Poll: 66 percent of U.S. voters oppose family separations

Roughly two-thirds of U.S. voters oppose the Trump administration’s controversial policy of separating children from their parents who cross the U.S. border illegally, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released on Monday.

Sixty-six percent of those surveyed opposed the policy. The vast majority of Democrats surveyed — 91 percent — opposed the policy, compared with 35 percent of Republicans. Only 7 percent of Democratic voters support the policy, while 55 percent of Republicans support it.

The poll comes as both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have denounced the “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in parents being separated from their children as they’re prosecuted for illegal immigration. President Donald Trump on Monday doubled down on the policy and blamed Democrats for holding up immigration reform legislation.

Photos from facilities where children separated from their parents were being held also went viral this past weekend after they showed young immigrants in Continue reading “Poll: 66 percent of U.S. voters oppose family separations”

Grassley demands answers on Comey’s Gmail use at FBI

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Monday asked the Justice Department whether the FBI had obtained any material from James Comey’s personal devices, after the department’s watchdog reported last week that the former director at times used his private email account for work.

“The Justice Department should apply at least as much scrutiny to its own former Director as it applied to the former Secretary of State,” Grassley wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “It is disturbing that FBI employees tasked with investigating Secretary Clinton, including the former Director, appear to have engaged in strikingly similar conduct. Although it does not appear as egregious and prolonged, they also used non-government systems for official work.”

The inspector general released a report last week that indicated that political bias did not affect decisions in the FBI’s 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. The report, however, revealed Continue reading “Grassley demands answers on Comey’s Gmail use at FBI”

Jeb Bush to Trump: ‘Children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday called on President Donald Trump to end the “heartless policy” of separating parents and children who cross the U.S. border illegally.

“Children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool. @realDonaldTrump should end this heartless policy and Congress should get an immigration deal done that provides for asylum reform, border security and a path to citizenship for Dreamers,” Bush said online in a tweet replying to Trump.

Bush’s comment comes as members on both sides of aisles have denounced the Trump administration’s policy, including his sister-in-law, former first lady Laura Bush, who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post denouncing the practice of separating families.

Trump’s tweet said that “children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country,” and added that crime taking place south of the border is “historic” and that in Continue reading “Jeb Bush to Trump: ‘Children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool’”

Nielsen defends family separations: ‘We will not apologize for doing our job’

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that the Department of Homeland Security “will not apologize“ for doing their job amid the public outcry over the Trump administration‘s policy on separating undocumented immigrants from their children.

“We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job. We have sworn to do this job,” Nielsen said at the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans.

Nielsen’s comments come after she was criticized for tweeting that the department does “not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.“

That tweet also came the same weekend that lawmakers and reporters were allowed over the weekend to tour facilities in South Texas where children separated from their parents were being held, which has sparked a debate among lawmakers and the Trump administration. Photos went viral from the facilities after they showed children in cages, lying on green mats Continue reading “Nielsen defends family separations: ‘We will not apologize for doing our job’”

Trump aide says White House ‘exploring’ Trump-Putin meeting

The White House and the Kremlin are “exploring” a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a White House aide.

Richard Hooker, a senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, told the Russian news agency TASS Wednesday that the idea is in the works, but he offered no specifics.

“I think that both sides are exploring an opportunity to meet, yes. I don’t think any decisions have been made, or details have been worked out, but I believe both sides are exploring an opportunity to try to do that,” Hooker told TASS.

The White House did not respond to requests about whether a meeting is being pursued.

Talk of a Trump-Putin meeting — which would be sure to generate controversy in a Washington gripped by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — began when the two leaders spoke by phone Continue reading “Trump aide says White House ‘exploring’ Trump-Putin meeting”

White House won’t comment on ‘Rudy Giuliani’s love life’

The White House on Thursday refused to comment on whether Rudy Giuliani has become too much of a “distraction” to serve as President Donald Trump’s lawyer.

“Not today or tomorrow or at any point ever going to comment on Rudy Giuliani’s love life,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during Thursday’s press briefing. “I will be glad to leave that to you and the reporter that spoke with him.”

Giuliani, in an interview with the Daily Mail on Thursday, raved about his new relationship with Jennifer LeBlanc, a Louisiana fundraiser with whom he has been seen several times, including once at the White House. LeBlanc at the time denied the relationship to the Mail.

Judith Nathan, Giuliani’s third wife, filed for divorce on April 4 and accused him of having an affair. Giuliani denied that and doubled down on his assertion that he had not cheated on his wife.

Continue reading “White House won’t comment on ‘Rudy Giuliani’s love life’”

Trump faces backlash after saluting North Korean general

President Donald Trump is facing some heat Thursday after he went against presidential norms by saluting a North Korean general.

“I’m not trying to be gratuitous or unfair but isn’t saluting a General from an enemy military sort of a big deal?” tweeted Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat.

North Korea’s state news channel on Thursday was the first to broadcast a 42-minute long video from Trump’s meeting this week with Kim Jong Un. In a clip shared by the BBC, Trump is shown meeting various North Korean officials, including a North Korean military general.

The general first salutes Trump, to which the president salutes back, before shaking his hand. Kim is seen smiling in the background of the interaction.

United States presidents typically do not salute military officials with adversarial nations. Washington and Pyongyang currently have no formal diplomatic relationship, and North Korea is still technically at war Continue reading “Trump faces backlash after saluting North Korean general”

Pompeo says China sanctions on North Korea will stay in place

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday reaffirmed China’s commitment to continue to sanction on North Korea until the reclusive country denuclearizes — just two days after Beijing hinted at sanction relief.

Pompeo said during a press conference following his discussions with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that China “acknowledged that the sanctions regime that is in place today, will remain in place until such time as that denuclarization is in fact complete.“

“There has been unanimity in that set of objections and I’m heartened by that following the Singapore summit,” he said.

Pompeo on Thursday also met with Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, in addition to Wang. Pompeo met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday as well.

The secretary of state’s comment comes two days after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday said that if North Korea “respects and Continue reading “Pompeo says China sanctions on North Korea will stay in place”

Trump defends Kim despite human rights record

President Donald Trump is defending North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, despite worldwide criticism of the country’s human rights offenses.

“He’s a tough guy,” the president said during a Fox News interview that aired Wednesday. “When you take over a country, a tough country, tough people and you take it over from your father — I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have — if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.”

Trump made his comments Tuesday aboard Air Force One on his return from Singapore, where he’d met with Kim and hailed the North Korean leader as a “smart” and “funny guy” who “loves his people.”

Kim inherited his father’s and grandfather’s repressive Continue reading “Trump defends Kim despite human rights record”

Bill Clinton digs in on Lewinsky apology

Facing criticism over his recent remarks about Monica Lewinsky, former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday defended his statements, to a point.

“Here’s what I want to say: It wasn’t my finest hour, but the important thing is that was a very painful thing that happened 20 years ago and I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, to the American people,” Clinton said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “I meant it then, I meant it now. I’ve had to live the consequences everyday since. And I still believe this Me Too movement is long overdue, necessary and should be supported.”

During an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Monday, Clinton said that after the scandal that led to his impeachment 20 years ago, he did not apologize to Lewinsky privately and did not believe an apology was necessary because he had made one publicly.

Continue reading “Bill Clinton digs in on Lewinsky apology”

Trump campaign launches website for president’s accomplishments

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign on Tuesday launched a website for the administration‘s “growing portfolio of accomplishments,” saying it was created because of “distortions“ and “lies” in the media.

“It’s a shame that such a platform is even necessary to overcome the errors and omissions reporting by the mainstream media — full of distortions, underreporting and lies — but we are pleased to present such a record of achievement by President Trump nonetheless,” Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., said in a statement.

The website, promiseskept.com, was launched after the president marked his 500th day in office.

“This repository will serve as a robust record of the Trump administration and its growing portfolio of accomplishments,” Parscale said in the statement.

Parscale also tweeted about the website, saying that the “truth will be told about a remarkable 500-day record of accomplishments.” The president Continue reading “Trump campaign launches website for president’s accomplishments”

White House deflects questions about Trump’s role in Russian lawyer statement

The White House on Monday declined to explain why officials’ accounts changed over time about President Donald Trump’s involvement in a July 2017 statement about his oldest son’s meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

Trump’s legal team said in a letter to special counsel Robert Mueller that became public last weekend that Trump had dictated the statement, which described the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower as primarily about U.S. adoption policy regarding Russian children.

In fact, the meeting was organized after the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, offered Donald Trump Jr. information about Democrat Hillary Clinton. Mueller has reportedly made the misleading statement part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates helped.

Official explanations of the statement’s origin, however, have changed over the last year. Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said in July 2017, after the Trump Tower meeting Continue reading “White House deflects questions about Trump’s role in Russian lawyer statement”

Comedian Samantha Bee apologizes to Ivanka Trump

Samantha Bee, the comedian and political commentator, on Thursday apologized to Ivanka Trump for crossing a line after she used a vulgarity to describe the White House adviser and president’s daughter.

“I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night,” Bee said in a statement on Twitter. “It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.”

Bee, on Wednesday evening during her TBS show, “Full Frontal,” criticized President Donald Trump’s policy of separating undocumented families apprehended at the border.

She went on to condemn a tweet that Ivanka Trump had posted earlier this week with her and her son, dubbing it “the second most oblivious tweet we’ve seen this week.”

“You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, Continue reading “Comedian Samantha Bee apologizes to Ivanka Trump”

Trump: ‘Hopefully’ I’ll have meeting with Kim on June 12

President Donald Trump said Thursday that his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will “hopefully” happen on June 12 — and that he may need a second or third meeting to hammer out a deal.

He also said there may be no meeting at all.

“We’ll see, and hopefully we’ll have a meeting on the 12th; that’s going along very well, but I want it to be meaningful,” the president said before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews. “It doesn’t mean it gets all done at one meeting. Maybe you have to have a second or third, and maybe we’ll have none, but it’s in good hands. That I can tell you. You know that, actually.”

Trump has continued to be coy about plans for a summit with Kim after sending a letter to the North Korean leader last week calling off the meeting because Continue reading “Trump: ‘Hopefully’ I’ll have meeting with Kim on June 12”

Dem senator requests details on Trump’s cellphone security

Sen. Tom Carper on Thursday asked the Department of Defense for information on measures to secure President Donald Trump’s phone following a report he is not taking the same protective measures as past presidents.

The Delaware Democrat’s request comes after POLITICO reported this week that Trump has resisted some staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use.

“This is all the more concerning in light of reports indicating that President Trump has urged world leaders to contact him directly through his smartphone and that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s personal smartphone was compromised for months,” Carper wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Carper first sent Mattis a letter in February 2017 in an effort to get more details on efforts to oversee, develop and implement protective measures for the president’s use of smartphones. He said he had not gotten a response.

Carper requested that Continue reading “Dem senator requests details on Trump’s cellphone security”

Everytown for Gun Safety takes out full-page ad in Houston Chronicle

A group of students from across Texas has a question for Gov. Greg Abbott: “We are dying on your watch. What will you do about it?“

More than 40 students signed a letter calling for action on gun control, which will be featured in a full-page ad from Everytown for Gun Safety set to run in the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, the political arm of the organization, paid for the ad.

“Our job is to be good students. Your job is to keep us safe. You have failed at your job,” the students wrote in the letter to Abbott. “Like so many politicians cozy with the NRA, you have steadfastly opposed any reasonable measures that might protect us from gun violence. Instead, you’ve signed dangerous policies to force public colleges in Texas to allow guns on campus and make it legal to openly Continue reading “Everytown for Gun Safety takes out full-page ad in Houston Chronicle”

Grassley seeks DOJ documents on official’s contacts with dossier author

Sen. Chuck Grassley on Monday called on the Justice Department to release information relating to a former top official’s communications with the author of a dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Iowa Republican requested emails, phone logs, handwritten notes and text messages regarding former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr’s communications with Christopher Steele, who wrote the dossier. The report was commissioned by Fusion GPS, where Ohr’s wife worked.

In addition, Grassley asked to schedule a transcribed interview with Ohr. Grassley said he was concerned that Ohr, who was demoted last year, had continued to send the FBI information from Steele, a former British spy, even after the bureau sought to distance itself from him over his contacts with the media.

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman also asked Rosenstein to ensure that the committee “receives timely access Continue reading “Grassley seeks DOJ documents on official’s contacts with dossier author”

Trump praises Nunes as ‘a very courageous man’

President Donald Trump on Monday praised Rep. Devin Nunes — who is aggressively pushing the Justice Department for sensitive documents related to the Russia probe — as a "very courageous man."

In remarks delivered before swearing in CIA Director Gina Haspel, Trump diverted from the focus of the event to offer encouraging words to Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“And a very courageous man. He‘s courageous, Congressman Devin. Thank you very much for being here. I appreciate it,” the president said of Nunes.

Nunes has been facing off with the DOJ after he and other House Republicans pressed the department for details about a source believed to have aided the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump campaign contacts with Russians ahead of the election.

The Justice Department has denied Nunes’ request, claiming it would risk national security and potentially endanger lives. However, the Continue reading “Trump praises Nunes as ‘a very courageous man’”

Trump faces backlash after calling some undocumented immigrants ‘animals’

Democrats and others strongly rebuked President Donald Trump after he called some undocumented immigrants coming to the United States “animals” during a roundtable with law enforcement officials and political leaders about sanctuary cities.

“When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren’t ‘animals,’ and these people aren’t either," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The dust-up began Wednesday, when Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims expressed concern during a roundtable with the president over a California law that forbids informing U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement of undocumented immigrants in the state’s jails.

“There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it,” Mims said at the roundtable.

The president went on to say: “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them Continue reading “Trump faces backlash after calling some undocumented immigrants ‘animals’”

Trump says leaks are exaggerated but vows to track down ‘traitors’

President Donald Trump on Monday criticized the media for what he called an over-exaggeration of leaks from the White House, while at the same time condemning as “traitors” the leakers in his own administration, vowing to “find out who they are.”

“The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible,” the president wrote on Twitter. “With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!”

Trump’s tweet comes after a story was leaked last week about a rude joke that a White House communications aide, Kelly Sadler, made about Sen. John McCain’s health. In an internal meeting, Sadler dismissed McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to become the next CIA director, by saying: “It doesn’t matter, he’s Continue reading “Trump says leaks are exaggerated but vows to track down ‘traitors’”