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President Donald Trump sent out another tweet regarding the rising tensions with Iran, saying that the news media has been publishing false information.

“The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran,” the president wrote. “This is a false report.”

Trump continued with the tweet, stating that “Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse – very sad for the Iranian people!”

It is unclear as to what news report the president is complaining about.

The Los Angeles Times ran a headline on Sunday, “Trump’s plaintive but welcome message to Iran: Can we talk?” for an article by longtime columnist Doyle McManus.

In the column, McManus suggested that Trump’s “tough talk and menacing warships” fits a familiar pattern for him where his end game is to force negotiations.

McManus wrote, “For Trump, the solution is simple: direct negotiations with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, much like the two summits he has held with North Korea’s Kim.”

However, it is uncertain if Trump was referring to this, a similar report, or something else entirely.

Source: NewsMax

Bernie Sanders

In 1988, then-mayor of Burlington (Vt.) Bernie Sanders traveled to the Soviet Union to establish a “sister city” relationship with the city of Yaroslavl. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

2020 elections

Unseen by the public for three decades, a POLITICO reporter views hours of footage from his 1988 ‘honeymoon’ to the USSR.

BURLINGTON, Vt. — It’s 1988 and newlywed Bernie Sanders is in the Soviet Union with his wife, Jane, handing out gifts to the mayor of a midsized city they’ve befriended. The mood is festive as the two bestow the items: A Beatles album, a red “Bernie for Burlington” button, “delicious Vermont candy” and a tape of tunes Sanders recorded himself with fellow artists from Vermont, among other goodies.

“I have met many fine mayors in the United States,” Sanders says, “but I want to say that one of the nicest mayors I’ve ever met is the mayor of Yaroslavl.”

Story Continued Below

At another point, a member of Sanders’ delegation hands a Russian woman a small American flag.

“If you’re wondering what’s wrong with capitalism, it’s made in Hong Kong,” he jokes. “Sorry about that.”

The scene is part of 3½ hours of raw, never publicly seen footage of the trip Sanders took to the Soviet Union that year — his “honeymoon.” POLITICO viewed the tapes this week, along with a forgotten hourlong episode of a TV show created by Sanders that featured the same trip, at the offices of a Vermont government access channel.

Earlier this year, two minutes of the long-lost videos went viral when a staffer at Chittenden County’s Channel 17 posted a compilation of the station’s archival footage online. The clip featured a shirtless Sanders and other Americans singing “This Land Is Your Land” to their hosts after relaxing in a sauna. A few minutes later, Sanders doled out the gifts to his Russian friends with a towel wrapped around his waist.

But that’s only the beginning. The hours of footage include a scene of Sanders sitting with his delegation at a table under a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. Sanders can also be heard extolling the virtues of Soviet life and culture, even as he acknowledges some of their shortcomings. There are flashes of humor, too, such as his host warning the American guests not to cross the KGB, or else.

The video also paints a fuller picture of why Sanders ventured to the land of America’s No. 1 enemy in the midst of the Cold War, the anti-war idealism that fueled his journey, and what he found when he got there.

Over the course of 10 days, Sanders, who was then the mayor of Burlington, and his dozen-member delegation traveled to three cities: Moscow, Yaroslavl and Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg. Their goal was to establish a “sister city” relationship with Yaroslavl, a community along the Volga River home to about 500,000 people. At the time, the Soviet Union was beginning to open itself to the world, if only slightly — and Sanders was a self-described socialist with an unusually large interest in foreign affairs for a mayor.

“It wasn’t as outlandish as it looks in the pictures,” William Pomeranz, the deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, said after hearing a description of the footage. “It’s the height of Glasnost and Perestroika, where there are genuine efforts by Americans to reach out to Soviet cities and try to establish these relationships.”

At the time, Sanders was 46 and nearing the end of his eight years as Burlington mayor, which tracked precisely with Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Two years later, Sanders would be elected to Congress.

As mayor, Sanders worried about a potential nuclear war and railed against the bloated military budgets of both the United States and the Soviet Union. A year before the trip, he laid out his vision for a sister-city relationship. “By encouraging citizen-to-citizen exchanges — of young people, artists and musicians, business people, public officials, and just plain ordinary citizens,” he said in a speech, “we can break down the barriers and stereotypes which exist between the Soviet Union and the United States.”

Sanders’ opponents, though, will likely find much in the tapes to call outlandish. And in a campaign season in which Democrats are concerned about nothing more than defeating President Donald Trump, there’s plenty of material that Democratic voters might worry the Republican Party could spin into a 30-second negative ad.

Sanders is seen living it up with Russians. There are, naturally, shrines to Lenin everywhere. In one scene, Sanders and his wife, as well as other couples, boogie to live Russian music. “I brought my special dancing shoes!” Sanders exclaims.

Later, he tells a Russian man, “I’m not very happy about this, but there are not many people in the state of Vermont who speak Russian. In fact, one of the things that we want to do is to see if we can develop a Russian studies program in our high school.”

At another point, one of Sanders’ hosts jokingly warns the delegation to not upset the KGB: “Those who don’t behave move to Siberia from here.”

For now, many of the videos will remain available for viewing only in CCTV’s archives. POLITICO learned about the tapes after reporting on a TV show Sanders created while mayor called “Bernie Speaks With the Community.” The government-access channel is not planning to put the raw tapes documenting the Soviet Union trip online because they never aired, said executive director Lauren-Glenn Davitian. However, she does intend to post the lost episode of Sanders’ TV show online soon.

The tapes also reveal Sanders and his team being wooed by the Soviet Union: They eat nice-looking meals, tour a decorated subway station, take horse-and-buggy rides and watch professional dancers. A cab driver serenades members of Sanders’ delegation — it’s unclear whether Sanders was in the car — with songs for minutes on end. When they return home, the Americans said the cabbie liked them so much that he didn’t charge a fare.

“The Soviet Union always treated foreign guests very, very well,” said Pomeranz said. “They always wanted to show off the best side of their country and that invariably included a big table with a lot of food.”

At times, though, Sanders’ team saw behind the curtain: The tapes showed people who appear to be waiting in line for food as well as the Soviet Union’s shabby housing stock. Inside one Russian’s apartment, Sanders addresses the poor conditions.

“It’s important to try to translate this,” he says. “In America, in general, the housing is better than in the Soviet Union.”

There are also mundane scenes of everyday life — cars rolling around traffic circles, townspeople walking down the street, athletes playing sports on TV — rendered fascinating because of the moment in which they occurred.

According to a newspaper account at the time, members of Sanders’ mayoral team paid for the trip but also received their regular salary while abroad.

Throughout the videos, as well as in the final episode of “Bernie Speaks With the Community,” Sanders speaks at length about his dream of reducing conflict between the two nations by building relationships between ordinary citizens. While being interviewed by a Russian man on a bus, he says he would “love” for young people to participate in exchange programs between the two cities.

Sanders suggests a similar initiative for media outlets. He tells the man that a Vermont editor is coming to the Soviet Union soon and that “I have asked her to drop in [to] your newspaper.”

Sanders’ wife also talks to teachers in the Soviet Union over tea. She asks them detailed questions about their work and proposes a teacher and student exchange program.

“One thing we are very impressed with is the cultural life,” she tells them. “We strive in Burlington to enrich the cultural life as much as possible. But we have much further to go.”

Bruce Seifer, a top economic development aide to Sanders when he was mayor, said that 100 residents from Yaroslavl immigrated to Burlington after the trip and others visited.

“Over time, it had a positive impact on to the economy,” he said. “Businesses started doing exchanges between Burlington and Yaroslavl.”

Davitian, who lived in Burlington at the time, said progressives were thrilled by Sanders’ trip to the Soviet Union, while everyday residents didn’t mind. “As long as the streets were getting paved, there wasn’t opposition to him as an activist mayor,” she said.

When Sanders’ delegation returned to Burlington, CCTV captured the group on film in a hopeful mood, applauding the Soviet Union’s after-school programs, low rent costs and hospitality.

At the same time, they admit the poor choices of available food. Sanders says he was impressed by the beauty of the city and Soviet officials’ willingness “to acknowledge many of the problems that they had.”

“They’re proud of the fact that their health care system is free,” he says, but concede that the medical technology is far behind that of the United States.

Later that year, the relationship was officially established. Since then, “exchanges between the two cities have involved mayors, business people, firefighters, jazz musicians, youth orchestras, mural painters, high school students, medical students, nurses, librarians, and the Yaroslavl Torpedoes ice hockey team,” according to Burlington’s city government. A delegation traveled there as recently as 2016.

“They were just as friendly as they could possibly be,” Sanders said at a news conference at the airport after returning from the trip. “The truth of the matter is, they like Americans, and they respect Americans, and they admire Americans.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during a campaign stop Wednesday said China is not a threat for the United States, putting him at direct odds with President Donald Trump.

“They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west,” Biden joked in front of a crowd in Iowa City. “They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

China is growing three times as fast as the U.S. economy, and its GDP is projected to be larger than America’s by 2028, Bloomberg reported last May. Beijing has also outlined strategies to lead world innovation by 2050 and is pouring time and money into doing so, including into fields such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

The Trump administration is in the throes of a trade war with China, and has repeatedly warned the country is taking advantage of the U.S. with its tariff policy.

FBI Director Christopher Wray last Friday said China poses a “multilayered threat” to America.

“Put plainly, China seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder at our expense,” Wray told Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Source: NewsMax

Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s unofficial job czar, today heralded the new report that unemployment hit a 49-year low by cheering, “We’re making it happen.”

In a statement to Washington Secrets, the first daughter said, “Our policies continue to deliver more and better jobs for American workers.”

While others mined the report for how groups of Americans are benefiting in the economic surge, Trump has noted that there are now more job openings than those in unemployment lines.

The Labor Department reported that just 5.8 million are on unemployment. By comparison, there are over 7 million job openings.

“Driving inclusive economic growth, so all of our country’s hard working citizens can achieve the American dream, is our mission — and we’re making it happen,” she told us.

Ivanka Trump is the president’s adviser on job creation, economic empowerment, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. This week, at the Milken Institute Global Conference, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt called Ivanka Trump an “American hero” for her work on job creation.

In a tweet following the release, she also pointed to the record number of women working and other benefits to jobs growth.

“Happy Friday! In April,” she wrote, adding, “The U.S. added 263,000 JOBS, crushing market expectations! Unemployment rate fell to 3.6% = lowest rate since Dec 1969. Adult (20+) women unemployment rate fell to 3.1% = lowest since 1953. This is what winning for America looks like!”

Facebook said Thursday that it has permanently banned several far-right and anti-Semitic figures and organizations, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Infowars host Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, for being “dangerous,” a sign that the social network is more aggressively enforcing its hate-speech policies at a moment when bigoted violence is on the rise around the world.

Facebook said it was going to remove the accounts, fan pages, and groups affiliated with these individuals on both Facebook and its sister site Instagram after it reevaluated the content that they had posted previously, or had examined their activities outside of Facebook, the company said. The removal also pertains to at least one of the organizations run by these people, Jones’ Infowars.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive, and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today,” Facebook said in a statement.

The social network – which for years has resisted taking a more aggressive stance on extremism – is under massive pressure globally to curtail the ways in which its platform is used by hateful groups and individuals, most recently after massacres in Sri Lanka and New Zealand where the perpetrators used social media to spread their hateful messages.

“The timing is never an accident,” said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a liberal organization that has long advocated for more enforcement against white supremacy and is one of the groups Facebook briefed on the decision. “The reality is, people are getting killed. There are mass shootings and mass murders that are clearly being connected to ideas like white genocide, which are fueling radicalization. The conditions have changed. When you have these massive catalyzing moments that are connected to real-life consequences, it puts pressure on Facebook and others to look in the mirror.”

Alex Jones, speaking by phone from Austin, Texas, called Facebook’s action “authoritarian” and said he learned about it by seeing a headline on the Drudge Report website. Facebook provided no direct notice, he said, and provided no evidence to him that he was “dangerous,” as the company has alleged.

“It’s a bizarre political stunt, and they’re trying to hide their censorship of conservatives by mixing in Louis Farrakhan,” Jones said, referencing Farrakhan’s longtime associations with the far left.

He added, “I’m not really worried about me. I’m worried about how authoritarian this is. . . . I guess free speech in America is dangerous. It’s comical.”

Yiannopoulos, in a text exchange with The Washington Post, said that efforts to squelch voices seen as extreme can lead to a broader crackdown on free expression. “Read Orwell,” Yiannopoulos texted, invoking George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. “You’re next.”

Facebook is also banning Paul Nehlen, who described himself as a “pro-White Christian Candidate” when he ran for Congress and was also kicked off the website Breitbart News site last year for ties to neo-Nazis and racist comments about Meghan Markle, and Paul Joseph Watson, a far-right YouTube personality and an editor of Infowars, according to the Infowars site.

Facebook has previously imposed temporary bans on extremist figures including Jones and Yiannopoulos, another right-wing social media star. Twitter acted more quickly in permanently suspending Jones, Loomer and Nehlen. YouTube also has a ban of Jones and his Infowars channels. YouTube and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.

Facebook and its counterparts have until recently largely resisted permanent bans, holding that objectionable speech is permissible, so long as it doesn’t bleed into hate. Facebook has also been wary of offending conservatives, who have become vocal about allegations that the company unfairly censors their speech.

But Facebook has recently signaled that it is willing to take a stronger stance against white nationalism and white supremacy, in particular. In March, the company said it would begin banning posts, photos and other content that reference white nationalism and white separatism, revising its rules in response to criticism that a loophole had allowed racism to thrive on its platform. Previously, the company had only banned the term white supremacy.

Governments around the world are pushing Facebook to take town bigoted and other harmful content more quickly – or risk being banned themselves. Facebook and other social media companies were blocked in Sri Lanka in the wake of a massacre at a Catholic Church on April 21, a response to government concern that social media could spread misinformation and further violence.

The government of New Zealand is also weighing stricter enforcement of social media as a response to a mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch by a person who appeared to be influenced by white supremacist ideas and streamed the massacre live on Facebook. Meanwhile, Australia and the United Kingdom are considering steep penalties for social media companies that do not quickly remove and reduce the distribution of harmful material, including violent content that can spread bigoted messages.

The company is also in the crosshairs of regulators over civil rights issues. Facebook has submitted to a civil rights audit over the last year and recently announced sweeping changes to its targeted advertising system after being sued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which argued that its software enabled discrimination.

The other people who were banned did not respond to requests for comment.

Facebook said it began to reexamine the extremist figures last year, and some of the activities and posts the company said it had reevaluated took place within the past one or two years. Facebook said it took the individuals’ actions outside Facebook into account when making the decision to ban them. Jones, for example, recently hosted Gavin McInnes, the leader of the Proud Boys whom Facebook designated as a hate figure in December. Yiannopoulos publicly praised McInnes this year, and Loomer appeared with him at a rally.

In other cases, the company reexamined long-held stances by some of the individuals. Farrakhan, Facebook said, referred to Jews as termites earlier this year, and called the religion “dirty” and its followers “liars, cheaters, and thieves.” He has long held anti-Semitic views and has referred to Jews by negative terms for years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti Defamation League, said Farrakhan has been a leading voice in spreading anti-Semitic ideas for more than 30 years and also has railed against white people and members of the LGBTQ community. “It’s all pretty despicable,” Greenblatt said. “His profile, his serial, congenital anti-Semitism, really puts him at the top of the ranks in terms of spreading these types of ideas.”

He called for greater transparency from Facebook after news of the bans. “It’s an important step, yes, but the proof is in the pudding.”

The bans were welcomed by civil rights activists who have long argued that these individuals espouse violent and hateful views and that Silicon Valley companies should not allow their platforms to become a vehicle for spreading them.

Madihha Ahussain, special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry with the advocacy group Muslim Advocates, said that individuals like Loomer, Jones and Yiannopoulos have used social media platforms to broadcast dangerous hate speech and conspiracies targeting Muslims, Jews and others.

“We applaud Facebook for taking this positive step toward removing hate actors from the company’s platforms,” she said. “As we saw in Christchurch, New Zealand – where a white nationalist was able to live-stream the slaughter of 50 people at two mosques – online platforms like Facebook have been used to target communities and spread hate.”


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Trump #MAGA Vs Pelosi #FakeNews : Trump Is DONE Negotiating With @DNC Snakes, If You Were Trump Would You? #Impeach?! For What?!!

Trump #MAGA Vs Pelosi #FakeNews : Trump Is DONE Negotiating With @DNC Snakes, If You Were Trump Would You? #Impeach?! For What?!!

Pelosi-Trump war paralyzes government; 'American Taliban' to be released from prison

Government paralyzed: Trump calls for end to 'phony investigations' after Pelosi accuses him of engaging in a 'cover-up'
The very public rift between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday illustrated of how much the Russia ... See More collusion investigation -- and what Trump supporters would call Democrats' obsession with ousting him from the Oval Office -- have paralyzedthe government. The meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was cut short and any plans to rebuild America's infrastructure were put on hold after Pelosi accused of the president of engaging in a "cover-up." Trump, in a Rose Garden statement, said that Democrats must end their "phony investigations” before he'll negotiate with them on issues like infrastructure.

So, right now, both sides remain at a standstill. Trump and the White House insist Democrats can't accept the findings of no collusion in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report and want "do-overs" with numerous congressional investigations. Democrats show no signs of easing up on their investigations and insist Trump is obstructing justice by instructing witnesses to defy subpoenas and be uncooperative.

'Catastrophic' tornado damage reported in Missouri capital
Jefferson City, the capital city of Missouri, has taken a direct hit from a tornado and suffered possibly “catastrophic” damage, according to reports. According to the National Weather Service, a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was observed over Jefferson City at 11:43 p.m., moving northeast at 40 mph. The twister appeared to have traveled through the center part of town, the Jefferson City News-Tribune reported. "We are currently identifying the location of damages and searching for injured residents," Lt. David Williams of the city's police department said in a statement to the News-Tribune. "The primary need at this time is for those not affected to stay clear of the impacted areas so that Emergency personnel can assist those in need."

'American Taliban' to be released from prison Thursday
John Walker Lindh, the Islamic militant who became known as the infamous "American Taliban," is set to be released from a U.S. federal prison Thursday despite lawmakers' concerns. Lindh, who has been behind bars in Terre Haute, Ind., is set to be discharged several years before he would complete the 20-year prison sentence he received for joiningand supporting the Taliban. The former Islamist fighter and enemy combatant was arrested in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan, along with a group of Taliban fighters who were captured by U.S. forces.

In a letter last week to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, lawmakers expressed concerns about the "security and safety implications" of freeing an unrepentant terrorist who officials say continues to "openly call for extremist violence." They also sought details on how the agency is working to prevent prisoners such as Lindh from committing additional crimes after their release and asked which other "terrorist offenders" are next in line to be freed.

Avenatti's legal troubles continue to mount
Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday charged embattled attorney Michael Avenatti with defrauding adult-film star Stormy Daniels, the client who propelled Avenatti into the national spotlight. Avenatti, 48, faces one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted of those charges. Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) is not named in the indictment, but a federal law enforcement official confirmed to Fox News that she is the client prosecutors claimed Avenatti defrauded.

Avenatti rocketed to fame representing Daniels when she sued to be released from a non-disclosure agreement involving an alleged tryst with President Trump in 2006. He parlayed his notoriety into numerous cable news appearances and even was floated as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.

Former staffer for Michelle Obama evades subpoena in Smollett case
Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, declined Wednesday to be served with a subpoena by a retired Illinois judge seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, according to the process server. In an email to former Illinois appellate judge Sheila O'Brien obtained by Fox News, the process server wrote that a security guard at the Chicago law firm where Tchen is a partner "called up to her and spoke with her and she said that she in [sic] never going to accept service and to not allow me up to their Law firm." The subpoena would have required Tchen to appear at a May 31 hearing on O'Brien's request for a special prosecutor and provide "any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning your conversations with [Cook CountyState's Attorney] Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett."

TODAY'S MUST-READS
Ben Carson hits back at Ilhan Omar after she knocks his performance during House hearing
Trump administration fights back against lone judges nixing policies'with the stroke of the pen.'
John Cusack defends not standing 'fast enough' for Wrigley Field military salute.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Antitrust chief undecided on T-Mobile-Sprint as White House voices support and DOJ staff looks to nix merger.
Credit, debit cards found to be 'dirtiest payment method’ versus cash, coins, study says.
Worst product failures, from Coca-Cola’s New Coke to Microsoft's Zune.

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Trump: Dem Leaders ‘Tearing the United States Apart’

President Donald Trump followed up his fiery Rose Garden speech Wednesday with a series of tweets that took aim at Democrats on Capitol Hill and their continued investigations of him and his administration.

Shortly after his hastily scheduled press conference, Trump continued to assail his political enemies on Twitter.

"So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country. They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work…." Trump wrote.

"....But they really want a do-over! You can't investigate and legislate simultaneously - it just doesn't work that way. You can't go down two tracks at the same time. Let Chuck, Nancy, Jerry, Adam and all of the rest finish playing their games…." he wrote in a follow-up.

"....In the meantime, my Administration is achieving things that have never been done before, including unleashing perhaps the Greatest Economy in our Country's history…." Trump added.

He closed by writing, "....Democrat leadership is tearing the United States apart, but I will continue to set records for the American People – and Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!"

Pelosi, the speaker of the House, said she was praying for Trump after he "took a pass" on working with Democrats for infrastructure legislation.

Source: NewsMax

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NY Legislators OK Congressional Access to Trump Tax Returns

New York state lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow President Donald Trump's state tax returns to be released to Democrats in Congress.

The legislation now goes to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo after final passage Wednesday in the Democrat-controlled Senate and Assembly.

The bills don't target Trump by name but would allow the leaders of three congressional committees to access any New York returns filed by elected officials and top appointed officials.

A bill that originally passed the Senate would have allowed Congress to request any state taxpayer's returns. The measure was later narrowed, prompting the Senate to vote again Wednesday.

New York Republicans have denounced the legislation as a politically motivated attack on privacy.

The proposed changes to state law were made amid a battle going on in Washington over Trump's federal returns.

Source: NewsMax

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Trump vows no more legislation while under investigation…

President Donald Trump abruptly walked out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the White House on Wednesday, telling reporters moments later that he would not negotiate on legislation with Democrats while he was still under investigation by several committees.

Wednesday's meeting was supposed to be the second official sit-down between the president and Democratic congressional leadership specifically focused on infrastructure.

"I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure' ... but we can't do it under these circumstances," Trump said at a last-minute Rose Garden event.

Trump's anger appears to have been sparked by comments Pelosi made earlier in the day when she said, "We believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up" by blocking White House aides from giving testimony and responding to document requests from ongoing congressional investigations.

"I don't do cover-ups," Trump insisted Wednesday.

According to a White House official who spoke to CNBC on condition of anonymity, the meeting in the Cabinet room lasted only about seven minutes. Trump effectively said to the visiting Democrats that he wanted to do infrastructure, "'but you're focused on investigating. When you're done we can talk. Meeting over,'" Trump said, and then he left, the official said.

"I knew the president was not serious about infrastructure and would find a way out," Pelosi said to her Democratic colleagues after Trump's exit, according to a Democratic aide who spoke to NBC News.

It appeared as though Trump's abrupt walkout had been planned in advance, given that the White House had prepared a sign to adorn the presidential lectern, and handouts that were given to reporters following the Rose Garden statement.

President Donald Trump discusses Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election in the Rose Garden at the White House May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Speaking to journalists at the Capitol shortly afterward, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said there had been "high drama in the Cabinet room. We were all invited, Democratic leaders, for the follow-up meeting on infrastructure, everyone showed up, sat in their chairs, the president walked in the room and announced he was not going to go forward with the meeting, he was cancelling it."

Trump "objected to the continued investigation of obstruction of justice, he said he cooperated and gave his side of the story, as we've heard before," Durbin said, calling the outcome of the meeting, "a setback to our country's progress."

Following the president's remarks, Pelosi and Schumer held an impromptu event on Capitol Hill where Schumer said Trump's actions at the meeting "would make your jaw drop."

In late April, a similarly billed meeting proved to be an unexpected success, with both Trump and Democrats saying the two sides agreed that an infrastructure package would need to contain about $2 trillion in funding and investments.

Since then, however, there had been little additional clarity as to what the next steps forward might be, or where this money would come from.

"Let them finish up" their investigations, Trump said at the end of his remarks in the Rose Garden, "and we'll be all set."

Later in the day, Trump reiterated his position in a series of tweets, claiming, "You can't investigate and legislate simultaneously - it just doesn't work that way."

White House officials declined to say precisely which legislative efforts would be halted as long as Democrats continued their investigations, and which ones might proceed regardless of Trump's anger at the myriad probes underway into his administration. 

— CNBC's Eamon Javers contributed to this report.

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DNC Lags Far Behind RNC in Donations

The Democratic National Committee raised only $6.6 million in April, lagging well behind the Republican National Committee, which had $15.9 million in donations during the month, The Daily Caller reported Wednesday.

The numbers were even worse for the Democrats related to debt and cash on hand, with the DNC $6.2 million in debt and only with $7.6 million on hand, according to Red State.

The RNC, meanwhile, has no debt and $34.7 million cash on hand.

The situation is so dire for the DNC that while Republicans can expand their reach by offering all their candidates data for free, Democrats are charging $175,000 merely for access.

An RNC spokesman explained the significance, saying "Chairwoman [Ronna] McDaniel's fundraising allows the RNC to build the necessary infrastructure and permanent data-driven ground game to benefit Republicans up and down the ballot."

For the Democrats, the RNC spokesman said, "A cash-strapped DNC is in no position to offer their eventual nominee significant resources after they conclude their costly primary battle."

Source: NewsMax

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500 MILES BY END OF YEAR?

Trump has built less than 2 miles of new wall with $1.57 BILLION Congress handed him for this year but insists 'demolition and rebuilding' should count too

  • Letter to a federal judge from the House of Representatives' top lawyer spells out how little this year's congressional appropriation has bought
  • Trump claims he should get credit for replacing older walls that are ineffective
  • He promised Monday night that he would have 500 miles of wall built by next year, but so far it's just 1.7 miles
  • Nearly all the wall construction under contract  from the Army Corps of Engineers is for replacements where barriers already existed
  • Sarah Sanders insisted Wednesday that 'close to 115 miles' have been builtbut a Fox News interviewer didn't askher if that was 'new' or 'replacement' barriers

The Trump administration has built less than 2 miles of new border barriers using the $1.57 billion Congress allocated to the project for the fiscal year that will end September 30, according to a letter filed Tuesday in federal court.

House of Representatives general counsel Douglas Letter made that revelation to Judge Haywood Gillam, citing information the administration provided to Congress about its efforts through the end of April. 

'Based on that updated information, it appears that CBP has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing with its fiscal year 2018 funding,' Letter wrote. 

President Donald Trump fired back Wednesday on Twitter, defending what he said has been 'a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings.'

'Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed,' he added.

President Donald Trump played defense on Wednesday after a lawyer for Congress told a federal judge that his administration has made little progress building a border wall despite getting $1.57 billion in funding for it this year

President Donald Trump played defense on Wednesday after a lawyer for Congress told a federal judge that his administration has made little progress building a border wall despite getting $1.57 billion in funding for it this year

On Tuesday the House of Representatives' general counsel told a judge that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol 'has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing' with the $1.57 billion it received for the project in the fiscal year that ends September 30

On Tuesday the House of Representatives' general counsel told a judge that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol 'has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing' with the $1.57 billion it received for the project in the fiscal year that ends September 30

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Wednesday on TV that the administrationwill have 500 miles of wall built by year's end and would be twice as far along if Democrats were helping instead of pushing back

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Wednesday on TV that the administrationwill have 500 miles of wall built by year's end and would be twice as far along if Democrats were helping instead of pushing back

'Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation – fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!' Trump concluded.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman told DailyMail.com in March that it had not erected any walls at all to protect previously unbarricaded sections of America's southern border. 

'The first new wall project, where no barrier currently exists, is anticipated to start in April,' CBP spokesman Roger Maier said at the time. He identified Hidalgo County as the construction project's location, a border zone along a meandering 50-mile stretch of the Rio Grande.

CBP said last year that it was 'designing and constructing approximately 25 miles of levee wall system' in that county, whose anchor is the the border city of McAllen.

Maier did not immediately respond to a question on Wednesday about whether the Hidalgo County project has proceeded. 

CBP wrote in March, after DailyMail.com reported Maier's comments, that it had 'built 38 miles of new border wall system in CA NM & TX—providing new capability by replacing ineffective infrastructure, like Normandy-style barriers designed only to stop vehicles, not people on foot.'

Trump blasted the 'haters' who point to a lack of action at the border, claiming that he should get credit for 'demolition and rebuilding' of ineffective border barriers

Trump blasted the 'haters' who point to a lack of action at the border, claiming that he should get credit for 'demolition and rebuilding' of ineffective border barriers 

Trump said Monday night during a rally in Pennsylvania that 'the wall is being built as we speak.'

'We'll have almost 500 miles of wall by the end of next year,' he boasted, inviting an audience member on stage who was wearing a suit made of brick wall-print fabric.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders upper the ante Wednesday morning, saying the administration will hit that landmark by the end of 2019 and that Letter cited 'an incorrect number.'

'I know that there have been – there's over 100 miles, I think it's close to 115 miles that have been finished,' she said on 'Fox & Friends.' 

'We feel comfortable and confident that we're on track to get right around 500 finished by the end of the year,' Sanders insisted.

Letter's letter doesn't address the possibility that the Trump administration has used money for wall-building other than the funds Congress appropriated for this year.

The president has rediirected billions of dollars to the project through a national emergency declaration, while claiming at the same time that the project has long been underway. 

Both houses of Congress voted to rescind that declaration with a resolution that the president vetoed in March.

Nearly all of the documented border wall construction the Trump administration has engaged in so far has consisted of replacing some existing barriers and reinforcing others with secondary fencing

Nearly all of the documented border wall construction the Trump administration has engaged in so far has consisted of replacing some existing barriers and reinforcing others with secondary fencing

Customs and Border Protection says it has replaced 'dilapidated' border barriers that consisted of Normandy-style vehicle barriers like these, shown in April 2018 between Santa Teresa, New Mexico and Ciudad Mexico

Customs and Border Protection says it has replaced 'dilapidated' border barriers that consisted of Normandy-style vehicle barriers like these, shown in April 2018 between Santa Teresa, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The administration has awarded contracts for just 244 miles of barriers so far, and more than half of the money required to pay for those projects is earmarked from emergency-declaration funds that court battles have, at least temporarily, put out of reach.

Of those 244 miles' worth of contracted walls, 230 would be replacements to barriers that existed when Trump became president in January 2017.

Judge Gillam presides over two separate lawsuits aimed at stopping Trump from using emergency-declaration money to fund construction that Congress has refused to pay for. 

California and 19 other states brought one suit. Plaintiffs in the other include the Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Trump has boasted in the past that '[w]e have already built large new sections' during his time in the White House. 

But border barriers erected between the U.S. and Mexico since Inauguration Day 2017 have consisted almost exclusively of supplements to existing walls and replacements for outmoded or decreipt barriers. 

Maier said in March that CBP had 'constructed approximately 38 of 40 miles of wall in place of outdated designs,' using funds Congress appropriated for fiscal 2017. 

Those replacements are up in San Diego and El Centro, California; Santa Teresa, New Mexico; and El Paso, Texas. 

'This barrier replaced dilapidated infrastructure, half of which was Normandy-style vehicle barrier,' he said.


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