Pompeo hails possible ceasefire in Afghanistan

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday hailed the possibility of a brief ceasefire in Afghanistan, saying it is "time for peace" in the country where U.S. troops continue to fight in the longest-running war in American history.

"The United States welcomes the announcement by the Afghan government of a ceasefire conditioned on Taliban participation," Pompeo said in a statement. "The United States supports President Ghani’s offer for comprehensive negotiations on a mutually agreed agenda."

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Sunday plans for a three-month ceasefire in honor of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. According to a Reuters report, the Taliban provisionally accepted an agreement for a four-day truce and pledged to release hundreds of prisoners in a show of goodwill.

Pompeo stressed that there are no "obstacles to talks" and that the U.S. stands ready to broker discussions between Ghani’s government and the Taliban, Continue reading “Pompeo hails possible ceasefire in Afghanistan”

From ‘men are disposable’ to ‘truth isn’t truth’: Giuliani’s weirdest moments so far

No one says it quite like Rudy Giuliani.

In his four months as one of President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys, the former New York City mayor has blitzed media green rooms, befuddled legal experts and caused headaches for the White House. Even Trump once told reporters Giuliani would "get his facts straight" eventually.

On the heels of his latest eyebrow-raising pronouncement, here’s a look at Giuliani’s oddest recent moments.

1. "They funneled through a law firm and the president repaid it."

Fresh into his new assignment as an legal adviser to the president, Giuliani appeared on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s program on May 2 for what should have been a friendly interview.

Instead, Giuliani contradicted months of Trump-team statements that the president was not aware of a $130,000 payment during the 2016 campaign to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, which she says was "hush money" to buy Continue reading “From ‘men are disposable’ to ‘truth isn’t truth’: Giuliani’s weirdest moments so far”

Trump says Omarosa lied about his use of n-word

President Donald Trump said on Monday night that he’d never used the N-word and that no tapes existed of him saying other inflammatory material, rebutting the claims made by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman that Trump repeatedly said the word during the filming of his reality-TV series “The Apprentice.”

“.@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa,” the president wrote on Twitter, claiming he talked to Burnett, who produces the series. “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up.”

Manigault Newman has unleashed a torrent of criticism of her former boss, claiming in a new book that his mental faculties are declining and that he is ill suited for the presidency. The White House has scoffed at her Continue reading “Trump says Omarosa lied about his use of n-word”

Trump fumes at the FBI, Justice Dept. and Sessions in series of tweets

President Donald Trump on Saturday publicly castigated the Justice Department, the attorney general and the FBI, amplifying his allies’ recent efforts to cast doubt on the Russia probe after remaining largely silent as the trial of his former campaign chairman progresses.

"Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text messages to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities," the president wrote on Twitter, one of a series of tweets he sent during his extended stay at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. "FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding?"

Trump has been fixated on coverage of Paul Manafort during his "working vacation," expressing his rage to close confidants that his former campaign chairman’s trial is dominating news coverage. Manafort is facing charges of tax and bank fraud in Virginia, the first high-profile case from special Continue reading “Trump fumes at the FBI, Justice Dept. and Sessions in series of tweets”

Trump calls for unity on anniversary of Charlottesville rally

President Donald Trump on Saturday called for the nation to "come together" ahead of the one-year anniversary of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division," Trump wrote on Twitter. "We must come together as a nation."

On Sunday, white nationalists will gather at a "Unite the Right" rally near the White House marking the anniversary of the Charlottesville rally, which resulted in the death of a counter-protester after a supremacist drove his car into a crowd of people.

The president’s response to the rally was heavily criticized after he asserted during a press conference at Trump Tower that there were "very fine people on both sides."

On Saturday, Trump wrote that he condemns "all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!"

The president, who is staying at his golf Continue reading “Trump calls for unity on anniversary of Charlottesville rally”

Trump: I’m not worried about Don Jr.’s role in Trump Tower meeting

President Donald Trump on Sunday disputed reports that he is worried about his son’s involvement in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, adding the gathering was innocuous because participants were just there to "get information on an opponent."

"Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower," the president wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning, part of a stream of tweets about the news media, his tariffs and the Russia probe.

"This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!"

On Saturday, multiple news outlets reported Trump is concerned his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., may have inadvertently broken the law in regards to the meeting between top campaign officials and people linked to Continue reading “Trump: I’m not worried about Don Jr.’s role in Trump Tower meeting”

Trump says meeting with Iran is ‘up to them’

President Donald Trump on Saturday said any meeting with the Iranian regime is "up to them."

"Iran, and it’s economy, is going very bad, and fast! I will meet, or not meet, it doesn’t matter – it is up to them!" Trump wrote on Twitter while en route to Ohio for a political rally.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this week that such a summit would only come once the Iranians satisfy certain preconditions, including a willingness to reopen a deal on its nuclear program.

Trump’s statement to reporters on Monday that he would meet with Tehran without preconditions caught commentators off guard, as the president had been increasingly hostile to the Islamic Republic.

On July 22, Trump threatened Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with an all-caps tweet.

"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF Continue reading “Trump says meeting with Iran is ‘up to them’”

Judge’s ruling invalidates FEC regulation allowing anonymous donations to ‘dark money’ groups

A U.S. District Court judge on Friday issued a ruling invalidating a Federal Election Commission regulation that has allowed donors to so-called dark-money groups to remain anonymous, the latest development in a years-long legal battle that could have major implications for campaign finance.

Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled the FEC’s current regulation of such groups, including 501(c) 4 non-profits, fails to uphold the standard Congress intended when it required the disclosure of politically related spending.

"The challenged regulation facilitates such financial ‘routing,’ blatantly undercuts the congressional goal of fully disclosing the sources of money flowing into federal political campaigns, and thereby suppresses the benefits intended to accrue from disclosure … ," wrote Howell, an Obama appointee to the D.C district court. The decision is likely to be appealed.

The decision paves the way for new requirements that could force nonprofits to disclose donors who give least $200 toward influencing Continue reading “Judge’s ruling invalidates FEC regulation allowing anonymous donations to ‘dark money’ groups”

Newseum pulls ‘fake news’ shirt after backlash

The Newseum on Saturday pulled the sale of a t-shirt bearing the message "you are very fake news" following an online backlash against the merchandising of the slogan frequently employed by President Donald Trump to undermine journalists’ work.

"The Newseum has removed the "You Are Very Fake News" t-shirts from the gift shop and online," a statement posted on the media-focused museum’s website read. "We made a mistake and we apologize. A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people."

The Washington, D.C., museum faced intense criticism on Friday after Poynter first reported that it was selling the "fake news" t-shirt and other items related to Trump. The online store still has live listings for other Trump-related items, including a "Make America Great Again" hat and a "Great Again" t-shirt.

"This t-shirt doesn’t belong anywhere. It particularly Continue reading “Newseum pulls ‘fake news’ shirt after backlash”

U.S. delivers Trump letter to Kim to North Koreans

A letter from President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was delivered by a U.S. delegation on Saturday, the State Department said.

The latest communication between the two leaders came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had a "polite exchange" with his North Korean counterpart on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Asia.

According to news reports, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that U.S. ambassador Sung Kim gave a white envelope containing Trump’s message to foreign minister Ri Yong Ho just after Ri and Pompeo shook hands.

Nauert, according to a Washington Post report, said Pompeo told Ri "we should talk again soon" and Ri responded, in English, "I agree. There are many productive conversations to be had."

Trump alluded to ongoing communications between he and Kim on Aug. 2: "Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong Un for Continue reading “U.S. delivers Trump letter to Kim to North Koreans”

Trump threatens shutdown ahead of elections

President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to shut down the government this fall if congressional Democrats do not support more funding for a border wall with Mexico and tougher immigration policies.

"I would be willing to “shut down” government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!," the president wrote on Twitter.

Government funding is set to run out 37 days before November’s midterm elections. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the presidency, meaning voters might well place blame for any shutdown on the GOP. Even without the shutdown, current projections suggest Democrats have a strong chance of flipping the House.

When asked about the president’s statement, Rep. Steve Stivers, the leader of the House Republicans campaign arm, said he did Continue reading “Trump threatens shutdown ahead of elections”

NYT publisher: I told Trump his anti-press rhetoric ‘will lead to violence’

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger on Sunday said that he pressed President Donald Trump about his "divisive" rhetoric about journalists during a recent meeting with him, warning the president that labeling reporters "the enemy of the people," will lead to violence.

"I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous," Sulzberger said in a statement released by the Times about a July 20 meeting at the White House. "I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence."

In a tweet Sunday morning, Trump revealed the fact that he sat down with Sulzberger.

"Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake Continue reading “NYT publisher: I told Trump his anti-press rhetoric ‘will lead to violence’”

Trump kicks off Sunday with flurry of tweets

President Donald Trump started his Sunday morning with a flurry of tweets jabbing at his former personal attorney, threatening to shutdown down the government if Congress does not bow to his immigration demands and repeating the debunked claim that his poll numbers are higher than any other Republican president.

"Do you think the Fake News Media will ever report on this tweet from Michael?," Trump wrote on Twitter, continuing the back and forth with Michael Cohen, his longtime former lawyer who has signaled that his loyalty to the president and his family is no more.

Trump’s blast at Cohen included a quote tweet of something his former attorney wrote in July of last year.

"So proud of @DonaldJTrumpJr for being open, honest and transparent to the American people," Cohen wrote on Twitter on July 11, 2017, attaching a photo of Trump Jr. for good measure. "This nonsense needs to Continue reading “Trump kicks off Sunday with flurry of tweets”

Giuliani: Cohen and Trump’s legal teams have severed ties

Rudy Giuliani signaled on Saturday that President Donald Trump and his legal team are severing ties to Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime former personal attorney.

"We have complained to them that he’s violated the attorney client privilege, publicly and privately," Giuliani, Trump’s current attorney, told ABC News, following reported comments Cohen has made relating to Trump’s presidential campaign and private life.

Giuliani confirmed the two sides have ended their joint defense agreement to share information.

After initially saying he would defend his longtime friend and employer, Cohen has increasingly signaled that he is taking a more confrontational approach in his relationship with the president following the FBI raid on his business premises and temporary residence in April, in which recordings of conversations with Trump were seized.

Trump, while not naming Cohen directly, cast doubt on Friday about a CNN report citing anonymous sources that Cohen claims Trump had prior Continue reading “Giuliani: Cohen and Trump’s legal teams have severed ties”

PHOTOS: Trump takes on Europe

In just one week, President Donald Trump will have sent America’s allies into a tizzy, shared tea with Queen Elizabeth II and squeezed in a tete-a-tete with Vladimir Putin. POLITICO looks at the president’s seventh foreign trip and how, yet again, Trump demonstrated that no one travels like he does.

Trump: Was Warner in ‘near drunken state’ when he made Mueller joke?

President Donald Trump on Monday night questioned whether Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was in a “near drunken state” when the Virginia Democrat joked to friends about the Russia investigation, as quoted in POLITICO’s Playbook on Sunday.

“Why is Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), perhaps in a near drunken state, claiming he has information that only he and Bob Mueller, the leader of the 13 Angry Democrats on a Witch Hunt, knows?” the president wrote on Twitter on Monday evening. “Isn’t this highly illegal. Is it being investigated?”

Playbook reported on Sunday that a source overheard Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, joke about how the proper amount of alcohol would cause him to spill secrets about Trump and the Russia investigation.

“If you get me one more glass of wine, I’ll tell you stuff only Bob Mueller and I know,” Warner was overheard joking to Continue reading “Trump: Was Warner in ‘near drunken state’ when he made Mueller joke?”

Melania Trump tells kids to be a ‘positive force’ in each other’s lives

Melania Trump on Sunday urged students at a conference of a youth and safety organization to be a "positive force" in the lives of those around them and to treat their peers with respect.

"You have the power to be the positive force in so many people’s lives," the first lady said at the Students Against Destructive Decisions gathering in Tysons Corner, Virginia. "Kindness, compassion, and positivity are very important traits in life."

Melania Trump spoke of her "Be Best" initiative, which is focused on an array of issues involving children. Her announcement of the campaign on May 7 was one of her most high profile appearances as first lady, after spending the previous year mostly outside the spotlight.

Students Against Destructive Decisions was previously known as Students Against Drunk Driving, but in 1997 the organization changed its name and now includes substance abuse, personal health and traffic safety Continue reading “Melania Trump tells kids to be a ‘positive force’ in each other’s lives”

McCaskill campaigns despite ‘sore rib’ after Manchin administered Heimlich

Sen. Claire McCaskill has taken a lot of ribbing lately, on and off the campaign trail.

The Democrat campaigned in Missouri this weekend despite a "sore rib" after one of her colleagues performed the Heimlich maneuver on her in Washington.

McCaskill started choking last week at her caucus’ weekly lunch, when West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin performed the maneuver, removing the blockage but bruising her rib in the process, as The Washington Post previously reported. She is not expected to miss any time in Washington.

“I’m really grateful to Joe — a little bit of a sore rib for a couple of weeks is no big deal," McCaskill said in a statement.

McCaskill is viewed as one of the most endangered Senate Democrats this cycle. She drew a top GOP recruit as a contender, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who recently made light of her use of a private plane Continue reading “McCaskill campaigns despite ‘sore rib’ after Manchin administered Heimlich”

Katie Arrington listed as critical but stable after multiple surgeries

South Carolina congressional candidate Katie Arrington was listed in critical but stable condition Sunday after a car accident Friday night that left one person dead. Her campaign said that despite the significant injuries she sustained in the wreck, she is not expected to have any lasting neurological issues going forward.

Arrington’s campaign said in a statement that the doctors expect her to be out of bed and walking in the next few days. She will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks and may still require one more surgical procedure, which the statement described as "minimal."

On Sunday, according to the statement, Arrington underwent two major surgeries. The first was an operation that complemented the initial surgery she underwent Friday night on her abdomen. The second surgery was for a spinal fracture, which went "very well and with no complications."

Almost two weeks ago, the Republican state representative Continue reading “Katie Arrington listed as critical but stable after multiple surgeries”

David Bossie apologizes for ‘cotton-picking mind’ comment to black panelist

Former top Trump campaign official David Bossie apologized on Sunday after telling a fellow Fox News panelist who is black that he was out of his "cotton-picking mind" during a discussion about the bellicose rhetoric in U.S. politics.

"During a heated segment on Fox & Friends today, I should have chosen my words more carefully and never used the offensive phrase that I did," Bossie wrote on Twitter. "I apologize to Joel Payne, Fox News and its viewers."

Bossie — who served as a deputy campaign manager and is still close to the White House, joining President Donald Trump for events in Nevada on Saturday — grew increasingly agitated during the Sunday morning segment, which included discussion of Democrats and others who have described the Trump administration’s policy toward separating families that cross the border illegally as akin to Nazi actions during the Holocaust.

"Michael Hayden posted a Continue reading “David Bossie apologizes for ‘cotton-picking mind’ comment to black panelist”