Trump withdraws from postal treaty in new front against China

The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will withdraw from a 144-year-old postal treaty, claiming the treaty gives countries like China and Singapore an unfair advantage and floods U.S. markets with cheaper e-commerce packages.

The withdrawal echoes President Donald Trump’s history of accusatory rhetoric against China for manipulating trade by subsidizing its manufacturers. Trump volleyed billions of dollars in tariffs with China over the summer, raising concerns of higher domestic manufacturing costs. A senior administration official said Wednesday that the withdrawal from the postal agreement is not related to the tariffs, but the move is aimed at protecting U.S. manufacturers and the U.S. postal system.

The Universal Postal Union, a body of the United Nations, allows developing countries to pay cheaper rates when shipping packages internationally, often leaving some of the cost of delivering packages on the postal services of wealthier countries. The policy was initially intended to Continue reading “Trump withdraws from postal treaty in new front against China”

From Saudi denials to ‘Horseface’: Trump lets loose on Twitter

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took a step back from his hectic public schedule in the run-up to the midterms, but filled his free time with a flurry of eyebrow-raising activity on Twitter.

Trump, who returned the previous evening from a trip to Florida to survey hurricane damage, sent out rapid-fire posts throughout the morning, touching on everything from the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the heritage of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). He even threw in a “WITCH HUNT” for the first time in weeks. The president tagged Fox News in several posts, suggesting he was live-tweeting while he watched his favorite news network.

Here are some the president composed to christen the day:

Renewing his attacks against one of his most vocal critics, Trump mocked Warren, using one of his favorite nicknames for her, after she took a DNA test to prove Native American ancestry. Warren also Continue reading “From Saudi denials to ‘Horseface’: Trump lets loose on Twitter”

Trump sanctions Iran over alleged child soldier recruitment

The Trump administration on Tuesday hit Iran with another round of sanctions, accusing the country of recruiting child soldiers as young as 12 to fight for the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

The sanctions primarily target the Basij Resistance Force, a domestic arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps focused on recruiting young Iranians to advance the country’s aims. Basij has an expansive network of recruiting efforts in every province of the country, and has attracted young boys from Afghanistan to its cause as well, according to a Treasury Department news release.

The administration’s Tuesday action specifically names a litany of Iranian banking and industrial institutions with ties to Basij, blocking their U.S. property and barring U.S. persons from engaging with them. The institutions are involved in economic activity ranging from investments to heavy industry and have networks stretching across the globe, according to senior administration officials.

Continue reading “Trump sanctions Iran over alleged child soldier recruitment”

Trump threatens to cut off aid to Honduras unless it stops migrant caravan

President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to cancel aid to Honduras unless a group of Honduran migrants making their way toward the United States were stopped and returned to their home country.

"The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!" Trump wrote Tuesday morning, among a diverse flurry of tweets.

The "caravan" comment referred to a group of hundreds of migrants who are fleeing poverty and gang violence in Honduras, spilling into Guatemala, which lies between Honduras and Mexico. The migrants overwhelmed Guatemalan border guards, who eventually allowed the group to pass and accompanied them deep into the country, the AP reported.

Trump’s threat reflects his America First campaign rhetoric, which spurned foreign entanglements. Trump Continue reading “Trump threatens to cut off aid to Honduras unless it stops migrant caravan”

White House Fellows program becomes military-heavy under Trump

From his proposed victory parade down the avenues of Washington to the military colors circling the Oval Office, President Donald Trump has demonstrated an appetite for keeping signs of might in his executive orbit.

That desire seems to have seeped into this year’s class of White House Fellows, who are part of a program started under President Lyndon Johnson to cultivate a new generation of civic leaders.

Fellows are generally a mix of young lawyers, doctors, military officers and other highly accomplished professionals and are placed to work in various parts of the executive branch. But this year, of the 14 fellows selected, 13 list military or law enforcement backgrounds in their biographies, according to a White House announcement on Monday. Only two are women.

Such high military representation is in stark contrast with past classes, in which military fellows represented anywhere from under a third to half of Continue reading “White House Fellows program becomes military-heavy under Trump”

Bolton says Khashoggi’s disappearance must get ‘resolved quickly’

National security adviser John Bolton emphasized the Trump administration’s urge to resolve the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, adding that the incident and allegations of a state-sponsored assassination are damaging parties on all sides.

"We need to find out what the facts are, and we need to get this resolved quickly, because if it is another operation, people need to understand that," Bolton said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Thursday. "I think the Saudis themselves are being damaged, because we don’t have the facts out."

Bolton’s comments came as criticism mounts against both the Saudi regime, which has been repeatedly accused of murdering Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate, and the Trump administration, for its tepid confrontations with Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi was known for his intimate knowledge of the Saudi royal family and wrote critically about the Saudi regime. He lived in self-imposed exile in order to write freely Continue reading “Bolton says Khashoggi’s disappearance must get ‘resolved quickly’”

Trump pledges to ‘weed out’ administration officials he does not trust

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will "weed out" individuals inside his administration who he does not like, echoing remarks from his wife, who told ABC News that there are people working for her husband who she does not trust.

During a live phone interview Thursday morning with Fox News’ "Fox & Friends," the president said "it was more true" in the past, when he was first establishing himself in Washington, that he distrusted members of his administration. But he cited U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation this week, as an example of the "great people" who now fill his administration.

Trump said he would do away with those he does not like.

"Are there some I’m not in love with? Yes. We’ll weed them out slowly," the president said.

Trump also identified Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as "a star" of Continue reading “Trump pledges to ‘weed out’ administration officials he does not trust”

Khashoggi’s fiancee asks Trump to find missing Saudi journalist

The fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi called on President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help locate the missing Saudi journalist, who disappeared more than a week ago after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance," Hatice Cengiz wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published online Tuesday night.

Khashoggi is known for his intimate knowledge of the Saudi royal family, of which he has written critically in The Washington Post, and his disappearance has captured international attention. Though the Saudi government maintains Khashoggi left the consulate alive, international observers and media have suggested he was killed there as part of a Saudi plot.

Trump said Tuesday he would speak with the Saudi government about Khashoggi’s disappearance, and the Turkish government announced it would inspect the Saudi consulate, a step the Saudi Continue reading “Khashoggi’s fiancee asks Trump to find missing Saudi journalist”

Khashoggi’s fiancee asks Trump to find missing Saudi journalist

The fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi called on President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help locate the missing Saudi journalist, who disappeared more than a week ago after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance," Hatice Cengiz wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published online Tuesday night.

Khashoggi is known for his intimate knowledge of the Saudi royal family, of which he has written critically in The Washington Post, and his disappearance has captured international attention. Though the Saudi government maintains Khashoggi left the consulate alive, international observers and media have suggested he was killed there as part of a Saudi plot.

Trump said Tuesday he would speak with the Saudi government about Khashoggi’s disappearance, and the Turkish government announced it would inspect the Saudi consulate, a step the Saudi Continue reading “Khashoggi’s fiancee asks Trump to find missing Saudi journalist”

Florida governor: ‘You do not have a chance to survive’ hurricane’s predicted storm surge

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday warned those who failed to heed evacuation warnings that Hurricane Michael could create deadly conditions in the state’s panhandle and big bend regions, where the storm is expected to make landfall later today.

"Those who have chosen not to evacuate that are on our coasts, it’s too late," Scott said Wednesday on "Fox & Friends." "Twelve feet of storm surge, water is going to come up, it’s going to cover your roof. You do not have a chance to survive that."

Michael was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane overnight, just hours before it was scheduled to slam into Florida’s coastline. The storm arrives weeks after another major hurricane, Florence, made landfall along the Atlantic coast, battering the Carolinas. President Donald Trump authorized a state of emergency in Florida for Michael, and Scott said he has called up 2,500 members of the Continue reading “Florida governor: ‘You do not have a chance to survive’ hurricane’s predicted storm surge”

Conway: Blue wave forecasts coming from ‘same geniuses’ who predicted Clinton win

Widespread predictions of a “blue wave” of Democratic victories in next month’s midterm elections should be taken with a hefty grain of salt, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway warned Wednesday morning, because they emanate from the “same geniuses” who all but guaranteed a landslide win for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

"Let’s not forget the same geniuses that predicted a huge romp by that woman who lost in 2016 are the same people predicting a huge win by the Democrats this time," Conway told Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” "So we have to be a little bit cautious."

Conway’s comments come with less than a month to go before November’s midterm elections, in which Republicans will seek to defend their majorities in both houses of Congress. Spurred by President Donald Trump’s low approval ratings and a surge in enthusiasm among Democratic voters, pundits across the political landscape have Continue reading “Conway: Blue wave forecasts coming from ‘same geniuses’ who predicted Clinton win”

Trump: Democrats seeking Venezuela-style socialism with Medicare for all

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that “the centrist Democratic Party is dead,” writing in a USA Today op-ed that the party seeking to overtake Republicans and claim majorities in both houses of Congress will use its Medicare for all push to begin instituting a broader socialist agenda.

“The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela,” Trump wrote. “If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.”

The bulk of the president’s op-ed was directed specifically at attacking “Medicare for all,” a single-payer government healthcare proposal endorsed by many, but not all, Democrats. Such legislation in the House of Continue reading “Trump: Democrats seeking Venezuela-style socialism with Medicare for all”

Anthony Weiner to be released early from federal prison

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who was sent to prison after admitting to sexting with a minor last year, will be released from federal detention early because of “good conduct,” a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

Weiner was sentenced in 2017 to 21 months in prison for sending sexually explicit material to a teenage girl and was initially set to be released in August 2019, the New York Post reported. Currently held at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., Weiner is now set to be released three months early, on May 14, for being a model prisoner.

Before his sexual abuse scandal roiled New York and national politics, Weiner was a popular all-star Democrat, winning several terms in the U.S. House of Representatives by wide margins. But when Weiner was outed for sending an explicit image to an adult via his Twitter in 2011, Continue reading “Anthony Weiner to be released early from federal prison”

Trump considers Mar-a-Lago for Kim summit

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was pleased with ongoing discussions with North Korea, adding he would like a future summit with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un at his Mar-a-Lago estate or on North Korean territory.

Trump’s comments come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim in Pyongyang to further denuclearization efforts on the Korean Peninsula. Following the meeting, Kim agreed to allow outside nuclear inspectors into the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site to prove that it had been irrevocably dismantled, but the North Korean leader did not make any promises to fully denuclearize the country without significant concessions from the U.S.

Still, Trump said he was happy with the progress being made with North Korea, adding that his administration has made unprecedented progress since his historic summit in Singapore with Kim back in May.

"I think the speed is amazing," Trump told reporters Tuesday at the Continue reading “Trump considers Mar-a-Lago for Kim summit”

Trump claims ‘paid protesters’ during Kavanaugh confirmation ‘haven’t gotten their checks’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday further outlined his conspiracy theory that protesters were hired to oppose Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, writing on Twitter that those protesters had not been paid because they "were far too obvious."

"The paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven’t gotten their checks – in other words, they weren’t paid! Screamers in Congress, and outside, were far too obvious – less professional than anticipated by those paying (or not paying) the bills!" Trump tweeted.

The president and some Republican senators have pushed a theory that protesters who accosted senators over Kavanaugh’s confirmation were paid to do so by wealthy liberal donors such as George Soros. Though left-leaning advocacy groups with influential Democratic donors did organize some protests, many protesters said they descended on the Capitol and Supreme Court on their own.

Trump has yet to put Continue reading “Trump claims ‘paid protesters’ during Kavanaugh confirmation ‘haven’t gotten their checks’”

Hillary Clinton calls Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in a ‘political rally’

Hillary Clinton labeled Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in at the White House on Monday a "political rally" that "undermined the image and integrity" of the Supreme Court.

"It saddens me because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government," Clinton said during an interview over the weekend with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

President Donald Trump ceremonially swore in Kavanaugh at the White House on Monday, days after the Senate confirmed his nomination with a 50-48 vote Saturday afternoon, concluding one of the most dramatic and partisan confirmation processes in the court’s history. Kavanaugh was officially sworn in Saturday by the Supreme Court’s chief justice, John Roberts.

Though the Supreme Court has traditionally endeavored to float above partisan politics, Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was mired with accusations from both parties of manipulation. Kavanaugh was accused during the confirmation process of having sexually assaulted Continue reading “Hillary Clinton calls Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in a ‘political rally’”

McConnell: Senators were ‘literally under assault’ during Kavanaugh hearings

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Republican senators were "literally under assault" by a coordinated effort to intimidate them during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"These demonstrators — I’m sure some of them were well-meaning citizens, but many of them were obviously trained to get in our faces, to go to our homes up there, basically almost to attack us in the halls of the Capitol," McConnell (R-Ky.) said. "So there was a full-scale effort to intimidate as well as to eliminate fundamental notions of fairness and due process, such as the presumption of innocence."

McConnell made the comments at a news conference shortly before Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in at the White House, bringing to a close one of the most contentious Supreme Court confirmations in the country’s recent history.

Kavanaugh was confirmed Saturday by a 50-48 vote in the Senate despite allegations Continue reading “McConnell: Senators were ‘literally under assault’ during Kavanaugh hearings”

Murphy, Connolly: Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) are both voicing concern over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, has written critically about the Saudi royal family and is known for his intimate knowledge of the family’s dynamics. According the Post’s editorial board, Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to fill out “routine paperwork” when he vanished. The Saudi government maintains Khashoggi left the consulate, but his fiancee denied that he has. The Post left a column blank on its Opinion page Friday to draw attention to his disappearance.

Murphy, who sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, tagged the Saudi embassy in Washington in a tweet calling for Khashoggi’s whereabouts.

“Saudi Arabia needs to provide an answer – now – about what happened to Continue reading “Murphy, Connolly: Where is Jamal Khashoggi?”

Washington Post calls for Kavanaugh’s rejection in rare editorial rebuke

The Washington Post published an editorial Friday urging the Senate to reject Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavnaugh, the newspaper’s first editorial opposing such a nominee in more than 30 years.

The Post’s editorial was published the morning of a critical Senate vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination, with a final vote expected this weekend. The Post cited Kavanaugh’s partisan rhetoric and emotive behavior during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week on allegations of sexual misconduct against him, as well as what the editorial board felt was insufficient information for senators to make an informed decision.

Though the newspaper admitted it would have preferred a more moderate pick to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had been the court’s swing vote, it said Kavanaugh’s conservative views were not a reason for its opposition.

The last time the Post openly opposed a Supreme Court nomination was Robert H. Bork, who was nominated Continue reading “Washington Post calls for Kavanaugh’s rejection in rare editorial rebuke”

Trump calls Kavanaugh protesters ‘rude elevator screamers’

President Donald Trump on Friday accused the protesters demonstrating against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of being "paid professionals" and part of a smear campaign funded by left-leaning donors, after female activists confronted Sens. Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake about sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

"The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers," Trump tweeted.

The tweet came out after the release of a viral video of Hatch, a Utah Republican and Senate Judiciary Committee member, telling female protesters to "grow up." In the video, one woman asks Hatch, "Why aren’t you brave enough to talk to us and exchange with us?" after which Hatch dismissively waves his hand, although Continue reading “Trump calls Kavanaugh protesters ‘rude elevator screamers’”