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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.


Donald J. Trump White House Page 22

By Cristina Cabrera - Talking Points Memo
With the White House becoming a revolving door for staffers over the past two-and-a-half years, President Donald Trump and his remaining aides had to create a system to keep the fleeing staffers from writing embarrassing tell-alls, according to a new CNN report. CNN reported on Wednesday that the White House has several strategies to keep a departing aide with a soured relationship with Trump from running to the nearest publisher: Meet with the President to mend fences and agree not to attack each other, create a “soft landing” for the staffer, or threats of legal action. For example, Trump was reportedly privately furious at his now-ousted personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, for gossiping about his daughters to the press, even though he publicly stated that she was a “very good person” and that he “fully” forgave her. According to CNN, Trump only did so after his staffers coaxed him into allowing Westerhout to leave on good terms, and now the White House is looking to plant her somewhere else in Trumpworld. Trump also reportedly met with former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, with whom he’d been clashing for months before Kelly announced his resignation, and asked him about any potential plans to write a book on his experiences in the White House. Kelly reportedly promised not to do so — unless Trump decided to go on the offensive. If Trump’s relationship with the outgoing aide is damaged beyond repair, the White House’s fallback is the NDA Trump has employees sign, though it’s unlikely such agreements are legally enforceable.

By Christina Zhao
After President Donald Trump displayed a map on Wednesday of Hurricane Dorian's path altered to include Alabama in the storm's trajectory, NBC political analyst Elise Jordan compared the incident to "a 13-year-old that doctors their report card." While discussing early National Weather Service forecasts of Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump displayed a map that appeared to have been altered with a Sharpie marker to include Alabama in the storm's trajectory. "We got lucky in Florida, very, very lucky indeed," he told reporters. "We had actually our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly... And that would have affected a lot of other states." Later, during a segment on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd discussed the doctored visual with Jordan and two other guests. "This is the part where you're just like, 'what did we disrupt?' This is the disruption you want?" Todd said, apparently in reference to the U.S. citizens who voted for Trump to disrupt Washington. "Exactly. You get the full display of President Trump's ignorance and his obstinance and his complete inability to tell the truth — and also his lack of basic geography," Jordan said. "I think that a 13-year-old who doctors their report card, their parents usually can tell. They don't do that good of a job. Actually, I'm showing my age right now, the day when we had handwritten report cards. But still." "I remember a dumb third grade version of myself trying to trace my dad's signature," Todd interrupted. "Guess what? I got caught." "You get caught. He got caught," Jordan said, referring to Trump. "This is the level that he's operating, he's not smooth and savvy enough to even not tell just absolutely ridiculous dumb lies," she added.

By Ryan Pickrell
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he recently offered President Donald Trump the chance to purchase some of Russia's new weapons, including hypersonic missiles, purportedly to prevent an arms race. The Russian president said that he told Trump in a recent phone call that the US could buy some of the hypersonic nuclear weapons Russia is working on, thus creating a kind of balance. But Trump refused, telling him that the US is building its own weapons, Reuters reported. "If you want, we can sell you some and this way we will balance everything out," the Russian president said he told Trump, according to Russia's state-run TASS news agency.

Gibraltar released the ship after receiving assurances the vessel would not head to countries sanctioned by the EU.
A senior United States official personally offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of heading to Syria, the State Department has confirmed. The Financial Times newspaper reported that Brian Hook, the State Department point man on Iran, sent emails to captain Akhilesh Kumar in which he offered "good news" of millions in US cash to live comfortably if he steered the Adrian Darya 1 to a country where it could be seized. "We have seen the Financial Times article and can confirm that the details are accurate," a State Department spokeswoman said on Wednesday. "We have conducted extensive outreach to several ship captains as well as shipping companies warning them of the consequences of providing support to a foreign terrorist organisation," she said, referring to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. The Adrian Darya 1 was held for six weeks by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on suspicion that it was set to deliver oil from Iran to its main Arab ally Syria - a violation of European Union sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's government. Gibraltar released the ship, formerly called the Grace 1, on August 18 despite US protests after receiving written assurances that the vessel would not head to countries sanctioned by the EU. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mocked Hook's initiative as he pointed to the FT story. "Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail - deliver us Iran's oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself," Zarif tweeted on Wednesday.

Unearthed emails showed a Treasury official directing a Fox employee to use his preferred wording on a story. Democracy Forward wants the IG to see if that broke a federal law.
By Maxwell Tani
A left-leaning advocacy group is putting pressure on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to investigate whether the agency violated federal law in its interaction with conservative media outlets. Last month, advocacy group Democracy Forward released emails between Treasury officials and Fox Business Network employees after obtaining the messages through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The emails underscored the often cozy relationship that exists between Fox News or Fox Business and the Trump administration. On Tuesday, in a new letter exclusively shared with The Daily Beast, Democracy Forward called upon on the Treasury’s inspector general to look into whether some of the actions unearthed in that FOIA deep-dive violated a relatively obscure federal law prohibiting government agencies from spreading information without disclosing its origin. In a specific instance cited by Democracy Forward, a Treasury communications official directed a Fox Business Network employee to make changes to an article about a trip taken by Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin. The official crafted specific alterations for the article and Fox staff acquiesced to the official’s preferred headline and article text wording. While lobbying for changes in a news article is common for flacks at both government agencies and private companies, Democracy Forward argued that the emails show Treasury officials “exerting substantial influence over FBN’s coverage and raises troubling questions regarding Treasury officials’ compliance with the covert propaganda ban.” “This extremely close coordination between Treasury officials and Fox News suggests that the Trump administration may be violating federal law that prohibits government-sponsored propaganda,” Democracy Forward’s press secretary Charisma Troiano said in a statement. “This kind of cozy, behind-the-scenes interaction between government employees and members of the media raises alarm bells, and such direct intervention could be illegal.” The group also announced Tuesday that it will attempt to see if other agencies have similarly influenced coverage at right-wing outlets behind the scenes.  Democracy Forward will file FOIA suits against the Department of Justice, and Health and Human Services, among others, in order to review correspondence between officials and right-leaning media outlets including Fox News, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, The Daily Wire, NewsMax, and One America News Network.

The Pentagon is taking money from 127 projects in 23 states and three territories to build Trump's long-promised wall along the southern border.
By Dareh Gregorian, Mosheh Gains and Alex Moe
President Donald Trump is building his wall, and Puerto Rico is going to pay for it. The Department of Defense released a list of 127 military construction projects that are being delayed as the agency moves $3.6 billion to pay for construction of fencing along the southern border, and the U.S. territory is one of the hardest hit by the move. The department said it was holding off on over $400 million in funding for ten construction projects on the island, including a power substation and a National Guard readiness center. A senior Defense official downplayed the potential impact of the move and noted that most of the projects on the island — which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 — weren't slated to begin work until Sept. 2020 at the earliest. "We don't see ourselves delaying those projects. We're fully committed to that recovery," the official said. The U.S. territory of Guam — which was threatened with a missile strike by North Korea in 2017 — is set to lose $250 million in construction projects, the agency said. The diversions also hit 23 states, with New York and New Mexico— both represented by Democrats— taking the brunt of the blow.- Why should the American taxpayer pay for the wall? What happen to Mexico paying for the wall? This is the greatest bait and switch ever pulled.

By Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, CNN
Washington (CNN)The Pentagon's announcement that it will divert $3.6 billion in military construction funds to help fund President Donald Trump's border wall has sparked bipartisan anger from lawmakers who learned Wednesday that their states will be impacted by the decision. Domestically, just under $1.8 billion is being shifted away from projects in 23 states and three US territories. Additionally, the Pentagon will defer more than $1.8 billion in military construction projects overseas to free up over $3.6 billion in funds for 11 wall projects on the southern border with Mexico, according to a complete list obtained by CNN Wednesday. In total, 127 domestic and overseas projects are being put on hold to help fund the wall that Trump initially promised would be paid for by Mexico. Among the sites affected are facilities used to store hazardous waste, repair Navy ships and conduct cyber operations, that had been identified as being in need of repair or additional construction. Puerto Rico was among the hardest hit of all US states and territories as it will see more than $400 million in funding for planned military construction projects diverted to the wall under the Pentagon's plan. Trump has consistently sparred with Puerto Rican officials while he's been in office following 2017's Hurricane Maria. "Most of the projects in Puerto Rico were a result of Hurricane Maria," a senior US defense official told CNN. "We've got a rebuild effort that we have ongoing here and I mentioned these projects aren't scheduled to award for more than a year. These are projects that we have on the list something we can use now and backfill, we've got time to do that." Overseas, $771 million in projects at various locations in Europe will be impacted. These projects, including airfield upgrades and staging areas in Eastern Europe, are meant to improve the defense of US allies from Russian threats. "All these projects are important to us but we also have to respond to the emergency we've been directed to respond to on the southwest border," the senior US defense official said Wednesday.

By Josh Wingrove
Donald Trump said his trade war with China has hurt the performance of the U.S. stock market, but that he had to confront the country’s economic practices. “Let me tell you, if I wanted to do nothing with China, our stock market, our stock market would be 10,000 points higher than it is right now but somebody had to do this,” the president told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “It was out of control and they were out of control.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 26,332 as of about 1:00 p.m. in Washington, up less than 1 percent for the day. Trump increased tariffs on Chinese imports this week to try to elbow Beijing into resuming talks on a far-reaching trade deal. “We’ll see what happens, if they want to make a deal, they’ll make a deal, if they don’t want to make a deal, that’s fine,” he said. Trump declined to say whether Chinese negotiators will visit Washington this month. Trump has placed tariffs on some $360 billion of Chinese imports since the start of the trade war more than a year ago. On Sunday, he enacted a 15% duty on about $112 billion of Chinese products, mostly electronics and other consumer items. An existing 25% tax on about $250 billion of goods is set to rise to 30% on Oct. 1. A separate batch of about $160 billion in Chinese goods, including laptops and mobile phones, will be hit with 15% tariffs on Dec. 15 -- meaning that virtually every Chinese import will have a tariff levied on it. Trump has previously said the Dow would be 10,000 points higher if the U.S. Federal Reserve hadn’t raised interest rates last year. Trump routinely criticizes Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

By Pamela Brown, Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump's relationship with his chief of staff John Kelly was beyond repair when he announced last December that Kelly would be stepping down.
So before Kelly could leave, Trump asked the retired four-star general the question that often consumes him when a top aide leaves his side on bad terms: Did he plan to write a tell-all book about his time in the White House? Kelly assured Trump in one of their final Oval Office meetings that while he did plan to eventually write about his tumultuous tenure in the White House for history's sake, he wouldn't publish a book until after Trump was gone, two sources briefed on the conversation said. But the former general's guarantee came in terms more reminiscent of a military ceasefire than an employee separation agreement: Kelly told Trump he would hold his fire as long as Trump didn't attack him first. A source close to Kelly said the exchange was amicable and not contentious. Neither Kelly nor the White House responded to CNN's request for comment. Eight months later, the non-aggression pact has largely held up, but the stream of jilted aides filtering out of the White House has not abated. Now Trump is facing the departure of yet another official whose proximity to power and messy departure brings the threat of a damning tell-all account. The abrupt exit of Madeleine Westerhout, who sat outside the Oval Office for two-and-a-half years as executive assistant to the President until last week, once again sent Trump and his advisers into damage control mode as book agents and publishers began circling the waters, floating a possible six- or seven-figure book advance. "While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don't think there would ever be a reason to use it," Trump tweeted. "She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her!"

Trump had erroneously stated that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama.
By Matthew Cappucci and Andrew Freedman
On Wednesday, it appears the White House attempted to retroactively justify a tweet that President Trump issued over the weekend in which he warned, erroneously, that Alabama would be affected by Hurricane Dorian. In a White House video released Wednesday, Trump displays a modified National Hurricane Center “cone of uncertainty” forecast, dated from 11 a.m. on Aug. 29, indicating Alabama would in fact be affected. The graphic appears to have been altered with a Sharpie to indicate a risk the storm would move into Alabama from Florida. “We had, actually, our original chart was that it was going to be hit — hitting Florida directly,” Trump said as he displayed the graphic from Aug. 29, which now includes an added appendage extending the cone into Alabama. “That was the original chart,” Trump said. “It could’ve, uh, was going towards the Gulf,” Trump explained in the video. Asked about the altered hurricane forecast chart at a White House event on opioids Wednesday afternoon, Trump said his briefings included a “95 percent chance probability” that Alabama would be hit. When asked whether the chart had been drawn on, Trump said: “I don’t know; I don’t know.”

The president has claimed for days Hurricane Dorian was projected to hit Alabama. Forecasters said it was not.
By Allan Smith
After days of claiming without evidence that Alabama was projected to be hit by Hurricane Dorian, President Donald Trump displayed an apparently doctored map in the Oval Office on Wednesday that showed Alabama to be within the storm's path. The map Trump displayed was the same as a model produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week showing the hurricane's projected path cutting through central Florida — with one key difference. Where the original projection ended, a smaller, black circle that appeared to be drawn in Sharpie was produced to include Alabama in the model. "We had actually our original chart that it was going to end up hitting Florida directly," Trump said, holding the map as he sat in the Oval Office Wednesday alongside Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. "It was going to be hitting directly, that would have affected a lot of other states. But that was the original chart. It was going to hit not only Florida, Georgia, it was going toward the Gulf [of Mexico]. That was what was originally projected. And it took a right turn and ultimately, hopefully we're going to be lucky."

Democratic lawmakers are furious. President Donald Trump is about to get nearly $4 billion to build his much-desired wall on the southern border with Mexico — but it will come at the expense of the US military. Pentagon officials on Tuesday said that the Defense Department will take out $3.6 billion from 127 existing military construction projects and reallocate those funds to put up about 175 miles of wall. Half the money will come from projects originally meant for the US and its territories, and the other half from international ones. The administration had announced last February it would make such a move, so it’s not entirely unexpected. But it’s still unclear which specific military projects will be delayed by this decision, as the Pentagon said it didn’t want to release that information before notifying members of Congress on Wednesday. That’s an important political matter. Military construction projects mean jobs and funding for certain districts, many of which rely on that money to sustain their economies. Politicians representing those districts and states will probably not be too happy to learn that their constituents are among those who might be affected. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is already irate because he says West Point — the Army academy located in New York state — is slated to lose funds. “This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world,” Schumer tweeted Tuesday evening. “It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that President Trump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build.” - Why should the American taxpayer pay for the wall? What happen to Mexico paying for the wall? This is the greatest bait and switch ever pulled.

By Greg Sargent - Opinion writer
There is one aspect of Donald Trump’s presidency that continues to be under-appreciated: the extraordinary lengths to which he and his propagandists regularly go to mask his political weakness and record of profound failure. To put this a bit differently, Trump’s conduct is so outsize and crazy, and his advisers’ defenses of it are so strained and absurd, that we often end up overlooking the much more mundane explanation for all of this — that Trump is failing on many fronts, and as a result, he and his advisers fear he’ll lose reelection. Politico has an illuminating new report that helps pry loose this mask. The gist is that Trump’s own advisers are aware that there are multiple flashing indicators right now that very well might put Trump’s reelection in serious doubt. Among these: Trump’s trade war with China will likely worsen; his rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement might not pass Congress, denying him a badly needed victory on a signature issue; and the likelihood of a recession has increased. What’s more, the U.S. manufacturing sector just contracted by one very closely watched metric, and Trump’s trade wars are a key reason for that. Politico’s reporting is stark on the real meaning of this: Trump internal and external advisers know one of their biggest vulnerabilities is weakness in American manufacturing, a sector the president promised to revive with his aggressive trade policy. The pledges helped Trump secure surprising — and quite narrow — wins in key states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. But the manufacturing numbers are moving in the wrong direction for the president. Keep in mind that Trump’s own advisers are saying this. Yet the unexciting explanation for much of what we’re seeing — that Trump and his advisers fear he’s failing and might lose reelection as a result — sometimes gets short shrift in cable discussions, which too often still proceed as if Trump has some sort of clever political trick up his sleeve.

Why did the investigation wrap up?
By Andrew Prokop
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have a new investigative emphasis this fall — they plan to focus on hush money payments arranged on behalf of women who had sexual encounters with President Trump, according to the Washington Post’s Rachael Bade and Tom Hamburger. And one major unanswered question that they should push hard for answers on is: why, exactly, did the Justice Department’s investigation into this end earlier this year — when prosecutors had said that Trump directed these illegal payments? There are several possibilities. Per NBC News’s Ken Dilanian, House Democrats suspect it was due to DOJ’s policy against indicting a sitting president. It’s also possible that prosecutors just thought their case wasn’t strong enough — or that there was interference from higher-ups. The point is, we don’t know. In stark contrast to both the Hillary Clinton email probe and the Mueller investigation — for which prosecutors’ decision-making in not bringing further charges was publicly explained at length — what happened behind the scenes in the hush money investigation is a mystery. It’s a mystery that House Democrats should try and solve. Rather than falling into the trap of just rehashing facts that have long been known about this scandal, Democrats should press hard to try and get answers on what happened in the Justice Department here.

Opinion by Elie Honig
(CNN) - As a federal organized crime prosecutor, I learned that the mafia uses a practice known as "kicking up" or "paying tribute" to the boss. Essentially, all members of a mafia family must make sure that some of their earnings end up in the boss' pocket. From the member's point of view, "kicking up" is a way to show respect, curry favor, and reinforce the hierarchical power structure. From the boss's point of view, it's a way to get rich. The "kicking up" model works well for the mafia, and now a political version of it seems to be catching on within the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence has decided to stay at Trump's golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, during an official visit to Dublin (over a one-hour flight away, so not particularly close or convenient). On Tuesday, Pence's chief of staff remarked that the decision was made on Trump's suggestion. The Vice President's office later stated, "at no time did the President direct our office to stay at his Doonbeg resort." Pence reportedly will personally pay all expenses for family traveling with him, and the United States government will use taxpayer money to pick up the costs for Pence and his security detail. No matter how you cut it, Pence's decision to stay at Trump's hotel will put money in Trump's pocket. Not to be outdone in the "posterior osculation" category (as Paul Begala colorfully put it), Attorney General William Barr reportedly will spend more than $30,000 of personal money to throw a private holiday party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. Barr's defenders argue that he first tried to book two other DC hotels. But, of course, there are dozens of luxury hotels in DC that Barr could have chosen instead of one owned by Trump's company. Apologists can nibble at the margins, but there is no escaping that Barr's choice to patronize a Trump property, like Pence's, will put thousands of dollars in Trump's pocket.  This trend of high-ranking federal officials choosing to pay thousands of dollars to use Trump's private properties is problematic on two levels. First, the payments could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits federal government officials from accepting (1) "any present, emoluments, title or office" from any foreign country or (2) any income beyond official salary from any American state or the federal government. There already is pending litigation under the Emoluments Clause over Trump's receipt of revenue from foreign leaders who have stayed at Trump properties. Trump's receipt of income directly from the federal government to cover Pence's stay at the hotel presents another potential violation of the Emoluments Clause. Second, the decisions by Pence and Barr to patronize Trump's private business raise vexing precedent and serious ethical questions. Do other high-ranking federal officials need to take notice and follow suit? Will they be punished or disfavored if they don't throw a couple bucks Trump's way? Is there some implicit understanding that Trump will favor those who pay? Even if the answer to all of these questions is "no," the appearance itself is terrible; the American public rightly will wonder if ethical lines have been blurred, and that in itself is problematic.

By Claudia Grisales
In a letter, Defense Secretary Mark Esper alerted members of the Senate and House Armed Services committees of the plans to proceed with cutting military construction projects in lieu of the wall. In all, he detailed 11 wall projects that would be completed as a result of the diversion of Pentagon funds. They include new pedestrian fencing and barriers in San Diego, Calif., replacement of vehicle barriers in El Paso, Texas, and new fencing at the border in Yuma, Ariz. Congressional sources said the full list of cut military projects was slated to be released Wednesday after lawmakers were directly alerted of which ones were located in their districts. Esper cites the national emergency that President Trump declared in February that required the use of armed forces for projects along the southwest border. "Based on analysis and advice from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and input from the Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of the Interior and pursuant to the authority granted to me in Section 2808, I have determined that 11 military construction projects along the international border with Mexico, with an estimated total cost of $3.6 billion, are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in connection with the national emergency," Esper states in a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash.

The remarkably petty reasons Trump is suddenly criticizing his favorite cable network.
By Aaron Rupar
As it has been since Donald Trump started consolidating the Republican nomination for president in early 2016, Fox News and Fox Business remain almost entirely loyal to Trump. But in recent days the president has expressed frustration that the cable network isn’t entirely loyal to him — with no exceptions whatsoever. The latest example of Trump’s growing frustration with Fox News came on Saturday, when Trump tried to draw a connection between the ratings of shows on the network and their loyalty to him. “Has anyone noticed that the top shows on @foxnews and cable ratings are those that are Fair (or great) to your favorite President, me!” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @seanhannity for being the number one show on Cable Television!” That tweet came three days after Trump unloaded on his once-beloved cable network in a string of tweets, writing in one, “The New @FoxNews is letting millions of GREAT people down! We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!” But in an illustration of how much Trump still needs Fox News, between the time he posted his tweet about Fox News on Saturday and the end of the long Labor Day weekend, Trump posted no less than 14 tweets or retweets promoting Fox News and Fox Business programming either by quoting pro-Trump commentary from the network or featuring videos clips.

By Brendan Cole
The confused pronouncements by Donald Trump about Hurricane Dorian are further evidence of the president's mental decline and the Republican Party must come to his aid for the good of the country, his former communications chief has said. Anthony Scaramucci lost his post as White House director of communications after only 11 days when his criticism of White House officials was made public. Author of the book Trump: The Blue Collar President, about his three years working with Trump on the campaign trail and as part of his transition team, Scaramucci is now a vehement critic of his former boss and has repeatedly raised questions about his mental acuity. He told CNN that Trump's confusion about the Category-5 storm buffeting the south-eastern coast of the U.S., highlighted the need for those close to the president to step in to help him for the sake of the country. Trump had mistakenly tweeted that Alabama would be in the firing line of the storm after it hit the Bahamas.

By Drew Kann, CNN
(CNN) - In almost every corner of his administration, President Donald Trump has veered sharply from the policies of his predecessor -- and even past Republicans. But his rollback of regulations designed to limit global warming is one of the clearest ways he has worked to erase a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's legacy. From promising to leave the landmark Paris climate accord to relaxing restrictions on power plant emissions, Trump has attempted to remove many of the guardrails installed by the Obama administration to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases. These rollbacks come at a critical time. Earth just endured its hottest month on record, and Greenland's massive ice sheet is melting an alarming rate. Last fall, the world's top climate scientists warned that we have barely more than a decade to drastically cut global carbon emissions, to avoid facing the worst consequences of the climate crisis -- droughts, wildfires and food shortages impacting hundreds of millions of people. Regardless of what happens in the 2020 presidential election, critics say Trump has already cemented an environmental legacy that will be felt by generations to come. "He is locking in permanent, irreversible damage to our environment through his irresponsible environmental policies, including his efforts to block progress on climate change," said Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. "Once we go beyond key tipping points -- the melting of the major ice sheets -- there is no going back." Here's a look at some of Trump's most consequential climate policy rollbacks:

By Rebecca Beitsch
The Department of Energy finalized a controversial rule Tuesday that would erase Obama-era efficiency standards for lightbulbs. The regulation eliminates efficiency standards for about half the bulbs on the market. It leaves in place rules for standard pear-shaped bulbs, while removing such requirements for recessed lighting, chandeliers and other shapes of bulbs. When first proposed the rule was supported by lightbulb manufacturers, but consumer groups estimate continuing to use less-efficient bulbs will cost the average household more than $100 a year and create more pollution as utilities produce energy that otherwise would not be needed. “The Energy Department flat out got it wrong today. Instead of moving us forward, this rule will keep more energy-wasting bulbs on store shelves,” Jason Hartke, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said in a statement. “If you wanted folks to pay a lot more than they should on electric bills, this rollback would be a pretty good way of doing it.” The rule will increase U.S. electricity use by 80 billion kilowatt hours over the course of a year, roughly the amount of electricity needed to power all households in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to an analysis by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

Trump faces a contracting U.S. factory sector, a narrow path to trade victories and investors spooked by recession risks — all before an election year.
By NANCY COOK and BEN WHITE
esident Donald Trump is staring down a series of trigger points that will determine whether he enters the 2020 campaign backed by his most valuable asset — a healthy U.S. economy — or empty-handed and further on the defensive. The White House faces a time crunch on several major policy fronts this fall. The president will need to appease farmers and factory workers about his ongoing trade standoff with China, in which he shows no sign of backing down. His administration is trying to cajole the Democratic-controlled House to approve a renegotiated trade deal covering the U.S., Mexico and Canada. And the Trump team must find a way to calm Wall Street to prevent investors from denting one of his proudest achievements — a surge in the stock market since his election. Trump’s economic record took another turn into dangerous territory Tuesday with a widely tracked gauge of the U.S. manufacturing sector contracting for the first time in more than three years, walloping the stock market and reigniting fears of a recession. It added to mounting concerns about a global economic slowdown under the weight of Trump’s trade war. More than at any point in his presidency, Trump’s biggest asset looks like it could become a liability. “The state of the economy is the single biggest factor in determining whether the president is reelected, and right now, it feels like they are riding a rubber ducky into alligator-infested waters,” said Michael Steel, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies and former top aide to Republican House Speaker John Boehner. It all adds up to a make-or-break stretch for the Trump economy, which aides and advisers believe should play the starring role in the president’s pitch for reelection. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign hosted two economic roundtables at local small businesses in North Carolina to “showcase how President Trump’s economy continues to work for North Carolina’s business community and families alike,” the campaign said.

The Taliban know how badly Trump wants out of Afghanistan, and they are taking full advantage.
By Sami Yousafzai, Erin Banco, Christopher Dickey
DOHA, Qatar—The American negotiator trying to cut a deal with the Taliban that might let Donald Trump get all uniformed troops out of Afghanistan before next year’s election says that the two sides have an “agreement in principle.” But Taliban officials and diplomats here in the capital of Qatar, where the talks have been held, told The Daily Beast that after Round 9 last week, there was still no deal the Taliban would sign. Trump’s man in the talks, Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, appears to be bluffing, and has tried to make it sound as if it’s all up to his boss: “Of course, it is not final until the U.S. president agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.” DOHA, Qatar—The American negotiator trying to cut a deal with the Taliban that might let Donald Trump get all uniformed troops out of Afghanistan before next year’s election says that the two sides have an “agreement in principle.” But Taliban officials and diplomats here in the capital of Qatar, where the talks have been held, told The Daily Beast that after Round 9 last week, there was still no deal the Taliban would sign. Trump’s man in the talks, Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, appears to be bluffing, and has tried to make it sound as if it’s all up to his boss: “Of course, it is not final until the U.S. president agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.”

By Kayla Tausche, Jacob Pramuk
President Donald Trump wanted to double tariff rates on Chinese goods last month after Beijing’s latest retaliation in a boiling trade war before settling on a smaller increase, three sources told CNBC. The president was outraged after he learned Aug. 23 that China had formalized plans to slap duties on $75 billion in U.S. products in response to new tariffs from Washington on Sept. 1. His initial reaction, communicated to aides on a White House trade call held that day, was to suggest doubling existing tariffs, according to three people briefed on the matter. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer then enlisted multiple CEOs to call the president and warn him about the impact such a move would have on the stock market and the economy. He settled on a 5% hike in tariff rates on about $550 billion in Chinese products, which he announced in an Aug. 23 tweet after the market close. In the following days, both Mnuchin and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump’s only regret was not raising tariffs higher. - Trump got mad like a spoiled brat when China did not do what he wanted them to do. Trump is a child pretending to be a man.

The Trump administration has started the arduous process of canceling $3.6 billion in military construction projects to fund its plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Defense Secretary Mark Esper began notifying lawmakers Tuesday which projects will be canceled in their districts. Top Democrats immediately blasted the plan. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was among the first lawmakers to say his district will be impacted by the funding cuts, for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. "This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world," Schumer said. "It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that President Trump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build." - Taxpayer money diverted from military projects to pay for the border wall that Trump said Mexico would pay for.  

by By David R. Lurie - Daily Beast
With all the focus on how a largely symbolic impeachment might affect Donald Trump’s re-election prospects, numerous investigations and lawsuits concerning the president and his associates seem to have dropped off the political radar. But they are still ongoing—and could still affect the result of the next election. Trump has done his best to stonewall many of these matters, particularly those before Congress, by litigating almost every demand for testimony and other evidence. That strategy of maximum resistance could backfire. That’s because the string could well run out on many of Trump’s defenses in the upcoming months, and the investigations—and accompanying revelations—could accelerate in the months immediately before Election Day 2020, making Trump’s misconduct a renewed focus of public attention as voters prepare to go to the polls. more...

By Zack Budryk
The latest round of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration that went into effect Sunday will likely affect school supply prices next year, according to MarketWatch. The 15 percent tariffs, which apply to $112 billion in Chinese goods, affect items including pencils, crayons, calendars, ball-point pens, and boys’ and girls’ overcoats and windbreakers. The items on store shelves shipped months before the tariffs took effect but they may affect parents at the beginning of next school year, according to Bethany Aronhalt, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation. “Unfortunately, American families could see higher prices in the coming months and throughout the school year as the impact of the tariffs works through the supply chain and companies have no choice but to pass along costs to consumers,” Aronhalt told the publication. “Small businesses in particular won’t be able to absorb the cost and will be forced to raise prices,” she added.

The VP is staying in Trump’s golf resort in Ireland this week. Back home, his PAC has been using Trump hotels at a prolific rate.
By Lachlan Markay
Vice President Mike Pence says his boss didn’t order him to stay at a Trump property during an official visit to Ireland over the weekend, despite it being more than 150 miles from where a slew of official meetings will take place. Which would fit with a pattern. Pence has never needed orders to steer money to his boss’s businesses. Since 2017, Pence’s political group, the Great America Committee, has dropped about $224,000 at Trump properties, chiefly the Trump International Hotel in Washington and its on-site steakhouse, according to Federal Election Commission records maintained by ProPublica. Such spending appears to be a family affair. Pence’s brother, freshman Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), has also dropped considerable sums at the Trump hotel. In fact, Rep. Pence’s campaign amended a number of FEC filings this year after USA Today noted that the campaign appeared to be illegally paying for the congressman to live at the Trump hotel. The Pence campaign said those expenses were reported incorrectly, and amended FEC filings accordingly. As of March, when Rep. Pence’s campaign reported its latest Trump property expenditure, the campaign had spent about $45,000 at the president’s businesses.

By Fred Imbert
President Donald Trump pressured China on Tuesday to make a trade deal with the U.S. in the near future, warning talks will get much tougher if he is reelected in 2020. Trump said in a series of tweets: “We are doing very well in our negotiations with China. While I am sure they would love to be dealing with a new administration so they could continue their practice of “ripoff USA”($600 B/year),16 months PLUS is a long time to be hemorrhaging jobs and companies on a long-shot...And then, think what happens to China when I win. Deal would get MUCH TOUGHER! In the meantime, China’s Supply Chain will crumble and businesses, jobs and money will be gone!” Trump’s tweets came after new tariffs on both countries’ goods came into effect over the weekend. The U.S. imposed 15% tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods on Sunday, while China imposed new charges on U.S. products. The current trade war began last year and has rattled investor sentiment across the world. The conflict has also dampened the outlook for global economic growth. U.S. stocks fell sharply in early trading after Trump’s tweets were sent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was more than 250 points lower while the S&P 500 slid 0.7%. Trump later tweeted that the European Union and other countries treat the U.S. “VERY unfairly on Trade also. Will change!”

Analysis by Brian Stelter, CNN Business
(CNN) - This is a story about President Donald Trump spreading false information during an emergency situation. Not once or twice -- three times.
When a news outlet pointed out the President was wrong, he called the report "phony" and insisted that he was right. But his own National Weather Service had said he was wrong. The story starts on Sunday morning, at 10:51 a.m. ET, when Trump tweeted out a warning about the severity of Hurricane Dorian. "In addition to Florida -- South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated," the President wrote. Trump was wise to issue an alert, since Dorian was rapidly strengthening at the time. But he was wrong to include Alabama in his list of affected states. Alabama borders the Gulf of Mexico but not the Atlantic, and was never forecast to be "hit" by the storm. Trump's critics suggested that this error showed a fundamental misunderstanding of geography on the part of the President. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday had authorized the Alabama National Guard to send up to 50 support personnel to Florida to help with Dorian's impacts there. She said that "we are proud to help Florida as they brace for potential impact from Hurricane Dorian." When Trump posted his incorrect tweet on Sunday, local meteorologists like James Spann refuted it right away. Spann, a veteran Alabama forecaster who is widely respected for his coverage of tornado outbreaks, responded to Trump at 11:31 a.m. and said, "Alabama will not be impacted by Dorian in any way." When Spann's tweet went viral and a local resident questioned him, the meteorologist later tweeted, "I have zero interest in politics. Dorian will not affect Alabama in any way. That is not a political statement." The Birmingham, Alabama, branch of the National Weather Service agreed. At 11:11 a.m. ET, the office had tweeted that "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east." While that tweet wasn't a direct response to Trump, it came just 20 minutes after the President's faulty information was posted.

By Owen Daugherty
House Democrats will reportedly prioritize a congressional inquiry into President Trump’s alleged role in hush-money payments to silence two women who say they had affairs with Trump before he took office. The Washington Post reports the House Judiciary Committee, when it returns to Washington next week, plans to hold hearings and call witnesses to testify who have knowledge of the hush-money payments to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, known by her stage name Stormy Daniels. While a federal probe into campaign finance violations committed by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen for his role in the hush-money payments made to the women alleging affairs is over, Democrats reportedly believe there is enough evidence to pursue an inquiry of their own. The Post reports hearing on the matter could take place as early as October. Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for his role in the payments to the women and other federal crimes he pleaded guilty to last year. He testified under oath earlier this year that Trump directed the payments that led to the campaign finance violations. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The Post that there is ample evidence against Trump. “The fingerprints are all over this one — it’s not like a big mystery,” he said. “As with the evidence of presidential obstruction of justice, the conclusion seems inescapable: that [Trump] would have been tried had he been anybody else. And now it’s left to Congress again to figure out what to do with the lawbreaking and apparent impunity of the president.” As part of the probe, Democrats are reportedly considering calling chairman and CEO of American Media Inc. David Pecker as a potential witness. The National Enquirer, which is owned by American Media Inc., admitted to making the payment to McDougal to keep her silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

Trump once again spends the day at his Virginia golf course as Florida braces for ‘catastrophic’ hurricane
By Chris Sommerfeldt - New York Daily News
As Floridians braced for a potentially catastrophic storm Monday, President Trump headed to Virginia for another round of golf. The links-loving president — who was supposed to attend a World War II ceremony in Poland this weekend but canceled because he said it was “very important” for him to monitor Hurricane Dorian — arrived at his namesake course in Sterling shortly after 10 a.m., according to a pool report. The White House wouldn’t provide information on whom Trump was golfing with, but press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Daily News the president received hourly Dorian updates while on the course. Television crews spotted Trump golfing with three other people. The president wrapped up golfing about 2:15 p.m. As his motorcade left the club, a group of protesters had gathered outside and touted signs with slogans like, “Cheater,” “Impeach,” “Jail Trump,” “Stop the Donald” and “Rat-infested Trump family reunion,” according to a pool report. Monday’s golf visit marked Trump’s second for the Labor Day weekend. He played a round at the same club Saturday. Trump used to harshly criticize President Barack Obama’s golfing habits, including complaining that he and other U.S. taxpayers “pay for his golf." Nonetheless, Trump has visited golf courses 213 times since he took office, mostly his own, costing taxpayers more than $100 million, according to TrumpGolfCount.com.

By Jonathan O'Callaghan
President Trump is known for his somewhat erratic tweeting, but he likely didn’t realize the implications of releasing a classified image from a U.S. satellite the other day. On Friday, August 30, Trump tweeted what appeared to be a satellite image of the Semnan Launch Site One in Iran, the location of a suspected rocket failure recently, which Trump says the U.S. was not involved in despite the tensions between the two countries. “The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” Trump said. “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.” While that might all seem rather innocuous, by tweeting this image Trump has actually potentially caused a huge security risk. The U.S. government is notoriously secretive about its surveillance satellites, but with just this image experts have already been able to work out a number of key and interesting details. First and foremost, experts such as astronomer Marco Langbroek were able to use the angle of the image to work out which satellite took the image. From these calculations and the suspected time of the photo, 9.44 A.M. UTC on Thursday, August 29, the satellite appears to be USA 224, an optical reconnaissance satellite. “It is a very good match so there is no doubt in my mind that it is an image taken by USA 224,” tweeted Langbroek.

Forget what you think “high crimes and misdemeanors” means and consider what we’ve impeached presidents for in the past.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Every single day, Donald Trump offers up a fragrant, colorful, teeming bouquet of reasons to believe he is unfit to hold the office of president. And every single day, the nation shrugs and waits for something to be done about it. (Really, congressional Democrats take a long summer break and largely shrug, and hope that the election will take care of this specific problem for them.) But it’s still worth cataloging the specific things Trump is doing that, in another time or place or plane of being, could be deemed as demanding an immediate and focused impeachment inquiry, as Jennifer Rubin also points out in the Washington Post. Because this week alone, the president has asked government workers to break the law to fulfill his requests, and noted that he will pardon them if they get in trouble; suggested hosting the next G-7 summit at his property (so that he can profit); and diverted funds from FEMA relief to his border fever dream. He’s also denying lifesaving medical care to immigrant children he will deport and changing citizenship rules for the children of military families born abroad. On the 25th Amendment front (meaning the “is he mentally unfit for office” front), the president has lied about his wife’s relationship with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, garbled an answer about climate change in ways that would terrify anyone in search of a topic sentence, attacked Fox News for disloyalty, blamed Puerto Rico in advance of a hurricane for being in the path of a hurricane, and generally conducted himself in ways that bespeak grievously low functioning. This all comes on the heels of a week in which he approvingly quoted someone describing him as the second coming (a performance that would have sent most of us to the nearest psych ward), called his own economic adviser the enemy of the state, “ordered” American companies to stop investing in China, and got in a fight with Denmark over a real estate deal gone south in Greenland.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Sunday the funding changes won't "affect our ability to respond and recover from a major disaster."
By Allan Smith
Trump administration officials said Sunday that transferring $155 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund to Immigration and Customs Enforcement won't affect the federal government's ability to respond to Hurricane Dorian, a massive storm headed for the country's east coast. As NBC News reported last week, the Department of Homeland Security notified Congress in July that to increase funding for court hearings for asylum seekers, FEMA would transfer $155 million to ICE. In an interview with ABC's "This Week," acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said "no money has been moved yet." "Any potential transfers will not impact our ability to respond to this storm or any other storms in the rest of the hurricane season," he said. "There are two different elements of the disaster recovery fund. The major disaster fund has $25 billion in it. So, a $155 million transfer from the base fund is not going to affect our ability to respond and recover from a major disaster." McAleenan said his agency "needed that funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to respond to the ongoing humanitarian and border security crisis at the border." "Congress didn't see fit to provide that funding," he added. "So we have to look at departmental sources across that have a limited impact, but will support the ongoing management of that crisis as well." Pete Gaynor, acting FEMA administrator, told "Fox News Sunday" the agency has "plenty of money and resources to deal with the 2017 and 2018 disasters and recoveries and to include response in 2019, this season." "We live with risk every day," he said, adding, "We assess that $155 million is low risk and is not affecting our preparedness whatsoever for Dorian."

By Bruce Haring
President Trump announced today during his regular weekend tweetstorm that he is suing former aide and The Apprentice arch-villian Omarosa Manigault Newman and unspecified others for a breach of confidentiality agreements. “Yes, I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements,” Trump tweeted. “Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one. I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book. Numerous others also!” While the President is pursuing some cases, his most recent breach, Madeleine Westerhout, will not be one of them. The former personal assistant met with reporters in what was allegedly an “off-the-record” session, but her imprudent remarks on the President and his relationships with his family found their way into the media. Politico reported that Westerhout told reporters that Trump does not appear with daughter Tiffany in pictures because she’s overweight., adding that Trump “couldn’t pick Tiffany out of a crowd.” While Westerhout “has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it,” Trump tweeted. “She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!” Omarosa is another story. Her book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, was a highly critical account of her time with Trump on television and in the White House. Trump’s campaign, Donald J. Trump For President Inc., filed for arbitration against Manigault Newman for allegedly breaching a 2016 confidentiality agreement. The disposition of that case has not been revealed, and it’s unclear whether that’s the lawsuit Trump referenced in his tweet today. Manigault has kept a relatively low profile since her book came out. The non-fiction account did well in its first week, then sunk, despite a huge media blitz by the talkative former aide.

CNN
CNN's Chris Cuomo addresses the people within President Trump's inner circle who actively lie about the president lying.

By Daniel Politi
President Donald Trump said he didn’t want to travel to Poland with Hurricane Dorian looming. So he made a last-minute decision to cancel the trip and send Vice President Mike Pence in his place. But it seems the president had other things on his mind Saturday, when Trump spent a lot of time tweeting and even traveled to his golf club in Northern Virginia for part of the day. On Saturday morning, Trump left Camp David on Marine One to travel to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. It’s not as if the president had to leave Camp David if he had a sudden hankering for golf. But it seems the single golf hole with multiple tees at the presidential retreat wasn’t good enough for Trump and he wanted to go to one of his 18-hole courses.

By Daniel Politi
President Donald Trump refused to utter the F-word Friday but he confirmed that his once famously loyal personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, was ousted from the White House after sharing personal information about his family with reporters. “I think it was automatic,” Trump said. “I don’t say ‘fire’ or ‘not fire.’ I really think she had a bad night. I think it was unfortunate. She said she was drinking.” Trump spoke to reporters Friday afternoon shortly after Politico published a story detailing that Westerhout had been fired after she told reporters at an off-the-record dinner that Trump didn’t like to be photographed next to his daughter Tiffany because she was overweight. She also said Trump couldn’t recognize Tiffany in a crowd and claimed she had a better relationship with Trump than his own children. Westerhout also reportedly talked about Trump’s eating habits and his youngest son, Barron. Trump confirmed to reporters before departing for Camp David that Westerhout had “mentioned a couple of things about my children.” Trump chastised the press as “very dishonest,” noting that Westerhout’s words were “supposed to be off the record” although he recognized that was no excuse. “Still, you don’t say things like she said which were just a little bit hurtful to some people.” Trump also had some words of support for his daughter, Tiffany, denying what Westerhout had allegedly said. “It’s just absolutely false. She’s a wonderful person and she studies so hard. She’s a great student. She’s a great person,” Trump said. “Tiffany is great. I love Tiffany.”

By Sonam Sheth
A US official told CNBC on Friday that a photo of an Iranian launchpad that President Donald Trump tweeted out in the afternoon came from an intelligence briefing Trump received earlier in the day. The picture was attached to a tweet in which Trump said the US was not involved in the failure of an Iranian rocket launch on Thursday. "The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," Trump tweeted. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One." Iran's rocket launch failed and blew up on the pad at a space center in Iran, an Iranian official said. A US official also confirmed the news. Shortly after Trump made his statement, military and national-security experts began sounding the alarm that the president likely tweeted out classified intelligence.

By Franco Ordoñez
The Trump administration's decision to shift more than $100 million of federal disaster aid to help pay for more detention beds for migrants has set off an outcry just as Florida is bracing for Hurricane Dorian. But the move, which also includes transferring money away from other department priorities, is also raising uncomfortable questions about whether the Department of Homeland Security is overly focused on border and immigration enforcement at the expense of other parts of its mission, potentially leaving the United States vulnerable to other threats. David Lapan, a former Trump official and press secretary at the Department Homeland Security, said prioritizing border security above other important aspects of the department sends a clear message to the country and the DHS workforce about what's really important and what's not. "This is where you get to the point that the Department of Homeland Security, which has all of these various missions to secure the homeland, has turned into under President Trump the Department of Border Enforcement, or the Department of Immigration Enforcement, if you will," Lapan said. In total, DHS told Congress that it plans to re-allocate $271 million to to fund more detention beds for migrants who were caught after crossing the border illegally. In addition to shifting money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund, the Trump administration is transferring another $24 million away from the U.S. Coast Guard, $24 million from the Transportation Security Administration and more than $4 million from the newly-established Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

By Yusuf Khan
On Monday, Trump told reporters that he held "high-level talks" with China about the trade war, adding "this is the first time I've seen them where they really want to make a deal." Global stocks instantly reversed what looked to be another day of heavy losses, following the Dow's 600 point drop on the previous Friday. His comments soothed anxious investors. But China said that those talks never actually happened. And CNN reported that: "Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets and conflated comments from China's vice premier with direct communication from the Chinese." All leaders want their markets to do well, and exaggerating successes and wins is hardly a tactic exclusive to Trump. But markets are currently at a particularly precarious state, with multiple red flags warning of a potential recession. And traders may be beginning to wonder how long they can afford to play along with Trump's optimism. "I already think we're less responsive to these kinds of claims, but not entirely so," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda to Markets Insider in an email. "As ever with these things, it's difficult to know to differentiate between truth, lies, and exaggeration. Markets will often give more credence to reports that have come from credible sources or been verified but there are circumstances like this when we're left guessing." So it might not be long before traders stop playing to Trump's optimism — Erlam added: "It's difficult to say how long that will last, but the more his claims go unverified or denied, the more they'll fall on deaf ears." Also, the trade war shows no signs of abating, no matter what Trump says. That's why Trump's "rhetoric" should be viewed "with the utmost caution," Han Tan, Market Analyst at FXTM, said in an email to Business Insider on Monday, when markets rallied on the Trump tweets. "Investors are well aware that multiple rounds of trade talks have only led to the current dismal situation, whereby repeated tariff threats have become the norm."

By Nicole Gaouette, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Alex Marquardt, CNN
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump claimed Friday that the US had nothing to do with the explosion of an Iranian rocket Thursday, tweeting a photo of such high resolution that it prompted questions about whether the President had publicly released classified imagery. "The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," Trump wrote, and added what appeared to be a sarcastic sign off. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One." Even as geospatial analysts observed that the granular level of detail in the image appeared far superior to capabilities the US has published previously or publicly admitted to in the past, casual observers were pointing to another anomaly. A shadow on the image and a bright spot of light seemed to suggest someone -- possibly the President -- had taken a photo of the image that very probably was not meant for public consumption. 'The absolute right' Trump himself sidestepped questions about whether the imagery was meant for public consumption. Asked by CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Friday if he had released a classified photo, Trump replied, "I just wish Iran well. They had a big problem. I released a photo, which I had the absolute right to do." And he repeated the message in his tweet, that the US had nothing to do with the failed launch. A US official told CNN that the image appeared to come from a satellite operated by the US intelligence community and noted that it was less likely the image was from a drone. The US was not likely to send a drone or manned aircraft into Iranian airspace, given regional tensions, this official said. John Sipher, a former CIA officer, told CNN that the image is "consistent with a standard classified product. I'm sure it was." Referring to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Sipher added that "it may have been a low classification, though. NGA can provide products at all classification levels, even unclassified."

By Sonam Sheth
Current and former spies are floored by President Donald Trump's fervent defense of Russia at this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France. "It's hard to see the bar anymore since it's been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump's behavior over the weekend was a new low," one FBI agent who works in counterintelligence told Insider. At the summit, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be readmitted into the G7, refused to hold it accountable for violating international law, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia's annexation of Crimea, and expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. One former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, told Insider Trump's behavior was "directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office." A former CIA operative told Insider the evidence is "overwhelming" that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.Meanwhile, a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump's freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he's a "useful idiot" for the Russians. But "it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump's inner circle." "It's hard to see the bar anymore since it's been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump's behavior over the weekend was a new low." That was the assessment an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence gave Insider of President Donald Trump's performance at this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France. The agent requested anonymity because they feared that speaking publicly on the matter would jeopardize their job. Trump's attendance at the G7 summit was peppered with controversy, but none was more notable than his fervent defense of Russia's military and cyber aggression around the world, and its violation of international law in Ukraine.

By EVAN SEMONES
President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to accuse companies of falsely claiming that they've been hurt by his escalating trade war with China, instead saying they're mismanaging their businesses. “If the Fed would cut, we would have one of the biggest Stock Market increases in a long time. Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management...and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday. Trump’s comments come just days before the U.S. is set to impose new tariffs on China in two rounds, with the first due to start on Sept. 1. The 10 percent tariff on approximately $112 billion of Chinese goods would likely raise prices for consumer items like electronics and shoes. In one example of corporate America complaining about Trump's trade war, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America wrote a letter to the president this week stating that the planned tariffs would drive up costs for consumers. “Imposing tariffs in September on the majority of all footwear products from China — including nearly every type of leather shoe — will make it impossible for hardworking American individuals and families to escape the harm that comes from these tax increases,” the group wrote. “This uncertainty the China trade war has brought to our industry is stifling U.S. growth and halting capital investment in jobs, infrastructure, technologies, and more competitive pricing for our customers.” In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro vigorously defended his boss’s use of tariffs.

By Kevin Stankiewicz
Basic Fun, the company behind Lincoln Logs, mini retro arcade games and other toys, plans to keep its production in China, CEO Jay Foreman told CNBC on Friday. Foreman suggested that President Donald Trump is too unpredictable for the company to just pick up and leave China, where Florida-based Basic Fun makes about 90% of its products. “As soon as that happens and we start to move, he’s going to put a target on somebody else’s back, and where do we go from there?” Foreman said on “Squawk on the Street,” questioning Trump’s tweet a week ago that “hereby” ordered American companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” “Without a rationalization in this trade policy, there is really no way to plan,” added Foreman. Foreman took aim at the president less than two days before the first batch of new tariffs on additional Chinese imports were set to go into effect. The tariffs, initially announced at a 10% rate and later increased to 15%, are due to kick in Sunday on goods including apparel, footwear, consumer electronics and toys. The second wave of those new duties, covering items including smartphones and laptops, is scheduled for Dec. 15. A total of about $300 billion worth of Chinese imports would be affected by these two moves, on top of the threatened tariff rate increase to 30% on Oct. 1 on $250 billion of goods already subject to levies at 25%. Trump’s tweet last Friday also urged American companies to avoid the tariffs by finding alternative production locations, including manufacturing in the United States. But Foreman said Trump’s wishes are, at least for his company, impractical. Not only has Basic Fun developed efficient supply chains in China, but Foreman said there are not viable alternative locations for toy manufacturing. “I’m not really sure the American consumer is ready to start making toys in the kind of conditions you might see in factories in India, and there’s no labor here in the United States to manufacture toys,” said Foreman.

By Emma Newburger
The Trump administration announced plans on Thursday to weaken regulation on climate-changing methane emissions, drawing immediate backlash from critics who say the rule will harm the environment and exacerbate global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule would loosen restrictions on oil and gas sites to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines and storage facilities. The standards enacted under former President Barack Obama required oil and gas companies to install controls to curb those emissions. The new rule would be the latest move by the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era emission regulations on major oil and gas industries, which are the main source of methane emissions in the U.S. Carbon dioxide is the most substantial greenhouse gas, and methane is the second. However, methane has 80 times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years in the atmosphere and accounts for nearly 10% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies is trending on Twitter this morning after a terrible new policy was released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Trump’s new policy eliminates automatic citizenship for children born to some of the US military and government workers that are stationed overseas. The new rule mainly affects naturalized citizens that are posted in other countries for an extended period of time, and it does not currently impact anyone that was or will be born in the United States. But the language in the policy is vague and confusing, so it is causing many military members and their spouses undue stress. A spokesperson for the USCIS explains a bit of the policy: “The policy change explains that we will not consider children who live abroad with their parents to be residing in the United States even if their parents are US government employees or US service members stationed outside of the United States, and as a result, these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically.” The new rules will have the most impact on those that are serving in the military but not citizens of the United States. There are about 5,000 permanent residents that enlist each year, and serving in the military is one way to gain citizenship. Now, if a non-citizen service member has a child while stationed abroad, that child will no longer automatically become a US citizen. Former VP Joe Biden has promised to undo the policy if elected President:

"I don't think they're lies. ... I think the President communicates in a way that some people, especially the media, aren't necessarily comfortable with. A lot of times they take him so literally. I know people will roll their eyes if I say he was just kidding or was speaking in hypotheticals, but sometimes he is. What I've learned about him is that he loves this country and he's not going to lie to this country." So. Here we are. Or, here we are again. After all, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway made this same argument in the earliest days of Trump's presidency, when she told NBC's Chuck Todd this about the false claim that Trump's inauguration drew the largest crowd ever: "You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary -- gave alternative facts." Make no mistake about what is happening here. This is lying about lying. Plain and simple. Let me prove that -- anecdotally and with bigger data. First, an example from just the last few days. During a press conference at the G7 on Monday, Trump was asked about his previous claim that there were phone calls being exchanged by top-level US and Chinese aides over a possible end to the trade war. Here's how he responded:

New Trump-Pence campaign logo, seemingly borrowed from overt racists, is another in a long line of "coincidences"
By Amanda Marcotte
Oh boy, it's time for another round of Let's Pretend the President Isn't Air-Kissing White Nationalists. This time, the instigating incident is the discovery that a fan video tweeted by Donald Trump featured a logo — a lion's face built out of red stripes and blue stars — that was apparently, um, "borrowed" from a white supremacist group so unhinged that it managed to get banned from Twitter, a site that is always reluctant to boot fascists. Mediaite has a detailed account of the internet sleuths, including Brooke Binknowski of Snopes, who pieced together the apparent source of this lion logo. It has been used by the white supremacist site VDare, which also happens to be the same site whose articles the Department of Justice recently forwarded to immigration court employees, launching a minor scandal. The logo has been traced back to a pro-Trump fascist group called the "Lion Guard." The group's name, and apparent ethos comes from a quote from Benito Mussolini that Trump approvingly tweeted in 2016: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep." Back then, Trump claimed it was an accident born of ignorance that he approvingly quoted Mussolini, just as the DOJ claims it was an unfortunate accident that it mailed out links to white supremacist sites. That's the strategy in play: Wink at the fascists, and whenever you get called out on it, play innocent. - Was it an accident or was it on purpose?

By Mark Sumner Daily Kos Staff
The first section of Donald Trump’s hideous monument to xenophobia and ego is currently going up—right in the middle of an ecologically sensitive national monument—but The Washington Post is reporting that Trump is willing to do far more than turn an area selected for protection for its natural beauty into an eyesore. Desperate to demonstrate that he got some amount of his multi-billion-dollar picket fence completed before he has to face the bigots who put him in office, Trump authorized his aides to fast-track funds for building the barrier and to “aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules,” saying that he would pardon them of any crime. Trump has promised his rally-chanters that he will have 500 miles to show off by Election Day, but so far all that’s been achieved is remodeling of 60 miles of existing fence. No matter how many times Trump repeats it in front of a helicopter, or what he tells the lock-her-up gaggles, or what fake videos he posts to his Twitter account, almost nothing new has been put in place. Everything is in areas where barriers already existed. Despite declaring a “national emergency” and using extraordinary powers to steal funds that were supposed to provide military housing, schools, and hospitals, the actual installation of Trump’s “wall” has been delayed. Delayed because designs selected by Trump turned out to be unworkable; much of the land where the wall would run is in private hands; and many of Trump’s orders on the whole national uglification project were either impossible, illegal, or both.  But sources are reporting that Trump isn’t about to let things like stealing private property or violating any other law get in his way. Instead, he told his officials, “Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you.” Which would make an excellent slogan for any lawless regime. And a very nice article of impeachment. - Trump is a lawless president; offering pardons for people to commit crimes is against the law and is an abuse of power.

Posted By Tim Hains
RICHARD HAASS: The measure of a G-7 now isn't what you accomplish, it's what you avoid. In this case, it was avoiding a major blow-up with the United States from the get-go. Emmanuel Macron decided the last thing you needed was a communique because it would be impossible to get one the United States could sign onto that would be substantive. He was very smart. He cut his losses. I think John's point is right. Abdication is a word I have used. Essentially the United States has gone from being the principal architect and general contractor of world order to now becoming the principal disruptor. The problem for the Europeans and the Japanese and others is they lack the capacity to subjects duty substitute for us. They do what they can. $20 million for Amazon fires which is a literal drop in the bucket. Without the United States in the driver's seat, we don't make a lot of progress. The gap between the challenges and the international responses is growing. That's the historical judgment about the G-7, which looks like a tired gathering.

By Molly O’Toole
From the roadside, Oswaldo Ortiz-Luna offered a box of candy to the cars idling in the golden dust of northern Mexico. His wife hawked another box of sweets farther up the line of traffic, perching their 18-month-old daughter on one hip. Sticky fruit and tears smudged the baby’s cheeks. As the sun went down, Oswaldo and his family of six hadn’t yet sold enough candy for the roughly $6 they needed to spend the night at a nearby shelter. They are among the thousands of asylum seekers trapped just beyond the border under the Trump administration’s signature policy — “Remain in Mexico.” Under the Migrant Protection Protocols — better known as Remain in Mexico — Trump administration officials have pushed 37,578 asylum seekers back across the U.S. southern border in roughly seven months, according to Homeland Security Department reports reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. One-third of the migrants were returned to Mexico from California. The vast majority have been scattered throughout Mexico within the last 60 days. While their cases wind through court in the United States, the asylum seekers are forced to wait in Mexico, in cities that the U.S. State Department considers some of the most dangerous in the world. They have been attacked, sexually assaulted, and extorted. A number have died. In dozens of interviews and in court proceedings, current and former officials, judges, lawyers and advocates for asylum seekers said that Homeland Security officials implementing Remain in Mexico appear to be violating U.S. law, and the human cost is rising. Testimony from another dozen asylum seekers confirmed that they were being removed without the safeguards provided by U.S. law. The alleged legal violations include denying asylum seekers’ rights and knowingly putting them at risk of physical harm — against federal regulations and the Immigration and Nationality Act, the foundation of the U.S. immigration system. U.S. law grants migrants the right to seek protection in the United States.

The president on Wednesday morning had a tantrum about the network giving coverage to Democrats. Fox News, he said, “isn’t working for us anymore!”
By Justin Baragona
Several Fox News personalities pushed back Wednesday against President Donald Trump after he escalated his public attacks on the right-leaning outlet for its occasional anti-Trump voices. In the middle of a typically chaotic tweetstorm spurred on by his morning TV viewing habits, the president took aim at Fox News anchor Sandra Smith for having the audacity to bring on the Democratic National Committee’s communications director Xochitl Hinojosa to discuss the upcoming Democratic primary debate. “Just watched @FoxNews heavily promoting the Democrats through their DNC Communications Director, spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback by anchor, @SandraSmithFox,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Terrible considering that Fox couldn’t even land a debate, the Dems give them NOTHING! @CNN & @MSNBC are all in for the Open Border Socialists (or beyond).” Besides blasting the America’s Newsroom co-anchor, Trump went after a few other Fox News stars who he has recently singled out for not carrying his water on-air. “Fox hires ‘give Hillary the questions’ @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith. HOPELESS & CLUELESS! They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win - That’s what I do, Win,” he wrote. “Too Bad!” The president concluded his online tantrum by complaining that Fox News was “letting millions of GREAT people down” and that he needs to “start looking for a new News Outlet” since the one-time “Fair & Balanced” channel “isn’t working for us anymore!” Almost immediately after the president’s tweets, Fox News senior political analyst and former news anchor Brit Hume sounded off: “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” he wrote.

News websites reported on a pair of potentially significant cases on the court's docket in the fall of 2019.
By Dan MacGuill
Trump's Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule, in two consolidated cases, in a way that would establish the legality of employers' firing workers on the basis of their sexual orientation. In August 2019, we received multiple inquiries from readers about the accuracy of news reports that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that it was legal for employers to fire workers on the basis of their sexual orientation. On Aug. 23, the Huffington Post, for example, published an article with the headline, “Trump Administration Asks SCOTUS to Legalize Firing LGBTQ Workers Based on Sexuality,” which reported that: “The Trump administration is urging the Supreme Court to use a forthcoming handful of LGBTQ rights cases to legalize firing someone because of their sexual orientation. In an amicus brief filed Friday, the Justice Department argued that a trio of cases set to appear before the Supreme Court this fall should be used to limit Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination ‘because of sex.’ Under the Justice Department’s reading of Title VII, ‘sex’ as written in the Civil Rights Act doesn’t mean sexual orientation. Therefore, they argue, the law shouldn’t be used to protect gay, lesbian and bisexual workers.” Similarly, Buzzfeed published an article with the headline, “The Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court to Legalize Firing Workers Simply for Being Gay,” which reported that: “The Trump administration took its hardest line yet to legalize anti-gay discrimination on Friday when it asked the Supreme Court to declare that federal law allows private companies to fire workers based only on their sexual orientation. An amicus brief filed by the Justice Department weighed in on two cases involving gay workers and what is meant by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination ‘because of sex.’ The administration argued courts nationwide should stop reading the civil rights law to protect gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers from bias because it was not originally intended to do so.

By Shane Croucher
The White House counsel to President Richard Nixon said President Donald Trump looks "extremely nervous" about the release of his tax returns after Deutsche Bank implied that it holds copies of the documents sought by Congress. Deutsche Bank said in a filing at a New York federal appeals court that it holds tax returns relating to the subject of congressional subpoenas, but redacted the name, citing client confidentiality and contractual agreements. Trump has long had a relationship with Deutsche Bank. "In addition, the Bank has such documents related to parties not named in the subpoenas but who may constitute 'immediate family' within the definition provided in the subpoenas," the filing stated, in what is widely interpreted to mean President Trump and his children. "There could be a lot of trouble there for Mr. Trump," John Dean, who helped orchestrate the Watergate scandal and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice during the affair, told CNN on Tuesday night. Dean speculated about what information could be contained within the tax returns, such as false and fraudulent financial statements about his wealth, that he has much less riches than he claims, or links to "unsavory people" who may have been collateral signatures on loans. "We don't know. But there's something there that makes him extremely nervous," Dean said on CNN host Don Lemon's show. "He, I think, knows enough that you don't really mess with those because you can get in serious trouble if you make substantial misrepresentations either on your financial statements or your tax returns. So that's a dangerous area." President Trump's attorney, the Trump Organization, and the White House did not respond immediately to Newsweek's requests for comment.

By Betsy Klein, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump is already picking a fight with Puerto Rican officials as a tropical storm barrels toward the island, showing insensitivity to Americans still recovering from one crisis and facing another. "We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You - Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!" Trump tweeted from the White House Wednesday morning. Later Wednesday, he continued to slam the territory's government and praise himself. "Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!" he wrote, adding, "And by the way, I'm the best thing that's ever happened to Puerto Rico!" Trump's lack of empathy for Puerto Ricans has been at odds with his treatment of storm victims in the continental US during his tenure in office, prompting criticism of racism, including from some local officials defending their home.

By Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
Washington (CNN) - The Trump administration plans to shift at least $155 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund to support its policy of returning some migrants to Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security has informed Congress it will reprogram and transfer $271 million in total to its immigration enforcement agency from elsewhere in the department, including the FEMA money, according to documents obtained by CNN. The moves comes as Tropical Storm Dorian nears hurricane strength as it approaches Puerto Rico. Last week, the administration announced its intention to hold migrant families indefinitely, aimed at scrapping a settlement that put a 20-day limit on family detention. DHS notified Congress of its plan to reprogram and transfer funds from agencies over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS' enforcement arm, on July 26, according to a DHS official. The department plans to transfer around $116 million for ICE detention beds, as well as transportation and deportation, the official said. The department will not pull funds for detention beds from the US Secret Service, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. "In this case, this is a must-pay bill that needed to be addressed," said the official.

If the bombshell report is true, it would "make impeachment proceedings absolutely inevitable," an NBC analyst says
By Shira Tarlo
MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell reported news Tuesday night that, if confirmed, could have a major impact on the White House tenure of President Donald Trump, congressional investigations into the president's finances and his business relationship with Russia. O'Donnell, appearing on the network with host Rachel Maddow, revealed that a "single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that the Trump — Donald Trump's loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That's how he was able to obtain those loans, and that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs." A shocked Maddow responded, "What? Really?" "That would explain — it seems to me — every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, if true, and I stress the if true part of this," O'Donnell replied, adding that the revelation would "test the Trump theory that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his supporters would still be with him." "Yeah, man. Seriously," Maddow said. "That's the financial equivalent of that." For analysis, O'Donnell interviewed Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative reporter and tax expert David Cay Johnston of DC Report. "Deutsche Bank, in making these loans, had to have someone in the background that was guaranteeing these loans. It would be surprising if they're actually co-signers," Cay Johnston said in response to the news. "That would be absolutely astonishing, and I would think mandate his removal from office." O'Donnell also interviewed NBC News national affairs analyst John Heilemann, who stressed that if O'Donnell's reporting is true, "it's the skeleton key that picks the lock on so many fundamental mysteries of the Trump era."

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
New York (CNN Busniess)Businesses and investors hate uncertainty. You've heard that before. But the Trump administration's chaotic approach to trade talks with China is more than just your garden-variety uncertainty. It's uncertainty squared. Or even cubed. Trump "hereby ordered" companies to look for suppliers outside of China in one of his many tweets Friday. He even went so far as to call Chinese President Xi Jinping an "enemy" — in a tweet where Trump also labeled his own hand-picked Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell an "enemy" for not cutting interest rates faster. But Trump appeared to take a more conciliatory tone regarding trade discussions (if not the Fed) over the weekend. On Monday, he tweeted that Xi is a "great leader & representing a great country. Talks are continuing!" Stocks rebounded a bit Monday on this news after plunging Friday.

By Jordain Carney
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted the Trump administration on Tuesday over its decision to pull money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to put toward immigration enforcement efforts. “The Trump administration’s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel," Schumer said in a statement. "Taking these critical funds from disaster preparedness and recovery efforts threatens lives and weakens the government’s ability to help Americans in the wake of natural disasters," he continued. "Congress appropriated these funds to meet the American peoples’ priorities and I strongly oppose this effort to undermine our constitutional authority." The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Tuesday that it will reprogram $271 million to expand its immigration detention capacity and fund a program to return Central American migrants to Mexico. Of the total DHS funding reallocation, $116 million will go toward single adult detention beds, while $155 million will be used to cater to the Migrant Protection Protocols program. In addition to FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund, money will be taken from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.

By Kevin Breuninger
President Donald Trump has told his officials to take new measures in a redoubled effort to build his long-promised border wall before the 2020 election — and has assured that he will issue pardons if his aides have to break laws to get the project done, according to The Washington Post. Current and former officials involved in the project told the newspaper that Trump has directed his officials to seize private land along the U.S.-Mexico border, ignore environmental regulations and quickly approve billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts. Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along America’s southern border was a defining feature of his 2016 presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. He repeatedly claimed that Mexico would pay for the entire infrastructure project, and maintained that stance as president — even as he allowed the government to shut down in December after Democrats pushed back on a $5.7 billion proposal to fund it. Those funds would have only built about 234 miles of wall, according to a Jan. 6 letter from the Office of Management and Budget — far less than Trump has said he wants to build. At that time, Trump claimed the wall would be finished in two years. But experts have said that the project could take more than a decade to complete, and could cost tens of billions of dollars. The president has asserted as recently as this month that the wall “is under major construction.” But of the nearly 2,000-mile border, only about 60 miles of barrier have been built, and all as a “replacement” for aging structures that had already been built, the Post reported.

By Brett Samuels
President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Fox News has become too hospitable to Democrats and "isn't working for us anymore," arguing his supporters "have to start looking for a new News Outlet." Trump lashed out in a trio of tweets after a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) appeared on "America's Newsroom." The president cited her interview; the employment of former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile; Juan Williams, who is also a columnist for The Hill; and anchor Shepard Smith to claim the network is biased against him. "Just watched @FoxNews heavily promoting the Democrats through their DNC Communications Director, spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback by anchor, @SandraSmithFox. Terrible considering that Fox couldn’t even land a debate, the Dems give them NOTHING!" Trump tweeted. Trump blasted the network as "HOPELESS & CLUELESS" for hiring Brazile, Williams and Smith, each of whom have criticized the president at various times. "They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win — That’s what I do, Win. Too Bad!" Trump continued. "I don’t want to Win for myself, I only want to Win for the people. The New @FoxNews is letting millions of GREAT people down! We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!"

By Rafael Bernal and Morgan Chalfant
The Trump administration said Wednesday that the children of some U.S. military members and government employees working overseas will no longer automatically be considered United States citizens. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy rescinding previous guidance stating that some children of U.S. service members and other government officials abroad are considered “residing in the United States” and automatically given citizenship under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). USCIS issued a clarification to the rule later Wednesday, explaining that the new rule would only affect three categories of people: Children of non-U.S. citizens adopted by U.S. citizen government employees or service members; children of non-U.S. citizen government employees or service members who were naturalized after the child's birth; and children of U.S. citizens who do not meet residency requirements. The policy guidance issued Wednesday stated that USCIS “no longer considers children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States as ‘residing in the United States’ for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320.” The rollout of the new rule quickly sparked widespread confusion, leading some to believe that many more individuals would be affected than in actuality. “This kind of memo is the sort of thing that you don’t put out to the general public without a very bold-faced letter executive summary saying ‘Here’s what this does not do,’” said Bradley Moss, a lawyer with expertise in national security.

By ADAM BEHSUDI and DOUG PALMER
President Donald Trump says his belligerent, winner-takes-all negotiating tactics have “done well” for him over the years. But trade insiders say his aggressive moves with China are botching his chances for any long-term trade deal. Though Trump over the weekend ratcheted down the rhetoric and insisted that talks with Beijing are back on, the White House Tuesday released no new details about upcoming negotiations. And Chinese officials continued to insist that they hadn’t sought a return to the table. “It may have worked for his life as a New York businessman, but he has yet to conclude a deal that has significant gains for the United States,” said Jeff Moon, who was the top career-level China official at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office until just before the start of the Trump administration. “Trump’s goals are to win, but he lacks any underlying values or long-term strategy,” Moon added. A White House spokesperson disagreed in a written statement. There is "no doubt" what Trump considers a successful trade agreement, press spokesperson Judd Deere said in an email. "President Trump is the first president to stand up to China and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices," Deere said. "We expect concrete results because that's what the American people expect and deserve." Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure has manifested in a tit-for-tat tariff war with China that has left global markets reeling.

Trump's infomercials for his Doral National golf club, and his feud with the Fed, may be all about the Benjamins
By Heather Digby Parton
If I were a cynical person I might begin to wonder whether President Trump isn't hedging his bets a bit on the 2020 election. It's not that he doesn't exude his usual delusional confidence, of course. The man has suffered no loss of self-assurance despite the blazing Dumpster fire that is his presidency. Nonetheless, he's turned his focus a bit more obviously on his family business lately in a way that might suggest he feels that he'd better use his influence to boost his profits while he still has it. For instance, Salon's Shira Tarlo reported earlier this week on Trump's stunningly inappropriate announcement that he was planning to use his Trump National Doral golf club in Florida as the host site for next year's meeting of the G7. His comments sounded like nothing so much as one of those video pitches he and his daughter Ivanka used to sell the dodgy condo developments that inevitably ended up making money for the Trump Organization — and leaving the buyers and financial institutions holding the bag when the deals went south. During last weekend's G7 summit, Trump he acknowledged that the French did "a nice job architecturally" with Biarritz — one of the most renowned resorts in the world — and then began his spiel for his own golf club: Trump uses G7 to promote private Doral resort he still owns and profits from, which he says may host the G7 next year: "It's a great place. It's got tremendous acreage ... people are really liking it ... we haven't found anything that could even come close to competing with it."

By Eliza Relman
President Donald Trump derailed a major meeting with world leaders at the annual Group of Seven summit on Saturday evening after he insisted that Russia should be reinvited to the international gathering, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. At a dinner in Biarritz, France, the president interrupted talks of the fires in the Amazon and Iran's nuclear capacity by advocating for Russia to be readmitted to the gathering of industrialized nations. Russia was expelled from the group in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine that violated international laws and agreements. Trump's comments initiated a discussion at the dinner about "whether the leaders should assign any special weight to being a democracy," The Post reported, citing officials. While most of the world leaders staunchly believed they should, Trump didn't. A senior official at the meeting told The Post that Trump crossed his arms and appeared to take a more combative stance as multiple leaders rejected his comments. "The consequence is the same as if one of the participants is a dictator," an official told The Post. "No community of like-minded leaders who are pulling together."

By Chris Sommerfeldt and Dave Goldiner
Bug off, Mr. President! A New Jersey insurance executive who sued and then settled over an itchy infestation at the “spectacular” resort where Trump hopes to host world leaders next year said Tuesday he’s “outraged” by the president’s attempt to deny bedbug reports. Eric Linder is bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the settlement of his 2016 lawsuit — but he was plenty unhappy with the president’s tweet earlier in the day deriding bedbug claims about his Trump National Doral resort outside Miami. “I’m outraged by it,” Linder, 66, who lives in Fort Lee, told the Daily News. Trump’s morning tweet claimed there are “no bedbugs at Doral" and charged “Radical Left Democrats” had “spread that false and nasty rumor” after he on Monday proposed hosting the 2020 G7 summit at the resort.

If you’re going to go with “maximum pressure,” don’t immediately undermine it.
By Fred Kaplan
President Donald Trump’s wild and woolly press conference at the end of the G-7 summit shows, once again, that the putative author of The Art of the Deal is a lousy negotiator. It’s one thing, and fairly risky, to go all-out “maximum pressure” on China and Iran, but at least that’s a strategy. It’s another thing, and simply bumbling, to do so, then to admit having “second thoughts” about escalating tariffs against China (then to have a spokesman backpedal on that) and to welcome a dialogue with Tehran (only to have President Hassan Rouhani blow him off). Similarly, it’s one thing, though unconstitutional (and, therefore, a mindless bluff), to order U.S. companies to stop doing business with China, as Trump did just before the summit. But another then to say, at the press conference afterward, that President Xi Jinping is a “great leader” who will make a deal soon, and once he does, the companies should stay put and “do a great job.”

By Brett Samuels
President Trump reportedly clashed with other leaders during a private dinner on the opening night of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit as he lobbied for Russia's readmission to the organization. The president spent the days prior to the summit suggesting Russia should be allowed to rejoin the group and restated his case throughout the weekend in Biarritz, France. CNN and The Washington Post reported that the president received pushback from other attendees during a dinner on Saturday night. CNN reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among those most opposed to the idea. The Washington Post reported that other leaders felt it should carry additional weight if member nations are democracies, while Trump disagreed. The White House declined to comment on the reports. French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that the G-7 members had not reached a consensus on readmitting Russia, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Russia's continued aggression toward Ukraine made it ineligible to rejoin. Russia was expelled in 2014 from what was then the G-8 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. - What does Ptiuin have on Trump? - Why does Trump continue to do Putin’s bidding? What does Putin have on Trump?

By Tal Axelrod
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) blasted the Trump administration on Tuesday, saying the government has put it in “one hell of a bad situation.” The trade association hammered President Trump for approving what it called 31 “unjustified” refinery waivers tied to ethanol, along with his year-plus trade war with China. Those two issues, combined with the effects of climate change, are forcing the value of Iowa corn to drop ahead of harvest season, the group said. “Agriculture is in one hell of a bad situation right now. The government put us in this situation, and they need to help us get out of it,” Vic Miller, a corn farmer from Fayette County, said in a statement. “It’s time for President Trump to make rural America and the [Renewable Fuel Standard] great again. He made promises to American farmers and now it’s time for him to keep them.” Trump has sought to cast himself as a staunch supporter of American farmers, a group that was part of his core supporters in the 2016 presidential race. But the U.S. agricultural community has been disproportionately harmed by the prolonged trade war between the world's two largest economies, as China targets farm products in an apparent attempt to hit some of Trump’s main backers.

by Yun Li
One day later, China is still insisting no phone calls took place over the weekend that President Donald Trump claimed showed its willingness to talk again. “I have not heard of this situation regarding the two calls that the U.S. mentioned in the weekend,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at press conference on Tuesday. He had denied on Monday that the calls had taken place. “Regretfully, the U.S. has further increased the tax rate on China’s exports to the U.S. This extreme pressure is purely harmful to both sides and not constructive at all,” Geng said, according to a CNBC translation. On Monday, Trump said at the G-7 summit in France that China in recent phone conversations expressed its desire for a deal. His comment renewed hopes for a resolution between the world’s two largest economies, pushing the market higher as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 250 points Monday. Trump abruptly ended the tariff cease-fire earlier this month by slapping more tariffs on Chinese goods, and China retaliated with imposing duties on $75 billion more of U.S. goods and resumed auto tariffs. Trump also said he’s ordering U.S. companies to immediately start looking for an alternative to China. “We hope that the U.S. can maintain calm, return to rationality, stop wrong practices, and create conditions for the two sides to conduct consultations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Geng said Tuesday.

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump -- irritable and inconsistent on the world stage -- raised, dashed and then raised again hopes for an easing of his fast worsening trade war with China that is threatening the global economy. The G7 summit in France unfolded in the now familiar manner of Trump's foreign trips. The United States, once the fulcrum of the Western alliance, was isolated. Foreign leaders who once looked to the US for direction largely tried not to antagonize a volatile American President. And Trump battled with the media, reacted furiously to any criticism of his performance and left whip lashed aides scrambling to explain his public comments. The President's reversals and recriminations over the weekend recalled a wild day in Washington on Friday when his fury at Beijing's decision to hit back at his tariff assaults sent stock markets into turmoil and triggered extreme concern about a worsening standoff with China. At one stunning moment on Sunday, Trump seemed to indicate he regretted his trade duel with China in comments that rocketed around the world amid concern about its economic impact. "I have second thoughts about everything," he said, leaving critics to hope the President was trying to make himself political room to deescalate the showdown. But Trump, who hates to look like he's being backed into a corner or is climbing down, then sent out his aides to say that on the contrary, his only regret was not being tougher on China. And then on Monday, during an exchange with reporters, Trump flipped back into a softer position. Speaking in France, Trump said "China called last night" to relay a desire to return to negotiations. He described the calls as "productive." "'Let's get back to the table,' " Trump said, describing the message from Beijing.

By Michael Collins and John Fritze, USA TODAY
BIARRITZ, France – President Donald Trump said Monday that his first priority is to maintain the nation's wealth, not trade away that prosperity for climate initiatives that he described as amounting to "dreams and windmills." "It's tremendous wealth," Trump told reporters gathered at the G-7 summit in France. "I'm not going to lose that wealth. I'm not going to lose it on dreams and windmills, which, frankly, aren't working too well." Trump's remarks came after White House aides acknowledged he skipped a session of the G-7 meeting focused on climate, biodiversity and the health of oceans. The White House said the president was taking part in other meetings during that session. The president did not answer two specifics questions: Whether he still harbored skepticism about climate change and what he felt the U.S. and other countries should do about it. Before his election, Trump had described climate change a Chinese hoax. Trump has reportedly told aides that the meeting of world leaders has focused too intensely on climate and other environmental issues. White House officials have said the president wants the meeting to deal more with economic issues, and Trump pushed for and secured a session on Saturday focused on the global economy. "The United States has tremendous wealth," Trump said, referring to the nation's preponderance of natural gas. "I've made that wealth come alive." Trump has been at odds with other members of the G-7, especially host France, after he announced in 2017 that the U.S. would formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Then-candidate Trump promised to withdraw the U.S. from the accord. But Trump defended his environmental record on Monday, telling reporters that he was an "environmentalist." "I want clean air. I want clean water," Trump said. "I want a wealthy country. I want a spectacular country, with jobs, with pensions...and that's what we're getting."

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump -- irritable and inconsistent on the world stage -- raised, dashed and then raised again hopes for an easing of his fast worsening trade war with China that is threatening the global economy. The G7 summit in France unfolded in the now familiar manner of Trump's foreign trips. The United States, once the fulcrum of the Western alliance, was isolated. Foreign leaders who once looked to the US for direction largely tried not to antagonize a volatile American President. And Trump battled with the media, reacted furiously to any criticism of his performance and left whip lashed aides scrambling to explain his public comments. The President's reversals and recriminations over the weekend recalled a wild day in Washington on Friday when his fury at Beijing's decision to hit back at his tariff assaults sent stock markets into turmoil and triggered extreme concern about a worsening standoff with China. At one stunning moment on Sunday, Trump seemed to indicate he regretted his trade duel with China in comments that rocketed around the world amid concern about its economic impact. "I have second thoughts about everything," he said, leaving critics to hope the President was trying to make himself political room to deescalate the showdown. But Trump, who hates to look like he's being backed into a corner or is climbing down, then sent out his aides to say that on the contrary, his only regret was not being tougher on China. And then on Monday, during an exchange with reporters, Trump flipped back into a softer position. Speaking in France, Trump said "China called last night" to relay a desire to return to negotiations. He described the calls as "productive." "'Let's get back to the table,' " Trump said, describing the message from Beijing.

By QUINT FORGEY
President Donald Trump on Monday used the global stage of the G-7 conference to assert that former President Barack Obama was “outsmarted” and embarrassed by Russian President Vladimir Putin — a stinging rebuke of his White House predecessor before an international audience. Answering reporters’ questions at a news conference in Biarritz, France, Trump claimed Obama moved to oust Russia from what was formerly known as the Group of Eight after he reneged on a 2012 threat of military force against Syria for perpetrating chemical weapons attacks. Trump alleged that Obama was embarrassed when Russia illegally seized Crimea from Ukraine — the official justification for Russia’s suspension from the G-8 in 2014. “President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him, right? It was very embarrassing to him, and he wanted Russia to be out of what was called the G-8,” Trump said. “And that was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin. He was outsmarted.” Spokespeople for Obama's post-presidential office declined to comment on Trump's statements. U.S. presidents have historically worked to leave political squabbles at home while traveling abroad and generally refrain from such direct criticism of their predecessors, especially while on foreign soil. But Trump has routinely broken from that norm, consistently using the spotlight of overseas trips to lash out at political foes and fuel longstanding feuds. Trump also said he would consider inviting Putin to next year’s G-7 summit, which is scheduled to be held in the United States, remarking that “it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent,” and professing that Russia’s involvement is “good for [the] security of the world.” But Trump said he was unsure whether Putin would accept his offer to participate in the annual gathering of global leaders. “Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him. Whether or not he could come psychologically? I think that’s a tough thing for him to do,” Trump said. “You have a G-8, now it’s a G-7, and you invite the person that was thrown out, really, by President Obama, and really because he got outsmarted.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said Trump must like Jews because he has Jewish children and grandchildren.
By Josh Israel
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), one of just two Jewish Republicans in Congress and a staunch defender of Donald Trump, insisted on Thursday that the president is not an anti-Semite, his repeated anti-Semitic comments this week notwithstanding. In his attempt to explain away Trump’s claim that Jews who do not back him are “disloyal” however, Zeldin accidentally compared the president to Adolf Hitler. Zeldin was asked on Fox News whether he shares Trump’s view that “[if] you vote for a Democrat, you are being disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.” About three-quarters of Jewish Americans voted against Trump in the 2016 election and Democratic candidates received an even higher share of the vote in 2018. Zeldin responded by praising Trump — who has made an array of anti-Semitic comments, defended neo-Nazis as “very fine people,” and employed people like Steve Bannon and Seb Gorka — as an ally of the Jewish community. He reasoned that although the president’s latest statement is actually a hugely offensive trope, Trump shouldn’t be condemned for it because he has Jewish relatives. “There is a long history with regards to that term — “loyalty” or “disloyalty,” Zeldin answered, “where others with bad intent, with hatred towards Israel and the Jews, going all the way back to whether it’s Adolf Hitler, to what we’re seeing right now in other ways manifested from [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] supporters Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in the House of Representatives, there has been an issue with the use of that word.” (Zeldin has repeatedly criticized both congresswomen, accusing them of backing anti-Semitic causes. Meanwhile, he hosted 2018 reelection fundraisers with both Bannon and Gorka.) “The president, who I said, is approaching this from a very different standpoint, he chose to use a word that I wouldn’t use in a particular context. He’s being accused of anti-Semitism, which is just so not true, when the definition of anti-Semitism requires a hatred towards Jews, and he has shown that he has none of it. Literally his son-in-law, his daughter, his grandchildren are Jewish.”

By Morgan Gstalter
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Monday described President Trump’s attendance at the Group of Seven (G-7) summit as an “unmitigated disaster.” “He’s more or less been isolated by the other leaders. The French government brought in the Iranian foreign and finance ministers to discuss things without even letting the president of the United States know,” the now-vocal Trump critic said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Again, his ‘American first’ strategy is becoming ‘America alone,’” Scaramucci concluded. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Monday described President Trump’s attendance at the Group of Seven (G-7) summit as an “unmitigated disaster.” “He’s more or less been isolated by the other leaders. The French government brought in the Iranian foreign and finance ministers to discuss things without even letting the president of the United States know,” the now-vocal Trump critic said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Again, his ‘American first’ strategy is becoming ‘America alone,’” Scaramucci concluded. The president attended the summit with world leaders in Biarritz, France, amidst an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. Trump on Friday announced new tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese goods in response to China’s new tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. automotive parts, farm products and other goods. The president ignited deeper concerns about the health of the economy when he said he would “hereby order” American companies to cut ties with China without specifying under what authority he planned to do that. “I’ve been saying for the last two weeks that he’s melting down at the core,” Scaramucci speculated about the president’s emotional state on CNN. “A couple more weeks like this, I think it is an unmitigated situation. You’ve got to get Republican leaders to come in and say the truth at some point.” He pointed to Trump’s fiery tweets on Friday asking who is the biggest “enemy" to the United States, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell or Chinese President Xi Jinping. Scaramucci also said international business leaders are taking note of Trump’s mixed signals. “It’s complete irrationality and the markets know this and so the markets have lost patience,” Scaramucci said.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - On Monday, before the close of the G7 meetings in France, the heads of those nations gathered to talk about climate change and what could be done to address the warming of our planet. Donald Trump didn't go. "The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead," press secretary Stephanie Grisham said by way of explanation for Trump's absence. Except that Trump seemed to think -- or at least said -- that the climate change meeting was later in the day and that he hadn't missed it at all. From the pool report: "Asked if he attended the climate session, Potus says 'we're having it in a little while.' He didn't appear to hear when a reporter told him it just happened." So, which is it? Did he have other pressing commitments? Or did he think it was later? Or are neither of those things true? (HINT: It's the last one!) Let's rule out the idea that Trump just had the climate meeting down on his schedule wrong. He has a slew of advisers to keep track of where he is going and when. Plus, there are only seven world leaders in attendance -- so, if the other six are all in one place, it's sort of hard to imagine Trump and his team couldn't figure it out pretty quickly. Which brings us to the official White House claim that Trump had "scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India" which is why he couldn't go to the climate change meeting. As CNN's Jim Sciutto pointed out, both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were in the climate change meeting. (There's visual evidence!) That fact gives us these options by way of explaining the White House position: 1) Modi and Merkel have been cloned and can appear in two places at once. 2) Trump was meeting not with the heads of Germany and India but with lower-level staff. 3) The official White House line is total bunk. I'm no scientist but option No. 1 feels far-fetched. Option No. 2 is also ridiculous, because if anyone would see it as beneath him to meet with staff rather than the principals, it's Donald Trump. Which leaves us, by process of elimination, with Option No. 3 -- the White House isn't telling the truth. I know, you're stunned.

John Fritze and Michael Collins, USA TODAY
BIARRITZ, France – President Donald Trump said Monday that Chinese officials called to restart talks amid an escalating trade war that sent markets spinning last week. Speaking to reporters at the G-7 meeting of world leaders taking place in France, Trump said that U.S. officials had received two calls from China. The president declined to say whether he had spoken directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "We've got two calls, very very good calls, very productive calls," Trump told reporters. "They mean business." Trump made the remarks hours before markets opened in the U.S. Those markets plunged Friday after China raised retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in American made products. Later Friday, Trump responded by raising tariffs on $550 billion in goods. Trump said Friday he would raise from 25% to 30% U.S. tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products and would increase from 10% to 15% new tariffs on a remaining $300 billion in goods – some of which are set to take effect next month. “I have great respect for the fact that China called and they want to make a deal," Trump said, during a G-7 meeting in which allies have pressured the U.S. to ease up on the trade war with China. "I have great respect for President Xi.” Trump said he expects to have a further statement on China, noting a scheduled press conference later Monday. Chinese officials did not immediately confirm the calls. But he declined to directly answer multiple questions about who called and what specifically was discussed. - The real questions is did China call or is Trump lying as usual?

In a news conference, Trump touted his resort and denied he was personally profiting from the presidency.
By Linda Givetash and Allan Smith
President Donald Trump defended the idea of hosting next year's G-7 summit at his Miami golf resort, extolling the amenities of his club and insisting he would not profit off the venture. "I'm not going to make any money," Trump said at a Monday news conference at the G-7 in Biarritz, France. "I don't care about making money." But the president, after saying his team surveyed a dozen possible sites for the summit, pointed to his golf club's "series of magnificent buildings." Trump said each member country "can have their own villa, or own bungalow" and praised some features like the "incredible conference rooms" and "great restaurants." Trump also repeated an assertion he made before a group of Pennsylvania workers earlier this month, claiming the presidency has cost him "$3 to $5 billion." He added: "At some point, I'm going to detail that."

State of the Union
In the face of possible economic distress, trade wars and a re-election campaign, conservative writer Bill Kristol says President Trump looks demoralized at the G7 meetings. Source: CNN

President’s trade war order for U.S. companies to get out isn’t just impossible; it would sink the economy.
By David Fickling
Is President Donald Trump serious about forcing American companies out of China? His advisers talk like it. The president would have the authority for such a move, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic director Larry Kudlow said in television interviews while their boss was at the G-7 – though there’s “nothing right now in the cards,” Kudlow added. Trump had suggested the policy in a series of Tweets capping a week marked by tussles with the Fed and China: “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” There’s a difference, though, between what’s possible and what’s advisable – especially given the way the world economy seems to be teetering on the edge of a downturn. Ten-year Treasury yields fell to their lowest level since 2016 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped the most in nearly four months Monday as fears of a deeper trade conflict ramped up. The U.S. president has extraordinarily wide-ranging powers granted by the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act. There are around 29 national emergencies ongoing under the terms of the law, which was originally intended to ensure such decision-making didn’t get perpetually stuck in Congress. The powers were last invoked in May when Trump threatened tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t stop flows of migrants. The question now is whether Trump would follow through or, as in the Mexican case, fold. The likelier result is the latter because, as with the U.S. banking sector in 2008, the investments of American businesses in China are too big to fail.

By Jeff Mason, Richard Lough
BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday offered an olive branch to China after days of intense feuding over trade that has spooked financial markets and he opened the door to diplomacy with Iran, easing tensions on the last day of a strained G7 summit. The leaders of the world’s major industrialized nations, meeting in the French coastal resort of Biarritz, agreed on a deal to provide $20 million in emergency help to Brazil and its neighbors stop the Amazon forest fires. While they were not expected to leave Biarritz with a more comprehensive set of agreements or even a joint communique, Trump and his Western allies appeared to have at least agreed cordially to disagree on issues dividing them.  

G7 Summit: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Biarritz appeared to be a covert initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron, a senior European official said  BIARRITZ, France: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to the city hosting the Group of Seven summit Sunday, a move that caught President Donald Trump off-guard and added another element of tension to the meeting of world economic leaders. Zarif's arrival in Biarritz appeared to be a covert initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron, a senior European official said, and at least some other leaders were not informed ahead of time. Trump, whose antics have often left other world leaders searching for words, had little to say about the unexpected guest. "No comment," Trump told reporters. Zarif came to this resort town on the invitation of his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi wrote on Twitter. The aim of the visit was to "continue discussions about recent initiatives between the presidents of Iran and France," Mousavi said.

By Sonam Sheth
President Donald Trump has suggested dropping nuclear bombs into hurricanes to stop them from causing damage to the US, Axios reported on Sunday. The report said that the president suggested the idea on multiple occasions to senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security and other national security officials. One source present at a hurricane briefing at the White House at an unspecified date told Axios that Trump suggested something along the lines of: "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them? They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?" - Donald J. Trump is the only person who can make rocks look smart.

By Daniel Wolfe
Locally sourced Basque food prepared by Michelin-star chefs may have been on the menu, but that didn’t satisfy Donald Trump during a G7 summit dinner in Biarritz, France on Saturday night (Aug. 24). According to reporting by the Guardian, heated debates began when the US president demanded the group readmit Russia. Russia was removed by the previously named G8 after it annexed Crimea in 2014. During the seaside meal, French president Emmanuel Macron and European Council president Donald Tusk opposed Trump’s demands. A diplomat present told the publication that the evening was tense: “Most of the other leaders insisted on this being a family, a club, a community of liberal democracies and for that reason they said you cannot allow president Putin—who does not represent that—back in.” - Why does Trump continue to do Putin’s bidding?  What does Putin have on Trump?

By Michelle Mark
President Donald Trump publicly lavished praise on French President Emmanuel Macron, even as his aides fumed over France's handling of the G7 Summit, according to multiple reports. Though Trump boasted of his and Macron's " special relationship" during a private lunch at the start of the summit, his aides reportedly believe that the French organized the event in such a way as to antagonize the United States by focusing on "niche issues" at the expense of economic ones. Bloomberg News reported that US officials have privately accused Macron of trying to isolate Trump by focusing much of the discussions on climate change, a topic over which Trump is at odds with his fellow world leaders. The New York Times similarly reported that senior administration officials believe that Macron was appeasing his domestic audience by focusing on climate change, income and gender equality, and African development.

By Adam Bienkov
Donald Trump risks taking the blame for a global recession if he continues his trade war with China, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson said ahead of their meeting at the G7 summit. The two leaders met for breakfast in Biarritz on Sunday morning. In advance of their meeting, Johnson warned Trump that his trade war was "not the way to proceed," and risked pushing the global economy into a downturn. "Apart from anything else, those who support the tariffs are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy irrespective of whether or not that is true," he told reporters on Saturday. He said other countries, including the UK are "at risk of being implicated in this." "We [the UK] face tariffs of altogether £2.25 billion - that's the value of the goods affected, £1.1 billion on whisky alone - that we could face if this goes on. This is not the way to proceed." He called on the president to change tack and go for an "opening up of global trade," instead. "I want to see a dialling down of tensions and I want to see tariffs come off," he said.

By Brett Samuels
President Trump said Sunday that the U.S. and Japan have agreed "in principle" to a bilateral trade deal involving agriculture and digital products. Trump told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit that he expected the two countries to officially sign the pact during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September. "We have been working on a deal with Japan for a long time," Trump said. "It involves agriculture. It involves e-commerce. It involves many things. We've agreed in principle." "We've agreed to every point, and now we're papering it and we'll be signing it at a formal ceremony," Trump said, adding that the Japanese will be buying significant amounts of U.S. corn. The deal focuses on agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. It will open up markets to an additional $7 billion in agricultural products, he said, calling it "very good news" for American farmers and ranchers. Abe said the two sides had agreed on the "core principles" but that some specific language in the deal still needs to be worked out. He said Japan has a need for corn imports because of pest problems with some Japanese-grown products. "We still have some work that needs to be done ... but we would like to make sure that our teams would accelerate the remaining work so as to achieve the goal of signing this agreement on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September," Abe said through an interpreter. The two sides have been in negotiations for months brokering a bilateral trade deal. The Trump administration has been seeking access to the Japanese agricultural sector, and the president had threatened on multiple occasions to impose tariffs on Japanese automobiles if they were unable to come to an agreement. Abe has sought to build a strong personal relationship with the mercurial Trump, visiting him at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and inviting the president and first lady for a state visit earlier this year. - We will see if that comes true as Trump has said, many times some was about to happen only to backtrack, sometimes the same day once more information has come out.

By Amanda Macias
SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — President Donald Trump said Sunday he was not happy after North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles over the weekend but also downplayed the series of tests. “I’m not happy about it but again he’s not in violation of any agreement,” Trump said when asked about the recent string of tests during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Group of 7 in Biarritz, France. “I discussed long-range ballistic and that he cannot do and he hasn’t been doing it and he hasn’t been doing nuclear testing. He has done short-range, much more standard missiles, a lot of people are testing those missiles, not just him. We are in the world of missiles folks, whether you like it or not,” he added. Trump’s comments came on the heels of what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles launched from North Korea’s east coast. Saturday’s launch is the latest in a series of tests in recent weeks amid stalled denuclearization talks. “Our position is very clear, the launch of the short-range ballistic missiles by North Korea clearly violates the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Abe said.

By Amanda Macias
SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — President Donald Trump said Sunday he could declare the escalating U.S.-China trade war as a national emergency if he wanted to. “In many ways this is an emergency,” Trump said at the G-7 leaders meeting of the ongoing trade battle between the world’s top two economies. “I could declare a national emergency, I think when they steal and take out and intellectual property theft anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year and when we have a total lost of almost a trillion dollars a year for many years,” Trump said, adding that he had no plan right now to call for a national emergency. “Actually we are getting along very well with China right now, we are talking. I think they want to make a deal much more than I do. I’m getting a lot of money in tariffs its coming in by the billions. We’ve never gotten 10 cents from China, so we will see what happens.” Trump’s comments come as he met with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson kicking off Group of 7 meetings in the French seaside town of Biarritz.

Biarritz, France — President Trump's only regret in hiking tariffs on China is that he didn't raise them higher, his press secretary said Sunday after the president had earlier signaled some remorse for an escalating trade war with China. Mr. Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France. During a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the president suggested he has qualms about the spiraling conflict. "Yeah. For sure," Mr. Trump told reporters when asked if he has second
thoughts about escalating the conflict, adding he has "second thoughts about everything." But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Mr. Trump was "greatly misinterpreted," saying he only responded "in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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