McAuliffe: ‘We ought to look at’ impeachment of Trump

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Sunday that lawmakers should consider whether to impeach President Donald Trump, who he said has been “bear-hugging” Russian President Vladimir Putin while the foreign leader attempts to undermine U.S. democracy.

“I think that’s something we ought to look at,” the Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union“, when asked by Jake Tapper whether Trump should be impeached.

“If President Clinton or President Obama had gone to Helsinki and done what President Trump had done, you would already have impeachment hearings going on,” he said, in reference to a news conference alongside Putin where Trump appeared to give equal weight to the findings of the American intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and to Putin’s denial of that fact.

The U.S is battling Russia on multiple fronts, McAuliffe said, citing Ukraine and Syria.

“There has to be a reason, Continue reading “McAuliffe: ‘We ought to look at’ impeachment of Trump”

Conway: Trump White House requires non-disclosure agreements

Kellyanne Conway responded to claims from former White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman that she was offered “hush money” by saying that everyone in the West Wing has signed non-disclosure agreements, which she described as a completely normal practice.

Manigault Newman, who served as communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison, reportedly says in her new book that she was offered $15,000 a month in exchange for her silence after leaving the White House.

“It is typical, and you know it, to sign an NDA … in any place of work,” Conway, counselor to the president, said to Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’d be shocked if you didn’t have one at ABC.”

“I’m told she signed them when she was on ‘The Apprentice’, certainly at the campaign. We’ve all signed them in the West Wing,” she added. “And why wouldn’t we?”

When Continue reading “Conway: Trump White House requires non-disclosure agreements”

Giuliani backtracks: ‘No conversation’ between Trump, Comey on Flynn

Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey never discussed former national security adviser Mike Flynn, backtracking from July comments in which he indicated otherwise.

“There was no conversation about Michael Flynn,” Trump’s personal attorney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That is what he will testify to if he’s asked that question.”

He also told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he never said the president had asked Comey to give Flynn a break. “I said that is what Comey is saying,” Giuliani said.

Tapper referenced comments by Giuliani to ABC last month in which the attorney said Trump did not ask Comey to drop the investigation. “He didn’t direct him to do that,” Giuliani said in July. “What he said to him was, ‘Can you give him a break?’”

Flynn, an outspoken adviser to Trump’s campaign, served briefly as his Continue reading “Giuliani backtracks: ‘No conversation’ between Trump, Comey on Flynn”

Giuliani backtracks: ‘No conversation’ between Trump, Comey on Flynn

Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey never discussed former national security adviser Mike Flynn, backtracking from July comments in which he indicated otherwise.

“There was no conversation about Michael Flynn,” Trump’s personal attorney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That is what he will testify to if he’s asked that question.”

He also told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he never said the president had asked Comey to give Flynn a break. “I said that is what Comey is saying,” Giuliani said.

Tapper referenced comments by Giuliani to ABC last month in which the attorney said Trump did not ask Comey to drop the investigation. “He didn’t direct him to do that,” Giuliani said in July. “What he said to him was, ‘Can you give him a break?’”

Flynn, an outspoken adviser to Trump’s campaign, served briefly as his Continue reading “Giuliani backtracks: ‘No conversation’ between Trump, Comey on Flynn”

Giuliani backtracks: ‘No conversation’ between Trump, Comey on Flynn

Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey never discussed former national security adviser Mike Flynn, backtracking from July comments in which he indicated otherwise.

“There was no conversation about Michael Flynn,” Trump’s personal attorney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That is what he will testify to if he’s asked that question.”

He also told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he never said the president had asked Comey to give Flynn a break. “I said that is what Comey is saying,” Giuliani said.

Tapper referenced comments by Giuliani to ABC last month in which the attorney said Trump did not ask Comey to drop the investigation. “He didn’t direct him to do that,” Giuliani said in July. “What he said to him was, ‘Can you give him a break?’”

Flynn, an outspoken adviser to Trump’s campaign, served briefly as his Continue reading “Giuliani backtracks: ‘No conversation’ between Trump, Comey on Flynn”

Omarosa: Trump is ‘mentally declined’

Former White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday said top administration officials are deceiving the country about President Donald Trump’s mental state and accused White House chief of staff John Kelly of threatening her when she was fired.

“I was complicit with this White House in deceiving this nation,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“ “They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is, about how difficult it is for him to process complex information, how he is not engaged in some of the most important decisions that impacts our country.”

“I was complicit in it, for that I regret,” she added.

She also told host Chuck Todd: “Being used by Donald Trump for so long, I was like the frog in the hot water. You don’t know that you’re in that situation until it just keeps bubbling and bubbling.“

Manigault Newman, Continue reading “Omarosa: Trump is ‘mentally declined’”

Omarosa: Trump is ‘mentally declined’

Former White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday said top administration officials are deceiving the country about President Donald Trump’s mental state and accused White House chief of staff John Kelly of threatening her when she was fired.

“I was complicit with this White House in deceiving this nation,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“ “They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is, about how difficult it is for him to process complex information, how he is not engaged in some of the most important decisions that impacts our country.”

“I was complicit in it, for that I regret,” she added.

She also told host Chuck Todd: “Being used by Donald Trump for so long, I was like the frog in the hot water. You don’t know that you’re in that situation until it just keeps bubbling and bubbling.“

Manigault Newman, Continue reading “Omarosa: Trump is ‘mentally declined’”

Omarosa: Trump is ‘mentally declined’

Former White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday said top administration officials are deceiving the country about President Donald Trump’s mental state and accused White House chief of staff John Kelly of threatening her when she was fired.

“I was complicit with this White House in deceiving this nation,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.“ “They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is, about how difficult it is for him to process complex information, how he is not engaged in some of the most important decisions that impacts our country.”

“I was complicit in it, for that I regret,” she added.

She also told host Chuck Todd: “Being used by Donald Trump for so long, I was like the frog in the hot water. You don’t know that you’re in that situation until it just keeps bubbling and bubbling.“

Manigault Newman, Continue reading “Omarosa: Trump is ‘mentally declined’”

Kasich: Ohio special election ‘a message from the voters’

Ohio Gov. John Kasich believes Republicans should have been able to secure a resounding victory in last week’s special election in his home state, arguing the results are a warning from voters to Republicans.

Republican Troy Balderson ended Tuesday night with a narrow lead against Democrat Danny O’Connor in the election for Ohio’s 12th congressional district, and the election has not officially been called.

“It wasn’t a good night because this is a district that you should be winning by, you know, overwhelming numbers,” the Republican governor and former 2016 presidential candidate told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The last guy won by, I don’t know, 17 points,” added Kasich, who represented the district during his time in Congress. “So, what you had is, I think, a message from the voters to the Republicans that you’ve got to stop the chaos and you’ve got to get more Continue reading “Kasich: Ohio special election ‘a message from the voters’”

‘Eye-popping’ payouts for CEOs follow Trump’s tax cuts

Some of the biggest winners from President Donald Trump’s new tax law are corporate executives who have reaped gains as their companies buy back a record amount of stock, a practice that rewards shareholders by boosting the value of existing shares.

A POLITICO review of data disclosed in SEC filings shows the executives, who often receive most of their compensation in stock, have been profiting handsomely by selling shares since Trump signed the law on Dec. 22 and slashed corporate tax rates to 21 percent. That trend is likely to increase as Wall Street analysts expect buyback activity to accelerate in the coming weeks.

“It is going to be a parade of eye-popping numbers,” said Pat McGurn, the head of strategic research and analysis at Institutional Shareholder Services, a shareholder advisory firm.

That could undercut the political messaging value of the tax cuts in the Republican campaign to maintain control Continue reading “‘Eye-popping’ payouts for CEOs follow Trump’s tax cuts”

How the Fed’s Powell prepared for Trump’s criticism

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been preparing for this moment.

Since taking the helm of the central bank in February, Powell has downplayed the risk that President Donald Trump would try to influence the direction of Fed policy. “No one in the administration has said anything to me that really gives me concern on this front,” he declared on “Marketplace” radio last week.

But at the same time, Powell, a Trump appointee, has worked for months to shore up goodwill and support for the Fed. He held more than two dozen meetings with lawmakers from February to May, steered clear of commenting on issues outside the Fed’s jurisdiction and repeatedly made the case for the central bank’s political independence.

The moment that Powell had to have known was coming finally arrived on Thursday. “I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I Continue reading “How the Fed’s Powell prepared for Trump’s criticism”

Trump breaks tradition, says ‘not thrilled’ about Fed’s rate hikes

President Donald Trump broke a traditional taboo Thursday by openly criticizing the Federal Reserve for its campaign of gradual interest rate hikes, arguing that the central bank could counteract the positive effects of his economic policies.

“I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” Trump, in his first critical remarks on the Fed since becoming president, told CNBC.

The president tempered his criticism by saying that Chairman Jerome Powell, his own appointee, is a “very good man.” He also stopped short of directly calling on the Fed to stop raising interest rates.

“I’m not thrilled,” he said. “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best. Continue reading “Trump breaks tradition, says ‘not thrilled’ about Fed’s rate hikes”

Treasury watchdog: Cohen financial records were not destroyed

The Treasury Department’s inspector general has concluded that confidential financial information related to President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is not accessible on a government database because it has been restricted, not deleted.

The probe was launched at the request of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) after a New Yorker article quoted a law enforcement official who claimed to have leaked a “suspicious activity report” related to Cohen because of concern that two additional reports had been removed.

The IG memo concluded that the reports “were not destroyed; rather the normal level of access to them was restricted in an authorized way consistent with” relevant procedures. All three reports have a notice saying they are “not available to be viewed at this time,” the IG said, confirming that the additional reports do exist. Cohen is not directly named.

This saga began when Michael Avenatti, lawyer to adult film Continue reading “Treasury watchdog: Cohen financial records were not destroyed”

Treasury watchdog: Cohen financial records were not destroyed

The Treasury Department’s inspector general has concluded that confidential financial information related to President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is not accessible on a government database because it has been restricted, not deleted.

The probe was launched at the request of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) after a New Yorker article quoted a law enforcement official who claimed to have leaked a “suspicious activity report” related to Cohen because of concern that two additional reports had been removed.

The IG memo concluded that the reports “were not destroyed; rather the normal level of access to them was restricted in an authorized way consistent with” relevant procedures. All three reports have a notice saying they are “not available to be viewed at this time,” the IG said, confirming that the additional reports do exist. Cohen is not directly named.

This saga began when Michael Avenatti, lawyer to adult film Continue reading “Treasury watchdog: Cohen financial records were not destroyed”

Chinese leaders ‘absolutely confused’ by Trump’s demands on trade

Donald Trump has called on China to capitulate to U.S. demands on trade. The problem is nobody knows exactly what Trump actually wants — including the Chinese.

One week, he condemns threats to American national security interests and the next, agrees to lift a ban on doing business with Chinese telecom giant ZTE. He rails about the U.S. trade deficit with China, then dismisses Beijing’s offer — negotiated by his own officials — to boost its purchases of U.S. goods by billions of dollars.

Beyond the feints and jabs, he’s raised so many different issues that it’s hard to know what his priorities might really be.

The strategy is straight out of “The Art of the Deal”: “I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.” But some doubt that approach translates to negotiating with a Continue reading “Chinese leaders ‘absolutely confused’ by Trump’s demands on trade”

How the U.S.-China trade war could play out

President Donald Trump‘s announcement of tariffs on Chinese goods escalates tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The move has stoked business fears of a sustained trade war that could raise prices on American consumers, while heartening some lawmakers who have long called for a tougher stance against Beijing.

Here’s what you need to know about the president’s latest trade move:

What’s new about today?

Trump has made a number of tariff-related threats. He has previously put tariffs on washing machines, solar products, steel and aluminum — at imports from much of the world. Friday‘s actions are only aimed at China.

Which products are covered by the new tariffs?

A lot, but not a lot. The 25 percent tariffs will be placed on roughly $50 billion in imports from China. The tariffs will cover more than 1,000 types of items, but many of those are very similar manufacturing components. In Continue reading “How the U.S.-China trade war could play out”

Top bank regulator ‘not aware’ of ‘old boys’ club’ in industry

Joseph Otting, a former bank CEO who now regulates the industry, said on Thursday he’s not aware of an “old boys’ club” in banking that holds women and minorities back, a day after sparking criticism for saying he has never observed discrimination.

Otting, appearing before the Senate Banking Committee, faced sharp questions from Democrats about his views on discrimination. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the panel’s top Democrat, pressed him on whether minorities are disadvantaged in the banking industry because an "old boys’ club" is making the hiring decisions.

“If there was a network like that, I wouldn’t support that,” said Otting, the comptroller of the currency, whose agency is responsible for enforcing fair lending laws. But he said he was "not aware" of it.

Otting on Wednesday repeatedly refused to tell the House Financial Services Committee directly that discrimination exists. Instead, he said, “People have told me it exists, so I Continue reading “Top bank regulator ‘not aware’ of ‘old boys’ club’ in industry”

Fed raises rates, signals 2 more hikes coming in 2018

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for the second time this year and nudged up its projections for GDP growth in 2018, in a further endorsement of the U.S. economy’s strength.

The balance on the Fed’s interest-rate-setting committee has tipped in favor of two more rate hikes in 2018, rather than only one, bolstered by an uptick in the central bank’s projections for inflation this year and next.

Following Wednesday’s rate hike, the Fed’s main borrowing rate — which influences interest rates on everything from mortgages to savings accounts — is set between 1.75 percent and 2 percent.

Fed officials now predict the economy will grow 2.8 percent this year, up from their 2.7 percent projection in March, though their estimates for 2019 growth remain unchanged at 2.4 percent.

The central bank is still signaling three rate hikes for 2019, but Fed officials Continue reading “Fed raises rates, signals 2 more hikes coming in 2018”

Trump’s trade war could mess up the Fed’s plans

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday for the second time this year. But its plans going forward have been thrown into confusion thanks to President Donald Trump.

Trump is waging a trade war on multiple fronts, which could raise prices for American companies and consumers and slow economic growth. It has already put a dent in business confidence in the economy, according to a survey of the nation’s top CEOs. And if that becomes a drag on growth, the Fed could put the brakes on its interest rate hikes.

But Trump’s pro-growth policies also present risks: New tax cuts and government spending could kick the healthy economy into overdrive, requiring the Fed to raise rates more quickly, potentially choking the near-record-long expansion.

Both dangers complicate the central bank’s efforts to maintain a Goldilocks economy — not too hot or cold, but growing at a Continue reading “Trump’s trade war could mess up the Fed’s plans”

Trump’s regulators set to deliver new victory for banks

President Donald Trump’s team of regulators is set to hand banks another big win by increasing their freedom to take short-term risks, just a week after Trump signed the first major deregulation bill since the 2008 Wall Street crash.

Five independent agencies, starting with the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, will propose simplifying one of the key regulations designed to avert another crisis: a rule that prevents banks from making trades to profit off short-term price changes in the markets.

The so-called Volcker rule — a 2013 regulation named after the former Fed chairman who came up with the concept — has long been criticized by the industry as convoluted, costing big banks millions of dollars to comply with and perhaps billions more in revenue.

But even the bureaucrats, who have sought to encourage trades that are good for the financial system while banning those that are merely profit-driven gambles, have Continue reading “Trump’s regulators set to deliver new victory for banks”