Former WH staffer: Obama still Dem. Party leader

April 22, 2017

(CNN)Though recent vacation photos show Barack Obama basking in the warm sun of retirement, while jet-skiing away any political worries, his former staffer alludes to a second act. Currently the chief operating officer of Vice Media, Mastromonaco served as Obama’s White House deputy chief of staff for operations from 2011 through 2014. However, her ties to the nation’s 44th President go back much further, as she first worked for Obama during his days as an Illinois state senator. …

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White House downplays Australia tensions ahead of VP visit

April 22, 2017

(CNN)As Vice President Mike Pence heads to Australia on Friday on the next leg of his Asia-Pacific tour, a White House foreign policy adviser on the trip downplayed President Donald Trump’s early feud with the Australian Prime Minister. The adviser also said the two countries will reaffirm their partnership on security, trade and immigration issues during the visit. But concerns about the US-Australia relationship go beyond a sour first impression, as Pence will have to address thorny …

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Will Ivanka’s role in the White House pay dividends for her business?

April 19, 2017

… trademarks to sell her brand’s jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy. Though there is no direct evidence linking her trademark approval to the dinner or any other meeting with the Chinese government, the story does draw attention to the fine line the Trump White House is walking when it comes to maintaining its family businesses. registered trademarks in China and 32 pending applications ranging from cosmetics to leather handbags to clothes to …

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Trump’s Erdogan call reflects terrorism focus, White House says

April 19, 2017

Washington (CNN)The Trump administration issued one mightily mixed message Monday. President Donald Trump congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a contested referendum that granted him broad new powers and deepened concern about the NATO ally’s growing authoritarianways. Trump’s outreach to Erdogan put him on a very short list of those who praised the results, including Hamas, the Palestinian militant group labeled a terrorist organization by the United States. …

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Gen. Allen: Trump should call Turkey’s President back — and say this

April 19, 2017

(CNN)As the White House defends President Donald Trump’s phone call to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his referendum victory that grants him largely unchecked powers, retired Marine Gen. John Allen is urging Trump to place a follow-up call to the controversial leader — and Allen is giving Trump advice on what he should say. “But,” he cautioned, “my hope would be that there is a second phone call, one that doesn’t require a lot of …

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How Trump could make US a climate pariah over Paris pact

April 18, 2017

… American recklessness that Pruitt epitomizes. I happened to have been in the White House (discussing solutions to the AIDS epidemic) the day in early 2001 that George W. Bush Jr. pulled the US out of the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The move was a predictable disaster: it delayed effective global action on global warming for another 15 years. Yet Bush used an argument then that is utterly closed off today. Replay More Videos … MUST WATCH Replay More …

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President Trump is spending some hefty coin on travel these days

April 17, 2017

… report and you get over $100 million, a number that surpasses the $96 million that the conservative group Judicial Watch reported Obama spent on time off during his entire time in the White House. Secret Service members on break from Obamas $4M vacation are more than welcomed to relax at Hawaiis top hotel @TrumpWaikiki. Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2013 Whatever the cost ultimately turns out to be, there’s no denying that spending 7 of 13 weekends in Florida is a …

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GOP Rep. Mike Coffman stands by his call for Trump to fire Sean Spicer

April 14, 2017

Washington (CNN)A moderate Denver-area Republican repeated his call for President Donald Trump to fire White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “I don’t think he’s serving this President very well,” said Rep. Mike Coffman on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” Thursday. Speaking with constituents at a rowdy town hall event Wednesday evening, Coffman faced vocal criticism from constituents who said they wanted him to push back against Trump. When one asked …

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Trump, shocked by Assad, discussed chemical weapons history at Mar-a-Lago

April 13, 2017

… White House around Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack, sources with knowledge of the briefing told CNN. The briefing document, one source said, examined “the history of battlefield uses of chemical weapons” that was meant to “demonstrate the declining acceptability of these weapons.” The document showed the “trend line of acceptability of use of these weapons” and how they are only used by “the worst outliers.” …

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Trump should be fighting ISIS, not Syria

April 13, 2017

(CNN)What’s the White House’s next move when it comes to Syria? Let’s hope nothing. President Donald Trump’s salvo of cruise missiles against a military airfield in Syria last week brought bipartisan acclaim, and that’s a major cause for concern. In a partisan age, the American media likes to report on any seemingly bipartisan agreement, and has an interest in subtly cheering any US military campaign, despite its size or scope, because it almost always leads to …

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Trump nominates John Sullivan for No. 2 spot at State

April 12, 2017

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has nominated attorney John Sullivan to serve as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s deputy, the White House announced Tuesday. Sullivan is a partner at Mayer Brown in Washington and co-chairs the law firm’s national security practice. His nomination to the No. 2 spot at the State Department would fill one of the key national security positions still vacant as Democrats slow-walk the President’s nominees. Sullivan previously served as …

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Schiff: Trump promised documents, but WH staff is fighting release

April 6, 2017

(CNN)The top Democrat on the House Russia investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Wednesday President Donald Trump personally promised documents at the center of “unmasking” allegations would be made available to all members of the House intelligence committee, but that White House staff is fighting those documents’ release. “The President, when I met with him, said that he is happy to have whoever we wanted review the documents. His staff has opposed that, they were …

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Melania Trump, Queen Rania visit DC public charter school

April 6, 2017

… and provide them with support for improving the physical and educational learning environments of Jordan’s most neglected public schools.” Their husbands, President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II held meetings at the White House. Trump and Queen Rania appeared to already be friendly and comfortable together: As they settled in around a table for the conversation with students, parents and faculty, Queen Rania’s chair was noticeably elevated. “You got very tall,” …

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Trump calls Putin following St. Petersburg attack

April 4, 2017

Washington (CNN)US President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone Monday, according to a statement from the White House. The statement said Trump made the call to express his condolences and offer support to the Russian people in the wake of an attack in St. Petersburg that left at least 10 people dead, according to three state-run Russian news agencies. St. Petersburg metro explosion: At least 10 dead in Russia blast …

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Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and the Mao factor

April 4, 2017

Beijing (CNN)When US President Donald Trump greets his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in person for the first time in Florida this week, the two men may find an unlikely historical figure looming large as they attempt to rebalance the world’s most important bilateral relationship. On the surface, and politics aside, Xi and Trump appear a world apart. A real estate mogul turned reality television star before winning the White House race in a major upset, Trump relishes the spotlight …

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Meadows ‘intrigued’ on Obamacare change after Pence meeting

April 4, 2017

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s administration had meetings Monday with two key groups of Republicans, whose split over health care policy caused GOP leaders to pull a plan last month to repeal and replace Obamacare. Emerging from a meeting Monday night with Vice President Mike Pence, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said his group was “intrigued” by an idea the White House floated to give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations using a waiver …

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Trump’s Secretary of Everything: Jared Kushner

April 4, 2017

… with’ Russia Speaking Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Kushner was working jointly with the State Department to manage the administration’s foreign affairs. “There’s a lot of relationships that Jared’s made over time — Mexico being one of them — that are going to continue having conversations with him,” Spicer said. “That doesn’t mean by any means it’s being done without the coordination with the …

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Jared Kushner is in Iraq

April 3, 2017

(CNN)White House senior adviser Jared Kushner traveled to Iraq this weekend and is expected back in the United States early this week, a senior administration official told CNN. Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was invited by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, and is traveling with him, sources told CNN. A senior administration official declined to say Sunday evening what was on Kushner’s itinerary in Iraq, his first visit to the country since …

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Trump signals he won’t press human rights ahead of key diplomatic week

April 3, 2017

… practices of previous administrations. “Our approach is to handle these types of sensitive issues in a private, more discrete way,” a White House official said Friday, previewing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to the White House on Monday. “We believe it’s the most effective way to advance those issues to a favorable outcome.” Trump’s executive orders bad news for China Trump himself has pledged to …

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McCain: No comparison between Trump and Reagan

April 2, 2017

… White House did not immediately return a request Saturday for comment on McCain’s remarks. Multiple congressional investigations and an FBI probe are underway to determine if there was any collusion between figures associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. But McCain was cautious when asked if he would consider any contacts between Americans and the Russians who interfered with the election to be an act of treason. “There’s …

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The only 4 things you need to know about Trump and Russia

April 1, 2017

… adviser Michael Flynn, who also served as a top campaign aide, was offering his testimony to Congress in exchange for legal immunity signaled a potential turning point. Watch: Flynn likened immunity to guilt in 2016 If you’re arriving on the scene late, the Flynn news can be summed up this way: One of Trump’s highest-ranked and most-trusted campaign hands, who then scored one of the most powerful positions in the White House, is now saying he wants to answer …

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Trump walks out before signing executive orders

April 1, 2017

(CNN)President Donald Trump walked out of an executive order signing ceremony Friday — without actually signing the orders. During the signing ceremony, White House pool reporters asked Trump questions about his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has offered to testify on Russian involvement in the US election in return for immunity from prosecution. The President ignored the questions and moved to another room, only to be chased by Vice President Mike Pence, who …

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5 takeaways from the Senate intelligence hearing

March 31, 2017

(CNN)Senate investigators put on a positively normal show Thursday, pressing a series of academics and intelligence experts on how Russia disrupts elections — like last year’s presidential election. Meanwhile, on the House side, an attempt at dtente between House intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, was derailed after a report that Nunes got his highly sensitive information from two White House officials. The White House, …

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