”

During Saturday night’s campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump dismissed the California Democrat as a “very low IQ individual.”

“You ever see her? ‘We will impeach him. We will impeach the Pres — but he hasn’t done anything wrong. Doesn’t matter, we will impeach him.’ She’s a low IQ individual," Trump said. "I can’t help it.”

Asked on NBC’s "Meet the Press" how he would respond if a member of his own staff made a similar comment, Mnuchin chalked up Trump’s action to the campaign rally environment.

“I’ve been with the president and at campaigns. You know, he likes to put names on people,” the Treasury secretary said. “He did that through the entire presidential election, including all of the Republicans that he beat. … These Continue reading “Mnuchin defends Trump’s name-calling”

Mnuchin forecasts strong economic growth

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday touted the Trump administration’s economic achievements, forecasting the nation is well on its way to sustained economic growth.

“This was a big week for our trade and economic policies,” Mnuchin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We have been focused on, for the last year, creating solid economic growth. That’s been a combination of tax reform — which I think you know a lot of people said would never get done, 30 years in the making — [and] regulatory relief in trade.”

“The president is focused on economic growth,” Munchin added. “We’re well aware and on our way to our target of 3 percent sustained GDP.”

And on North Korea, the Treasury secretary said he believed the tough economic sanctions imposed on the regime by the U.S. and others was a critical factor in the proposal now on the table Continue reading “Mnuchin forecasts strong economic growth”

Flake pushes bill to block Trump tariffs

Sen. Jeff Flake is pushing legislation to block President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum, declaring he won’t back any exemptions put forward by the administration.

“The problem is, when you say, ‘All right, let’s have tariffs. But let’s couple that with uncertainty,’ that’s almost worst. I mean, those are dual poisons to the economy,” the Arizona Republican said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “You know, tariffs are awful. Tariffs married to uncertainty is probably even worse.”

Allowing just a single person to have nearly total control over tariffs is “not the way to do business,” Flake said.

While it would be difficult for Congress to get a majority on a bill to block tariffs, it still have to try, he said, citing congressional success in the 1970s overriding President Jimmy Carter’s tariffs on oils.

With Trump’s trade moves, Flake said it’s becoming harder to Continue reading “Flake pushes bill to block Trump tariffs”

Pompeo: America ‘safe’ from Russia

Americans should’t worry about Russian nuclear threats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently touted what he said were new Russian nuclear weapons, some with unlimited range. But Pompeo said none of it was a surprise to the U.S. intelligence community.

“We are following and tracking all of this closely, as are our brothers at the Department of Defense,” the CIA director said on "Fox News Sunday." “Americans should rest assured that we have a very good understanding of the Russian program and how to make sure that Americans continue to be kept safe from threats from Vladimir Putin.”

The U.S. remains “fully engaged” in keeping up with the latest weapons threats and technological advances, whatever the source, Pompeo added.

“Each time there’s an advance in anyone’s weapon systems, Russia’s weapon system, China’s weapon system, America is required to make Continue reading “Pompeo: America ‘safe’ from Russia”

Pompeo: U.S. making ‘no concessions’ to North Korea

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says the U.S. won’t be making any "concessions" to North Korea ahead of any talks with President Donald Trump.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un must "continue to allow us to perform our military-necessary exercises on the peninsula, and then he’s got to make sure that he leaves on the table that discussion for denuclearization,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“These are real achievements,” he added. “These are conditions that the North Korean regime has never submitted to in exchange for conversations.”

Any discussions between Trump and Kim will “play out over time,” Pompeo said, but the first negotiations would likely to set the tone for what arrangements will be deemed acceptable.

“Make no mistake about it,” he said. “While these negotiations are going on, there will be no concessions made.”

In the meantime, Pompeo said, the U.S. will continue Continue reading “Pompeo: U.S. making ‘no concessions’ to North Korea”

Warren worries Kim would ‘take advantage’ of Trump in talks

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she’s worried North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will "take advantage of" President Donald Trump in any face-to-face talks, especially given the current flux in the State Department.

“Let’s start with what the Trump administration has done,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press." “They’re moving toward diplomacy. I think that’s a really good move. There is no military-only solution to the problems presented by North Korea, and I’m not the only one who feels that way.”

But, she added, the U.S. is currently facing a “decimated” State Department and doesn’t have an ambassador to South Korea or an assistant secretary for the region. And it’s critical to have officials who are familiar with the economy, history and language involved in any negotiations, she explained.

“I want to see our president succeed, because if he succeeds, Continue reading “Warren worries Kim would ‘take advantage’ of Trump in talks”

Trump calls for $1B reduction in U.S.-China trade deficit

President Donald Trump is pushing for a $1 billion reduction in China’s trade deficit with the U.S.

“China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

In 2017, the deficit between Chinese goods imported to the U.S. and American goods exported to China reached $375.2 billion — an 8 percent jump from $347 billion in 2016. Overall, the U.S. trade deficit rose 5 percent in January to $56.6 billion, marking the highest monthly level since October 2008 — a fact that Trump has largely attributed to a series of bad trade deals.

Overall, the United States’ trade deficit increased by 12.6 percent to $568.4 billion in 2017, marking the largest trade gap in a decade.

“Our relationship with China has been a Continue reading “Trump calls for $1B reduction in U.S.-China trade deficit”

Graham: Immigration debate ‘has turned into an s-show’

The immigration debate has turned into an “s-show,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday, lamenting what he said was President Donald Trump’s abrupt change in tone on the topic last week.

“This has turned into an s-show, and we need to get back to being a great country where Democrats and Republicans work together to do something that we should have done years ago,” the South Carolina Republican said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Trump on Thursday roiled the immigration debate when he told lawmakers in a private meeting that he wanted to encourage people to come to the U.S. from countries like Norway instead of places he described as "shitholes." Graham, who was at the meeting, said Trump had appeared to have a different perspective when they spoke earlier in the week.

“So Tuesday, we had a president that I was proud to golf with, call my Continue reading “Graham: Immigration debate ‘has turned into an s-show’”

Homeland security chief says she’ll work with Hawaii officials after false emergency alert

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday she would work with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to ensure that states have a uniform way to handle missile threats and alert systems, after a false emergency alert was sent to Hawaii residents warning of an incoming ballistic missile.

“I’d like to work with you to ensure we’re providing specific instructions on what to do upon an alert,” Nielsen said before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Saturday’s false alarm from Hawaii emergency officials encouraged residents to seek shelter from a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii,” but it was later retracted and attributed to human error.

Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security is not solely responsible for guaranteeing that states’ alert systems work properly.

“We provide the backbone to ensure that at any time, if the president or the Department of Homeland Security would need to send an alert to citizens with an Continue reading “Homeland security chief says she’ll work with Hawaii officials after false emergency alert”