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Impeachment Questions Still Swirling in Washington

President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers are away from Washington, but questions about possible impeachment of the president continue to swirl as the White House thwarts multiple investigations led by House Democrats after the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. While the House could impeach, Trump is virtually assured of remaining in office as there is almost zero chance the Republican-led Senate would convict him.

Democrats are using their House majority to investigate Trump and his administration on everything from the treatment of migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border to the president’s foreign business dealings and tax returns. Democrats also want the Justice Department to release the full, unredacted Mueller report. The White House is blocking them at almost every turn, causing tempers to boil over.

“The Trump administration has taken obstruction of Congress to new heights,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

His words were echoed by Judiciary Committee member Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, also a Democrat.

“We have to surmise that this is an absolute lawless behavior by this administration,” she said.

The House is taking steps to hold key administration officials in contempt of Congress, but the body has a more potent – and explosive – option: formally leveling charges against Trump, or impeachment.

“What we need to do is at least be on that track and at least be in the process of impeachment,” said. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat.

Republicans see Democrats as desperately clinging to a narrative of presidential wrongdoing after special counsel Mueller found no collusion between Trump’s inner circle and Russia.

“The Democrats have no plans, no purpose, and no viable legislative agenda beyond attacking this administration,” said Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee.

And powerful Democratic leaders, among them House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are wary of launching impeachment proceedings, at least for now.

“Impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country. And we can get the facts to the American people, through our investigation. It may take us to a place where it is unavoidable, in terms of impeachment.”

Meanwhile, President Trump, sticking to his guns, called on Democrats to “get these phony investigations over with.”

Last week, Trump halted consultations with Democrats on a major initiative to modernize U.S. infrastructure until congressional probes are complete.

“You (Democrats) can go down the investigation track and you can go down the investment track – or the track of let’s get things done for the American people,” Trump said.

Two U.S. presidents have been impeached, most recently Bill Clinton. The impeachment vote sullied Clinton’s record but did not lead to his removal from office. The same likely would be true for Trump. Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination all want to oust Trump, but at the ballot box.

“It seems like every day or two, there is another affront to the rule of law … The best thing I can do to get us a new president is to win the nomination and defeat the president who’s there,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate, one of more than twenty running to unseat Trump, speaking on ABC’s ‘This Week’ program.

Polls do not show the American people clamoring for Trump’s impeachment. Bill Clinton’s approval numbers actually rose after House Republicans launched impeachment proceedings against him in 1998.

 

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By Polityk | 27/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Sen. Graham: Democrats Face Political Peril if They Pursue Trump’s Impeachment

A top U.S. Republican lawmaker predicted Sunday that if opposition Democrats in the House of Representatives try to impeach President Donald Trump, the president will be re-elected next year and Republicans will retake control of the House.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ally of Trump’s, told “Fox News Sunday” that if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic-controlled lower chamber, permits an impeachment inquiry to start, “it would be suicide for the Democratic Party.”

Graham said Pelosi’s “job is very much on the line,” depending on whether she eventually relents on allowing an impeachment hearing to open.

About three dozen Democrats and a lone Republican in the 435-member House have called for impeachment hearings to start against Trump, to consider whether he obstructed justice by trying to thwart special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian intrusion in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that Trump won. Even if the House were to impeach Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove him from office.

So far, Pelosi has resisted calls to start an impeachment inquiry, instead opting to continue several House committee investigations of Trump’s finances, taxes and actions he took during his 28-month presidency to try to end the Mueller probe or curb its scope. But she said last week that Trump has been engaging “in a cover-up” by refusing to cooperate with the Democratic-led investigations.

She said the House investigations “may take us to impeachment,” but that currently “we are not at that place.”

Trump pointedly rejected her “cover-up” claim, saying, “I don’t do cover-ups.” At a brief White House meeting, Trump refused to negotiate with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer over policy issues while the House investigations continue.

“You can’t do it under these circumstances,” he said. “What they’ve done is abuse. Let them play their games.”

Mueller concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia to help him win, but outlined 11 possible times he engaged in obstructive behavior, while not reaching a conclusion whether he should face criminal charges. Subsequently, Attorney General William Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided criminal charges were not warranted against Trump.

Trump has encouraged a counter-investigation by Barr, his appointee as the country’s top law enforcement officer, as he has started a probe into the origins of the Russia probe. Trump gave Barr full authority to declassify intelligence information that led to the start of the investigation of Russian meddling in the election and eventually the Mueller probe.

Before leaving Washington for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said, “They will be able to see… how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. It was an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States.”

He claimed, “There’s word and rumor that the FBI and others were involved, CIA were involved with the [United Kingdom], having to do with the Russian hoax. We’re exposing everything.”

Several Democratic lawmakers and former intelligence community officials have attacked Trump for telling Barr he is free to release whatever information he decides to.

But Graham said that does not worry him. “I support Attorney General Barr to make this as transparent as possible,” he said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, from Tokyo on Trump’s visit, told NBC, “We already know there was an outrageous amount of corruption at the Justice Department.”

She said Trump wants “to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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By Polityk | 26/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Subpoenas for Trump Financial Records on Hold, Filing Shows

Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. will not have to immediately hand over the financial records of U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization, according to a court filing on Saturday. 

The filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York followed an appeal submitted Friday by Trump and his affiliates against an existing order from a federal judge allowing the banks to hand over financial records to Democratic lawmakers. 

Amid an ongoing legal battle between the Republican president and Democrats in Congress, the agreement to hold off for now on enforcing the subpoenas for Trump’s financial records was a rare accord between Trump’s attorneys, the banks and the House Intelligence and the Financial Services committees. 

“The parties have reached an agreement regarding compliance with and enforcement of the subpoenas” while the appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending, the filing said. 

Key lender

Parts of the subpoenas have been included in court filings. 

The subpoena on Deutsche Bank seeks records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities, as well as records of ties they might have to foreign entities. 

Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump’s real estate business, and a 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million in liabilities to the bank. 

The subpoena on Capital One seeks records related to multiple entities tied to the Trump Organization’s hotel business. It followed an informal request to the bank by Democratic lawmakers in March seeking records related to 

potential conflicts of interest tied to Trump’s Washington hotel and other businesses. 

A lawyer for the Trumps argued earlier this week that the subpoenas exceeded the authority of Congress and were “the epitome of an inquiry into private or personal matters.” 

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, however, found that they were allowed under the broad authority of Congress to conduct investigations to further legislation.

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By Polityk | 26/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Trump Asks Citizenship and Immigration Services Head to Quit

President Donald Trump has asked the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to resign, leaving yet another vacancy within the Department of Homeland Security. 

Lee Francis Cissna told staff on Friday that his last day would be June 1, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Associated Press.

Cissna leads the agency responsible for legal immigration, including benefits and visas. He had been on the chopping block last month amid a White House-orchestrated bloodbath that led to the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen (KEER’-sten) Nielsen, but his job was saved after high-ranking Republicans spoke out about his record. 

There are more than a dozen vacancies of top posts at the sprawling 240,000-member department that are being temporarily filled, including secretary and the inspector general. Cissna’s position, like others, requires Senate confirmation. 

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By Polityk | 25/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

WWII Code Talker and longtime NM lawmaker dies at 94

John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker in World War II who became one of the nation’s longest serving Native American elected officials as a New Mexico state senator, has died. He was 94.

Senate colleague Michael Padilla confirmed Pinto’s death in Gallup on Friday after years of suffering from various illnesses that rarely kept him from his duties.

After serving as a Marine, Pinto was elected to the Senate in 1976 and represented a district that includes the Navajo Nation for more than four decades. The region is one of the poorest in the country.

“Words cannot express the sadness we feel for the loss of a great Dine warrior,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, using the indigenous word for Navajo. “He dedicated his life to helping others.”

Born in Lupton, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation to a family of sheep herders. Pinto didn’t start formal schooling until he was nearly a teenager. 

“At the age of 12, I was in kindergarten,” Pinto told the Albuquerque Journal in a 2007 interview. “I guess I did all right.”

Pinto also recalled that his grandparents told of being forced at gunpoint from their land in the 1860s by the U.S. Army in the forced relocation of the Navajo people on foot to southern New Mexico.

After serving as a Code Talker — a group of radio men who translated American coordinates and messages into an indecipherable code based on the Navajo language — Pinto had to take an English test four times before he was finally admitted into the University of New Mexico’s College of Education.

He graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education at 39, and eventually earned his master’s, becoming a teacher and a truancy officer in Gallup.

Pinto delved into politics to address the needs of impoverished indigenous populations. The Democrat won a seat in state Senate in 1976 as one of the state’s first Native American senators.

An unassuming appearance and manner belied Pinto’s political determination that carried him through 42 years in the Legislature. Laurie Canepa, the senior librarian for the Legislative Council Service, said that made him the longest serving senator in state history.

Manny Aragon, the state’s one-time Senate president, tells the story of driving to the Statehouse in a January 1977 snowstorm and picking up a middle-aged Navajo man who was hitchhiking in Albuquerque. The hitchhiker was newly elected Sen. Pinto.

“I just thought he was a transient,” Aragon said.

In the Legislature, Pinto advocated for education reform and anti-poverty programs. Receiving a lifetime achievement award in 2016, Pinto recalled going hungry at times as a child while his parents juggled odd jobs and said the experience influenced his work on issues of homelessness as a lawmaker.

Every year, Pinto would sing on the Senate floor the “Potato Song” — a Navajo song about a potato, planted in the spring and visited in the summer until it is harvested. Fellow senators, staff and aides clapped along to Pinto’s rendition.

Lenore Naranjo, the Senate’s chief clerk, says Pinto taught her bits of Navajo language over the decades.

“A beautiful man is all I can say,” Naranjo said.

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By Polityk | 25/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

US Intelligence to Share ‘Appropriate Information’ for Trump-Ordered Probe 

U.S. intelligence agencies will cooperate with a new Justice Department investigation into whether officials overstepped their bounds and improperly surveilled U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. 

 

In a statement issued late Friday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said intelligence agencies would provide U.S. Attorney General William Barr with “all of the appropriate information” for his investigation. 

 

“As part of that process, I am confident that the attorney general will work with the IC [intelligence community] in accordance with the long-established standards to protect highly sensitive classified information that, if publicly released, would put our national security at risk,” Coats added. 

 

The statement from the country’s top intelligence officer followed Trump’s directive, issued late Thursday, that called on U.S. intelligence agencies to “quickly and fully cooperate” with the new Justice Department probe.  

The directive also gave Barr what the White House described as “full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation.” 

 

“We want to be very transparent,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday before leaving for a state visit to Japan. 

 

“Everything that they need is declassified, and they’ll be able to see how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started,” he added. “It was an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States. It should never, ever happen to anybody else.” 

 

The move comes as some Democratic lawmakers have ratcheted up calls to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, a Republican. It also comes as the White House has battled with Democratic lawmakers over the two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

 

Already, several Republican lawmakers have praised the new investigation.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows called the move “outstanding” and tweeted:

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan also accused Democratic lawmakers of being “focused on taking down the president.” 

 

“They’re so desperate to stop the president that they won’t help the country,” he tweeted.

But Democrats fired back. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California tweeted:

The vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, also raised concerns. 

 

“People risk their lives to gather the intelligence material that President Trump and Attorney General Barr are so eager to politicize,” Warner said in a statement Friday. “Selectively declassifying sources and methods in order to serve a political agenda will make it harder for the intelligence community to do their jobs protecting this country from those who wish to do us harm.”

Former U.S. intelligence officials also expressed reservations about Trump’s actions. 

April Doss, a former head of intelligence law at the National Security Agency, said on Twitter:

​Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent who also comments for CNN, tweeted: 

​But Trump has repeatedly pointed to the special counsel’s report, which did not find evidence to support criminal charges against the president, as proof his campaign did not collude with Russia to turn the 2016 election in his favor. 

 

Instead, the president has said the report shows there was a conspiracy against him, telling supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday that former U.S. officials spied on his presidential campaign and were guilty of treason, a claim he stood by on Thursday. 

 

“If you look at [former FBI Director James] Comey; if you look at [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe; if you look at probably people higher than that,” Trump said when asked which officials committed treason, which is punishable by death. 

 

“They couldn’t win the election, and that’s what happened,” he said. “That’s treason.” 

 

Comey, the former FBI director who was fired by Trump, responded Friday on Twitter:

Another frequent target of Trump’s ire, former CIA Director John Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic, also spoke out on the social media platform late Friday. 

 

Highlighting one of the president’s tweets — showing a cartoon of him, Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — Brennan called Trump’s behavior “very immature”: 

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By Polityk | 25/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Pompeo to Make Up Canceled Germany Trip on Europe Tour

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week will make up a trip to Germany he canceled earlier this month amid heightened tensions with Iran.

The State Department says Pompeo will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin before heading to additional stops in Europe.

Pompeo abruptly canceled a planned May 7 stop in Germany to make an unexpected visit to Iraq, shortly after the Trump administration announced it was sending an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf in response to threats from Iran.

After meeting Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the department said Pompeo would travel on to Switzerland and the Netherlands before joining President Donald Trump on his state visit to Britain in London. Pompeo leaves Washington on Thursday.

 

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By Polityk | 24/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

North Korea Blames US for Failed Talks in Vietnam

North Korea is blaming the United States for deadlocked nuclear negotiations, vowing they will “never be resumed” unless Washington abandons demands for disarmament.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended in February without agreements on sanctions relief for Pyongyang and on concessions the North would make regarding its banned nuclear and ballistic programs.

A statement issued Friday through Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency, citing a North Korean spokesman, accused the U.S. of intentionally causing the talks to collapse with impossible demands.

The statement said North Korea “took crucial and meaningful measures,” including the discontinuation of nuclear and ballistic missile testing and steps toward the “repatriation of the American POW/MIA remains.” But instead of responding to “our goodwill measures in the same manner,” the statement said the U.S. “deliberately pushed the talks to a rupture by merely claiming the unilateral disarmament of the DPRK,” a reference to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea said the U.S. “would not be able to move us even an inch with the device it is now weighing in its mind, and the further its mistrust and hostile acts towards DPRK grow, the fiercer our reaction will be.”

The U.S. has maintained the talks failed because of North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for a partial dismantling of its nuclear programs.

South Korea

After the collapse of the Trump-Kim summit, Pyongyang also slowed the pace of talks with South Korea, which seeks warmer relations with its northern neighbor and a bigger role in reviving U.S.-North Korean talks.

Pyongyang’s statement came just hours before Trump travels to Japan for a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which the North Korean nuclear issue will likely be a top agenda item.

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By Polityk | 24/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Insults Fly as Trump-Pelosi Feud Escalates

U.S. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are trading insults in an escalating feud that follows questions about whether he should face impeachment over past and current dealings.

Pelosi said Thursday that Trump wants opposition Democratic lawmakers to impeach him, but that the case has yet to be made to start a formal impeachment inquiry.

She said that several ongoing investigations being conducted by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives “may take us to impeachment,” but that currently “we are not at that place.” Three dozen Democrats and a single Republican in the 435-member House have called for the start of impeachment proceedings, although even if the House were to impeach Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove him from office. 

Pelosi said, however, impeachment is “what he wants us to do.”

She said Democrats will “follow the facts” in collecting information about Trump’s financial dealings, his 28-month presidency and the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian intrusion in the 2016 U.S. presidential and whether Trump tried to obstruct it.

Pelosi said she wishes Trump well, but that she thinks administration officials and his family need to have an “intervention” with him for the good of the country.

Trump responded by calling Pelosi “crazy Nancy” at a Thursday afternoon news conference at the White House.

As for himself, Trump declared, “I’m an extremely stable genius.”

Pelosi later tweeted, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.” 

The president also tweeted a Fox News video of Pelosi at her weekly meeting with reporters that had been edited to highlight stutters and mispronunciations. The video included the caption, “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” in all caps.

The White House attack on Pelosi escalated later in the day when Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tweeted another doctored video of Pelosi. The footage had been slowed down in a manner that made Pelosi appear intoxicated and her speech impaired. 

Pelosi’s assessment of any move toward impeaching Trump came hours after the U.S. leader unleashed new attacks on congressional Democrats investigating him, contending they are “the do-nothing party!”

“All they are geared up to do, six committees, is squander time, day after day, trying to find anything which will be bad for me,” Trump said on Twitter a day after he abruptly walked out of a White House meeting with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer about infrastructure spending. Trump, incensed by Pelosi’s contention that he was “engaged in a cover-up,” which she repeated Thursday, said he would not talk about policy issues with Democratic leaders as long as they continue their investigations.

“A pure fishing expedition like this never happened before, & it should never happen again!” Trump claimed, although Republican lawmakers in recent times often investigated Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state Trump defeated in the 2016 election.

There was no indication that Democratic lawmakers would back off their investigations of Trump’s finances related to his global business empire and the Mueller report. Mueller concluded that Trump had not colluded with Russia to help him win, but reached no decision on whether he obstructed justice. Subsequently, Attorney General William Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided obstruction charges against Trump were not warranted.

Pelosi and Schumer both described Trump’s walkout as a “temper tantrum.” Schumer told MSNBC that he believes it occurred because Trump and his aides “were so ill-prepared and afraid to actually say how they pay for infrastructure — they were unable — that they looked for a way to back out.”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted:

After walking out of the meeting Wednesday, Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden, “I don’t do cover-ups.”

He said investigations of him and engaging in government policy negotiations could not be conducted simultaneously.

Business, financial records 

Trump continues to spar with congressional Democrats over access to his business and financial records from the years prior to his presidency when he was widely known as a New York real estate mogul.

Twice this week, federal judges have upheld congressional subpoenas for his records, at an accounting firm that handled some of his financial transactions and from Deutsche Bank, his primary lender for two decades, and Capital One Bank, where he keeps some of his money.

Meanwhile, the New York state legislature approved a measure that would authorize state tax officials to release his state tax returns to any of three congressional committees in Washington. Trump has appealed the ruling related to the accounting firm and is likely to appeal the bank information decision, as well.

Trump, unlike U.S. presidents for the past four decades, has declined to release his federal tax returns, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused a congressional request for the last six years of Trump’s returns.

Panel’s victory

With one exception, Trump has held Democrats at bay, for the moment, in their pursuit of information and public oversight. 

Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday his panel has won an agreement from the Justice Department to turn over 12 categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence information that had been collected as part of Mueller’s investigation.

The House Intelligence panel had subpoenaed the information, and Schiff said the subpoena “will remain in effect, and be enforced” if Justice fails “to comply with the full document request.”

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By Polityk | 24/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Roosevelt Room Rancor as Trump Trash-Talks Pelosi 

A routine event in the White House Roosevelt Room on Thursday afternoon to announce $16 billion in farm aid morphed into a verbal attack on the most powerful Democrat in Congress by the president, who also accused by name former top FBI officials of treason. 

After announcing the agriculture assistance package in response to losses stemming from the U.S. trade war with China, President Donald Trump responded to questions from a small group of reporters. 

The president spent much of the time criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she had told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that she needed two weeks to understand the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal (USMCA). 

“Pelosi does not understand the bill,” said Trump. “So she’s got to get up to snuff, learn the bill.” 

Some of the queries during the 47-minute event dealt with his temperament in an Oval Office meeting the previous day, when a discussion with top Democrats from Capitol Hill about infrastructure funding ended quickly. 

Trump insisted he was calm, “like I am right now.” 

He did not, however, drop the subject. 

Trump called on a number of aides in the Roosevelt Room to assert that he had remained calm and had not thrown a temper tantrum as Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implied. 

“You were very calm and very direct,” replied Mercedes Schlapp, the White House director of strategic communications. 

“Very calm,” responded White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. “I’ve seen both. And this was not angry and ranting.” 

Three other White House officials Trump asked to bear witness echoed that sentiment. 

Trump labeled Pelosi as crazy, said she had “lost it” and “has a lot of problems.” He termed as nasty the House speaker’s suggestion earlier in the day that the president’s family needed to stage an intervention because of his behavior. 

“I’m an extremely stable genius,” Trump asserted at one point. 

Minutes later, Pelosi tweeted:

During the impromptu news conference, a reporter asked Trump if he wanted to be impeached by the opposition Democrats in the House, as Pelosi asserted. 

“I don’t know that anybody wants to be impeached,” he replied. 

Trump again criticized ongoing investigations of him by Congress, lamenting that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his two-year probe did not end questions about links between the president’s 2016 campaign and Russians. 

A reporter asked Trump to name the perceived political opponents he has accused of treason for launching investigations into those who worked on his campaign. 

Trump responded by naming, among others, former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. 

Trump said “probably people higher than that” also committed treason, but he did not elaborate. 

Those found guilty of treason in the United States face possible life imprisonment or execution. 

Asked whether he would approve sending more troops to the Middle East to respond to threats from Iran, Trump noted he was holding a meeting on the subject later in the afternoon, but said, “I don’t think we’ll need it.” 

Trump emphasized, though, that “nobody’s going to mess with us.”

Trump also termed Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei “very dangerous” but quickly added that the company, which now faces severe restrictions in the United States, could be part of a trade deal with China.

Trump also indicated he would sign a bipartisan $19.1 billion disaster relief bill, even though it does not include border funding that the president had demanded. 

“We’ll take care of the immigration later,” said Trump.

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By Polityk | 24/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

US Senate Passes Disaster Relief Bill Without Border Aid

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved $19.1 billion in aid to help Americans rebound from a string of natural disasters, but without the extra funds to 

address a migrant surge at the border that President Donald Trump had requested. 

The Senate, which has a thin Republican majority, approved the measure 85-8. Democrats, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, said a vote could soon follow in that chamber. 

Trump supports the legislation, fellow Republican lawmakers said. 

The measure is aimed at assisting victims of disasters across the country over the last two years, from hurricanes in the Southeast to Midwestern flooding and California wildfires, with funds to help farmers and repair highways and other infrastructure. It also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which was devastated by a hurricane in 2017. Trump had vehemently opposed sending more aid to the Caribbean island. 

The bill does not include emergency funds to address a migrant surge at the southern U.S. border that Trump had requested earlier this month. 

“I had a nice conversation with the president,” Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who helped negotiate the bill, told reporters outside the Senate. “The president said OK.” 

Shelby said Republicans would push for separate approval of the border aid Trump wanted after lawmakers return from a recess next week, saying, “It’s needed.” 

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said he was willing to keep negotiating about border aid. “We’re close but we’re not there yet,” he said. 

Trump on May 1 requested $4.5 billion for programs that house, feed, transport and oversee the record number of Central American families seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border with Mexico. 

A spokesman for House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, said she was pleased the bipartisan legislation “will meet urgent needs across the country,” adding that House Democrats supported clearing it “as soon as possible.” 

The legislation includes disaster relief for farmers; development grants for rural communities; funds for wastewater infrastructure; and resources to restore highways, aviation facilities and other transit projects, Shelby’s office said. 

It also includes $600 million in nutrition assistance and $304 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for Puerto Rico sought by Democrats, as well as an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, a statement said. 

Democrats said the bill took much longer to pass than it should have, in part because of Trump’s interventions. 

“Each time the president messes in, things get messed up,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said, referring to repeated criticism from Trump of the proposed aid for Puerto Rico and Trump’s border aid request. “So I suggested this morning that we just do disaster aid and no border, and that’s what we’re doing. … We got all we wanted for Puerto Rico.” 

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By Polityk | 24/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика

Trump ‘Honored’ to Provide US Farmers with $16 Billion in Aid 

President Donald Trump says he is “honored” to give U.S. farmers hurt by the trade war with China another $16 billion in aid. 

Flanked by potato growers, ranchers and dairymen in the White House, Trump said Thursday the aid “will help keep our cherished farms thriving and make clear that no country has a veto on America’s economic and national security.”

Trump added that trade has been “very unfair” to the farmers who he says support him politically.

This is the second multibillion-dollar bailout the Trump administration has provided to U.S. farmers who have seen Chinese markets for their products dry up because of tariffs China imposed on U.S. goods to retaliate for U.S. tariffs on Chinese products. The White House gave farmers $12 billion last year.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says farmers should see the first installment of the new $16 billion in aid in July or August. Perdue said he doubts if the United States and China can reach a trade deal by then.

Most of the money will go to farmers who grow and sell such crops as soybeans, corn, peanuts and wheat. Money will also be set aside to buy excess products from the farmers and send them to schools and food banks.

“I can’t recall a president more concerned about farmer well-being. We are working hard to assess trade damages and this package ensures farmers will not bear the brunt,” Perdue said.

While Trump said Thursday that many farmers told him he is “doing the right thing,” some trade experts call the bailout a political ploy and say farmers are more concerned about winning back the lost Chinese market.

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By Polityk | 23/05/2019 | Повідомлення, Політика
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