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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.

It is undeniably true that America’s president opposes diversity.
By Charles M. Blow
Donald Trump keeps trying to convince any disbelieving holdouts that he is a raging racist. At least, that’s how I imagine his motives. In truth, it is more likely that his truest nature is simply being revealed, again and again, and he is using his own racism to appeal to the racism in the people who support him. On Sunday morning, the same day that the Trump administration earlier announced it would conduct raids to round up undocumented immigrants, Trump weighed in again on the conflict between four female freshmen congresswomen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tweeting a series of three of the most racist tweets he could produce: So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly ... ... and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how. ... ... it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements! Those progressive congresswomen are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts.

David Jackson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Under fire for what many called racist tweets, President Donald Trump said Monday that the minority Democratic congresswomen he said should "go back" to other countries are the ones who should apologize. "When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said," Trump tweeted. "So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!" He did not detail those alleged actions. On Sunday, Trump tweeted of four minority female House members: "Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done" – this even though three of the four targets were born in the United States. When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019. Trump's tweets were directed tweets at four Muslim, Hispanic, and black House freshmen members known as "the Squad:" Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal to spite Barack Obama, according to a leaked memo written by the UK's former ambassador in the US. Sir Kim Darroch described the move as an act of "diplomatic vandalism", according to the Mail on Sunday. The paper says the memo was written after the then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appealed to the US in 2018 to stick with the deal. The latest leak came despite the Met Police warning against publication. The first memos criticising President Trump's administration, which emerged a week ago, prompted a furious reaction from the US president and resulted in Sir Kim resigning from his role. What have we learnt from the latest leak? The Mail on Sunday reports that Sir Kim wrote to Mr Johnson informing him Republican President Trump appeared to be abandoning the nuclear deal for "personality reasons" - because the pact had been agreed by his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama. Under the 2015 deal backed by the US and five other nations, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions. However, President Trump said he did not think that the deal went far enough in curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions and reinstated US sanctions after withdrawing from it in May 2018. In a tweet from June this year, the president also said he objected to Mr Obama having given Iran £1.8bn (£1.4bn) as part of the deal. Commentators later pointed out this was related to the settlement of an unfulfilled military order from the 1970s. Tehran recently announced it would break a limit set on uranium enrichment, in breach of the deal's conditions. However the UK, Germany and France say they are still committed to the deal. The British ambassador's memo is said to have highlighted splits amongst US presidential advisers; he wrote that the White House did not have a strategy of how to proceed following withdrawal from the deal.

By Devan Cole, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump used racist language on Sunday to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens. Trump did not name who he was attacking in Sunday's tirade but earlier this week he referenced New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when the President was defending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A group of Democrats, who are women of color and have been outspoken about Trump's immigration policies, last week condemned the conditions of border detention facilities. The group of women joining Ocasio-Cortez were Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley are natural-born US citizens, while Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the US when she was young. Omar became a citizen in 2000 when she was 17 years old, according to the New York Times. Trump implied in the series of tweets that the congresswomen weren't born in America and sarcastically suggested, "they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Pelosi jumped to the defense of the congresswomen and condemned Trump's language. "When ⁦‪@realDonaldTrump⁩ tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to "Make America Great Again" has always been about making America white again," Pelosi tweeted. "Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power." New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the assistant speaker of the House, echoed Pelosi's sentiments on Twitter Sunday: "A racist tweet from a racist president."

By BIANCA QUILANTAN and DAVID COHEN
President Donald Trump on Sunday called out progressive Democratic congresswomen in xenophobic terms, saying: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Trump‘s tweets were seemingly intended to exploit tensions with the House Democratic Caucus, though they drew a sharp rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been at odds with some of the most liberal members of her caucus. While the president didn’t mention them by name in his tweets, it appears he was attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a native of Somalia, and possibly Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), whose family is Palestinian. Both have been outspoken when it comes to Trump’s administration and the conditions of migrant detention centers on the border. “So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” the president wrote on Twitter.

By David Morgan, Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is trying to prevent two former members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team from testifying behind closed doors in Congress next week, when Mueller will testify before lawmakers, according to people familiar with the matter. The department is opposing testimony by Aaron Zebley and James Quarles before the Democratic-led Judiciary and Intelligence committees in the House of Representatives, two sources said. The men were expected to testify on July 17, the same day that Mueller is due as a witness before the two panels. Democrats said they still expect Zebley and Quarles to appear, arguing that the Justice Department has no authority over the behavior of former employees. But a third source told Reuters that the former Mueller team members were still negotiating with the committees. “We expect them to appear,” Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters. “We’ve got two hours with the Judiciary and Mr. Mueller, and two hours for the Intel committee with Mr. Mueller, and then some time afterwards with his staff.” Justice Department officials had no immediate comment and Zebley and Quarles could not be reached for comment. The episode is the latest example of Trump administration efforts to stymie congressional investigations by directing current and former officials not to cooperate with investigators who are seeking evidence of corruption, obstruction of justice and abuse of power in the Trump presidency.  

Florida businessman George Houraney told the New York Times that the president’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein involved at least one “calendar girl” party at Mar-a-Lago.
By Eric Lutz
Donald Trump now says he’s “not a fan” of Jeffrey Epstein, a convenient way to feel about the disgraced financier in the aftermath of his 2008 conviction on soliciting underage girls for prostitution and his indictment Monday on charges of sex trafficking minors. (Epstein has pleaded not guilty.) But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Trump could be counted among Epstein’s rich, well-connected friends. And, according to a report in the New York Times on Tuesday, the relationship may have been a good deal closer than the president has let on. Per the Times, Trump in 1992 directed Florida businessman George Houraney—who would later accuse Trump of sexually harassing his former girlfriend and business partner, Jill Harth—to organize a members’ only “calendar girl” competition at Mar-a-Lago. After Houraney “arranged to have some contestants fly in,” he told the Times in an interview Monday, he discovered that there would be only two attendees. “At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein,” Houraney recalled. “I said, ‘Donald, this is supposed to be a party with V.I.P.s. You’re telling me it’s you and Epstein?’” The anecdote underscores the friendship between the pair, and suggests that their relationship proceeded in spite of warnings about Epstein’s behavior. Houraney “pretty much had to ban Jeff from my events,” he said. “Trump didn’t care about that.”

Trump wins dismissal of emoluments court case that challenged legality of payments to his hotels by foreigners
By Dan Mangan, Tucker Higgins
A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of payments to President Donald Trump’s hotels by foreigners during his tenure in the White House. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Maryland and the District of Columbia do not have legal standing to claim that Trump violated the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. Trump still faces a similar lawsuit in Washington federal court filed by Democratic members of Congress. A federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of payments to President Donald Trump’s hotels by foreigners during his tenure in the White House. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously ruled that the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia do not have legal standing to sue under a claim that Trump violated the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. That clause, contained in Article 1 on of the Constitution, bars government office holders from accepting gifts from foreign officials. Trump still faces a similar lawsuit in Washington federal court filed by Democratic members of Congress. On Monday, the Justice Department urged the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss that second suit. In its ruling, the Fourth Circuit appeals panel said that Washington and Maryland’s interest in enforcing that clause “is so attenuated and abstract” that it raises the question of whether their lawsuit is an appropriate use of the courts.

Trump’s British ambassador takedown unnerves diplomats
Foreign service officers are worried that the leak that led to Kim Darroch's resignation — and the president's bullying — is harming diplomats.
By NAHAL TOOSI
The swift downfall of Britain’s ambassador in Washington has rattled diplomats who are warning that the leak that led to it, as well as Donald Trump’s bullying along the way, is harming foreign service work around the world. Kim Darroch’s resignation Wednesday came after withering criticism from the president, who was incensed over leaked private diplomatic cables in which Darroch said Trump “radiates insecurity” and that his administration was “dysfunctional.” The dust-up is just the latest to occur after the public airing of sensitive diplomatic cables — an era that kicked off a decade ago when WikiLeaks began publishing troves of America’s classified cables. And it illustrates the increasing challenges facing diplomats wishing to share blunt and unflattering assessments. Trump’s furious reaction — he called Darroch a “pompous fool” and threatened to stop working with the diplomat — didn’t help, either, former officials said. “We have gotten to a point now where it would appear diplomats cannot report to their governments accurately in any way that is going to remain confidential, and that’s the essence of diplomacy,” said Roberta Jacobson, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Brett Bruen, a former U.S. diplomat who now does consulting work, argued that Trump’s reaction “puts American diplomats a risk.”

Justice Dept. Tells Mueller Deputies Not to Testify, Scrambling an Agreement
By Nicholas Fandos and Katie Benner
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is seeking to discourage Robert S. Mueller III’s deputies from testifying before Congress, potentially jeopardizing an agreement for two of the former prosecutors to answer lawmakers’ questions in private next week, according to two government officials familiar with the matter. The department told the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last week that it was opposed to the testimony and had communicated its view to the two former members of Mr. Mueller’s team, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III, according to a senior congressional official familiar with the discussions. A Justice Department official confirmed that account and said that the department had instructed both men not to appear. It is unclear what effect the Justice Department’s intervention will have on the men’s eventual appearances, but it raises the prospect that a deal lawmakers thought they had struck last month for testimony from Mr. Mueller, the former special counsel, and the two prosecutors could still unravel. Both Mr. Zebley and Mr. Quarles have left the Justice Department and are now private citizens, meaning that the department most likely cannot actually block their testimony. But the department’s view — depending on how strongly it is expressed — could have a chilling effect on two longtime employees and give them cover to avoid testifying.

Guardian News
President Trump made an embarrassing error when addressing crowds during his Independence Day speech, praising the army, which he said 'took over the airports' from the British during the revolutionary war in the late 1700s, despite air travel not occurring in the US until the early 1900s. Trump was speaking at the Lincoln memorial in Washington as part of his 4 July 'Salute to America' celebrations

US President Donald Trump has blamed a teleprompter going "kaput" for a glaring anachronism in his Independence Day speech. He told crowds on 4 July the Continental Army "took over the airports" during the American Revolutionary War in the 1770s. Observers quickly pointed out there was no air travel in 18th Century America. Explaining away the slip-up on Friday, Mr Trump also said it was hard to read the teleprompter in the rain. During his "Salute to America" speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, he was talking about the year 1775 when he said: "Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do." Critics pointed out the rebels could not have seized airports more than a century before the first powered flight - credited to the Wright brothers in 1903 - took off. In the same sentence, Mr Trump also appeared to date a battle at Fort McHenry to the American Revolution, when it unfolded decades later during the War of 1812.

By Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON –In a tweet, President Donald Trump responded to Rep. Justin Amash's op-ed announcing that he would leave the Republican Party, calling him "one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress." "Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress is 'quitting' the Party," Trump wrote. Referencing the field of Republican challengers that had announced they would enter the Republican primary against Amash, Trump added, "Knew he couldn’t get the nomination to run again in the Great State of Michigan. Already being challenged for his seat. A total loser!" Donald Trump Jr. the president's son, had previously threatened to help support a primary challenge against Amash.

By Jacqueline Thomsen
A lawyer with the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday that agency officials have been ordered to determine whether there is a way the administration can include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, hours after a tweet from President Trump raised confusion over the status of the question. Joseph Hunt, an assistant attorney general with the DOJ’s civil division, said Wednesday that the department has been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court's decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.” “We think there may be a legally available path under the Supreme Court's decision. We're examining that, looking at near-term options to see whether that's viable and possible,” Hunt said, according to a transcript of a teleconference held in federal court in Maryland. The DOJ official said the agency currently plans to file a motion in the Supreme Court that would “govern further proceedings in order to simplify and expedite the remaining litigation and provide clarity to the process going forward.” “It’s very fluid at present because we are still examining the Supreme Court's decision to see if that option is still available to us,” Hunt added, according to the transcript.

By Chris Mills Rodrigo
The Washington, D.C., City Council on Monday ripped President Trump's Independence Day plans, joking about his intention to have military tanks on display when he gives a speech from the Lincoln Memorial. "We have said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tanks, but no tanks," the council tweeted. "(PS: The @DeptofDefense agrees, see highlighted area below)." We have said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tanks, but no tanks. (PS: The @DeptofDefense agrees, see highlighted area below) pic.twitter.com/ock2EORKNz — Council of DC (@councilofdc) July 1, 2019. The council included an image of a memorandum in its tweet from the Office of the Secretary of Defense with the line "include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks" highlighted. Trump said Monday that there would be tanks on display on the National Mall during the city's yearly Fourth of July celebration.

By Kelsey Snell
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., sued Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to obtain six years of President Trump's tax returns. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is the latest step in a months-long battle with the Trump administration over the president's tax records. Democrats want the court to enforce a subpoena requesting the returns. Mnuchin rejected the subpoena in May, citing guidance from the Department of Justice. At the time Mnuchin said the request lacked a "legitimate legislative purpose." Democrats argue in the court filing that the committee has the right to access Trump's private tax information under Section 6103 of the U.S. tax code, which says, "Treasury 'shall furnish' the Committee with 'any' requested tax return information" from any U.S. citizen, including the president. The filing states that the law was "intended to provide the Committee with unfettered access to tax return information necessary to carry out its broad mandate to oversee Treasury, the IRS, and the Nation's tax laws. "

By Lauren Fox, Katelyn Polantz, Clare Foran and Ellie Kaufman, CNN
(CNN) - The Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to enforce subpoenas and obtain President Donald Trump's tax returns, an escalation in a fight for the President's personal financial information. The lawsuit was filed in D.C. District Court against Treasury and the IRS and their respective leaders, Steve Mnuchin and Charles Rettig. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal is seeking the President's tax returns using a little-known IRS provision known as 6103, which allows the Chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to request and obtain an individual's tax information for a legitimate legislative purpose. The move comes months after Neal made his initial request for the President's tax information and as outside groups and other liberals on the Ways and Means Committee grew impatient with the pace of Neal's efforts. Neal initially made his request for Trump's tax returns on April 3. After a series of follow-up letters, the Treasury Department formally denied the request at the beginning of May, and Neal issued subpoenas to the IRS and Treasury Department on May 10. "In refusing to comply with the statute, Defendants have mounted an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight of Treasury, the IRS, and the tax laws on behalf of the American people who participate in the Nation's voluntary tax system," House attorneys wrote in the complaint. Jay Sekulow, counsel to the President, responded to the suit Tuesday afternoon by saying in a statement, "We will respond to this latest effort at Presidential harassment in Court."

By Brett Samuels
President Trump lamented the state of American cities in an interview Monday night, describing homelessness as "a phenomena that started two years ago" that is causing public health hazards. Trump sat for an interview with Tucker Carlson during his trip to South Korea over the weekend. The Fox News host observed that cities in Japan, host of the Group of 20 summit, had "no graffiti" and "no one going to the bathroom on the streets," and said New York City and Los Angeles had a "major problem with filth." "It’s a phenomena that started two years ago,” said Trump, who took office 2 1/2 years ago. "It’s disgraceful." The president described cities in a dire state, claiming police officers are "getting sick just by walking the beat," and some people are "living in hell." "Although some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way, in fact perhaps they like living that way," he added. Trump suggested his administration was looking at the issue "very seriously," but offered few specifics on what could be done.

By Jim Acosta, CNN
(CNN) - The new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, got into a scuffle with North Korean officials on Sunday during a chaotic scene outside a meeting room where US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un talked privately. A source at the scene said Grisham got in "an all out brawl" with North Korean officials as American and North Korean reporters were hustled in to view the summit. Grisham was bruised a bit in the scuffle, the source added. Grisham could be seen after the episode directing reporters outside the building in which Kim and Trump met, and she was later seen looking no worse for wear as she accompanied the President at the DMZ. Trump shook hands with Kim on Sunday and took 20 steps into North Korea, making history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in the hermit kingdom. The encounter at the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone -- their third in person -- came a day after Trump raised the prospect of a border handshake in a tweet and declared he'd have "no problem" stepping into North Korea.


By Terrence Dopp and Alyza Sebenius
President Donald Trump said substantial additional U.S. tariffs would be placed on goods from China if there’s no progress on a trade deal after his planned meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit in Japan. “My Plan B with China is to take in billions and billions of dollars a month and we’ll do less and less business with them,” Trump said Wednesday during an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. Trump has previously said he may decide to raise tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports if he doesn’t like what he hears from Xi at this weekend’s summit in Osaka. The two leaders are expected to meet Saturday -- something financial markets worldwide will be watching carefully. The president’s latest remarks added an element of doubt to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin‘s comment earlier Wednesday on CNBC that he’s “hopeful” about U.S.-China trade negotiations.


By Chris Nichols
In his recent interview on "Meet the Press", President Donald Trump claimed there’s proof to support his repeatedly debunked claim that "serious voter fraud" took place in California during the 2016 presidential election. Trump alleged California "admitted" there were "a million" illegal votes in the 2016 presidential election. "Take a look at Judicial Watch. Take a look at their settlement. California admitted to a million votes. They admitted to a million votes," Trump told Chuck Todd, the show’s host, in an interview that aired June 23, 2019. Election officials and fact checkers have previously called out Trump’s baseless claims on the subject. In November 2016, PolitiFact National rated Pants on Fire his contention that he lost the popular vote because "millions of people voted illegally." PolitiFact California handed out the same rating for his claim of "serious voter fraud" in California. Hillary Clinton won the state by more than 4 million votes and she won the national popular vote by about 2.8 million. Trump won the decisive Electoral College tally. We wanted to know the veracity of Trump’s new claim. So, we examined the settlement that he said is evidence of massive voter fraud in California.

Published an hour agoUpdated 7 min ago
By Yun Li, Maggie Fitzgerald
More than 300 companies are talking to government officials in Washington this month about how detrimental the trade war between the U.S. and China has been and will be to their business. Testifying in front of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, major U.S. companies including Best Buy, HP and Hallmark Cards are voicing concerns about how the additional tariffs that President Donald Trump threatened to slap on China would impact their businesses and cause them to lose business to foreign competitors. Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have heightened since early May after a trade deal fell through. Last month, Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and China retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports. Trump also threatened to slap tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports. Corporate America and Wall Street are hoping the beginnings of a new deal can be hatched at the G-20 Summit this week when Trump and President Xi Jinping are set to meet. Here are what some of the executives said last week.

It raises new questions about what else the Trump administration is hiding.
By Zack Ford
A former top adviser to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed the secretary lied about his intentions for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, according to House testimony made public on Tuesday. The Trump administration has blocked many of its officials from answering questions for House Democratic investigations. James Uthmeier, who served as senior adviser and counsel to Ross, appeared before the House Oversight Committee earlier this month and refused to answer more than 100 questions. Still, he “confirmed key information” about the changes to the census, according to Democratic members of the committee. His testimony informs the committee’s recent recommendation for contempt charges against Ross and Attorney General William Barr. As a new U.S. Census Bureau report explains, including a question on citizenship status in the census could result in as many as 9 million people not being counted as living in the United States. This undercount would largely impact racial minorities who fear that disclosing their status could lead to their deportation or that of friends, family members, and neighbors. Because the census determines redistricting for congressional representation, the resulting erasure would drastically benefit Republicans in the next decade of elections.

By Shirley Tay
U.S. President Donald Trump’s fresh sanctions on Iran are a “symbolic act” and may leave Washington with no room to exert further pressure on the nuclear power, a former U.S. diplomat said Tuesday. Trump on Monday signed an executive order to impose “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whom he said was responsible for the “hostile conduct” of the regime. While the new sanctions aim to deny top Iranian officials access to important financial resources, “the Ayatollah and most of the people closest to him don’t really have bank accounts in their names ... in Europe or outside of Iran” that would be hit by the sanctions, said Amos Hochstein, who served as U.S. special envoy for international energy affairs under the Obama administration. Washington’s new sanctions come on the back of tense U.S.-Iran rhetoric after Tehran downed an American military drone last Thursday. The Trump administration has accused Iran of being responsible for a recent attack on six oil tankers in or near the Strait of Hormuz. However, Washington may be treading into dangerous waters in its Iran policy, Hochstein told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia. ”

By Kate Bennett, CNN
(CNN) - Melania Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham will get a major new role as both White House press secretary and communications director, the first lady tweeted Tuesday. "I am pleased to announce @StephGrisham45 will be the next @PressSec & Comms Director! She has been with us since 2015 - @POTUS & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country. Excited to have Stephanie working for both sides of the @WhiteHouse. #BeBest" Melania Trump tweeted. President Donald Trump didn't look far for his next press secretary in Grisham, who for the past two years has been the communications director for the first lady. Grisham will keep her current job too. However, Trump has tweaked the job duties before handing the reins to Grisham, whose purview will include a larger scope of responsibility than that of her predecessor Sarah Sanders, and one as yet unprecedented in this administration. Trump has appointed Grisham both White House director of communications as well as press secretary, a senior White House official tells CNN. Grisham will be assuming the roles formerly held by Bill Shine, who departed as White House communications director in March, and Sanders, who has said her last day will be this Friday. Additionally, Grisham will remain in charge of communications for the East Wing in addition to her new West Wing responsibilities, staying on as the spokeswoman for the first lady, says the official. Grisham will be accompanying the President in her new capacity on his trip to Japan and Korea this week.

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