John T. Bennett

Trump offers trade of Dreamers-for-wall that Democrats quickly reject
Shutdown likely to plod on with no end in sight as White House downplays economic impact

President Donald Trump on Saturday pitched what he described as a plan that could end a partial government shutdown — but Democrats made their opposition clear before he uttered a single word about it.

His new offer amounted to a somewhat surprising  and sudden reversal for Trump and senior White House officials. That is because earlier this week, a senior White House official indicated the president was opposed to making a new offer unless House and Senate Democrats made the next move. It also appeared insufficient for Democrats as furloughed federal workers begin lining up at food banks and came amid worries about the shutdown’s effect on an already slowing U.S. economy.

No hints from Trump about afternoon border security announcement
President left Saturday morning to military base for arrival of soldiers killed in Syria

 

President Donald Trump gave no clues about his 3 p.m. border security-shutdown announcement as he departed the White House on Saturday morning on a surprise trip to a military base in Dover, Delaware, for the arrival of the bodies of American troopers killed in Syria.

Trump: ‘Major announcement’ on border security coming Saturday
Focus to be on ‘humanitarian crisis’ and the government shutdown

President Donald Trump will make a “major announcement” Saturday about border security on what by then will be the 29th day of the partial government shutdown.

Three minutes after the White House call a “lid” Friday night and reporters headed for the gate, the president fired off a tweet, saying his remarks will focus on “the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse.”

Trump vs. Pelosi: 5 takeaways from their tit-for-tat as shutdown plods on
Nixing Afghanistan trip also was a direct blow to House Dems’ oversight plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump continued their high-stakes game of tit-for-tat Friday, even as the 28-day partial government shutdown plodded on with no signs of any restart of negotiations. 

White House aides scurried about Friday, initially declining to directly address a bombshell report that Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later called the story “categorically false.”)

Trump and Kim Jong Un to meet in late February
White House announces meeting after president met privately with Pyongyang envoy

President Donald Trump will meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February, the White House announced after a private meeting Friday with an envoy from Pyongyang.

“President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour-and-a-half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February. The president looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Trump again endorses immigration changes for seasonal migrant farm workers
‘You need people to help you,’ he says. ‘I’m not going to rule that out’

For the third time this week, President Donald Trump on Friday signaled support for immigration policy changes that would make it easier for seasonal farm workers to enter the United States.

Trump pleaded in a Friday morning tweet for someone to inform Speaker Nancy Pelosi that “her ‘big donors’ in wine country that people working on farms (grapes) will have easy access in!”

No Trump-Pelosi talks planned as explosive report complicates shutdown endgame
Report: President directed Michael Cohen to lie about Moscow Trump Tower project

Updated 12:45 p.m. | There are no shutdown talks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Donald Trump’s Friday schedule and no invitations for any have been extended, even as White House aides claim the president put the kibosh on her Afghanistan trip in part to keep her on U.S. soil to cut a deal.

What’s more, an explosive report that Trump directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie during testimony to Congress likely will only drive the White House and Democrats further apart, making a border security deal needed to reopen the government even harder as Washington becomes increasingly toxic.

Trump abruptly cancels military support for Pelosi overseas trip
Treasury delegation‘s Davos trip is also off

Updated 7:33 p.m. | In apparent retaliation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plea that President Donald Trump delay his State of the Union address due to the government shutdown, Trump has canceled all military support for a previously unannounced congressional delegation trip the speaker was scheduled to take.

“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

Trump unveils his ’Ric Flair doctrine’ — after another border wall pitch
Buried in president's hawkish remarks was assessment Iranian leaders ‘want to talk’

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump — in a Pentagon address that included digs at Democrats and a border wall pitch — warned potential foes like Iran that the United States is a “good player,” but could quickly become the dirtiest player in the game if provoked.

The commander in chief arrived at the Pentagon Thursday morning for remarks, ostensibly about a Defense Department review of the country’s missile defense arsenal and his administration’s plan to expand and upgrade it. But just like Monday while addressing farmers at a conference in New Orleans, the president spent about half his remarks bashing congressional Democrats, describing a bleak situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and lobbying for a “steel” border barrier.

Reed, Menendez press Trump for ‘immediate’ info on talks with Russia’s Putin
Duo sent letter to president hours before Giuliani suggests some 2016 collusion from campaign

As a top lawyer for Donald Trump suggests some members of the president’s 2016 campaign worked with Russians, two top Senate Democrats want answers about whether the commander in chief properly handled sensitive information about his contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rudolph Giuliani told CNN Wednesday evening that he has “never said” there was zero collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russians. Shifting his stance yet again about what happened during that election cycle, Giuliani now says he stated only that the president himself never colluded with Russians or was involved in any potential actions by others that might constitute a crime.

White House challenges predictions of political hit if shutdown slows economy
Trump aides, Democrats both view floating new proposal as friendly fire

Senior White House officials say they are unconcerned about a downgraded internal assessment of the partial government shutdown as a drag on the U.S. economy or polls that show most Americans mostly blame President Donald Trump for the impasse.

Instead, the president’s top aides on Wednesday said they are focused on the “long-term” health of the economy, which has shown signs of slowing in recent months as some economists warn that clouds of recession could be forming.

Pence signals little progress with China since Trump-Xi agreement
U.S. ‘remains hopeful’ Chinese officials will engage in serious talks

Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday signaled that the Trump administration has made little progress in trade talks with China, even after what the White House portrayed as a breakthrough late last year.

Pence painted a picture of a new lull in U.S.-China trade talks even after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 over local steaks in Argentina to call a truce in what had been a tense tariff war that threatened to slow the global economy.

Pelosi asks Trump to delay State of The Union until government reopens
The speaker asked the president to delay the address scheduled for Jan. 29 or deliver it in writing

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday asking he delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address, or deliver it in writing, unless the government is reopened.

The California Democrat said a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown “since the start of modern budgeting” in fiscal 1977. Pelosi also cited security concerns because the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security are not funded.

Trump to try again to court moderate House Democrats on border wall
Goal for Situation Room meeting is funds for ‘real border security and the wall’

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus in the Situation Room as the White House tries to cobble together votes for a shutdown-ending bill that includes funding for his proposed southern border wall.

The Problem Solvers group is composed of just under 50 Republican and Democratic House members. The session will mark the second time in as many days the White House has attempted to court moderate and deal-minded House Democrats.

Day 25 of the shutdown and the impasse held fast
Spending bill fails, president holds firm, House freshmen march

On the 25th day of the longest government shutdown in modern history, the House failed to advance a spending measure, the president was half-stood up for lunch, and freshman House Democrats marched on the Senate. 

In an already busy day on Capitol Hill, the House failed to advance a stopgap measure to fund shuttered federal agencies through Feb. 1, as Democrats sought to pressure Republicans to end the partial shutdown. 

Amid shutdown, White House, Democrats, can’t even agree on lunch

No House Democrats will attend a White House-organized lunch meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump as the partial government shutdown continues, a sign of how dug in both sides are with no deal in sight.

The White House invited a group of members from the chamber’s Blue Dog Coalition for a lunch discussion on the 25th day of the shutdown. 

Dug-in Trump to Dems: ‘Only a wall will work’ as shutdown enters 25th day
President contends polls shifting toward him, but one shows he didn’t change any minds with address

A day after appearing to downplay the stature of his proposed southern border wall, President Donald Trump sent a message to congressional Democratic leaders: “Only a wall will work” as a partial government shutdown over his demands enters its 25th day.

Trump sent mixed messages about his proposed border wall during a Monday speech to an agriculture conference in New Orleans. After first saying he would not “back down” on his wall demands, he appeared to downplay the proposal among his full collection of 2016 campaign promises.

Trump: ‘I never worked for Russia’
President rejects Lindsey Graham’s plan to reopen federal government

President Donald Trump on Monday denied working for the Russian government after a report detailing a FBI counterintelligence probe into whether he was working for Russia and against U.S. interests.

The New York Times report stated federal investigators became concerned about Trump actions around the time and after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, including admitting publicly he did so with the Justice Department’s broader Russian election meddling investigation on his mind.

Trump’s snow day Twitter rant spills into Monday with attacks on Dems
President also mocks report of FBI probe into whether he worked for Russia

After a snowy Sunday of Twitter threats and jabs, President Donald Trump on Monday morning fired off more posts blaming Democrats for the now-record partial government shutdown and mocking a report the FBI opened an investigation over concerns he was working for Russia.

During a mid-December Oval Office meeting that devolved into a bickering match, the president told Democratic leaders he would “take the mantle” of any partial shutdown. With nine Cabinet agencies and other offices now shuttered for more than three weeks, Trump on Monday wrote that “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York.

Frustrated by ‘my generals,’ Trump turns to ‘my actings’
Expert: ‘Irony is the politics are so favorable ... it suggests something more nefarious’

Donald Trump came into office enamored with, as he called them, “my generals.” But as he learned on the job, the commander in chief grew frustrated with and replaced those retired four-star military men. Two years later, the president’s Cabinet is now stocked with a group he calls “my actings.”

Experts say the Constitution, existing laws and department-specific guidelines give Trump the authority and legal cover to keep various acting Cabinet-level and other officials in place for over 200 days — or longer, in some cases. But the law is clear as mud when it comes to whether he could simply keep a favorite “acting” in place for the duration of his administration, legal scholars say.