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Donald J. Trump White House

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After former FBI Director James Comey testified again Monday before a House panel about the 2016 FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, he talked with reporters outside the room, weighing in on President Trump's recent tweet calling Michael Cohen "a rat." "It undermines the rule of law," Comey said. "This is the president of the U.S. calling a witness who is cooperating with his own Justice Department a 'rat.' Say that again to yourself at home and remind yourself where we ended up. This is not about Republicans and Democrats. This is about — what does it mean to be an American? ...There's a set of values that represent the glue of this country, and they are under attack by things just like that. We have to stop being numb to it." Comey also had harsh criticism for Republican lawmakers, who he urged to "stand up and speak the truth — not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they're not telling it." He added, "Their silence is shameful."

The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at ensuring that minority children are not unfairly disciplined, arguing that the efforts have eased up on punishment and contributed to rising violence in the nation’s schools, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The decision culminates a nearly yearlong effort begun by the Trump administration after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The deaths of 17 students and staff members on Feb. 14 prompted lawmakers in both parties to demand tougher gun laws, but after a brief flirtation with gun control, President Trump abandoned that focus and instead empowered a school safety commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Almost immediately, the commission turned away from guns and instead scrutinized the Obama administration’s school discipline policies, though none of the most high-profile school shootings were perpetrated by black students.

At least six entities linked to President Donald Trump are the focus of investigations, with the possibility of others that have not been made public. CNN's Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul take a closer look.

CNN's SE Cupp breaks down the multiple investigations President Trump is facing in addition to the Mueller probe.

Weeks of devastating legal revelations have left Donald Trump's political career clouded by criminality and his life, presidency and business empire under assault by relentless prosecutors on multiple fronts. Days of court filings, flipped witnesses, damaging disclosures and sentencing hearings over the last month have delivered blows that appear to expose Trump and key associates to deep legal and political jeopardy. But the head-spinning volume of material being churned out by special counsel Robert Mueller and other jurisdictions often also blurs the bigger picture of a presidency beset by a span of scandal that is staggering in its breadth. Simply put, Trump's campaign, transition, inaugural committee and presidency are now under active criminal investigation. His business -- the Trump Organization -- and his defunct charity -- The Trump Foundation are also under investigation (the charity investigation is a civil one). His college -- Trump University -- has already been deemed a fraud. The President himself has been indirectly fingered by New York prosecutors overseen by his own Justice Department of directing criminal attempts to subvert campaign finance laws. Then there is a civil lawsuit brought by Democratic-led states rooted in claims that Trump's refusal to fully disengage from his businesses means he is using his position to profit from deals in his hotel chain that contravene the Constitution.

Mick Mulvaney, named acting White House chief of staff on Friday by President Trump, said in a debate shortly before Election Day 2016 he was supporting Mr. Trump for president even though "he's a terrible human being." The White House chief of staff is one of the most powerful jobs in government. "Yes, I'm supporting Donald Trump. I'm doing so as enthusiastically as I can given the fact that he's a terrible human being," Mulvaney said on Nov. 2, 2016. "But the choice on the other side is just as bad."

The FBI on Friday released a redacted version of the memo that top intelligence officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, used to brief President Donald Trump about the compilation of information detailing his possible connections to Russia -- a document which came to be known as the Trump dossier. The two-page document says, "An FBI source ... volunteered highly politically sensitive information ... on Russian influence efforts aimed at the US presidential election." The document was provided to CNN by the public records advocacy group James Madison Project, which, alongside Politico, had sued for it and received it from the FBI on Friday night following a judge's order. The dossier, which was compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, has been at the center of the political firestorm over probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The investigations, including a special counsel probe, have looked into any potential ties between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion. Mueller probe shows some material contained in the Steele dossier to be true.

Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation. Trump’s private company is contending with civil suits digging into its business with foreign governments and with looming state inquiries into its tax practices. Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference has already led to guilty pleas by his campaign chairman and four advisers. Trump’s inaugural committee has been probed by Mueller for illegal foreign donations, a topic that the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman plans to further investigate next year. Trump’s charity is locked in an ongoing suit with New York state, which has accused the foundation of “persistently illegal conduct.”. The mounting inquiries are building into a cascade of legal challenges that threaten to dominate Trump’s third year in the White House. In a few weeks, Democrats will take over in the House and pursue their own investigations into all of the above — and more.

Mick Mulvaney will become the acting White House chief of staff at the end of the year, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Friday. He most recently served as the Office of Management and Budget director. While Mulvaney was named as an acting chief of staff, he will step down from his role as OMB director, a White House official said. A senior administration official said there is "no time limit" for Mulvaney to remain in the top White House post. Mulvaney could lose the "acting" part of his title if things go well, according to another senior administration official. "It's his to lose," this administration official told CNN. The President's decision to appoint Mulvaney as his chief of staff began to materialize around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, this official said. Trump had been marinating on this idea throughout the day and ultimately decided to pull the trigger because the speculation and bowing out of candidates had begun to get out of hand.

Michael Cohen, President Trump's onetime lawyer and fixer, says his former boss knew it was wrong to order hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who say they had affairs with Trump — but he directed Cohen to do it anyway to help his election chances. Cohen also said in an interview with ABC News that aired Friday that the president's repeated assertions that Cohen is lying about the payments and other aspects of his work for Trump were false. "He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth," Cohen said. "The man doesn't tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds."

President Donald Trump sought the open arms of Twitter and Fox News to creatively explain away inconvenient facts about his legal peril and his promised border wall before GOP senators dragged him back to reality with a rebuke from his own party for ignoring a cold-blooded murder OK'd by a foreign colleague. In Trump's universe, Mexico is already paying for the wall. And the crimes for which Michael Cohen is going to jail aren't crimes after all; they were added to his rap sheet by prosecutors as a dig at Trump. But alternative facts, to borrow the phrase coined by White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway to reject facts they reject without evidence, only go so far. Trump learned their limits Thursday afternoon when Republican senators lobbed at him a resolution condemning Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump had ignored the clear conclusion of the CIA that bin Salman was involved in the killing when he issued an exclamation point-laden official statement last month that it was unproven that Saudi Arabia and its crown prince were complicit. It wouldn't matter anyway, the President said, since Saudi Arabia is buying US military equipment.

A leaked federal study showing that refugees to America brought in $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost in the last 10 years was "banned" by the Trump administration. That study was not "banned"; rather, mention of the fiscal benefits of admitting refugees was excised from it before it was finalized.

Recent revelations in memoranda filed by the government against Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort describe even more widespread and troubling contacts with the Russians. However, since the inception of the Mueller investigation, President Donald Trump, his lawyers, legal pundits on both sides of the aisle, and everyone in between has either claimed or conceded that "collusion" is not a crime. President Trump has tweeted, "Collusion is not a crime. ..." Rudy Giuliani told Fox News, "I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime. ... Collusion is not a crime." Jay Sekulow told The New Yorker, "For something to be a crime, there has to be a statute that you claim is being violated. ... There is not a statute that refers to criminal collusion. There is no crime of collusion." Having worked as a federal prosecutor for 13 years in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, I can report that the President and his lawyers are wrong. Collusion is a crime. The federal criminal code says so. The federal bribery statute -- 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2)(B) -- makes it a federal crime for a public official to "collude" in a fraud on the United States. More specifically, the federal bribery statute expressly states that a crime is committed when a public official "directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value ... in return for ... being influenced to ... collude in ... any fraud ... on the United States." - Trump and the Republicans trying to protect Trump tell us that collusion is not a crime, the federal bribery statute -- 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2)(B) -- makes it a federal crime for a public official to "collude" in a fraud on the United States.

President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that "money we save" from a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada would make good on his long-standing promise to have Mexico pay for a new southern border wall. Trump's highly questionable assertion, in a morning tweet, comes as he is lobbying Congress for $5 billion to help fund construction of the wall and threatening a partial government shutdown if he does not get his way. In recent days, as the debate over the wall has come to the fore, Trump has faced renewed criticism for appearing to have abandoned his campaign pledge to make Mexico pay for it. "I often stated, 'One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall,'" Trump wrote on Twitter. "This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!" Mexican officials have said there was no discussion in the trade-deal negotiations of mechanisms under which Mexico would pay for the wall. And on Thursday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., ridiculed Trump for his assertion. - Now that is just plain stupid, how dumb does Donald J. trump think we are?

Comments by science review board chairman add weight to fears that Trump administration is aiming to discredit research to justify scrapping regulations. A conservative science adviser to the Trump administration is casting doubt on longstanding research linking fossil fuel pollution to early deaths and health problems, worrying environmental experts. At a meeting to review air pollution science compiled by staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency this week the advisory board chairman, Tony Cox – a consultant and statistician who has worked for the industry and criticized EPA standards – questioned whether soot from coal plants and cars can be directly blamed for asthma and cardiopulmonary problems. Cox pushed staffers to specify what percentage of health problems are directly caused by the pollution or are just associated with it, a figure that the US government has not required in order to restrict pollutants that are known to harm people.

Federal prosecutors are examining whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to President Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over American policy, according to people familiar with the inquiry. The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds. The line of questioning underscores the growing scope of criminal inquiries that pose a threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is focusing on whether anyone in the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to tip the 2016 presidential election in Mr. Trump’s favor, while prosecutors in New York are pursuing evidence he secretly authorized illegal payments of hush money to silence accusations of extramarital affairs that threatened his campaign.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said. The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions, some of the people said.

US President Donald Trump has said he never directed his former private lawyer to break the law, a day after he was was sentenced to prison. "He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law." Mr Trump tweeted of Michael Cohen, adding that he pleaded guilty "to embarrass the president". His comments came a day after Cohen received a three-year jail sentence for campaign finance and fraud crimes. Cohen had blamed Mr Trump's influence and "dirty deeds" at his sentencing. In a series of tweets on Thursday, Mr Trump also insisted that he "did nothing wrong" in regards to campaign finance laws. He said Cohen "probably was not guilty" of those campaign violations but pleaded guilty to benefit himself. "As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!"

A new proposal would threaten waterways and drinking-water supplies. On Tuesday, in the Trump administration’s latest assault on the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed rolling back Clean Water Act protections that have helped make America’s rivers and streams fishable and swimmable, in the process threatening drinking-water supplies across the country. Once again, the E.P.A. is disregarding basic science. This latest proposal obscures its harmful effects with legalese that draws dubious distinctions between certain streams even though pollution flows downstream regardless of the legal terminology the agency deploys. This is a thinly veiled effort to slash water pollution protections that have long been embraced by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

New York (CNN Business)Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that they have struck a non-prosecution agreement with National Enquirer parent company American Media Inc., effectively ruling out charges for the tabloid publisher over its role in securing hush money from President Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen. As part of the agreement, AMI admitted to making a payment of $150,000 in cooperation with members of Trump's presidential campaign in order to prevent former Playboy model Karen McDougal's claims of an affair with Trump from being made public during the 2016 race. AMI chairman David Pecker is a longtime friend of Trump's, and the Enquirer was one of Trump's most reliable and enthusiastic media boosters during the campaign. Pecker met with Cohen "and at least one other member of the campaign" in August of 2015, according to the non-prosecution agreement, which was struck with prosecutors from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate's relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided," the agreement read. "Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories."

Incoming New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) told NBC News on Wednesday that she plans to launch an exhaustive investigation into President Trump and his business dealings once she takes office in January. "We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James said. "We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law." James said she plans to probe any illegitimacies concerning Trump's real estate holdings in New York, particularly in light of an October New York Times investigation, which found that Trump participated in "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s that helped him earn additional wealth from his father's real estate business. James said she will also investigate a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, as well as any potential violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. The meeting, along with a number of other events being probed by special counsel Robert Mueller, would fall under James's jurisdiction, NBC News noted. "Taking on President Trump and looking at all of the violations of law I think is no match to what I have seen in my lifetime," she said.James floated the idea of pursuing investigations into the president on the campaign trail.

The company that owns The National Enquirer tabloid will not be prosecuted for its efforts to protect Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. AMI, which owns the tabloid National Enquirer, admitted to making a $150,000 hush money payment, and will cooperate with investigators. AMI chief David Pecker is (was?) a longtime friend of Donald Trump, long before the campaign. Pecker has been granted immunity. He is singing. Trump should be worried. The U.S. Southern District of New York reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, in which the firm admitted it made "catch and kill" payment to Trump's alleged ex-paramour Karen MacDougal. AMI admitted that it paid her “in concert with” the Donald Trump presidential campaign. Said the SDNY prosecutors, “AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.” Prosecutors say AMI admitted “its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

After a Friday memo from federal prosecutors appeared to implicate President Donald Trump in Michael Cohen’s campaign finance crimes related to hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with the president, Trump has maintained that he is not concerned about the possibility of impeachment. “It’s hard to impeach somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country,” Trump told Reuters in an interview Tuesday. He added: “I’m not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened.” Talk of impeachment appeared to boil up again after the release of the memo, which stated as fact that Trump appeared at a meeting with Cohen and National Enquirer President David Pecker to discuss a catch-and-kill payment to Karen McDougal. Cohen has also said that the president directed him to make a hush payment to Stormy Daniels. Both of these payments were found to be criminal. Some Democrats have argued that campaign finance violations could warrant impeachment, but other congressional leaders have expressed doubt that the crimes would be serious enough to justify impeachment proceedings. - Sorry Donnie they will be dancing in streets and singing songs of joy with the hope that criminal Don goes to jail.

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sparred before news cameras over the effectiveness of a southern border wall, at times fact-checking and speaking over one another. While all three leaders said they wanted border security, there was clearly no consensus over how much money they would set aside for Trump’s barrier. Trump said he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security."

President Donald Trump insisted on Tuesday that much of the border wall he wants has already been built and has been "very effective." But he appears to be referring to old border fencing built decades ago. And, despite his hard-line policies and tough rhetoric, border arrests have actually spiked in the past year. Here's a look at what Trump said during a tense meeting with congressional Democrats and why it doesn't match reality.

The Fact Checker has evaluated false statements President Trump has made repeatedly and analyzed how often he reiterates them. The claims included here – which we're calling "Bottomless Pinocchios" – are limited to ones that he has repeated 20 times and were rated as Three or Four Pinocchios by the Fact Checker.

An Oval Office meeting with President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presumptive incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Tuesday spiraled out of control over funding the border wall Tuesday, in what Schumer described as a Trump "temper tantrum." With a potential government shutdown looming less than two weeks away, Pelosi told Mr. Trump, "you will not win" on the border wall. The president demanded border wall funding — and said he's not afraid the shut down the government over it. In fact, he said, he's proud to do so, and will take credit for it. "If we don't get what we want one way or the other ... I will shut down the government," the president said. "And I am proud ... I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck." Minutes before, at the beginning of the meeting, the president had said the opposite: "I'd like not to see a government closing, a shutdown. We will see what happens." Mr. Trump is pushing for $5 billion for his border wall — Democrats don't want to give him much more than $1 billion. Government funding runs out Dec. 21, days before Christmas. - Sorry Don the Con your wall would not have stopped 9/11 nor does it stop right wing domestic terrorist.

The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to unveil a plan that would weaken federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams nationwide from pesticide runoff and other pollutants. Environmentalists say the proposal represents a historic assault on wetlands regulation at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly voiced a commitment to “crystal-clean water.” The proposed new rule would chip away at safeguards put in place a quarter century ago, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, who implemented a policy designed to ensure that no wetlands lost federal protection. “They’re definitely rolling things back to the pre-George H.W. Bush era,” said Blan Holman, who works on water regulations with the Southern Environmental Law Center. Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat. - Donald J. Trump and the GOP are taken away clean water to protect companies and help them make more money.

The Trump administration's relentless efforts to crack down on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers are well known—from the recent deployment of US troops to stop a "caravan" of migrants that hadn't yet reached the border to the president's promise to shut down the government if Congress doesn't approve funding for a border wall. But while these stories occupy the national headlines, a proposal to radically limit legal immigration is quietly barreling through the bureaucratic process of becoming law. On Monday, the public has its last chance to comment on a proposed change to the so-called "public charge rule" under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under the new rule, DHS could also penalize applicants for having bad credit or lots of student loans. On Friday, Boundless sent a letter to DHS opposing the proposed rule. It was signed by 120 business owners, including top executives from tech outfits like General Assembly, Foursquare, TechStars, and MongoDB, among others. "This policy would prevent countless people critical to growing American businesses from living and working here," the letter reads. "

California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday that President Donald Trump could "face the real prospect of jail time" after federal prosecutors said last week that the President directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments during the presidential campaign. "My takeaway is there's a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first President in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time," Schiff, the likely incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS's Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation." The filing Friday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan was the first time prosecutors said Cohen acted at the direction of Trump to make payments during the 2016 campaign to silence two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump prior to his time running for office. In the memo, prosecutors wrote: "In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1." Individual-1 is the term prosecutors have been using to refer to the President.

The Trump administration has shut down at least one government-run study that uses fetal tissue implanted into mice even before federal health officials reach a decision on whether to continue such research, which is opposed by antiabortion groups. A senior scientist at a National Institutes of Health laboratory in Montana told colleagues that the Health and Human Services Department “has directed me to discontinue procuring fetal tissue” from a firm that is the only available source, according to an email he sent to a collaborator in late September. “This effectively stops all of our research to discover a cure for HIV,” the researcher wrote. The research disruptions might extend to a handful of other labs using fetal tissue, all of which are part of NIH, rather than outside research institutions operating on NIH grants, according to an individual familiar with the situation.

If accusations that President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush payments to women who had alleged affairs with Trump prove to be true, Rep. Jerry Nadler said those actions would be impeachable offenses. "They would be impeachable offenses. Whether they're important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question," Nadler, D-New York, said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning. "Certainly, they're impeachable offenses, because, even though they were committed before the President became President, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office." In a sentencing memo on Friday, prosecutors from the Manhattan US attorney's office wrote, "In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1." Individual-1 is the term prosecutors have been using to refer to the President. Friday's court filing was the first time prosecutors said Cohen acted at the direction of Trump to make payments to silence women who claim to have had affairs with Trump prior to his time running for office. Trump has denied the affairs and has not been accused of any crimes related to the payments. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including tax fraud, making false statements to a bank, and campaign-finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including hush payments Cohen made or helped orchestrate.

For the first time, prosecutors have tied President Donald Trump to a federal crime, accusing him of directing illegal hush-money payments to women during his presidential campaign in 2016. The Justice Department stopped short of accusing Trump of directly committing a crime. Instead, they said in a court filing Friday night that Trump told his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make illegal payments to buy the silence of two women — porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — who claimed to have had affairs with Trump and threatened his White House bid. Trump has denied having an affair. Cohen has pleaded guilty to several charges, including campaign finance violations, and is awaiting sentencing. Although Trump hasn't been charged with any crimes, the question of whether a president can even be prosecuted while in office is a matter of legal dispute.

For the first time, federal prosecutors in New York on Friday said that President Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to make two illegal payments during the 2016 presidential campaign. Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York connected Trump to the illegal payments in the latest filing in the case involving his longtime lawyer and fixer. The document states that Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump before the election in steering payments to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women claiming they had affairs with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the affairs. The latest filing does not explicitly name Trump, but makes numerous references to an "Individual-1" who it states in January 2017 "had become the President of the United States" and for whom Cohen worked as a personal attorney. Prosecutors argue that Cohen made the payments for the rights to Daniels and McDougal's stories before the election in order to "suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election." Cohen had previously implicated Trump regarding the payments when he pleaded guilty in August to campaign finance violations, among other counts involving bank and tax fraud. But the filing Friday is the first time prosecutors have also tied Trump to the illegal payments.

Federal prosecutors released sentencing recommendations for two alleged criminals who worked closely with Donald Trump: his lawyer Michael Cohen, and campaign manager Paul Manafort. They are filled with damning details. But the most important passage by far is this, about Trump’s fixer: “Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.” The payments in question, as the document explains, concern a payoff to two women who claimed to have affairs with Trump. The payments, according to prosecutors, were intended to influence the campaign, and thereby constituted violations of campaign finance law. They have not formally charged Trump with this crime — it is a sentencing report for Cohen, not Trump — but this is the U.S. Department of Justice calling Trump a criminal. There is more. Under normal circumstances, the long list of charges federal prosecutors cited against Michael Cohen would be a political catastrophe for President Trump. One of the president’s closest associates turns out to have allegedly committed a long string of crimes, from tax evasion to making false statements to a financial institution, that would besmirch the good name of the man who worked at his side for years. Of course Trump has no good name. But the fact that he is being called a felon by the United States government is a historic step. And it is likely the first of more to come.

The Environmental Protection Agency acted again to ease rules on the sagging U.S. coal industry, this time scaling back what would have been a tough control on climate-changing emissions from any new coal plants. The latest Trump administration targeting of legacy Obama administration efforts to slow climate change comes in the wake of multiplying warnings from the agency's scientists and others about the accelerating pace of global warming. In a ceremony at the agency, acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposal to dismantle a 2015 rule that any new coal power plants include cutting-edge techniques to capture the carbon dioxide from their smokestacks. Wheeler called the Obama rules "excessive burdens" for the coal industry. "This administration cares about action and results, not talks and wishful thinking," Wheeler said. Asked about the harm that coal plant emission do people and the environment, Wheeler responded, "Having cheap electricity helps human health."

Since being fired by President Donald Trump as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson has kept a very low profile. But on Thursday night in Houston, Tillerson broke that silence in a big way. Here's how he described the "why" behind the breakdown of his relationship with the President, according to the Houston Chronicle: "So often, the President would say here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law." Um, what??? The President of the United States would tell the secretary of state how he wanted things done and the secretary of state would have to tell him it couldn't be done the way he wanted because that was illegal? This is all fine! What's scary about Tillerson's admission? A few things. 1) Trump either doesn't know the law or doesn't care about the law. 2) This isn't the first time we've heard of this sort of I-am-the-law, Judge Dredd-like behavior from the President. On that second point, remember that former FBI director James Comey has testified -- under oath -- that Trump, in a one-on-one meeting, asked him to put aside the Justice Department investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The President publicly pressured then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take up an investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server. (Clinton was not charged in a previous FBI investigation.). Time and time again -- particularly in his interactions with the Justice Department -- Trump has shown that he has zero understanding of the limits of his job. Tillerson described Trump as "a man who's undisciplined, doesn't like to read, doesn't read briefing reports, doesn't like to get into the details of a lot of things but rather says 'this is what I believe.'"

The ex-secretary of state also reiterated that ‘there’s no question’ Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sharply criticized his former boss in a wide-ranging interview at the MD Anderson Cancer Center on Thursday night, admitting publicly that President Trump was a “pretty undisciplined” man who “doesn’t like to read” and often had to be reminded about the law. In the rare public appearance since his ouster from Trump’s cabinet, Tillerson told CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer at the Houston event that he had never met Trump until the day he was asked to be secretary of state. According to Tillerson, he repeatedly had to stop Trump from engaging in illegal activity. “So often, the president would say here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it, and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law. It violates treaty,’’ Tillerson said, before reiterating a claim he made before he was ousted on March 13—that “there’s no question” Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Wall Street does not like the mixed messages coming out of the White House on trade. The Dow fell 400 points, or 1.6%, on Friday afternoon. The Nasdaq lost 2%, while the S&P 500 retreated 1.5%. Stocks had been trading higher earlier Friday, but the market turned sharply lower following conflicting messages coming out of the Trump administration about trade. While White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow sounded an optimistic note about China talks on CNBC, trade adviser Peter Navarro was simultaneously warning on CNN of higher tariffs if issues aren't resolved during the 90-day negotiating period. "We've gotten a hodge-podge of mixed messages from people in the same administration," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. "We're not sure who we're supposed to listen to." Worries about the negative consequences of the trade war and hopes for progress have launched Wall Street on a wild ride of late. The US-China ceasefire sent stocks soaring on Monday. But doubts about the truce helped knock the Dow nearly 800 points into the red on Tuesday. And then the Dow plunged 785 points on Thursday before staging a huge comeback. Senior administration officials have alternated between good-cop and bad-cop on the trade front.

Imminent filings in Manafort and Cohen’s cases, plus the former FBI director’s upcoming congressional testimony, apparently put the president on edge. Donald Trump launched an early morning Twitter attack on Robert Mueller’s investigators Friday, hours before the special counsel’s team is set to deliver important court filings in his cases against the president’s former campaign chairman and his longtime legal fixer. The president quickly turned his eight-tweet rant into an analysis of Mueller and his team, who today will drop new public information in the cases of Paul Manafort and and Michael Cohen. James Comey, whom Trump dubbed “Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey,” will also testify before the House intelligence committee today. In total, Trump wrote nearly 300 words lambasting the men responsible for the Trump-Russia investigation over the past two years. “Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest,” Trump began. “And bye the way, wasn’t the woman in charge of prosecuting Jerome Corsi (who I do not know) in charge of “legal” at the corrupt Clinton Foundation? A total Witch Hunt [sic],” Trump continued, referring to Jeannie Rhee, who was appointed by Mueller to join his team.

The threat from President Trump and Republicans to take health care away — including a pending case that would strike down a large part of the law — has hit alarming levels. Yes, the Democrats reclaimed the House. But you should not assume that your health care coverage is now safe. The biggest threat is President Trump himself: His administration has been relentlessly assaulting the Affordable Care Act for two years, and that threat has not abated. Democrats may have made significant electoral gains by running on the protection of the pre-existing-conditions guarantee to insurance, but Republicans apparently aren’t listening. The president and his party remain focused on taking health care away. The administration has instituted administrative rules and guidance letters intended to undermine the insurance markets, trick the healthy into buying junk plans, and leave the less healthy with unaffordable premiums. It has also succeeded in reducing enrollment, making access to health care harder for the poor and immigrant populations and, for the first time in a decade, raising the number of uninsured children. To add insult to injury, it refuses to defend the A.C.A. in a ludicrous lawsuit in Texas — in which it now appears the judge may very well strike down a large part of the law, including the ban on pre-existing conditions. The entire A.C.A. is at stake. Don’t be fooled by the president’s claims that these problems are inherent in Obamacare.

During a discussion about President Trump's tweets praising Roger Stone, CNN's Jake Tapper says the reaction would have been be "explosive" if another recent president had behaved similarly

More than 400 former Justice Department attorneys and staffers called for the removal of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in a statement circulated Tuesday, claiming that his appointment violated the Constitution because he lacked Senate confirmation required of other Cabinet officials. The statement, organized by the government watchdog group Protect Democracy, was signed by the Justice alums, many of whom served both Democratic and Republican administrations. "Because of our respect for our oaths of office and our personal experiences carrying out the department’s mission, we are disturbed by the president’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to serve as Acting Attorney General," the statement read. "Because of the profound responsibilities the position entails and the independence it requires, it can only be filled by someone who has been subjected to the strictest scrutiny under the process required by the Constitution." The opposition statement comes as a number of pending legal actions challenge the temporary replacement for fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Donald Trump has agreed not to escalate his trade war with China, but many other countries have also been affected by the US president's America First trade policy. From Spanish olives to Canadian steel, no corner of the world has been untouched by US trade tariffs - a tax on foreign products - since President Trump entered the White House. Along the way, he has rewritten the rule book for how the US goes about the process of protecting its domestic trade.

The president’s tweets appeared to be evidence of tampering with witnesses. For well over a year now, evidence has steadily accumulated that President Trump may have obstructed justice in connection with the investigation into his 2016 campaign. But Monday, Trump edged closer to an open display of obstruction and witness tampering: He urged potential witnesses against him to refuse to cooperate with law enforcement — and implied threats against those who do. Trump began by publicly attacking Michael Cohen, his former attorney and fixer, who pleaded guilty last week to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Moscow and who has been cooperating with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Trump suggested in a series of tweets not only that Cohen is lying but also that he should receive no benefit for cooperating, as Cohen’s lawyers have requested: “‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? … He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”

Self-dealing and foreign influence were their biggest fears for the presidency. Michael Cohen’s guilty plea for lying to Congress about Donald Trump’s Moscow project prompted a new frenzy of “Did the president commit a crime?” chatter among legal pundits. Finding—or refuting—a smoking gun of criminality has become the singular focus for the president’s supporters and critics alike, and his ex-lawyer’s plea deal has turbocharged the search for evidence that will definitely prove his illegal behavior. The implication is that the federal criminal code is the only arbiter of President Trump’s fitness to remain in office and that special counsel Robert Mueller will have the final say on the matter. As a former FBI agent and lawyer, I sympathize with the temptation to find the statute that will crack open this case. But what matters most here is not found in a criminal law text. It’s a 230-year-old document in the National Archives. Cohen’s guilty plea on Thursday demonstrates that Trump’s behavior is fundamentally incompatible with the vision of government expressed by the Constitution itself. To wit, Trump not only believes it’s OK to profit from the presidency, but he’s also willing to put the U.S. under a foreign adversary’s thumb to do it.

"When you're attacking FBI agents because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing," Sarah Sanders, then a Donald Trump campaign aide, famously said of Hillary Clinton supporters before the 2016 presidential election. Although she has repeatedly struggled with the facts -- and now serves as White House press secretary -- Sanders' apt tweet remains wisdom for the ages. Both President Donald Trump and Sanders have led the charge against special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors investigating the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia and other crimes unearthed in that endeavor. Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a "witch hunt" in an attempt to paint Mueller and his team as a band of corrupt authorities trying to bring down an innocent President. The closer Mueller gets, the more caustic Trump becomes. On Thursday, we saw yet another round of efforts to attack investigators after Michael Cohen, the President's former lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump's business dealings with Russia. While the President has maintained he had "nothing to do with Russia," Cohen told a federal court on Thursday that, acting as Trump's representative, he had been in communication with the Russian government about a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign. Cohen previously told Congress that talks surrounding the project ended before the Iowa caucuses, but they continued for at least six months longer. Faced with the new revelations made public by his lawyer-turned-nemesis, Trump returned to familiar territory and lashed out against his accuser, along with Mueller and the investigation as a whole. He called Cohen a weak liar, while branding Mueller and his team of independent public servants "a total disgrace."

The U.S. Navy has concerns about meeting recruiting targets due to a more stringent policy for green-card holders adopted by the Trump administration, according to a report by The Washington Post. A military official speaking to the newspaper anonymously said there are over 2,800 green-card holders waiting to start basic training. Naval officials called this backlog “untenable” in a document obtained by The Post, adding the situation brings “increasing risk of mission failure.”

The Pentagon will begin sending a backlog of thousands of green-card holders to recruit training, suspending a policy adopted by the Trump administration last year that required more-stringent background checks for some immigrants wanting to serve, according to two defense officials and an internal memo. The policy called for green-card holders to submit to and complete a full background check and respond to any concerns before they could go to boot camp. That was in addition to standard requirements for green-card applicants, such as biometrics screening. The change put thousands of people in limbo, as their screening languished and specific jobs within the military promised to them slipped away.

At the post G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, US President Donald Trump held what the White House called a "very successful meeting" with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and agreed that current US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports of 10% will remain unchanged for 90 days. Tariffs were due to be raised to 25% on January 1. According to the White House, there will be a substantial increase in American exports to China of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products which will reduce the trade deficit in favor of China. The White House statement declares both sides will begin negotiations to resolve differences on forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft. Chinese state media reported Sunday that the two countries had reached "consensus on economic and trade issues" and that "healthy and stable economic and trade relations conform to common interests of the two countries and the whole world." The reality is far more unsettling, especially for China. We are merely entering the next phase of what will be an enduring economic competition between the world's two largest economies. For America, the next 90 days is about assessing testing how much further China is prepared to compromise. For China, it must rethink its fundamental negotiating strategy and time is running out.

President Donald Trump on Monday called for his ex-personal lawyer Michael Cohen to receive a stiff prison sentence for his admitted crimes. Trump accused Cohen of making up "stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself." Trump also accused special counsel Robert Mueller of seeking "lies" from witnesses about Trump, and praised his longtime associate Roger Stone as having the "guts" to withstand pressure from Mueller's prosecutors to "make up stories" about the president. - Donald J. Trump should watch what he says his time will come to pay for his crimes and all the bad things he has said will come back to haunt him as people taunt him with his own words.

"'Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time,'" Trump tweeted on Monday morning. "You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself." He followed that gem up with this: "Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats, don't want the truth, they only want lies. The truth is very bad for their mission!" "He makes up stories." "They only want lies." It's fascinating that one of Trump's preferred lines of attack against his enemies also happens to be his greatest weakness/flaw: Telling the truth (or not). By now, everyone knows -- or should -- that Trump said more than 5,000 things in his first 601 days in office that were either totally false or misleading, according to a count maintained by The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog. What's less known but of critical import is how many people who are (or have been) very close to Trump are now proven-beyond-any-doubt liars. Sharon LaFraniere of The New York Times (you might have heard of it) made that point in a hugely important piece over the weekend. Here's the key bit: "If the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has proved anything in his 18-month-long investigation — besides how intensely Russia meddled in an American presidential election — it is that Mr. Trump surrounded himself throughout 2016 and early 2017 with people to whom lying seemed to be second nature.

President Donald Trump is embracing a former campaign adviser who stated that he won't testify against him as part of Robert Mueller's investigation, while calling for a "full and complete" prison sentence for his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is cooperating with the special counsel. In a series of tweets, Trump said Monday morning that Roger Stone, a Republican political operative and longtime Trump ally, has "guts" for saying that he won't testify against the President. "'I will never testify against Trump.' This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about 'President Trump.; Nice to know that some people still have 'guts!'" Trump tweeted Monday morning. Trump's politically charged tweets came as much of the nation's attention was on the late President George H.W. Bush, whose body was being transported from Houston to Washington, DC, to lie in state in the rotunda of the US Capitol until Wednesday morning. Stone has repeatedly said he won't testify against the President. Most recently, Stone told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that "there's no circumstance under which I would testify against the President because I'd have to bear false witness against him. - What did Donald J. Trump and company do that Trump is so afraid he is openly commit witness tamper it must be really bad.

The Trump administration has authorized five companies to "incidentally, but not intentionally, harass marine mammals" by using seismic air guns to search for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean. It's a decision opposed by environmental groups, who say the blasts could harm marine animals such as humpback whales, and some coastal communities, who fear it could be a precursor to offshore drilling. The authorizations issued by NOAA Fisheries are not the final step, however – the companies must also obtain permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management before they can start exploring. "Despite the massive, widespread and bipartisan opposition, the president is essentially giving these companies permission to harass, harm and potentially kill marine life – all in the pursuit of dirty and dangerous offshore oil," Diane Hoskins, the campaign director on offshore drilling for Oceana, said in a call with reporters.

U.S. law doesn’t allow the government to send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait, seven legal experts tell HuffPost. President Donald Trump’s plan to make Central American asylum-seekers wait in Mexico while their cases move forward contains a fatal flaw, according to half a dozen experts interviewed by HuffPost: The obscure provision of immigration law underlying the plan specifically exempts immigrants from being forced to return to Mexico after applying for asylum. The White House is reportedly close to clinching a deal with Mexico’s incoming government to send asylum-seekers back across the southern U.S. border while their cases wind through America’s beleaguered immigration courts. But even if Mexico’s president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, supports the proposal, the “Remain in Mexico” plan is riddled with legal problems that cast doubt on its feasibility. The Trump administration’s apparent interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act is perhaps the most glaring.

Paul Manafort’s betrayal and double dealing against Robert Mueller and his special counsel team appears to be a desperate ploy designed to achieve a presidential pardon, which will fail, because Trump’s attorneys will advise him in ways similar to what I wrote here. I have long believed that the case for obstruction of justice involving efforts to impede the Mueller investigation is far stronger, based on publicly known evidence, than our public discussion would suggest. Additionally, I would assert that while a president can lawfully pardon almost anyone, for almost any crime, a pardon could also be crucial evidence in support of an obstruction of justice case, and potentially an additional count in an obstruction of justice case. If a pardon is offered to influence a witness in a criminal investigation, that pardon could indeed be a crime. There has been evidence that earlier in the case, Trump’s lawyers discussed a pardon with Manafort’s lawyers. It has been reported as well that Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald McGahn, has spent many hours cooperating with Mueller and his team. Could McGahn have provided evidence about these alleged pardon discussions?

Escalating his attacks on the special counsel investigation, President Trump said on Wednesday that a presidential pardon for his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is “not off the table,” casting him and other subjects of the inquiry as victims of prosecutorial abuse. Although Mr. Trump had not discussed a pardon for Mr. Manafort, “I wouldn’t take it off the table,” he said in an Oval Office interview with The New York Post. “Why would I take it off the table?” He said that prosecutors for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, had poorly treated Mr. Manafort, who was convicted of eight felonies this summer and pleaded guilty to two more. Though Mr. Trump is given to loose promises that go unfulfilled, the suggestion of a pardon was nonetheless remarkable. It came as his rhetorical attacks on Mr. Mueller have grown increasingly provocative — the president tweeted on Wednesday that prosecutors were “viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief” — and as leading Republican senators again thwarted an effort to protect Mr. Mueller from being fired.

The military is leaving the southern border, and the caravan hasn’t even arrived yet. The Pentagon is set to begin a drawdown of its 5,800 troops from the Southwest border as early as this week, the Army commander overseeing the mission told POLITICO today—even as the approaching caravan of refugees prompted U.S. customs officers to close a port of entry near Tijuana, Mexico. All the active-duty troops that President Donald Trump ordered sent to the border before the midterm elections should be home by Christmas, said Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who is running the mission from San Antonio, Texas. In other words, the president spent millions in taxpayer dollars on a stunt that failed completely. Despite the withdrawal, Trump insisted on Sunday that the U.S. is basically under siege, tweeting “the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it,” saying that the caravan “causing crime and big problems in Mexico” and directing the migrants, who we’re sure are checking social media right now to “Go home!”

Black Friday deals could become less appealing after 2018 because of incoming tariffs from President Donald Trump's trade war with China. 2018 has not seen widespread price increases of consumer goods because the tariffs are not all in place yet, and their effects do not immediately filter down to consumers. By this time next year, however, the full effects are likely to be felt. "It's almost like this year and next year are two different worlds," one retail head said. Major outlets have said publicly that their prices are likely to go up soon.  This year could be the last truly cheap Black Friday as long as President Donald Trump maintains his trade war with China. Increased tariffs on Chinese goods so far have not been widely felt by the typical US consumer, and this Black Friday has seen another onslaught of deals. But by this time next year, the consequences of measure including 25% tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods will have made their way to store shelves and hampered retailers' ability to offer rock-bottom prices.

President Trump in an early-morning tweet the day after Thanksgiving demanded funding for a wall at the Southern border as part of a "major border security package." "Republicans and Democrats MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall," Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Republicans and Democrats MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall. After 40 years of talk, it is finally time for action. Fix the Border, for once and for all, NOW!

Turkey's foreign minister has criticized President Trump, saying the U.S. leader appears to want to "turn a blind eye" to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. Mevlut Cavusoglu also described many European nations' response to Khashoggi's killing as "artificial" and "cosmetic." Cavusoglu was referring to bans imposed by some countries on the Saudi citizens detained in Saudi Arabia over the killing, from entering European nations. Cavusoglu spoke to Turkey's CNN-Turk television on Friday. Mr. Trump on Thursday disputed that U.S. intelligence officials had concluded that Saudi crown prince had ordered the killing of Khashoggi - a U.S.-based journalist who was critical of his rule. Cavusoglu says "Trump's statements amount to him saying 'I'll turn a blind eye no matter what.'" He added: "Money isn't everything. We must not move away from human values."

President Donald Trump struck a nakedly political tone during a Thanksgiving call with US service members stationed around the world as he steered the conversation toward controversial political topics. Speaking with a US general in Afghanistan, Trump likened the fight against terrorists to his efforts to prevent a group of migrants from illegally entering the United States, and he assailed federal judges who have ruled against his administration. The President also pressed the commanding officer of a Coast Guard ship in Bahrain on trade before touting his trade policies and arguing that "every nation in the world is taking advantage of us. US Presidents have traditionally called troops stationed abroad during the holidays to boost morale and remind the country of their service, making Trump's rhetoric yet another striking break from the norms of presidential behavior. After the call wrapped, Trump entertained more than two dozen questions from reporters and once again discredited a CIA assessment about the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "This was, sadly, predictable and avoidable," said retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst. "The President's conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means."

Former White House counsel John Dean—one of the central figures during the Watergate scandal—has suggested that President Donald Trump’s behavior may be worse than that of disgraced former President Richard Nixon. Dean made his comments following reports that Trump had pressured the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute former FBI director James Comey and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Speaking on CNN, host John Berman suggested to Dean that such a plan was “the definition of Nixonian.” According to a Tuesday report in The New York Times, Trump’s efforts to prosecute two of his most prominent adversaries received pushback from White House counsel Don McGahn, who left his post last month.

President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation. The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment. The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general. - Donald J. Trump is the one who needs to be investigated he is a crook, a con man, a liar and possible a Russian asset.

In a rare moment of direct criticism, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked President Trump on Wednesday for the president's description of a federal judge who ruled against his asylum policy as "an Obama judge." Within hours, the president fired back on Twitter, launching an unusual conflict between the executive and judicial branches. "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts said in a statement. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them." "That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for," Roberts said. Roberts has never responded to any president so directly and publicly before. "Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have 'Obama judges,' and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country," tweeted Trump.

All the troops should be home by Christmas, as originally expected, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said in an interview Monday. The 5,800 troops who were rushed to the southwest border amid President Donald Trump’s pre-election warnings about a refugee caravan will start coming home as early as this week — just as some of those migrants are beginning to arrive. Democrats and Republicans have criticized the deployment as a ploy by the president to use active-duty military forces as a prop to try to stem Republican losses in this month’s midterm elections. – Donald J. Trump used our troops as a prop he said we were under attack before the elections now that the election are over is the attack over or was it just another Trump lie to get his supports riled up?

For years, I helped write President Obama's jokes for the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I spent weeks worrying about what the President would say. But I also worried about what the night's headliner, a professional comedian, would say about us. Over the last six decades some of America's best-known entertainers -- Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Paula Poundstone, Jay Leno, Wanda Sykes, and many more -- have taken the mic just steps from the commander in chief. I can't I say I looked forward to President Obama (and his team) being made fun of in public. Neither, I imagine, did President Nixon's staff, or President Reagan's, or President Bush's. But if you're the president, getting roasted once a year comes with the territory. It's tradition. Or at least, it was tradition. On Monday, after complaints from the Trump administration, the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) announced that its headliner for April 27, 2019, will be historian Ron Chernow. - Donald J. Trump cannot take the heat like all bullies he can dish it out but cannot take it when it is aimed at him.

CNN's Jim Acosta has returned to his post at the White House following a court ruling that forced the Trump administration to reinstate his press pass. Now President Trump is vowing to create "rules and regulations" for how White House reporters act. He says "you have to practice decorum" at the White House. "It's not a big deal," Trump told Fox News in an interview on Friday. "What they said, though, is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etcetera. We're going to write them up. It's not a big deal. If he misbehaves, we'll throw him out or we'll stop the news conference." Friday's ruling by federal judge Timothy J. Kelly was an initial victory for CNN in its lawsuit against Trump and several top aides. The suit alleges that CNN and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated by last week's suspension of his press pass. Kelly did not rule on the underlying case on Friday. But he granted CNN's request for a temporary restraining order on Fifth Amendment grounds. And he said he believes that CNN and Acosta are likely to prevail in the case overall.

He has no idea what he’s doing, but what else is new? In some ways, the friendliest Donald Trump interviews are the most revealing. Given the opportunity to ramble and free-associate without any pushback whatsoever, you can see what channels his mind naturally follows. His latest interview with the Daily Caller shows a president who’s fundamentally out to sea. The sycophantic interviewers can’t get Trump to answer a policy question of any kind, no matter how much of a softball they lob at him. The only subjects he is actually interested in talking about are his deranged belief in his incredible popularity and how that popularity is not reflected in actual vote totals because he’s the victim of a vast voter fraud conspiracy. It’s the kind of thing that would be a bit sad if it were just your elderly uncle ranting about his past glories, but Trump mixes it in with authoritarian asides and the fundamental reality that whether he cares to do the actual job or not, he is ultimately the president of the United States.

The president was unusually specific in his attacks against the special counsel. With his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen meeting with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team this week, and with his son, Donald Trump Jr., speculating that he himself will soon be indicted, President Donald Trump apparently couldn’t contain himself anymore. “The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess,” he tweeted on Thursday morning. “They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts.” He added, without providing evidence, that Mueller’s team was “screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want,” and called the investigators “thugs,” “a disgrace to our Nation,” and “highly conflicted.”

President Trump announces the 'First Step Act,' a bipartisan criminal justice reform plan that would lead to a change in sentencing recommendations. Trump said the bill includes reasonable sentencing reforms and keeps dangerous and violent criminals off the streets. "Today I'm thrilled to announce my support for this bipartisan bill that will make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time, so important," Trump said Wednesday.

A political clobbering, bickering aides and now a public grenade launched across the White House by the first lady have placed President Donald Trump in a position he loathes: backed into a corner. A week after standing in the East Room and declaring victory in the midterm elections, the President is isolated and growing more furious by the day. He's openly speculating about replacing more members of his Cabinet, though so far has stopped short of executing the dismissals, leaving those aides in a career purgatory. At an election night party at the White House, Trump left attendees guessing when he was spotted in a huddle with a potential replacement for his chief of staff, John Kelly, who himself stood awkwardly in a corner. "Yes, he's pissed -- at damn near everyone," a White House official said, noting the mood in the Oval Office is darker than normal this week. After nearly a month straight of campaigning before adoring crowds, the applause has gone silent and the President has retreated. The tempest has led to rampant speculation inside the building about the fates of other senior staffers, some of whom are beginning to plan their exits.

Donald Trump said Wednesday that one of his great achievements as president is lowering the media's favorability among Americans, claiming a victory in his crusade against what he considers unfair press coverage at the same time that CNN is suing his administration to restore one of its reporter's revoked White House credentials. The president, in an interview with the Daily Caller on Wednesday, said he believes Americans are starting to see many media outlets — Trump named CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC — as "fake news." – Donald J. Trump dislikes facts and attacks real news while prompting the fake news and alternative facts promoted by on Fox and the right wing.


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