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Tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports went up 150% Friday morning as President Trump sought to increase pressure on Chinese leaders to cut a more favorable trade deal. The higher tariffs will apply to new shipments from China, not products already en route or in U.S. inventories, so the effects won’t be felt immediately. But they will be felt. Most of the Chinese products targeted by these tariffs are purchased by businesses, not consumers (for example, automobile components and telecommunications equipment), and at the initial level of 10%, some of the cost may have been absorbed by the suppliers rather than being passed on to consumers. At the new level of 25%, however, consumers are going to wind up covering much more of the cost. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is preparing to slap 25% tariffs on the $325 billion in Chinese goods not currently subject to tariffs, most of which are bought by consumers, not businesses. So there’s no question who will be paying those levies. Well, no question in the mind of anyone who understands the basics of how tariffs are imposed and collected. But Trump continues to cling to the fantasy that the tariffs are being paid by the Chinese, and that the money rolling into the Treasury is coming from someone other than his constituents.

President Trump is undermining the credibility of his trade policies by falsely claiming that China is paying the bill. President Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese imports, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, are taxes that will be paid by Americans. That is a simple fact, and it remains true no matter how many times Mr. Trump insists the money will come from China. Mr. Trump’s latest escalation of his trade fight with China is a 25 percent tariff, or import tax, on products that compose about one third of China’s exports to the United States, including Chinese bicycles, circuit boards and wooden doors. The tariff rate on those goods was previously 10 percent. Mr. Trump also has threatened to impose the 25 percent rate on virtually all products imported from China — more than $500 billion in goods last year.

(CNN) - During his rally in Florida Wednesday night, President Donald Trump hit on a lot of familiar themes -- the strong economy, building the wall, defeating ISIS and the 2020 election. Among his "greatest hits," Trump also repeated several false claims he's made in the past. First, the President claimed that Puerto Rico had received $91 billion after being hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, adding that was the highest amount ever given to "anybody" for disaster relief.

WASHINGTON — Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, according to two internal memos. Because of its fiber strength and resistance to heat, asbestos has long been used in insulation and construction materials. It is also a known carcinogen. Last month’s rule kept open a way for manufacturers to adopt new uses for asbestos, or return to certain older uses, but only with E.P.A. approval. Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, said when the rule was issued that it would significantly strengthen public health protections. But in the memos, dated Aug. 10, more than a dozen of E.P.A.’s own experts urged the agency to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations. “Rather than allow for (even with restrictions) any new uses for asbestos, E.P.A. should seek to ban all new uses of asbestos because the extreme harm from this chemical substance outweighs any benefit — and because there are adequate alternatives to asbestos,” staff members wrote.

(CNN) - Donald Trump just laid another risky global bet -- escalating a trade war with China by imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods in the midst of ongoing trade talks -- and neither he nor anyone else can be sure of what happens next. The sharp escalation could rattle investors and is the latest manifestation of the building superpower conflict across the Pacific. It will stoke new concern about the President's unapologetically unpredictable statesmanship. The confrontation comes at a time when anxiety is already growing over Trump's stewardship of several other foreign policy crises, including with Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. The US imposed new tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods following a midnight deadline and after the President accused Beijing of backtracking on a deal between the world's two largest economies. It's possible that the gambit could work as negotiators from the two sides are meeting again in Washington on Friday. But the fear will be that the US and China are now heading for a prolonged showdown that could hurt the world economy. Trump said on Friday that there was no rush to reach a deal since tariffs of up to 25% were now "being paid" on some of China's exports to the US. "Tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind," Trump tweeted. - How dumb is Trump, he must be the dumbest person on the planet. Trump must think the American people are as dumb as he is, tariffs are a tax on the American people.

The more President Trump escalates his trade war with China, the more American shoppers will notice higher prices in their favorite grocery stores, hardware shops and big-box retailers. On Friday, the Trump administration increased tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed last year on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent, from their previous rate of 10 percent. The official $200 billion tariff list starts with “frozen retail cuts of meat of swine” and ends with “monopods, bipods, tripods and similar articles of aluminum.” In between are 194 pages of products that you can find on store shelves across the country. Economists and business owners expect the tariff increases to hit consumers in two ways. Stores that were already passing on the cost of the 10 percent tariffs will now pass on a higher cost. And businesses large and small that previously tried to shield customers from the smaller tariffs will now find it almost impossible to avoid passing some or all of that tax on to Americans who buy their products.

U.S. President Donald Trump's new sanctions on Iran and deployment of a carrier strike group to the Middle East are "deliberately provocative," Jarrett Blanc from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said Thursday. Not only do these sanctions target  Iran's export revenue, it also affects a "very large employment sector  of the Iranian economy," said Blanc, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank. This will be "understood as an effort to destabilize the middle class," he added. Trump on Wednesday slapped fresh sanctions on Iranian industrial metals  — the country's second-largest source of export revenue after petroleum  — and threatened further action unless Tehran "fundamentally" changes  its behavior. That came hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Tehran's intention to violate two provisions of the 2015 nuclear agreement — also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. On Sunday, U.S. National  Security Advisor John Bolton announced that the Trump administration  would deploy a carrier group and bombers to the Middle East in response  to "troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.

Over the course of 17 hours, President Donald Trump repeated 17 false  and misleading claims that we have written about since he became  president.
Trump began with an evening rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, on May 8, that lasted more than an hour, and followed it up a day later with an impromptu afternoon press conference at the White House. Here are the repeated claims that the president made, from when the  rally started at about 8 p.m. on May 8 to the end of the press  conference at 12:49 p.m. on May 9.

It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day.
But  on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark  — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period,  which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections,  the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the  release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the  presidential election. This milestone appeared unlikely when The Fact Checker first started this project during his first 100 days.  In the first 100 days, Trump averaged less than five claims a day,  which would have added up to about 7,000 claims in a four-year  presidential term. But the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger  and larger.

The latest revelations about President Trump’s past tax reports underscore the importance of examining his more recent returns. President Trump owes the American people a fuller account of his financial dealings, including the release of his recent tax returns, because politicians should keep their promises, because the public deserves to know whether his policies are lining his pockets and because the integrity of our system of government requires everyone, particularly the president, to obey the law. Mr. Trump promised to release his tax returns before his presidential campaign and in the early stages of that campaign, then reneged, offering a long series of inconsistent excuses for breaking his promise. Now Mr. Trump is resisting the lawful request of the House Ways and Means Committee for the Treasury secretary to release the last six years of his tax returns. In seeking the president’s returns, the House is clearly acting in the public interest.

Media coverage depicted the president as a brilliant deal maker, but he claimed more than a billion dollars in losses over the course of a decade. Over the course of a decade beginning in the mid-1980s, Donald Trump publicly presented himself as a highly successful entrepreneur even as he claimed business losses exceeding $1 billion, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. “Over all,” the newspaper explained, “Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.” The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception. Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who penned The Art of the Deal, has already apologized for falsely portraying the huckster from Queens as “a charmingly brash entrepreneur with an unfailing knack for business,” telling The New Yorker, “I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.”

President Trump on Friday defended his decision to impose steep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and promised much steeper penalties would follow, putting the rest of the world on notice that he will follow through on his protectionist agenda no matter the blowback. In a series of tweets, Trump said that talks with Chinese leaders would continue, but he repeatedly warned that China should “not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute.” White House officials accused China of reneging on prior details of the talks earlier this week, something Trump’s chief trade negotiator Robert E. Lighthizer told reporters was “unacceptable.” Chinese officials have denied backing away from any commitments. The chain of events that began with higher tariffs and continued through Trump’s tweets have sown unrest in financial markets around the world and have left investors and business executives unsure of what is to come. Trump in the past has threatened severe penalties only to back down days later, but he has also shown a willingness to dig in and trust his instincts, even if advisers have warned against it. He believes the strength of the economy gives him leverage to use aggressive trade tactics.

Analysis: An increasingly isolated and beleaguered American president is creating a dangerous confrontation with a hostile regime in Tehran. WASHINGTON — As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to be sounding the drums of war against Iran Thursday, and U.S. warships were steaming toward the region, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if there is a risk of military confrontation. After the requisite caution that “I guess you could say that always,” Trump added, “hopefully, that won’t happen.” Then, in comments that were notably pacific, Trump suggested he would welcome talks with Tehran: “But they should call, and if they do, we’re open to talk to them," he said. "We have no secrets.” It was a striking departure from the rhetoric of his secretary of state and his national security adviser, both of whom have stepped up their warnings that the U.S. would retaliate against Iran for any attack on U.S. interests by Iran’s proxies.

For the past 21 years, I have had the high privilege of holding a White House press pass, a magical ticket that gives the bearer a front-row seat to history. I was in the White House the night Bill Clinton admitted his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and the day he was impeached. I was there on Sept. 11, 2001, and the fearful days thereafter, when we were trained to use escape hoods. I watched George W. Bush make the case for the Iraq War and Barack Obama pitch his remedies for the market crash. There, too, I have witnessed the carnival-like briefings and high histrionics of Donald Trump’s presidency. But no more. The White House eliminated most briefings and severely restricted access to official events. And this week came the coup de grace: After covering four presidents, I received an email informing me that Trump’s press office had revoked my White House credential.

A statement from the (TOTALLY EXONERATED) President of the United States (Donald Trump): My fellow Americans (except for the losers and haters who don’t recognize I am an amazing president, possibly the best in history): Today I have made the remarkably good decision to assert executive privilege over the entire Mueller report (WITCH HUNT!) because the stupid Democrats want to see the whole thing even though I’ve already told them it totally exonerates me and there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. The loser Democrats are voting to hold our wonderful attorney general, Bill Barr, who is just so great, truly, probably the best attorney general pick ever, in Contempt. I don’t know where Contempt is, but I can’t have my attorney general hauled off to some place I’ve never heard of by a bunch of sore-loser Democrats. I need him here, doing his job, which is protecting your favorite president. That’s in the Constitution, folks. So I have made the bold and very smart decision to deny Democrats access to the full Mueller report and all the underlying — and totally exonerating — evidence. I have also told all my employees to ignore subpoenas from Jerry “Nerd” Nadler and “Shifty” Adam Schiff and Nancy “Nancy” Pelosi and any other dummy who thinks it’s their job to ask questions. And I sent my adviser Stephen Miller to stand outside Nadler’s house and stare into the window. You’ve seen that guy’s stare, right? So creepy. What a great patriot he is.

The attorney general could have redacted parts of the Mueller report to protect presidential confidentiality. He didn’t, and now’s too late. President Donald Trump’s administration invoked executive privilege Wednesday to explain why Attorney General William Barr won’t hand over special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report to Congress. There’s just one problem: Executive privilege has nothing whatsoever to do with the parts of the report that were redacted in its earlier release. Executive privilege covers communications between the president and his closest aides on matters that must be kept from Congress or the courts to protect the effective operation of the executive branch. Barr already had a chance to redact anything from the Mueller report that in his judgment would’ve violated executive privilege — when he did the redaction in the first place. But Barr didn’t redact anything at all from the report on the basis of executive privilege. In fact, he included plenty of material in the report, such as conversations between Trump and White House counsel Donald McGahn, that arguably could have been included within the privilege. In other words, Barr has already effectively determined that nothing in the Mueller report needed to be redacted for executive privilege reasons.

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from public view. The committee’s 24-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate that featured apocalyptic language about the future of American democracy, marked the first time that the House has taken official action to punish a government official or witness amid a standoff between the legislative and executive branch. The Justice Department decried it as an unnecessary and overwrought reaction designed to stoke a fight. The drama raised the stakes yet again in an increasingly tense battle over evidence and witnesses as Democrats investigate Mr. Trump and his administration. By the day’s end, it seemed all but inevitable that the competing claims would have to be settled in the nation’s courts rather than on Capitol Hill, as Democrats had initially hoped after the initial delivery of Mr. Mueller’s report.

THE CONFLICT between President Trump and congressional Democrats is intensifying. But these equal branches of government do not bear equivalent amounts of blame. Congress has a profound interest in robust executive branch oversight. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump and his circle have abused whatever legitimate concerns exist about protecting executive branch deliberations and the secrecy of grand jury investigations. Their “just say no” approach to congressional requests places them squarely — if not yet technically — in contempt of Congress. Attorney General William P. Barr appeared before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee last week to testify about his handling of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, but he refused to attend a similar hearing before the Democratic-run House Judiciary Committee the following day, citing lame concerns about the proposed hearing format.
Though Mr. Barr reiterated at the Senate hearing his view that he has no objection to Mr. Mueller testifying, the president undercut his attorney general’s position in a tweet, insisting that the special counsel should not appear before Congress.

(CNN) - The  US has suspended its effort to retrieve American remains from North  Korea, an effort that has long been touted by President Donald Trump as  evidence of the success of his first Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un. The  US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency told CNN that the effort was  suspended due to a lack of communication from North Korean officials  following the second summit between the two leaders in Hanoi earlier this year.
"DPRK  officials have not communicated with DPAA since the Hanoi Summit,"  Chuck Prichard, a spokesman for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency  said. "As a result, our efforts to  communicate with the Korean People's Army regarding the possible  resumption of joint recovery operations for 2019 has been suspended," he  added.

President Trump is defending the practice of using tax shelters as a "sport," after the New York Times released a massive report  detailing how he lost roughly $1 billion over a decade in the 1980s and  1990s, more than nearly any other American over that timer period. The president — who prides himself on being a dealmaker and businessman and authored the "Art of the Deal"  during that same time period — took to Twitter to defend his reported  massive losses while also claiming the information the Times reported  was a "highly inaccurate Fake News hit job." The president's personal  attorney cited in the Times' story could not cite a single specific data  point the Times got wrong. "Real estate developers in the 1980's  & 1990's, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive  write-offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building,  show losses and tax losses in almost all cases," Mr. Trump tweeted  Wednesday morning. "Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered 'tax  shelter,' ... you would get it by building, or even buying. You always  wanted to show losses for tax purposes....almost all real estate  developers did - and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport.  Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate  Fake News hit job!"

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed fresh sanctions targeting Tehran as both countries escalate their rhetoric over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The White House announced sanctions on the steel, iron, aluminum and copper sectors of the country hours after Iran said it would stop complying with certain parts of the Obama-era nuclear agreement. President Trump's executive order imposing new sanctions on Tehran also came on the one-year anniversary of his announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the nuclear deal. "It remains the policy of the United States to deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of Iran's malign influence in the Middle East," Trump said in the order released Wednesday. "It is also the policy of the United States to deny the Iranian government revenue, including revenue derived from the export of products from Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, that may be used to provide funding and support for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups and networks, campaigns of regional aggression, and military expansion." The sanctions could impact other countries conducting trade with Iran, and Trump warned in a statement that the executive order "puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated."

The House speaker's remark came as the congressional showdown with the president over executive privilege escalated sharply. WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is “becoming self-impeachable” because of his administration's noncompliance with subpoenas and other requests by House chairs. “The point is that every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas. ... Every single day, the president is making a case — he’s becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things that he is doing,” she said at a Washington Post Live event in Washington.

The  State Senate passed bills to create a path to release Mr. Trump’s state  tax returns, and to curtail the impact of presidential pardons in New  York. Taking aim at President Trump, New York lawmakers voted on Wednesday to allow congressional committees to seek the president’s tax returns and to close a potential loophole for those he might pardon. The  two bills passed by the Democratic-controlled State Senate do not  explicitly mention President Trump, but there was little question that  he was the focus of both efforts. One  bill would eliminate the so-called double jeopardy loophole that gives  individuals who have been pardoned at a federal level indemnity from New  York State prosecutors. Its sponsor, Senator Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat  from Long Island, said the bill would address “wanton threats of the use  of the pardon power” by Mr. Trump. The other bill would authorize the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return requested by a leader of one of three congressional committees for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.” The  vote on the bills broke mostly along party lines with Democrats  delivering the votes to secure its passage. The bills are expected to be  discussed internally on Monday by the State Assembly, also led by  Democrats, and are considered likely to pass there as well.

WASHINGTON — President Trump asserted executive privilege on Wednesday in an effort to shield hidden portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report and the evidence he collected from Congress. The assertion, Mr. Trump’s first use of the secrecy powers as president, came as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning to recommend the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena for the same material. “This is to advise you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials,” a Justice Department official, Stephen E. Boyd, wrote Wednesday morning, referencing not only the Mueller report but the underlying evidence that House Democrats are seeking. Mr. Barr released a redacted version of the special counsel’s 448-page report voluntarily last month. But Democrats say that is not good enough, and they have accused the attorney general of stonewalling a legitimate request for material they need to carry out an investigation into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by Mr. Trump.

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday defended the more than $1 billion he reported in business losses between 1985 and 1994, a previously undisclosed amount revealed in a New York Times investigation, as a best practice that other real estate developers had also used. Yet even as he tried to explain in a pair of Twitter posts that showing “losses for tax purposes” was considered a “sport” among real estate developers like himself, the president also said The Times’s account was “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!” It was not immediately clear what specifically in The Times investigation Mr. Trump disputed. The article reported the staggering figure of $1.17 billion in losses between 1985 and 1994, an amount calculated from 10 years of his tax information obtained by The Times. It also raised questions about the image that Mr. Trump presented of himself, and whether he is a tarnished, not triumphant, businessman. In some years, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than any other single taxpayer among an I.R.S. sampling of high earners. Mr. Trump has portrayed himself as a self-made billionaire and master deal maker. The new details about the president’s steep financial losses provide the fullest picture yet of his taxes. And his defense of the losses that he reported in the 1980s and 1990s will fuel House Democrats in their fight to get his tax returns for the past six years.

"I don't think I personally have any evidence of that sort," Wray said when asked if illegal surveillance had occurred. FBI Director Chris Wray said Tuesday that he would not  describe the federal government's surveillance, such as that conducted  on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, as "spying," as Attorney  General William Barr has. During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Wray was asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., about Barr's statement last month that "spying did occur" on the Trump campaign. "I  was very concerned by his use of the word spying, which I think is a  loaded word," Shaheen said. "When FBI agents conduct investigations  against alleged mobsters, suspected terrorists, other criminals, do you  believe they're engaging in spying when they're following FBI  investigative policies and procedures?"

President Donald Trump has pardoned Michael Behenna, a former Army officer who was convicted of murder for the killing of an Iraqi prisoner in 2008, the White House announced Monday night. Behenna was sentenced to 25 years in prison and was released on parole in 2014 after serving five years. His case has been championed by a number of influential people, including former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and more than 30 retired generals and admirals.
In 2008, U.S. forces captured Ali Mansur, a suspected al-Qaida member, after a roadside bomb killed two American soldiers in a convoy traveling north of Baghdad, according to the Washington Post. An intelligence report linked Mansur to the attack, but the military couldn’t conclusively prove his involvement and was forced to free him.

Wall Street’s top investment banks are preparing clients for the worst possible trade war outcomes as the U.S. prepares to ratchet up its tariffs on goods imported from China, telling clients to “fasten your seatbelt and don’t hold your breath.” Strategists from UBS to Bank of America detailed their worst case scenarios for the U.S., Chinese and European stock markets, with all forecasting more selling if Washington can’t remedy its trade spats around the world. Market jitters stemming from an escalated trade fight between the globe’s two largest economies could be so bad that is could send the S&P 500 in a correction, wrote UBS strategist Keith Parker. In that bear case scenario, Parker added, European markets and cyclical U.S. sectors including metals, mining and automobiles could be in for the most pain.

(CNN) - The White House has instructed former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, teeing up the latest in a series of escalating oversight showdowns between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats. McGahn's decision not to comply with the subpoena could push Nadler to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress, just as he's moving to do with Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department defied a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence. Nadler issued a subpoena to McGahn for documents and testimony related to the committee's obstruction of justice investigation, setting a Tuesday deadline for McGahn to turn over documents and proposing a May 21 hearing date. McGahn's attorney William Burck told Nadler in a letter Tuesday that McGahn was deferring to the White House's position that it maintains control of the documents Nadler had set a Tuesday deadline for McGahn to turn over.

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department  said on Monday that it would not release President Trump’s tax returns  to Congress, defying a request from House Democrats and setting up a  legal battle likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, wrote in a letter  to Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and the  chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, that Mr. Neal’s request  for the tax returns “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” and that he  was not authorized to disclose them. The decision came after weeks of  delays as Mr. Mnuchin said that his department and the Justice  Department needed to study the provision of the tax code that Democrats  were using to seek six years’ worth of the president’s personal and  business tax returns. The request for Mr. Trump’s taxes is the latest instance of the Trump administration rebuffing congressional oversight efforts.

First it was the former White House counsel. Now it is special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. In both cases, President Trump — seemingly petrified of witnesses concerning a report in which he claims to have been exonerated — has tried to suppress testimony from those with the most damning evidence of Trump’s obstruction of justice. The Post reports, “President Trump said Sunday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should not testify before Congress, reversing course from his previous position that the decision is up to Attorney General William P. Barr. ‘Bob Mueller should not testify,’ Trump said in an afternoon tweet. ‘No redos for the Dems!’” The House Judiciary Committee is seeking to have Mueller testify on May 15.

Washington (CNN) - Hundreds of former Justice Department officials said in an open letter released Monday that President Donald Trump would be facing multiple felony charges stemming from the Russia investigation if he were not President. The letter posted online by Justice Department alumni, who served under presidents from both parties, said the report from special counsel Robert Mueller contained repeated instances of Trump committing obstruction of justice, and that he would have been charged with obstruction if he was not protected as President by an opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that Mueller cited. "We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report," the letter read. The letter was posted to Medium and said it was being updated by the group Protect Democracy, a nonprofit group that has combated the Trump administration. CNN has reached out to Protect Democracy regarding the letter. The letter was signed by officials from a wide-range of backgrounds, and included former US attorneys and other top officials from both parties. The Washington Post, which previously reported on the letter, which said signatories to the letter included officials whose time in government included every administration since President Dwight Eisenhower.

“We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report," the former federal prosecutors said in a statement. President Donald Trump would have been indicted for obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation if he did not hold the nation’s highest office, more than 370 former federal prosecutors argued in an open letter publish on Medium on Monday. The ex-prosecutors — who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower — said Attorney General William Barr's decision not to charge Trump with obstruction "runs counter to logic and our experience." The letter added, “Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.” “We believe strongly that, but for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report," the letter continued.

“His assertion generally that the Chinese are paying these tariffs is just simply nonsense. It’s a complete misunderstanding of how tariffs work," said one senior economist. In threatening an escalation of a trade war with China over the weekend, President Donald Trump asserted that the tariffs already in place have boosted the economy. “These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results,” he tweeted on Sunday. Economists disagree.
“It’s pretty hard to justify the argument that tariffs have strengthened the economy,” said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America. “In the first quarter GDP report, there was a very sharp reduction in imports. Of course that makes GDP look bigger, so that would be a result of the tariffs coming into play. However, that is not a way to grow an economy,” he said. "The economy has done well in spite of the tariffs,” said Michael O. Moore, a professor of economics and international affairs at George Washington University. Moore said the domestic economy is thriving because of other Trump administration initiatives like deregulation and a big corporate tax cut, along with low interest rates.

Stocks tumbled Monday after President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The development comes amid ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China. Goldman Sachs noted that Mr. Trump's action suggests the U.S. has reached a "sticking point" in negotiations. The Dow fell more than 350 points, or 1.3 percent, in the first 10 minutes of trading Monday. Other indices also dropped, including the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite, where companies like Apple, Qualcomm and Broadcom, which  rely heavily on Chinese business, took especially big hits, falling more than 3 percent each in early trading. According to data provider FactSet, 64.7 percent of Qualcomm's revenue comes from China. Broadcom's Chinese revenue is 48 percent of its total and Apple gets nearly one-fifth of its revenue from world's second largest economy.   

President Trump said Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller should not testify before Congress — reversing his position from days ago, when he said he'd defer to Attorney General William Barr. Across two tweets, Mr. Trump wrote, "why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller...to testify. Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion?" Mr. Trump added, "Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!" Mr. Trump's tweet came soon after Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, announced that he is working on arranging Mueller's testimony. The Rhode Island congressman said he is hoping to bring Mueller in on May 15, but a date hasn't been confirmed.

Last month, the White House complained to Attorney General William Barr about special counsel Robert Mueller's findings.

President Trump described his hour-long phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to reporters on Friday, and said the leader “sort of smiled” when they discussed the Mueller Report. “He said it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse, but he knew that because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever,” Trump said. In his report, Mueller concluded that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election in a “sweeping” fashion but did not find that the Trump campaign colluded with them. When asked whether he thought Mueller should testify before Congress, Trump said that it was up to Attorney General William Barr, who is doing a “fantastic job.” The president also said they talked about the presidential crisis in Venezuela. Putin told him he was “not looking at all to get involved” in the situation, he said. The Kremlin later released their own readout of the call, which made no mention of the Mueller Report.

President Donald Trump doesn't want former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress, telling Fox News' Catherine Herridge, "It's done." "Congress shouldn't be looking anymore," Trump said in a Thursday-night interview. "This is all. It's done." "Nobody has ever done what I've done," he continued. "I've given total transparency. It's never happened before like this. They shouldn't be looking anymore. It's done." McGahn, who spent 30 hours testifying be special counsel Robert Mueller's office, featured largely in Mueller's findings on potential obstruction of justice — which made up one of two volumes in Mueller's full report on the Russia investigation.

(CNN) - In an interview with Fox News' Catherine Herridge Thursday night, President Donald Trump was asked about the Mueller report and the possibility of former and current aides being called before Congress to testify amid ongoing oversight investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
"Nobody has ever done what I've done," Trump replied. "I've given total transparency. It's never happened before like this."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the two leaders spoke by phone for an hour on Friday. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke Friday and both agreed "there was no collusion" between Moscow and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. Sanders said that the two briefly discussed special counsel Robert Mueller's report "essentially in the context of that it's over and there was no collusion." She added that she was "pretty sure both leaders were very well aware of (the Mueller report's finding) long before this call took place" because it was "something we've said for the better part of two and a half years."

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump's outside-the-box picks for administration posts have long contributed to the allure of his "drain the swamp" mantra. Yet for many of those selections, a life spent outside the "box" -- paired with the President's own rush to name his nominees before they are properly vetted -- have proven ill-fated. Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, two of his picks to sit on the board of the Federal Reserve, have withdrawn their names from contention when it became clear their backgrounds were too pocked even for many Republicans. Dr. Ronny Jackson, his choice to run the Veterans Affairs department, was felled by allegations he improperly dispensed medication in his role as the President's physician. Heather Nauert, who Trump elevated to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations, withdrew because a nanny she employed didn't have proper work papers.

Their hopes hang on whether or not the Supreme Court will ignore precedent. Here’s a pro tip for lawyers: if you are going to ask a court to fundamentally alter the balance of power between the legislative branch and the judiciary, it’s a good idea to accurately describe any Supreme Court cases you rely upon. It’s a bad idea to tell the court that a case that absolutely eviscerates your legal argument is the best thing you have going for you. Earlier this month, two House committees issued subpoenas asking two banks to turn over financial records concerning President Donald Trump, his businesses, and his immediate family that helps run those businesses. At least one of these banks, Deutsche Bank, says it will comply with these subpoenas on Monday unless a court orders them not to. So, of course, Trump sued, seeking just such a court order. The case is Trump v. Deutsche Bank.

President Trump has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to keep two banks from responding to congressional subpoenas, setting up a legal showdown with Democrats eager to investigate his finances. The president, his three oldest children and his business, The Trump Organization, say the investigations by the House intelligence and Financial Services committees are overbroad and serve no purpose beyond harassment. and Chairman Adam Schiff of the intelligence committee said the suit was "only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible." "As a private businessman, Trump routinely used his well-known litigiousness and the threat of lawsuits to intimidate others, but he will find that Congress will not be deterred from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities," the statement said.

President Donald Trump has proposed the introduction of a fee for migrants seeking asylum in the US, outlining the policy in a memorandum released Monday. The White House said the president issued the memorandum to the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, to ensure that "legitimate asylum seekers can access asylum while more efficiently processing and removing illegal migrants who are not eligible and do not qualify." Among the series of new measures the president lays out in the memorandum is the imposition of "fees for asylum applications and work permit applications." Monday's memorandum did not outline how much migrants might be charged to claim asylum. Other proposals include setting a time limit of 180 days to process all asylum applications and barring migrants from working if they entered the US illegally. Officials have 90 days to shape the directives into workable regulations.

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump on Monday accused the New York attorney general's office of illegally investigating the National Rifle Association and called on the group, which has been roiled by a leadership fight, to "get its act together quickly." "The NRA is under siege by (New York Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State's legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others," Trump wrote in a tweet. "It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS - FAST!" On Saturday, New York Attorney General Letitia James' office announced in a statement it had launched an investigation into the NRA and had issued subpoenas to the organization, but did not confirm what the probe was in regard to. The investigation comes after a dispute between the group's president, Oliver North, and chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, in which North accused LaPierre of financial misconduct, including the improper use of $200,000 of NRA funds to purchase clothing from an NRA vendor, according to the Wall Street Journal. - Sorry Donnie you are wrong once again, it is the job of the attorney general to investigate criminal activity.

Long known as a law-and-order prosecutor, Atty. Gen. William Barr is under fire from critics who say he acted more as a partisan advocate for President Trump than an impartial law enforcement officer when he released the special counsel report into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. In scheduled back-to-back congressional hearings this week, Democrats will have their first chance to grill Barr since he stood at the Justice Department podium on April 18 and repeatedly declared that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had found no “collusion” between Trump and the Kremlin-backed operation. Trump has relentlessly made that claim in tweets and speeches, although Mueller’s report avoided using the term “collusion,” explaining that it is not a crime or even a term recognized in federal law. Two weeks earlier, Barr also went further than Mueller in a letter to Congress by saying Trump hadn’t obstructed justice by attempting to interfere with the investigation. In fact, Mueller did not make a recommendation on the issue, saying it was up to Congress to act or for prosecutors to consider after Trump leaves office.

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said Sunday that President Trump likely would be indicted on obstruction of justice if he were not president.
"I’ve been a prosecutor for nearly 30 years, and I can tell you I’ve personally prosecuted obstruction cases on far, far less evidence than this," Yates, whom Trump fired after she refused to defend his travel ban targeting several majority-Muslim countries, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I believe if he were not the president of the United States, he would likely be indicted on obstruction," she added. Yates's comments come after special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report on the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election was released to the public. The probe did not uncover evidence of coordination between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin. Mueller and his team did not come to a conclusion on the issue of obstruction of justice, instead detailing 10 potential instances and deferring on a judgment.

The Mueller Report contains a case against the president as strong as many we saw working as federal prosecutors. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is 448 pages long, full of shocking conduct and detail that has prompted non-stop discussion since it was released last week. But one thing seems indisputable from our perspective as former federal prosecutors looking at the evidence laid out by the report: If Donald Trump were not now president he would have been indicted on multiple counts of obstruction of justice. And that case would be as strong, if not stronger, than many we saw working in New York and Chicago, respectively. Justice Department policy prohibits the prosecution of a president while in office, but nothing forbids one from being charged after leaving the White House. The Mueller Report even noted one reason to investigate the president was to preserve evidence for possible future use even though Trump can’t be charged now. And Mueller collected a stunning array of evidence that clearly shows that from 2017 until 2019, Trump engaged in a persistent pattern to try to end, or at least limit the scope of, investigations surrounding him and his family.

Attorney General William Barr has warned House Democrats that he might not appear as scheduled this week in front of the Judiciary Committee, The Hill has confirmed. Barr has told Democrats they need to change the proposed format for the hearing, CNN first reported Sunday, citing an unidentified source. In addition to five minutes of questioning for each member of the committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the committee, has proposed an additional round that would allow for each side to question Barr for 30 minutes, a source said. That round of questioning also would allow the committee counsels for both parties to question Barr. Nadler also has proposed having the committee enter a closed session to discuss redacted sections of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, the source added. Barr has rejected the additional rounds of questioning, but it's possible he and Democrats could reach a deal before Thursday, when the hearing is scheduled. The Department of Justice did not immediately return a request for comment. Lawmakers are expected to grill Barr on the Mueller report, which was made public earlier this month.

In his first tweet on Saturday morning, President Donald Trump ignored the first player picked in the NFL draft, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, who is black, to praise the number two pick -- a white player with a history of racist tweets. In his tweet, Trump skipped over the Heisman Trophy winner to celebrate Ohio State's Nick Bosa -- who missed most of the 2018 season -- for being picked second. "Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft. You will be a great player for years to come, maybe one of the best. Big Talent! San Francisco will embrace you but most importantly, always stay true to yourself. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" he tweeted. According to to the San Franciso Chronicle,"Bosa recently deleted tweets in which he called Colin Kaepernick a 'clown,' referred to Beyonce’s music as 'complete trash' and called 'Black Panther' the worst Marvel movie. On Thursday, the website Blacksportsonline posted threads showing Bosa following and liking accounts that feature white nationalist posts. The twitter feed @rzstprogramming showed Bosa retweeted a tweet referring to 'crappernick.'"

One  of the nation's top law enforcement officials said Moscow's meddling in  the past has been a 'dress rehearsal' for the 2020 presidential  contest. Russian efforts to influence American public opinion are not  confined only to periods around elections, FBI Director Chris Wray said  Friday. "It's pretty much a 365-days-a-year threat. And that has absolutely continued," Wray said. The  FBI chief said it consists of constant use of social media, with "fake  news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spin us up, pit us  against each other, sow divisiveness and discord, and undermine  Americans' faith in democracy." That effort "was at full  speed" during the 2018 midterm elections, he said. But the U.S. did not  detect any material interference from Moscow during the midterms with  either the election or the campaign infrastructure. In an  appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Wray  said social media companies "have made enormous strides" in identifying  and shutting down Russia's social media efforts. "But we recognize our adversaries will keep upping their game. 2018 was just a dress rehearsal for 2020," he said.

The Trump administration has agreed to allow a former White House personnel security director, who House Democrats threatened with contempt, to testify on May 1 — a de-escalation move after President Trump said he would ignore “all the subpoenas.” White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone sent a letter Friday to Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, saying that Carl Kline, the former White House personnel security director, would answer questions for the panel’s investigation of security clearance issues in an on-the-record interview next week. The White House had blocked Kline from showing up for a subpoenaed deposition earlier this week, leading Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) to announce that he’d hold Kline in contempt for ignoring a compulsory Hill summons.

“Trump’s opacity is moving some members into the impeachment camp,” one Democratic lawmaker tells The Daily Beast. “Translation: it’s always the cover-up that gets ‘em.” Donald Trump’s declaration this week that his administration will stonewall “all the subpoenas” from Congress has pushed House Democrats to rethink their impeachment calculus. Top Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said the party will consider impeachment only after doing due diligence—like hearing from key figures like Special Counsel Robert Mueller, obtaining the documents he used in his investigation, and more. But the White House’s plans to indefinitely stiff-arm their requests for documents and testimony, combined with the instances of alleged obstruction already laid out in Mueller’s report, is complicating that plan— and may drag House Democrats toward impeachment as an appropriately forceful way to respond to the administration’s conduct. “I think the combination of the chilling depictions in the Mueller Report and Trump’s opacity is moving some members into the impeachment camp,” said one Democratic lawmaker. “Translation: it’s always the cover-up that gets ‘em.”

President Trump on Friday responded to a report that he approved a $2 million bill presented by North Korea to cover the medical costs for Otto Warmbier, an American college student who fell into a coma in North Korean custody and died shortly after being returned home after spending 17 months in a Pyongyang prison. “No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else,” Trump tweeted. “This is not the Obama Administration that paid 1.8 Billion Dollars for four hostages, or gave five terroist hostages plus, who soon went back to battle, for traitor Sgt. Bergdahl!” On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that a $2 million invoice was presented to U.S. State Department envoy Joseph Yun hours before Warmbier was flown out of Pyongyang in a coma on June 13, 2017. The 22-year-old died six days later near his parents’ home in Ohio.

BEIJING — North Korea issued a $2 million bill for the hospital care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, insisting that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay it before being allowed to fly the University of Virginia student home from Pyongyang in 2017. The presentation of the invoice — not previously disclosed by U.S. or North Korean officials — was extraordinarily brazen even for a regime known for its aggressive tactics. But the main U.S. envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions passed down from President Trump, according to two people familiar with the situation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The bill went to the Treasury Department, where it remained — unpaid — throughout 2017, the people said. However, it is unclear whether the Trump administration later paid the bill, or whether it came up during preparations for Trump’s two summits with Kim Jong Un.

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. director warned anew on Friday about Russia’s continued meddling in American elections, calling it a “significant counterintelligence threat.” The bureau has shifted additional agents and analysts to shore up defenses against foreign interference, according to a senior F.B.I. official. The Trump administration has come to see that Russia’s influence operations have morphed into a persistent threat. The F.B.I., the intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security have made permanent the task forces they created to confront 2018 midterm election interference, senior American national security officials said. “We recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, said Friday in a speech in Washington, citing the presence of Russian intelligence officers in the United States and the Kremlin’s record of malign influence operations. “So we are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020,” he said.

President Donald Trump  on Friday called Robert E. Lee a  “great general” as he defended his  comments about a deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville,  Virginia, one day after former Vice President Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign by citing Trump’s response to the events.
Speaking  to reporters outside the White House on Friday, Trump was asked if he  still believed that there were  “very fine people on both sides” of the  Aug. 11-12 rallies and counterprotests, during which civil rights  activist Heather Heyer was killed by a Nazi sympathizer who drove his  car into a crowd. The perpetrator, James Alex Fields Jr., was found guilty of first degree murder and several other crimes in December.
 “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly  about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general,” Trump told  reporters Friday.

It took Attorney General William Barr only one week from the  release of the Mueller report to bring obstruction of justice charges  against two governmental officials for interfering in a federal  investigation. But the charges have nothing to do with the special  counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the election or the  possible obstruction of that investigation. Although the obstruction charges DOJ filed are not related to  the Mueller report, they underscore just how far the attorney general  bent over backward to spin the report in the president’s favor and how  partisan the Department of Justice has become. The disparities between  the two cases highlight how the Department of Justice, under Barr’s  leadership, has become nothing more than a political arm of the Trump  administration, particularly in its handling of possible obstruction  charges stemming from the Mueller report.         

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has been criticized for his role in the very pro-Trump tilt the Department of Justice has given the Mueller Report, once vowed to Trump that he was “on his team” and could guarantee Mueller treated him “fairly,” the Washington Post reported Friday.
“I give the investigation credibility,” Rosenstein reportedly said, according to one official familiar with the conversation who talked to the Post. “I can land the plane.”         

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday teed off on the Obama administration’s handling of Russian election interference and hit back at critics of the Russia probe in his first public remarks since special counsel Robert Mueller’s report dropped last week.  - I guess Rod Rosenstein forget McConnell Refused To Sign Bipartisan Statement On Russian Interference

Trump tells gun lobby he intends to revoke status of US as a signatory of the treaty, which wasn't ratified by Senate. US President Donald Trump announced on Friday at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting that the United States will drop out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama but opposed by the NRA and other conservative groups. Trump told members of the gun lobby that he intends to revoke the status of the US as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty, which was never ratified by the US Senate. "We're taking our signature back," Trump said to thousands of cheering attendees, many wearing red hats emblazoned with the Republican president's "Make America Great Again" slogan. The NRA has long opposed the treaty which regulates the $70bn business in conventional arms and seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers. The lobbying group argues it would undermine domestic gun rights, a view the Obama administration rejected.

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump weighed in on the recent measles outbreak in the United States, appearing to do an about-face on his previous claims linking child vaccinations to autism. "They  have to get the shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is  really going around now. They have to get their shots," Trump told CNN's  Joe Johns on Friday when asked what his message is for parents. Measles cases in the United States have surpassed the highest number on record since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide in 2000.

It may be risky politically, but Congress has a responsibility to act. The decision facing the House Democrats over whether to proceed with an impeachment of President Trump is both more difficult and more consequential than the discussion of it suggests. The arguments offered by House leaders, in particular Speaker Nancy Pelosi, against it are understandable, including that impeachment could invite a wrenching partisan fight; render the party vulnerable to the charge that it’s obsessed with scoring points against Mr. Trump; and distract Democrats from focusing on legislation of more interest to voters. But the Democrats would also run enormous risks if they didn’t hold to account a president who has clearly abused power and the Constitution, who has not honored the oath of office and who has had a wave of campaign and White House aides plead guilty to or be convicted of crimes. The argument that the Democratic House wouldn’t be able to focus on substantive legislation is the flimsiest rationale. It did so in 1974 while the House Judiciary Committee was considering the impeachment of Richard Nixon. It seems clear that what the Democratic leaders are actually worried about is public relations. The press no doubt would focus on that sexier subject.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to involve the Supreme Court if Democrats try to impeach him over special counsel Robert Mueller's findings in the Russia investigation. But he did not explain how he might do that. Democrats said Trump is fearful of what Congress might find out about his conduct. Attorneys noted that impeachment is a political process in the domain of Congress, and the courts probably would not entertain a challenge to it. "The Mueller report paints a picture of Trump constantly told by aides, lawyers, and other officials that much of what he did was wrong," tweeted Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. "As this tweet makes clear, he has learned nothing." - Is Donald J. trump that dumb congress has to the right to investigate and to impeach.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday Congress can impeach anyone they want “for the reasons set forth in the Constitution and the courts have no say in it," responding to President Trump's pledge that he would go all the way to the Supreme Court if the “partisan” Democrats try to impeach him. Napolitano made the statement on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, the morning after President Trump vowed to go all the way to the Supreme Court, asserting there are “no crimes by me at all” following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Napolitano weighed in on Thursday, saying: “The bottom line is, there’s nothing he can do about it because impeachment is political. There has to be a legal basis for it. Treason, bribery, and then there’s that fudgy phrase, other high crimes, and misdemeanors.” “When Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were the subject of articles of impeachment the high crimes and misdemeanors included obstruction of justice. So we know historically obstruction of justice can be a basis for impeachment but the courts won't get involved.”

(CNN) - The White House has instructed a former official who was in charge of the security clearance process to not comply with a House subpoena demanding his appearance for an interview, the latest move by the Trump administration to thwart Democratic-led investigations into all aspects of the presidency. After a day of tense negotiations, the White House late Monday told the former official, Carl Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, to not appear at Tuesday's deposition, contending that Democrats were seeking access to confidential information that should be off limits. The move raises the prospect that the House Oversight Committee could seek to hold Kline in contempt, a step that Chairman Elijah Cummings warned Monday he would take. And it's the latest White House effort to stonewall Democratic investigations, coming the same day the Trump Organization filed a lawsuit to prevent an accounting firm from complying with Cummings' subpoena for President Donald Trump's past financial records.

Washington (CNN) - Attempted Russian interference in US public affairs has continued as Department of Homeland Security officials and senior leaders have alerted the White House about the risks ahead of the 2020 presidential election -- but it was "like pulling teeth" to get the White House to pay attention, a US government official told CNN Wednesday. Officials have "spent months and months trying to sound alarm at the White House about the need to take foreign interference more seriously and elevate the issue," the official said, adding that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats shared those views and feels the administration "was not being forward-leaning enough in notifying Congress and the American people." Other than one or two principals' meetings before the midterm elections -- and one press conference in which national security adviser John Bolton, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone warned the public of election interference -- "in general, senior White House staff felt it wasn't a good idea to bring up issues related to Russia in front of the President," the government official said.

In his rollout of the special counsel’s report, Attorney General  William Barr painted the Trump White House as a willing participant in  all key respects during Robert Mueller’s nearly two year probe. "The White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s  investigation," Barr said at an April 18 press conference prior to the  release of Mueller report. The report found the Trump campaign did not illegally conspire with  Russia. While Mueller declined to reach a legal judgment as to whether  the president obstructed justice, Barr and his deputy concluded Trump  did not. But Mueller completed his report without the Trump White House’s full  cooperation — and Barr’s claim to the contrary is simply wrong. Not  only did Trump refuse an in-person interview and supply written  responses that Mueller found "inadequate," but the president also tried  on multiple occasions to shut down or curtail the investigation itself.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday he doesn't recall instructing aides to keep discussions about election security off President Donald Trump’s radar, after The New York Times reported Mulvaney had said the topic "should be kept below his level.” The Times reported that the subject of Russian election meddling was such a sensitive subject for the president that in one meeting the acting chief “made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory.” A senior administration official told the Times that Mulvaney said discussing efforts to secure the 2020 presidential election with Trump “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.” "I don't recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting," Mulvaney said in a statement Wednesday, and he said the White House is working to ensure neither Russia nor any other foreign adversary interferes in the 2020 vote.

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump contended Monday that none of his underlings routinely defy his commands, despite numerous examples contained in Robert Mueller's report showing aides ignoring or refusing his dictates. "Nobody disobeys my orders," Trump said during a walkabout on the South Lawn for the annual Easter egg roll. He  was questioned by CNN's Kaitlan Collins about whether he was worried  some of his staff were shrugging off his requests, as depicted by  Mueller, whose full redacted report was made public last week. The  document contained anecdote after anecdote of aides refusing to carry  out some of Trump's demands to short-circuit the special counsel's  investigation. The trend was so marked the report's authors made note of  it in their assessment.

The Trump administration will sharply accelerate its goal of driving Iran’s oil exports to zero, ending sanctions exemptions that it previously granted to some of the Islamic Republic’s biggest customers. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran last May and restored wide-ranging sanctions on the Iranian economy in November. At the time, his administration granted six-month waivers to eight countries that allowed them to continue importing limited quantities of crude oil from Iran. The market widely expected Washington to extend the waivers for five of the countries. However, the administration says that any country still importing oil from Iran will be subject to U.S. sanctions beginning on May 2.

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