POLITICAL NEWS UPDATED

Donald Trump says the EU's $5 billion fine on Google is the real trade war: 'I told you so!'

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:58

President Trump said Thursday that the European Union's record $5 billion fine on Google was part of the trade bloc's anti-U.S. policies.

I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly ...

Senate leader asks for proposals to block future Russian meddling

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:57
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he had called on two key Senate panels to recommend additional action aimed at preventing future election meddling by Russia as well as hold hearings on Russia sanctions law.

Democrats test-drive new midterm slogan after first one is mocked

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:56
Democrats are taking a mulligan on a slogan for the midterms after their first was mercilessly mocked, this time hoping to tap into the populist spirit under the message: “For the People.”

No-one charged in 9 out of 10 crimes - Home Office

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:54
Only 9% of crimes end with suspects being charged or summonsed, Home Office figures suggest.

Undaunted by criticism, Trump looks to next Putin meeting

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:54
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed forces within the United States on Thursday for marring what they called the success of their first summit, with Trump saying he looked forward to their second meeting.

Most Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of Putin summit

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:26
A majority of Americans disapprove of the way President Donald Trump handled the summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a new CBS News poll finds.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2018 Concludes in Ukraine

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:26
A multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea and designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen regional maritime security concluded with a ceremony in Odessa, Ukraine.
Marines maneuver through a grassy field.

Tory chief whip Julian Smith under fire in pairing row

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:13
Julian Smith is asked why he told an MP to break an agreement not to take part in a key Brexit vote.

Developing: Autoworkers hold 'Drive-In' at Capitol Hill to protest tariffs

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:11

Auto workers are holding a "Drive-In" at Capitol Hill on Thursday with members of Congress to protest President Trump's proposed tariffs.

Thursday morning, several Toyota cars were seen driving past the Capitol. One driver was seen holding a sign out of the car window which read, "tariffs are taxes."

The ...

World War II Survivor Marks Guam Liberation

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:03
Irene Perez Ploke Sgambelluri was 10 years old in 1942 when her father, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Ploke, a pharmacist’s mate, was taken into custody by Japanese forces in Guam during the early days of America's war with Japan. This week, she participated in a full-honors ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier marking the anniversary of Guam's liberation.
Woman helps soldier lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Trump says he'll have another meeting with Putin, again calls media 'enemy of the people'

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:02
President Donald Trump said Thursday he is "looking forward" to meeting again with Russian President Vladimir Putin to "begin implementing" issues they discussed during their summit earlier this week.

Democratic push to investigate Russia stymied by partisan acrimony

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:00
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee thought they had scored a coup in their efforts to continue investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election: Trump aide John Mashburn had agreed to answer their questions.

Trump impeachment push emerges as next Dem litmus test

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:00
Liberal lawmakers and pundits, emboldened by bipartisan outrage over President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, have kicked up calls to pursue impeachment -- indicating the issue quickly could become the next litmus test for Democratic candidates.

Montenegro defends itself after Trump calls tiny nation 'aggressive'

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:44
The tiny Balkan nation of Montenegro responded Thursday to US President Donald Trump's remark that it is a "very aggressive" country by saying it was proud of its "peaceful politics" and "stabilizing" influence in the region.

Parents set to lose right to veto sex education at age 15

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:43
Pupils should be able to request sex education against their parents' wishes, the government says.

Kavanaugh's poll numbers aren't good. Will it matter?

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:34
President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has the lowest initial net support for confirmation compared with other recent Supreme Court nominees, according to two new polls released this week.

Ex-DNI confirms Trump was briefed on Putin's involvement in 2016 election

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:29
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed Thursday that Donald Trump was briefed on US intelligence findings that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered cyberattacks to attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Trump says it would be a 'dream' to run against Biden in 2020

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:23
President Donald Trump says it would be "a dream" to run against former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Putin accuses U.S. forces of trying to ruin Trump summit outcome

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:10
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused forces in the United States of trying to undermine the success of his first summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, but said the two leaders had begun to improve U.S.-Russia ties anyway.

Montenegro responds to Trump: U.S. alliance is 'strong and permanent'

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:06

The Government of Montenegro issued a response Thursday to President Trump's implication the country could start World War III.

"Montenegro is proud of its history and tradition and peaceful politics that led to the position of a stabilizing state in the region and the only state in which the war didn't ...

Trump and Putin morph into the same person in TIME magazine cover

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:00
For the second month in a row, Time magazine has put a provocative photo illustration of President Trump on its cover -- this time, morphing him into Russian President Vladimir

Philippines orders Australian nun deported and blacklisted

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:58

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The Philippine immigration bureau has ordered the deportation of an Australian nun who has angered the president by joining anti-government rallies but her lawyers call the move "persecution" and say they'll appeal.

The Bureau of Immigration order issued on Thursday also called for the inclusion of ...

Trump says he dreams about Biden running again, Obama 'took him out of the garbage heap'

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:47
President Trump ripped Joe Biden in newly aired interview comments, saying running against the ex-vice president in 2020 would be a “dream” and claiming former President Barack Obama “took him out of the garbage heap” in 2008.

Georgia governor primary leaves Casey Cagle, Brian Kemp vying for GOP nomination

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:45
Republican Georgia gubernatorial candidates Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp are heading to a July runoff election.

Profile: Ian Paisley

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:41
The career of the son of the DUP's founder has been one of controversy and electoral success.

Ex-NATO commander: Trump comments 'worst nightmare' for Montenegro

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:30
A former NATO supreme allied commander said Thursday that President Donald Trump's wavering commitment to NATO's mutual defense provision is the "worst nightmare" for Montenegrins.

Donald Trump dreams of Biden 2020 challenge, says Obama 'took him out of the garbage heap'

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:29

President Trump said Thursday that he relishes the prospect of running against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

"I dream about Joe Biden," Mr. Trump told CBS Evening News. "Joe Biden ran three times. He never got more than 1 percent, and President Obama took ...

Republican base overwhelmingly supports Donald Trump's comments at Helsinki summit: Poll

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:21

While President Trump continues to face bipartisan backlash over his comments at the Helsinki summit, his Republican base overwhelmingly supported his performance, according to an Axios/Survey Monkey poll released Thursday.

The poll shows that the vast majority — 79 percent — of Republicans approve of how Mr. Trump ...

US Intelligence Chief is Tough on Russia, at Odds with Trump

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:21
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats' drumbeat of criticism against Russia is clashing loudly with President Donald Trump's pro-Kremlin remarks, leaving the soft-spoken spy chief in an uncomfortable - and perhaps perilous - seat in the administration. Trump's remarks after Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, where he appeared to deny the longtime U.S. foe was still targeting American elections, are just the latest in a growing list of statements that conflict with Coats'. His job is to share the work of the 17 intelligence agencies he oversees with the president.   Coats, who will be speaking Thursday at a national security conference in Aspen, Colorado, is a former Republican lawmaker. He was banned from traveling to Russia in 2014 for calling out its annexation of Crimea, and he has continued to raise the alarm on Russia since his appointment by Trump as intelligence chief in March 2017.   That's left Coats in a tight spot. Trump has been determined to forge closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, culminating in this week's extraordinary summit in Helsinki. The disconnect with Coats was laid bare after Trump sparked outrage back home by giving credence to Russia's denial of interference in the 2016 U.S. election as he stood alongside Putin.   Back in Washington, Coats was quick to issue a statement Monday to rebut that position. He restated the U.S. intelligence assessment about Russian meddling and "their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy."   Former intelligence officials say Coats is just speaking truth to power, a mantra often used in describing the intelligence agencies' historical relationship with any president. But in the Trump administration, Coats could be walking into a minefield, given the president's track record of firing officials who don't toe his line.   Michael Morell, former deputy and acting director of the CIA, said Coats and other national security officials in the Trump administration are just doing their jobs, and the president undermines them and the institutions they lead when he makes "inaccurate statements."   "By doing this, the president is undermining our national security," Morell said.   Trump did walk back his post-Putin summit comments on Tuesday, saying he'd misspoken when he said he saw no reason why it was Russia that had interfered in the 2016 election. He also said he accepted the intelligence agencies' conclusion of Russian meddling. But he added, "It could be other people also. A lot of people out there."   The president's mixed messaging grew even more confusing Wednesday. He was asked if Russia was still targeting the U.S. and answered "no"  - a statement that Morell contended was "flat-out wrong" because the Russians never stopped trying to interfere in the U.S. democracy.   White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later that Trump does believe that Russia may try to target U.S. elections again and the "threat still exists."   When asked Wednesday in a CBS News interview whether Trump agrees with Coats that the Russian threat is ongoing, the president said he did.   "Well, I accept. I mean, he's an expert. This is what he does. He's been doing a very good job. I have tremendous faith in Dan Coats, and if he says that, I would accept that. I will tell you though, it better not be. It better not be,'' Trump said.   Trump has had a tense relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies since before he was elected, largely because of their conclusion that Putin ordered "an influence campaign" in 2016 aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.   Earlier in the administration, Coats' voice was drowned out by the more outspoken Mike Pompeo, who was CIA director before Trump tapped him as secretary of state. Now with Pompeo heading the State Department, Coats has been thrust into the limelight as the voice of the intelligence community. In Aspen on Thursday, he's expected to outline the cyberthreats the U.S. faces from Russia as well as other countries, such as China, North Korea and Iran.   Coats, 75, has been immersed in Washington politics for years. He served in the House in the 1980s and the Senate in the 1990s and 2010s and was the U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005. In 2014, Coats, who was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, denounced Russia's interference in eastern Ukraine and was banned from Russia.   Coats blew it off: "Our summer vacation in Siberia is a no-go," he joked.   Still, Coats is not known as being flippant. He's prided himself as being a steady voice, but it's clear he is no fan of Russia.   In comments at a Washington think tank last week, he said, "The Russian bear ... is out of the cave, hungry and clawing for more territory, more influence and using the same tactics we saw in the Cold War and more."   He said the "more" is cyberthreats that are targeting U.S. government and businesses in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation and critical-manufacturing sectors. He said that while there had not been the scale of electoral interference detected in 2016, "we fully realize that we are just one click on a keyboard away from a similar situation repeating itself."   Those tough remarks came just days before the Trump-Putin summit - and that was not the first time Coats has made statements starkly at odds with his boss.   On June 8, when Trump suggested at a summit in Canada that Russia should be asked to rejoin the G-7 organization of industrialized nations, Coats was making a speech in Normandy, France. There, Coats offered a laundry list of what he said were recent malign activities by Moscow. Those included political hacking in France, Germany and Norway, a damaging cyberassault on Ukraine, and Russian agents' alleged attempt to kill two people in Britain with a nerve agent.   "These Russian actions are purposeful and premeditated and they represent an all-out assault, by (Russian President) Vladimir Putin, on the rule of law, Western ideals and democratic norms," he said.    

Face of Defense: Army Doctor Describes His Rise From Poverty to Follow Dreams

(USA) DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:17
When he was 10, Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Daniel Cash's mother told him he wasn't smart enough to go to medical school. He spent years proving her wrong.
A soldier stands in front of an Army unit logo.

The Latest: DHS head hedges on Russian election meddling

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:53

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump and Russia (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says she has not seen evidence that the Russians meddled in the 2016 election to help elect Trump, countering the U.S. intelligence agencies assessment on the issue.

Intelligence agencies ...

Putin warns that U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty will expire unless action taken

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:51
President Vladimir Putin warned of the dangers of Moscow and Washington failing to mend ties on Thursday, saying the START strategic arms reduction treaty would expire in a year and a half unless work on extending it started now.

Dem Civil War: Fury over Trump summit threatens to expose new party divisions

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:43
Midterm elections are usually a referendum on the president. But in their effort to focus attention on President Trump, Democrats could make the midterms about their own divisions.

Putin says forces in U.S. trying to derail success of Trump summit

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:42
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that certain forces in the United States were trying to undermine the success of his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, but that the meeting had nevertheless been a positive start.

Donald Trump: Democrats have 'a death wish' with the 'Abolish ICE' movement

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:34

President Trump said Thursday that Democrats' call to "Abolish ICE" is a "death wish" that could cost them during the midterms.

The president said the rival party's stance on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is "a death wish — in more ways than one."

The ...

Trump says ‘Fake News’ pushing ‘major confrontation’ with Russia

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:33
President Trump claimed Thursday the “Fake News” is pushing for a “major confrontation” with Russia, ratcheting up his defense of the summit with Vladimir Putin on the third day of damage control over their controversial joint press conference.

Donald Trump: 'Fake News Media is going Crazy!'; many stories are 'total fiction'

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:29

President Trump accused the "Fake News Media" Thursday morning of going crazy with the Russia coverage.

Mr. Trump said stories about him and people in his circle are "total fiction."

The Fake News Media is going Crazy! They make up stories without any backup, sources ...

Trump tries to douse Putin storm -- but his cleanup tests credulity

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:30
President Donald Trump is finally in full-scale cleanup mode after his summit debacle with President Vladimir Putin -- but the credibility of his new critique of Russian election interference is being undermined by his unrepentant and conflicting statements since he got home from Helsinki.

Top Democratic group launches effort to attack Republicans over Trump's trade agenda

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:24
A top Democratic opposition research firm is launching a months-long effort ahead of the midterm elections to tie Republican candidates to the impacts of President Donald Trump's moves on international trade.

The Point: The definitive ranking of 2020 Democrats

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:19
There are exactly 838 days between today and November 3, 2020 aka Election Day. That's 2 years, 3 months and 15 days.

DUP MP Ian Paisley says rule breach a personal embarrassment

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:12
The DUP MP choked with emotion at times as he told MPs he had made a "genuine mistake".

U.S. lawmakers set to grill Trump's consumer watchdog pick

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:05
Fireworks are expected in U.S. Congress on Thursday when lawmakers question Kathy Kraninger, a senior government official and President Donald Trump's pick to lead the consumer watchdog created after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Presidential Power Key Issue in Court Confirmation Fight 

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:00
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, can expect tough questions on a range of issues when he faces a Senate confirmation hearing sometime in the next few months. Democrats are likely to pepper Kavanaugh with questions about his stance on abortion, gay rights and affirmative action. But another key area of interest is Kavanaugh’s expansive view of presidential power, something Democrats want to press him on with Trump in the White House. When he was nominated at the White House earlier this month, Kavanaugh pledged to bring an independent mindset to the high court.   WATCH: Scope of Presidential Power Key Issue in Court Confirmation Fight “I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic,” he said. “If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case, and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.” Democrats have vowed to fight Kavanaugh’s nomination from the start, fearing his appointment could ensure a strongly conservative court for a generation. Several have also expressed concern about his views on executive power. Kavanaugh’s experience Before his confirmation as a federal judge in 2006, Kavanaugh got an up-close view of presidential power working in the White House of President George W. Bush. Before that, Kavanaugh worked with independent counsel Ken Starr in his investigation of President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. Reflecting on those experiences, Kavanaugh wrote an article in 2009 for the Minnesota Law Review that laid out his view on presidential power and the Constitution. Kavanaugh wrote that presidents “should be excused from the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.” In Kavanaugh’s view, that includes excusing a president from having to deal with civil suits or criminal investigations while in office.  “A president who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as president,” he wrote. ​Skeptical Democrats Democrats are expected to closely question him on the issue, especially in light of the ongoing Russia probe involving Trump and whether special counsel Robert Mueller might eventually try to compel the president to submit to an interview. “Not only did Mr. Kavanaugh say that a president should not be subpoenaed, he said a president should not be investigated,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said. “Mr. Kavanaugh, is the president above the law?” Kavanaugh’s view of presidential power is not unusual among conservative legal scholars, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University said. “Kavanaugh’s natural default position is Article II (of the Constitution) on presidential power. He tends to defer greatly to presidents,” Turley told The Associated Press. “That can only help President Trump if an issue goes before the court. But that is his philosophy. It does not mean he’s biased.” Compelling a president Some experts predict that if Kavanaugh is confirmed to the high court, he could find himself in the middle of a debate over whether a sitting president could be subpoenaed by an investigating special counsel like Mueller. “So if, for example, the president chooses not to sit for a voluntary interview, and special counsel Mueller tries to subpoena the president,” ABC News legal analyst Kate Shaw said. “There is an open legal question about whether you can subpoena a sitting president, and that could end up very quickly going before the Supreme Court if there is a legal fight over it.” Kavanaugh’s view worries liberal activists who will be pushing Democrats to press him during the confirmation process. “Brett Kavanaugh has a very frighteningly wide view of presidential power, and I think that is something very much in play, given the investigations that are going on right now,” said Drew Courtney with People for the American Way, a liberal group that has lined up against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. ​Republican defenders Kavanaugh’s Republican allies said they are prepared for a range of attacks on his record, including his stand on presidential power. “That kind of cheap political fearmongering insults the intelligence of the American people, because Americans understand the difference between a political office and a judicial office,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a recent speech on the Senate floor. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows Americans are divided along party lines when it comes to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The poll found 71 percent of Republicans want Kavanaugh confirmed, while only 17 percent of Democrats support him. A Quinnipiac poll from earlier this month found that American voters also want the Supreme Court to act as a check on Trump, by a margin of 65 percent to 24 percent. For Republicans, the poll found 48 percent supported that, while 37 percent did not. Kavanaugh’s confirmation requires a majority vote in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow 51- to 49-seat margin over Democrats.  

FBI director: Russia is the 'most aggressive actor' in election interference

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 10:50
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that Russia was engaging in real-time "malign influence operations" against the United States and called the country the "most aggressive actor" in the space of election interference. The wide-ranging interview at times placed him in contrast with the President, who spent the week waffling on rhetoric to describe Russia's threat.

Non-citizens, illegal immigrants now may register to vote in San Francisco school board elections

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 10:45
The city of San Francisco this week began allowing non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to register to vote in the November election for the city school board.

Slamming the script: Why the press is dismissing the president's do-over

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 10:00
The media seem determined not to give the president a do-over.

NI pro-remain parties release Brexit concern statement

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 09:22
It comes as the prime minister is due to arrive in Northern Ireland to visit the border.

Warren backing tribe's luxury casino plan -- over cash-strapped town's rival bid

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 09:15
Brockton, Mass., is known as the birthplace of boxing legend Rocky Marciano. But with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren pushing for a $1 billion Native American casino less than 20 miles away, struggling blue-collar Brockton's competing casino bid might not stand a fighting chance.

Ted Cruz, Beto O'Rourke in nation's most expensive Senate race; reports

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 08:15
Although Texas is a predominately red state, it appears incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz may have his hands full come November when he squares off against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

NY Times: Trump Learned Extent of Russian Meddling Before Inaugural

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 08:09
A report in Wednesday’s edition of The New York Times reveals the extent of the intelligence U.S. President Donald Trump received about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct role in that country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The report sheds light on President Trump’s consistent efforts to shift the focus away from any role Moscow played in his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, including his back-and-forth statements that at first contradicted, then accepted, the intelligence community’s findings since his meeting with Putin in Helsinki Monday. ​The Times says Trump first learned of Russia’s interference January 6, 2017, two weeks before his inauguration, during a meeting in New York at Trump Tower with then-CIA Director John Brennan; James Clapper, then-director of national intelligence; then-FBI Director James Comey; and Admiral Mike Rogers, then-director of the National Security Agency. The high-ranking officials showed president-elect Trump highly classified information that Putin had personally ordered the hacking and disinformation campaign, including texts and emails from Russian military officers, and information from a top-secret source close to Putin himself, according to The Times. The evidence included stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that was key in swaying voters away from Clinton. But after the briefing, Trump issued a statement spreading the blame among “Russia, China and other countries, outside groups and countries.” The president has routinely dismissed the investigation into the Russian cyberattacks as both a hoax perpetrated by Democrats and a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his presidency.

Unofficial Taiwan Residence Symbolizes New Outreach

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 07:55
The highest-ranking Taiwan officials to visit Washington in decades sat down to dinner Wednesday evening at Twin Oaks, one of the most elegant homes in Washington. Use of the Taiwan government-owned mansion has been limited since the United States formally recognized the Beijing government in 1979. But those rules were loosened by the Taiwan Relations Act, passed earlier this year. VOA's Daphne Fan was treated to a recent tour.

US officials say allies discounting Trump-Putin summit as 'meaningless'

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 07:48
Despite President Trump's deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin at their post-summit press conference in Helsinki on Monday, several senior administration officials say the State Department is not getting bombarded with concerns from US allies because they have concluded that Trump and Putin did not make any firm agreements.

West Virginia hearings resuming on Supreme Court impeachment

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 07:48

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers are set to resume hearings to consider whether to recommend impeachment proceedings for indicted state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday at the state Capitol in Charleston.

If the committee recommends impeachment, the House of ...

State Department Denounces Russia's Demand to Interrogate Americans, Trump Does Not

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 07:39
The U.S. State Department denounced Russia's request to question several U.S. citizens in exchange for allowing a U.S. investigator to interrogate 12 Russians indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for their efforts to derail the 2016 presidential election. Among the Americans the Kremlin wants to interrogate is a former U.S. ambassador to Russia. The White House said Wednesday the president has not ruled out allowing Russian officials to question Americans. VOA'S Zlatica Hoke reports.

Scope of Presidential Power Key Issue in Court Confirmation Fight

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 07:27
President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, can expect a range of tough questions when he faces a Senate confirmation hearing in the coming weeks. One area where Kavanaugh is likely to be pressed is on his view of the scope of presidential power, which he believes is quite broad. It is an area opposition Democrats are expected to highlight in connection with the ongoing Russia probe. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Trump was briefed about Putin's meddling role 2 weeks before taking office: report

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 07:15
President-elect Donald Trump, two weeks before taking the oath of office in January 2017, was shown highly classified intelligence claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian interference efforts into the 2016 presidential election, according to a report.

US deporting crime victims while they wait for special visa

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 06:06

For victims of crime on U.S. soil who are living here illegally, a special visa program encourages them to help solve their cases and catch criminals, and often provides their only clear path to citizenship.

But as Republican President Donald Trump's administration has taken a harder line on immigration, U.S. ...

West Virginia editorial roundup

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 05:47

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

___

July 16

The Charleston Daily Mail on the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee's investigation of actions by the state Supreme Court:

If the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee's probing of actions by the state Supreme Court and its justices can be considered a ...

New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab set for talks with EU

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:53
Dominic Raab will meet the bloc's chief negotiator, as the EU warns states to step up plans for no deal.

FBI boss Wray says Russia engaging in 'malign influence operations,' calls Mueller a 'straight shooter'

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:45
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday defended Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a “straight shooter,” and said the Russia investigation is no “witch hunt.”

Trump calls for Turkey to release US pastor accused of spying

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:38
President Donald Trump has once again called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release an American pastor being held on charges of espionage.

Nunes: DOJ, FBI 'banking' on Republicans losing in midterms to take heat off

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:30
The timing of the Justice Department's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents last week was "very hard to believe," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said on "Hannity" Wednesday.

Anti-Trump protests outside White House, in Times Square decry DC 'corruption'

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:23
Demonstrators protesting President Trump and his administration gathered at rallies in cities across the country on Wednesday with a goal to “confront corruption and demand democracy.”

Frustrated US Lawmakers Threaten Action on Trump's Tariffs

VOICE OF AMERICA POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:17
Lawmakers are losing patience with the Trump administration's reliance on tariffs to win trade disputes and are talking increasingly about legislative action to protect U.S. jobs. A senior Republican senator has threatened legislation to curb President Donald Trump's trade actions, and other senators joined him on Wednesday in promising a complementary bill. Meanwhile, lawmakers are using congressional hearings to put the spotlight on the economic fallout for local farmers and businesses. The prospects for any votes on trade legislation before the August recess are dim. Still, lawmakers appear to be putting the Trump administration on notice. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that if the administration continues "with its misguided and reckless reliance on tariffs,'' he'll push for legislation. He said he's discussing options with colleagues now. Hatch has been a critic of the administration's imposition of tariffs but has so far focused on working behind the scenes to influence the White House. His speech on the Senate floor served as a pointed warning to the administration not to move forward with tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts on the grounds that they pose a threat to America's national security. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., followed his cue. They said the president's proposed auto tariffs threaten tens of thousands of jobs in the South, where foreign automakers have invested heavily in recent decades. They announced on the Senate floor Wednesday that they'll introduce legislation as soon as next week that would freeze the Commerce Department's investigation into whether auto imports present a national security threat. The bill would halt the Commerce Department probe while the International Trade Commission conducts a study. Alexander urged Trump to reconsider his trade policy and "drop the tariffs.'' "These tariffs are dangerous. These tariffs are going to cost us jobs. These tariffs are going to lower our family incomes,'' Alexander said. While Jones and Alexander went to bat for auto manufacturers in their state, lawmakers from farm country sought to highlight concerns that retaliatory tariffs will dry up export markets as consumers in China, Europe and other places look elsewhere to buy soybeans, pork and other farm goods. "Our farmers and our ranchers are being used as pawns in a trade war that I can guarantee you not one of them asked for,'' Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said on the Senate floor. "This trade war is eliminating access to foreign markets that have taken generations to develop.'' On the House side, a trade subcommittee heard from farm groups directly on Wednesday. The same panel will examine next week the process that U.S. companies must go through to be excluded from the administration's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. No witnesses from the administration testified, much to the dismay of Democrats. Kevin Paap, a corn and soybean farmer from Minnesota, said the tariffs are hitting farmers from all sides, increasing their costs at a time when prices for their products are falling. "Agriculture is facing the perfect storm: trade uncertainties, decade lows in farm income, agricultural labor shortages and the uncompleted farm bill,'' Paap said. "It's quickly becoming more than we can handle.'' Cass Gebbers, a fruit grower from Washington state, said China this month increased tariff rates to 50 percent for U.S. cherries, apples and pears. He said that customers have canceled orders as a result of the tariffs and that has pushed down prices as a result of the extra product in the domestic market. If the tariffs remain in place next year, competitors elsewhere in the world ``will snatch up these markets as soon as we stumble.'' Behind the scenes, Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., is urging constituents to make their voices heard at the White House. He said they may have better luck convincing Trump than lawmakers. "He puts a lot more stock in what he sees and hears from his base than he does from elected members in Congress,'' Rounds said. While concern about a trade war is clearly growing on Capitol Hill, many Republican lawmakers are still giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, hoping the tariffs will lead trading partners, particularly China, to make concessions. "I think what he had to do is get their attention, particularly China,'' said Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., adding that tariffs did just that. Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest GOP caucus in the House, said members have been talking about the tariffs at all their recent meetings but are admittedly ``slow-walking'' the issue. "The majority is wanting to kind of wait and give President Trump time to see if he can seal the deal,'' Walker said.”But, yeah, there are some concerns, and it seems to be growing with each passing week.'' As lawmakers deal with the series of tariffs announced in recent months, the Trump administration opened another front on that issue Wednesday with the Department of Commerce initiating an investigation into whether imports of foreign uranium, especially from Russia and nations under its influence, are a national security risk. Uranium is used in producing fuel for the nation's nuclear power plants.

Brexit: Watchdog warns of need to issue driving permits

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 04:11
Up to seven million international permits will be needed if the UK and EU do not agree to recognise driving.

House $5 billion border wall bill cheered by White House

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:49

The White House on Wednesday backed a House spending bill that includes $5 billion to build a border wall, saying it will pay for another 200 miles of physical barrier on the border with Mexico.

"This funding is critical to the administration's top priority, securing the nation's borders," White House ...

Interior Department watchdog investigating real estate deal involving Ryan Zinke

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:45
The Interior Department's internal watchdog has opened an investigation into a real estate deal linking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with the head of the Hallburton energy company.

Trump on Twitter (July 18): Putin, NATO

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:31
The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.

WaPo: Trump loyalists reassign, remove VA employees

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:26
Staffers at the Department of Veterans Affairs loyal to President Donald Trump have reassigned or remove staffers perceived as disloyal to the President and his agenda for veterans, people familiar with the actions told The Washington Post.

Swalwell says Trump could be impeached if he sends ex-ambassador to Russia for questioning

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:26
Turning over former US Ambassador Michael McFaul to Russia for questioning would be grounds for impeaching President Donald Trump, Rep. Eric Swalwell declared on Wednesday.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez irks Democrats by undermining incumbents, pushing left-wing agenda

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:04

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a matter of weeks, has gone from being a little-known activist to a liberal sensation and highly sought-after national figure after riding a Bernie Sanders-inspired anti-establishment message to a stunning victory over Rep. Joe Crowley in New York City.

The 28-year-old self-identified socialist also has miffed some ...

House Democrats pick new slogan ahead of midterms: 'For the people'

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 02:50
House Democrats introduced a new slogan on Wednesday ahead of the midterm elections: "For the People."

U.S. Interior watchdog probes Zinke over real estate deal

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 02:44
The U.S. Interior Department's watchdog said in a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday that it was investigating a Montana real estate deal involving a foundation set up by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and a development group backed by the chairman of oil service company Halliburton.

Inside the Beltway: Michael Savage: Trump's peace place for Putin

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 02:32

During the final days of the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump had an exclusive chat with talk radio host Michael Savage — which suggests just how long the future president had been mulling over his future dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Trump hoped at the time to ...

Judge denies Manafort bid to suppress evidence seized in condo raid

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 02:30
A federal judge in Washington Wednesday declined a request by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to suppress evidence seized from his Virginia condominium last year as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

US-backed Syrians holding nearly 600 foreign fighters

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 02:27
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces currently hold nearly 600 foreign terrorist fighters.

Lord Patten: 'I've never seen so much animosity in Conservatives'

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:55
Former Conservative chairman Lord Patten on the party's toxic atmosphere - and Boris Johnson.

Cuomo willing to authorize criminal investigation of Trump Foundation

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:54
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated Wednesday that he is willing to authorize a criminal investigation of the Trump Foundation, though it was not clear state prosecutors are ready to pursue one due to their ongoing civil lawsuit against the organization.

Elizabeth Warren bill backing Masphee Wampanoag tribe casino irks Brockton, Massachusetts

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:53

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's bill to clear the way for a $1 billion tribal gaming resort is meeting with resistance not only from locals who don't want a casino, but also from a struggling Massachusetts city that does.

Brockton Mayor William Carpenter said the Warren legislation on behalf of the Masphee ...

White House weighs Putin proposal on questioning U.S. officials

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:47
The White House on Wednesday declined to rule out accepting a Russian proposal for the questioning in the United States of Americans sought by the Kremlin for "illegal activities," including a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

Hawaii offers a cautionary tale of a socialist future for the U.S.

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:44

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

HONOLULU | It is often said that Hawaii is paradise, and it certainly appears that way on the surface. As I traveled here for a brief summer vacation, I was ready to unplug and enjoy myself. However, under the surface, I discovered some harsh realities.

Hawaii has the highest ...

White House struggles to contain political outcry over Trump-Putin summit

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:38
The White House struggled on Wednesday to contain a political outcry and confusion over U.S. President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying Trump ever meant to say that Moscow was no longer targeting the United States.

California high court orders proposal to split up state removed from November ballot

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:30
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the November ballot purged of an initiative that seeks to split California into three states, citing significant questions raised about the proposal's validity.

Trump says he holds Putin responsible for election meddling, defends Helsinki performance

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:15
President Trump said in an interview airing Wednesday that he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin personally responsible for the Kremlin's attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Texas aborted fetus burial or cremation law could provide test for new Supreme Court

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:12

A federal judge in Texas is weighing whether the state can require a woman to bury or cremate her aborted fetus during a trial this week that pro-life and pro-choice activists predict could be the first abortion test for a newly configured Supreme Court next year.

Abortion providers challenged the ...

Japan's Princess Mako sees Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:11

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Japan's Princess Mako has visited Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to celebrate 110 years of immigration from her country to Brazil, home to the largest Japanese diaspora in the world.

The princess also went to Rio's Botanical Gardens where she planted a ...

Capitol Hill lawmakers wrestle with regulating cryptocurrencies

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:07

Lawmakers have expressed mounting concern over the ever-expanding and still almost completely unregulated world of cryptocurrencies, from tax issues to preventing them from causing anarchy to simply tying the digital dollars into the world's mainstream banking system.

"Today, there are well over 1,000 different cryptocurrencies with various characteristics that together ...

Senate resolution introduced to show support for US intelligence agencies

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:06
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware introduced a resolution Wednesday to reaffirm support for the US intelligence community following President Donald Trump's comments Monday siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over US intelligence agencies about election interference.

Senators coalesce around a Russia sanctions bill but hurdles remain

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:01
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are forging ahead with plans to push back on the fallout from President Donald Trump's comments at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as lawmakers once again Wednesday are feeling the whiplash of the President's inconsistent comments on Russia.

Publishers warn of Brexit threat to record exports

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:00
The UK's publishing industry says leaving the EU could damage its record-breaking export business.

Military personnel based in Scotland compensated for tax rises

BBC POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:00
The UK government will compensate soldiers facing higher income tax bills because they are based in Scotland.

Secret Service agent who died of stroke is remembered by Trump, US officials

FOXNEWS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 01:00
President Trump on Wednesday mourned the loss of a U.S. Secret Service agent who died of a stroke on Monday during the president's recent trip overseas.

Trump says he accepts DNI Coats' view that Russia meddling continues

REUTERS POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:55
U.S. President Donald Trump said in a television interview on Wednesday he accepted Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats' assessment that Russia continues to be a threat to U.S. elections.

Donald Trump says he holds Vladimir Putin responsible for election hacking in CBS News interview

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:54

President Trump said Wednesday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is ultimately responsible for Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election, and that he warned Mr. Putin "we can't have this" meddling in the future.

"Certainly, as the leader of a country, you would have to hold him responsible, ...

Joaquin Castro calls for 'cyber NATO' in response to Russian election attack

CNN POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:32
President Donald Trump should work to form a "cyber NATO" in response to the Russian attack on the 2016 US elections and to prevent more cyber attacks, Rep. Joaquin Castro said Wednesday, even though NATO already cooperates on cybersecurity.

ACLU attack on Kobach roils Kansas GOP governor primary

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:31

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has taken the unusual step of plunging into a nasty Republican primary for Kansas governor with an explosive flyer attacking conservative Kris Kobach, but his main rival in the race doesn't want the support of the group either.

The ACLU has ...

Jason Villalba, outgoing Texas Republican, calls for Donald Trump's impeachment

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:25

DALLAS — An outgoing Republican legislator in Texas who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump is calling for his impeachment.

Dallas state Rep. Jason Villalba used the "ImpeachTrump" hashtag this week after the president publicly doubted U.S. intelligence findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He ...

Christopher Steele contradicts U.S. on election hacking funding

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:22

Dossier writer Christopher Steele's assertion that Moscow bankrolled its election hacking through laundered pension funds via Russian diplomats in Washington isn't supported by two official U.S. reports.

Mr. Steele, whose anti-Trump work was financed with money from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, wrote of an elaborate ...

Outgoing Texas GOP lawmaker calls for Trump's impeachment

WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:20

DALLAS (AP) - An outgoing Republican legislator in Texas who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump is calling for his impeachment.

Dallas state Rep. Jason Villalba used the "ImpeachTrump" hashtag this week after the president publicly doubted U.S. intelligence findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election. ...

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