The new first family: what you need to know about the Trumps

Here are the essential things to know about the Trumps, with notes on the roles each family member may play in the administration

As soon as Donald Trump takes the oath of office, the Obama family is scheduled to board a helicopter for the airport and a California holiday. A new first family will have taken their place. Heres a bit about the Trumps, with notes on the roles each family member may play in the administration.

Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Melania Trump, 46

Wife of Donald. Born Melanija Knavs in Slovenia in eastern Europe, she was sufficiently successful enough as a model that she sometimes worked under only her first name, and toiled as an undocumented immigrant in the United States before landing a work visa in 1997, according to an Associated Press investigation. She met her future husband at a Fashion Week party in New York City. The couple will celebrate their 12th anniversary on 22 January, two days after he becomes president. She has said that as first lady she would like to be very traditional like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. She also plans to combat online bullying and harassment. She is remaining in New York City through the end of the school year with her son with Trump, Barron, 10, and is expected to play a minimal role in the administration.

Donald Trump Jr arrives at Trump Tower in New York Wednesday. Photograph: Albin Lohr-Jones/EPA

Donald Trump Jr, 39

Donald Trumps eldest son, he is himself a father of five, with wife Vanessa Kay Haydon, a former model. Like his father, a reality TV star (The Apprentice), he has been tapped to head the Trump Organization the family business empire with his brother, Eric, aided by a longtime company executive. Trump Jr is not expected to have a role in his fathers administration; indeed, his new position as co-head of the Trump Organization would seem to preclude, under ethics rules and traditions, his speaking with his father about the business, or his hearing from his father about government. Trump Jr drew ire during the campaign for agreeing to an interview with a prominent white nationalist and for comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles. He is a big-game hunter and self-described boob guy.

Eric Trump arrives at Trump Tower Wednesday. Photograph: Albin Lohr-Jones/EPA

Eric Trump, 33

Trumps second eldest son, he has also appeared on The Apprentice and is married to Lara Trump, ne Yunaska, a fitness trainer and TV producer. With brother Don Jr, Eric is to lead the Trump organization, and is due to have no role in the Trump administration. He runs a charitable foundation to fight childhood cancer, but claims he has made about his father personally donating large sums to the foundation, like many Trump family claims about charitable giving, could not be verified. Like his brother he is a big-game hunter.

Ivanka Trump on the last day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Ivanka Trump, 35

Trumps eldest daughter, and like Don Jr and Eric the daughter of her fathers first wife Ivana, a Czech-born former fashion model. Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism to marry businessman Jared Kushner, with whom she has three children. She is a fashion executive and like her brothers has appeared on The Apprentice. As an executive with the Trump organization, she managed projects including the recently opened Trump hotel in the Old Post Office building in downtown Washington DC, but she has said she will divest from the family company, owing to her husbands role in the Trump administration. The nature of her divestment is not clear; it has been described by Trump transition officials as converting her equity into fixed payments. Ivanka Trump has rebutted speculation that she would act as a de facto first lady. I think its an inappropriate observation, she told ABC News. There is one first lady, and shell do remarkable things.

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CNN/ORC Poll shows last-minute love for Obamacare

Washington (CNN)Americans views of Obamacare tilt directly favorable, inning accordance with a brand-new CNN/ORC survey , marking the very first time more have actually preferred than opposed the law given that its passage in 2010. The shift comes at the exact same time more than 8-in-10 state the law is most likely to be rescinded and changed by inbound president Donald Trump.

Overall, 49% state they prefer the 2010 healthcare law, more officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while 47% oppose it. A primarily combined evaluation in general, that’s a sharp enhancement compared with previous ballot on the law.
      More have actually opposed than preferred the law in every CNN/ORC survey on this concern from March 2010 previously. The shift in the law’s favor stems mainly from Democrats and independents, while views amongst Republicans have not moved much.
      Still, couple of feel the ACA has actually done much to assist them personally. Simply 22% state they or their households are much better off given that the law’s arrangements have actually entered into result, and more, 30%, state that they are even worse off now. About 3-in-10 state that the law hasn’t really assisted anybody in the United States, consisting of 58% of Republicans who feel that method.

      The law unquestionably helped in reducing the share of uninsured Americans, with the uninsured rate reaching historical lows following the execution of some parts of the law, however Americans by and big do not see it as effective.
      Almost 4-in-10 (37%) state they think about the law a failure, surpassing the 23% who state they see the law as a success. That’s an uptick considering that 2015, however almost all of the boost in understandings of the law as a success comes amongst Democrats, 46% of whom state so now, up from 19% in 2015.
      The inbound Trump administration and the Republican Congress that will accompany it have actually called rescinding Obamacare a leading concern, and healthcare normally has actually increased in concern in the eyes of Americans. In the brand-new survey, 14% pointed out healthcare as the most crucial problem dealing with the nation, up greatly from the 3% who mentioned it last fall in a comparable concern about the most crucial problem in the governmental project.

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    Categories CNN

    Trump says he may cancel Illinois rally – Trending Stuff

    Trump says he may cancel Illinois rally – Trending Stuff
    First responders surround the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., where a shooter opened fire Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    The Latest on a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue (all times local):

    14:40 p.m.

    President Donald Trump says he may cancel a political rally in Illinois on Saturday after a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

    He tells reporters aboard Air Force One: “You can say we’re considering it.” Trump has arrived in Indianapolis to speak at the Future Farmers of America convention.

    Trump says he has spoken with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. He also has discussed the shooting with his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

    Before departing Andrews Air Force Base, Trump told reporters that the shooting was “devastating” and suggested that the outcome would have been different if the synagogue employed an armed guard.


    14:30 p.m.

    President Donald Trump says “a lot of people” were killed in the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday and it “looks definitely like it’s an anti-Semitic crime.”

    Trump tells reporters at the airport in Indianapolis that what “happened today is a horrible, horrible thing.”

    He says the FBI is now involved and there were “a lot of people killed” and “a lot of people very badly wounded.” He also says the crime scene is one of the worst many professionals have seen.

    Police have a suspect in custody after Saturday’s attack at the Tree of Life Congregation.

    A shooter opened fire during a baby-naming ceremony, killing an unknown number of people and wounding six others, including four police officers who dashed to the scene.


    2:15 p.m.

    Shocked reactions are pouring in in response to the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is deploring “another horrific act of hate at a house of worship.”

    He says the Saturday morning shooting is reminiscent of “the slaughter of nine African American worshippers at Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel Church in 2015, the killings of six Sikh worshippers at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2014, and, of course, the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 that left four young African American girls dead.”

    Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has tweeted: “We are devastated. Jews targeted on Shabbat morning at synagogue, a holy place of worship, is unconscionable. Our hearts break for the victims, their families, and the entire Jewish community.”


    1:50 p.m.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

    “I was heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue today,” Netanyahu said in a video message posted on Twitter shortly after the attack, which has killed at least two people and injured six.

    Netanyahu says all of Israel is grieving with the families of the dead.

    He adds: “We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality. And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.”

    Netanyahu posted the same message in Hebrew on Twitter minutes later.


    1:30 p.m.

    A law enforcement official has identified the suspect in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue as Robert Bowers.

    The official said Bowers was in his 40s.

    The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    Authorities said the gunman opened fire during a baby naming ceremony Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

    City officials said six people, including four police officers, were injured. They said several people were also killed.

    The synagogue is located about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh in a neighborhood that is the hub of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.


    By Michael Balsamo in Washington.


    1:25 p.m.

    City officials say the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh is being investigated as a federal hate crime.

    A visibly moved Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director, says six people were injured, including four police officers.

    Hissrich called it “a very horrific crime scene” and said it is one of the worst he has seen, including some plane crashes.

    Hissrich says there is no active threat to this community now that the shooter has been taken into custody.


    1:10 p.m.

    Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro is saying that the shooter at the synagogue in Pittsburgh ‘shooter claimed innocent lives — and injured first responders — at a baby naming.’

    Three officers were shot in the Saturday morning attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and a local hospital said it was treating multiple victims.

    It was not immediately known how many people had been injured or killed, though Shapiro’s statement appeared to show that at least two people had died.


    12:50 p.m.

    President Donald Trump is responding to what he’s calling the “devastating” shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying: “It’s a ‘terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country.”

    Trump spoke to reporters at Andrews Air Force Base before traveling to Indianapolis.

    He told reporters the violence “has to stop.”

    Trump also said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue “had some kind of protection” from an armed guard and suggested that might be a good idea for all churches and synagogues.

    He also said such shooters should receive the death penalty and “suffer the ultimate price.”

    Three officers were shot in the Saturday morning attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. It was not immediately known how many people had been shot or killed.


    12:30 p.m.

    Israel is expressing its shock and concern and offering assistance to the local community following the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Cabinet minister for diaspora affairs, made the comments following a Saturday morning shooting that police say has left several people dead.

    Bennet says he is “following the news with concern,” and has instructed Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs to prepare to assist the community in every possible way.

    He adds: “Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and injured. May the memory of the murdered be blessed.”


    12:15 p.m.

    The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center system says it’s treating multiple victims from a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

    Paul Wood, the chief communications officer for the hospital system, said the patients are receiving care at UPMC Presbyterian, but he would not say how many.

    Pittsburgh police say a shooter is in custody after an attack at the Tree of Life synagogue that left multiple casualties, including several injured officers.


    12:05 p.m.

    Pittsburgh’s sports teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins, are expressing their condolences for the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    Authorities say the Saturday morning shooting caused “multiple casualties,” and a suspect is in custody.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins are saying in separate statements on their Twitter pages that their “thoughts and prayers” are with all those affected by the shooting.

    A police spokesman says police have no more information at this time because they were still trying to clear the building and determine if any more threats exist.


    11:50 a.m.

    President Donald Trump says he’s been monitoring a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that police say has left multiple people dead.

    In a tweet Saturday, Trump encouraged people to shelter in place and says “looks like multiple fatalities.”

    Trump ended the tweet by saying “God Bless All!”

    The shooting happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.


    11:40 a.m.

    Police are reporting a suspect is in custody after a shooting that caused “multiple casualties” at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday.

    Three officers were also shot in the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

    Police spokesman Chris Togneri says police have no more information at this time because they are still trying to clear the building and figure out if any more threats exist.

    The synagogue is located at the intersection of Wilkins and Shady avenues. The tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is the hub of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

    President Donald Trump says he’s been monitoring the shooting. In a tweet, Trump encouraged people to shelter in place and said “looks like multiple fatalities.”

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    details of alleged Saudi hit squad emerge – Trending Stuff

    details of alleged Saudi hit squad emerge – Trending Stuff

    Fifteen-person team linked to disappearance of dissident, Turkish media report

    Saudi special forces officers, intelligence officials, national guards and a forensics expert were allegedly among a 15-person team tied to the disappearance in Istanbul of the high-profile dissident Jamal Khashoggi, it has been reported by Turkish pro-government newspapers.

    The details of the alleged hit squad were listed on flight manifests leaked to Turkish media. Social media profiles of some of the alleged suspects link them to elite sections of the Saudi security apparatus.

    Meanwhile, investigators are turning their focus towards the underground garage of the Saudi consul generals home, where the cars thought to have carried Khashoggi are believed to have to have been driven immediately after they left the nearby consulate.

    Jamal Khashoggi is one of the Arab worlds most prominent journalists and commentators. He is an outspoken critic ofSaudi Arabiawho has dared to defy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdoms de facto ruler.

    While living in Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi was told to stop writing or posting on Twitter, where he has more than 1.6 million followers. He moved to the US more than a year ago, where he continued to comment on his country both in print and on television. He wrote columns for the Washington Post andthe Guardian.

    His message struck a nuanced tone in the US, where he tried to acknowledge the reforms undertaken by Bin Salman while also highlighting the flaws.

    Khashoggi previously had close links with the Saudi royal family, including having served as a media aide to Prince Turki al-Faisal, when the latter was director general of the Saudi intelligence agency.

    He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained last year as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign.

    Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

    Investigators also disclosed on Wednesday that they were focusing on an Apple watch that Khashoggi was wearing that was connected to an iPhone he had left with his fiancee outside the consulate. We have determined that it was on him when he walked into the consulate, a security official told Reuters. Investigators are seeking to determine what information the watch had transmitted.

    Donald Trump said that the US was demanding answers from the Saudi government and working closely with Turkey to find out what happened to the missing dissident.

    Its a very serious situation for us and for this White House, he told reporters on Wednesday. I want to see what happens and were working very closely with Turkey and I think well get to the bottom of it.

    The US president also said that he had invited Khashoggis fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, to the White House.

    Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, John Bolton, the national security adviser, and Trumps son-in-law, Jared Kushner, all spoke to the Saudi Arabian crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, to request further information about the missing journalist, according to the White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.


    Twenty-two US senators signed a letter to Trump on Wednesday triggering an investigation and determination of whether human rights sanctions should be imposed over Khashoggis disappearance.

    In the letter, the senators said they had triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation.

    Turkish officials remain convinced that Khashoggi was killed by the alleged hit squad inside the consulate building a view partly formed by security footage, much of which has not been released. But, unlike the roads outside the diplomatic mission, they have no camera coverage of the consul generals residence or the garage beneath it, and say the cars and their occupants remained out of sight for several hours before continuing to Atatrk airport.

    Details of the Saudi citizens who travelled to Istanbul were released amid a claim that they had brought with them a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi. It was like Pulp Fiction, a Turkish official told the New York Times. Suggestions that Khashoggi was killed and his body then mutilated have gained wide circulation in the week since he vanished, and Turkish officials continue to insist he met a brutal fate when he stepped through the doors of the diplomatic mission.

    The alleged involvement of a forensics expert adds weight to the suspicions. The passenger manifest, obtained by the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper, also lists a senior intelligence officer and two Saudi air force officers.

    The Saudi team is said to have arrived at Atatrk airport on Tuesday last week on two planes, one of which landed in the pre-dawn hours and the second in the early afternoon. Airport security officials now say they checked all bags that the Saudi teams took with them to the airport and say there were nothing suspicious in any of the items loaded on to the jets for their return journeys to Riyadh.

    Officials also said they had become aware that Khashoggi may have been kidnapped before the second plane had departed, and monitored seven Saudis in a waiting room as they checked their luggage for a second time. When nothing unusual was discovered, the plane was allowed to leave.

    Turkish media have broadcast CCTV footage that shows the alleged Saudi team arriving and leaving Istanbul airport, as well as vehicles approaching and leaving the consulate.

    On Wednesday evening, the Washington Post cited US intelligence intercepts to report that Saudi Arabias crown prince had ordered an operation targeting Khashoggi. The paper reported unnamed US officials saying Saudis had been heard discussing a plan to lure the journalist from Virginia and detain him.

    A state department spokesman earlier insisted the US had no forewarning on any threat.

    The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, has promised a transparent investigation into Khashoggis fate. However, many officials who provided information earlier in the inquiry are now refusing to speak, citing political sensitivities.

    Turkey had in recent days attempted to offer Riyadh a way to de-escalate a crisis that continues to gather momentum outside the region by suggesting that a deep state and not senior Saudi officials were responsible for Khashoggis disappearance. However, there has been little interest from the kingdom, leading some senior Turkish officials to conclude that Riyadh does not fear the consequences.

    Protesters in Istanbul hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Monday. Photograph: Ozan Kse/AFP/Getty Images

    If its confirmed Riyadh is responsible for Khashoggis death, this could be their Crimea moment, said HA Hellyer, senior nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Royal United Services Institute in London. Russia annexing Crimea caused justifiable huge uproar internationally, but in the end not very much happened to Putin or Russia.

    Khashoggi was last seen a week ago entering the consulate in Istanbul to get documents related to his forthcoming marriage.

    The disappearance of the acclaimed columnist and senior adviser to previous Saudi regimes has rocked Washington, where he had been based for the past year as a columnist for the Washington Post, and struck fear through establishment circles in Riyadh, where the 59-year-old had been a popular figure.

    He was one of the few public intellectuals to openly critique the new administration of Prince Mohammed. The Saudi government has denied any involvement in Khashoggis disappearance and said he left the consulate via a back entrance. Last week Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg that his government was very keen to know what happened to him.

    On Tuesday Cengiz used an opinion piece for the Washington Post to appeal to Trump for help to shed light on the disappearance. I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate, she wrote.

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    Kanye West tells Trump MAGA hat made him feel like ‘Superman’ – Trending Stuff

    Kanye West tells Trump MAGA hat made him feel like ‘Superman’ – Trending Stuff

    Washington (CNN)Rapper Kanye West met Thursday with Donald Trump, telling the President in an Oval Office meeting before reporters why he supports the Republican.

    West also said the President is on a “hero’s journey.”

    “Let’s stop worrying about the future, all we have is today,” West said, commenting on his own presidential ambitions. “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. He might not have thought he’d have a crazy mother-f***r like me (supporting him).”

    The meeting had been billed by the White House as one centered on urban revitalization, workforce training, African-American unemployment, potential future clemencies and crime in Chicago.

    West told reporters in the Oval Office that he had been asked to speak with the President about the detriments of applying stop-and-frisk policing policies in Chicago. The President has frequently praised the program, telling a group of law enforcement last week that he has urged the city of Chicago to “strongly consider stop-and-frisk.”

    The President said during the White House meeting that he’s “totally open” to an alternative to stop-and-frisk.

    “I’m totally open. If we can do it a different way, Kanye, I’m totally open but they all — we all agree that we have to do something,” Trump said.

    Prison reform

    West also discussed clemency for Larry Hoover, who is serving life in prison in a Supermax facility, calling him a “beacon” and “a living statue.”

    “Really the reason why they imprisoned him was because he started doing positive for the community, he started showing that he had power, that he wasn’t one of a monolithic voice, that he could wrap people around,” West said. “It’s very important for me to get Hoover out because in an alternate universe I am him and I have to go and get him free because he was doing positive inside of Chicago, just like how I’m moving back to Chicago(.)”

    Prosecutors alleged Hoover ran a deadly Chicago gang called the the Gangster Disciples and oversaw a $100 million-a-year illegal drug business from jail, according to The New York Times. Law enforcement authorities caught him giving orders to associates when they would visit him in jail.

    According to the Times, Hoover worked as political organizer while serving in prison, creating an organization that worked toward education reform and keeping health clinics open in the poor neighborhoods.

    It’s unclear how West learned about Hoover’s case, but it has been on his radar for at least a few weeks. He recently wore a “Free Hoover” sweatshirt in promotional material ahead of his controversial appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

    West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, has been to the White House twice in recent months to discuss criminal justice reform and the clemency process. The reality star and entrepreneur was also instrumental in securing a commutation for Alice Marie Johnson, a woman serving a life sentence over non-violent drug charges.
    Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who has previously discussed issues facing the African-American community with Trump, the President’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, and her husband and White House adviser Jared Kushner, were also in attendance.

    The lunch portion of the meeting was to include a Caprese salad, roasted chicken, fingerling potatoes and asparagus, according to the White House press office.

    Long history

    West spent Wednesday at the SoHo House in Chicago with about 40 community leaders and advisers in preparation for Thursday’s White House meeting, according to two sources who attended the discussions. There was a camera crew filming the meetings, according to the sources, who did not know if the crew was filming for an upcoming episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

    “He’s been a terrific guy,” Trump told reporters of West Tuesday afternoon on the White House South Lawn before departing for Iowa. “You know, he loves what we’re doing for African-American jobs, for so many different things. Median income, as you see, at an all-time high. Poverty level at the best rate — meaning the lowest rate so far. And Kanye is a smart guy. And he sees that.”

    Violence in Chicago is personal to West, who was raised in the Windy City, named his youngest child “Chicago,” and recently told a crowd that he is moving back, according to a video obtained by TMZ.
    This was West’s second meeting with Trump since the 2016 election; he previously visited with the then-President-elect at Trump Tower in December 2016. The two discussed multicultural issues, education and violence in Chicago, West tweeted at the time. Trump told reporters at Trump Tower that the they had been “friends for a long time.”
    West recently made waves by wearing Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat during an appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and delivering a pro-Trump speech after the show went off the air. He has previously said he would consider a presidential run in the future, and told a crowd in San Jose in 2016 that he didn’t vote in the election, but “would have voted for Trump.”
    The tête-à-tête also comes the same week as West’s longtime rival, Taylor Swift, entered the political arena for the first time, encouraging her fans to register to vote and endorsing Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and House candidate Jim Cooper, also a Democrat. It appears at least political bad blood between the bestselling artists remains.

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    Categories CNN

    Pompeo travels to Mexico to reset relations with president-elect – Trending Stuff

    Pompeo travels to Mexico to reset relations with president-elect – Trending Stuff

    Mexico City (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top US officials traveled to Mexico Friday for talks with the country’s president-elect, the first high-level meeting between the Trump administration and incoming leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador amid heightened tensions between the two neighbors and calls from Mexican leaders for the US to reunite families separated at the border.

    Pompeo didn’t refer publicly to the family separations, but stressed border security issues at the end of his visit.

    “The United States is committed to making measurable progress that ensures the security on both sides of that border,” Pompeo said. “Americans must be able to see improvements that better protect our national sovereignty and the safety of our local communities.”

    An appeal

    At a meeting with Mexico’s president-elect, Pompeo made an appeal for better relations.

    “As you can see Señor President, America greatly values our relationship with Mexico,” Pompeo said. “You have four of the most senior leaders here just after you were elected, we wanted to come down here to let you know that President Trump cares deeply for the success of the relationship between our two countries.”

    “Our presence here today signals that to you,” Pompeo continued. In an oblique reference to Trump’s history of incendiary comments about Mexicans, including his dismissal of those who emigrate to the US as “rapists,” he said, “We know there have been bumps in the road between our two countries, but President Trump is determined to make the relationship between our peoples better and stronger.”

    Pompeo’s delegation included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser who has taken a lead role in US diplomacy with Mexico.

    The talks covered a broad range of issues, including NAFTA negotiations, the opioid crisis, border security and immigration and trade negotiations.

    Pompeo’s trip, sandwiched between a NATO meeting in Brussels and a high-level summit Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, underscores the importance of a relationship that has been battered by almost 18 months of Trump’s anger about the slow pace of building a border wall between the two countries and illegal immigration.

    While the President has repeatedly aired his grievances about Mexico to score points with his base, officials beneath him have continued to work quietly to maintain one of the United States’ broadest trade, security and economic relationships.

    ‘That positive agenda’

    The previously scheduled trip was to hold talks with Peña Nieto and his foreign minister, Luis Videgaray. But the delegation also met with leftist Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, who will take office in December, an early overture to forge a relationship and begin work on a slew of issues important to both sides.

    In a statement following his meeting with Pompeo, Peña Nieto said the two sides agreed to “constructively advance the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement” and “emphasized his government’s willingness” to continue the negotiation with the objective of finalizing it as soon as possible.

    The secretaries and Kushner then met with Lopez Obrador and their future counterparts at the president-elect’s campaign headquarters.

    As the secretaries and Kushner met with Lopez Obrador and their future counterparts, a few dozen protestors were outside the building, some holding signs that said, “Fear is not a policy,” “America was never white and never will be” and “I was deported – my crime? being brown.”

    A senior State Department official briefing reporters in a phone call before Pompeo’s visit said the talks sought to build on a July 2 phone call between Lopez Obrador and Trump.

    “The whole goal of Secretary Pompeo’s trip is to advance that positive agenda and to work with the Mexican government across all of the issue areas where we can make progress on,” the official said.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity, under normal State Department rules.

    Mexico’s political transition provides an opportunity to reset US-Mexican ties, which have been strained under Trump and Peña Nieto. Peña Nieto canceled a planned visit to the White House in February after a tense phone call in which Trump demanded Mexico pay for the border wall. And since taking office last year, Trump has threatened to tear up the trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada.

    In his press statement, Pompeo said the US and Mexico are “committed together to work forward on NAFTA. The United States will continue to work with Canada and Mexico on an updated agreement. We all agree that we want North America to remain the world’s most competitive, and economically potent region.”

    Videgaray said that Pena Nieto had agreed with Lopez Obrador to create a “united front” regarding relationship with the US, especially with regard to NAFTA and the relationship.

    “This is a moment of definition between the relationship between the United States and Mexico,” Videgaray said, “but it is also a moment of for opportunity” for Mexican leaders.

    Lopez Obrador’s election last week, with a whopping 53% of the vote, gives him a strong mandate for change. While he has criticized the United States in the past, he pledged throughout his campaign to seek productive, mutually respectful relations with Washington and to support the successful renegotiation of NAFTA.

    Trump and Lopez Obrador, both considered populists and political outsiders, appear to be making an early effort to get along. Following his call with Trump after his landslide victory, Lopez Obrador said he proposed possible initiatives to Trump that could help lessen migration and bolster security, including possible US economic investment in Mexico.

    “I received a call from Donald Trump and we talked for a half hour,” he said in a tweet last Monday. “I proposed to him exploring a comprehensive agreement: development projects which would generate employment in Mexico and with it reduce migration and improve security. There was a respectful treatment and our representatives will hold discussions.”

    The president-elect has since described the call as friendly and said Trump did not bring up the idea of the controversial border wall. He said he plans to invite Trump to his inauguration, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    ‘A situation of trade disputes’

    The US wants a safe third country agreement with Mexico, as it has with Canada. Such an agreement would require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico, effectively preventing them from being allowed to seek refuge in the US. Mexican authorities have been reluctant to agree to such a deal, which could saddle them with hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing Central America and other parts of the world.

    The State Department official declined to say how prominently NAFTA negotiations would factor in Friday’s talks, but the presence of Treasury’s Mnuchin during the discussions suggests that getting a deal on NAFTA will be high on the agenda. Talks have stalled over US demands over autos and a phase-out clause for the 1994 pact as well as other issues. A fresh round of talks is expected later this month.

    On Thursday, Mnuchin told lawmakers that the administration is prioritizing NAFTA negotiations following Lopez Obrador’s election. He denied that the US is in a trade war with major trading partners, such as Canada and Mexico, despite steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on those countries for reasons of national security concerns.

    “I don’t think we’re in a trade war,” he told a House hearing. “We’re in a situation of trade disputes.”

    On Wednesday, senators voted overwhelmingly to call on Trump to get congressional approval before using national security as a reason for imposing tariffs on other nations.

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    Categories CNN

    Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting – Trending Stuff

    Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting – Trending Stuff

    (CNN)Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.

    Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.

    To be clear, these sources said Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.

    Cohen privately testified last year to two Congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. A source familiar with Cohen’s House testimony said he did not testify that Trump had advance knowledge. Cohen’s claims weren’t mentioned in separate reports issued by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

    Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen’s attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.

    “He’s been lying all week, he’s been lying for years,” said Rudy Giuliani, the President’s attorney, to Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” on Thursday night.

    He added, “I don’t see how he’s got any credibility.”

    Giuliani also said Cohen is “the kind of witness that can really destroy your whole case” and called Cohen, who was a top Trump Organization attorney for a decade, a “pathological liar.”

    “Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and Congressional investigations,” said Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Donald Trump Jr. “We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump, Jr., and on his behalf.”

    According to people who have discussed the matter with Cohen, he has expressed hope that this claim about the Trump Tower meeting will help him reach out to Mueller and possibly lessen his legal troubles. He’s under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Manhattan after Mueller referred Cohen’s case to them.

    The June 2016 meeting was arranged after a publicist who knew Trump Jr. told him in emails — in no uncertain terms — that a senior Russian official “offered to provide the Trump campaign” with damaging information about Clinton, and that the outreach was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” At the time, the Russian operation to covertly boost Trump’s candidacy wasn’t publicly known. Trump. Jr. responded, “if it’s what you say, I love it,” and started to arrange the meeting.

    At the meeting, Trump Jr. was joined by his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman at the time. There were four Russians in the room, including a lawyer with Kremlin ties, a businessman who worked for an oligarch and a lobbyist with old KGB connections.

    After news of the meeting broke in July 2017, the Trump team offered misleading explanations and changed their story several times. But one claim stayed consistent: that Trump had no knowledge of the meeting beforehand, wasn’t told about it afterward and first learned about it one year later.

    Those denials were repeatedly issued by Trump, his attorney Jay Sekulow, Trump Jr., Futerfas and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Those people denied that Trump had contemporaneous knowledge of the meeting on more than 15 occasions, according to CNN’s analysis.

    Trump said on July 12, 2017, that he “only heard about it two or three days ago.” One week later, Trump repeated that he “didn’t know anything about the meeting” because “nobody told me” about it.

    Around that same time, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sekulow to confirm Trump’s claims that he only recently learned about the controversial meeting. Sekulow’s response: “Yes, I swear.”

    But perhaps the highest-stakes denial was given by Trump Jr. in his testimony last year to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    “He wasn’t aware of it,” Trump Jr. told lawmakers, referring to his father’s knowledge of the meeting. “And, frankly, by the time anyone was aware of it, which was summer of this year, as I stated earlier, I wouldn’t have wanted to get him involved in it because it had nothing to do with him.”

    Trump’s critics have long doubted these denials. They point to a series of phone calls Trump Jr. made to a blocked phone number before and after the meeting. They also note that two days before the meeting, Trump mysteriously announced plans to give a “major speech” about Clinton’s scandals. Trump Jr. says he didn’t get any dirt at the meeting — and the speech never happened.

    Even Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and top Trump campaign official, said the meeting was “treasonous” and speculated that “the chance that Don Jr. did not walk these (Russians) up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.” Trump Jr. has denied Bannon’s allegation. Bannon’s comments, to author Michael Wolff for his book “Fire and Fury,” triggered the bitter public divorce between Bannon and Trump in early 2018.

    Axios reported that Bannon does not have first-hand knowledge about whether Trump Jr. told his father, and Bannon later said his “treasonous” remark was directed at Manafort and not Trump Jr.

    Update: This story has been updated with more comments by Rudy Giuliani.

    Categories CNN

    Kim Kardashian meets with Trump to discuss prison reform – Trending Stuff

    Kim Kardashian meets with Trump to discuss prison reform – Trending Stuff

    Washington (CNN)Kim Kardashian West met with President Donald Trump and other officials, including senior adviser Jared Kushner, at the White House on Wednesday to discuss prison reform.

    Kardashian West, who wore a black suit with bright yellow stilettos, was spotted leaving the White House with a small entourage about an hour after she arrived.

    She departed in a black Chevrolet SUV parked inside White House grounds, a surprising level of access and courtesy. VIP guests of the White House usually are required to walk through a gate to board their vehicles. Though she did not roll down her windows to greet a gaggle of cameras awaiting her departure, an aide in the front seat was seen recording the reporters on a phone.

    During the White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders wouldn’t provide further details on who Kardashian West was meeting, only saying, “She is expected to be here at the White House. I can confirm she’ll be here. We’ll keep you posted on any meetings that take place and what those look like.”

    The entrepreneur and reality television star has advocated for a pardon for a low-level drug offender named Alice Marie Johnson, who has served more than 20 years in prison. Earlier Wednesday, Kardashian West tweeted, “Happy Birthday Alice Marie Johnson. Today is for you,” adding the prayer hands emoji.

    “I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense,” Kardashian West said in a statement Wednesday night. “We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she — and so many like her — will get a second chance at life.”

    Prison reform has been a key issue for Kushner. Earlier this month, the White House-backed First Step Act, which would expand programs for prisoners and allow for more home confinement, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
    Kardashian West said she supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, but her husband, rapper Kanye West, has signaled his support for Trump.
    In 2016, West met with the President-elect at Trump Tower in New York. And last month, after releasing a photograph wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, West released a song defending his praise of the President.
    Kardashian West’s White House visit was earlier reported by Vanity Fair.

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    Categories CNN

    Trump team hired spy firm for dirty ops on Iran arms deal – Trending Stuff

    Trump team hired spy firm for dirty ops on Iran arms deal – Trending Stuff
    Missiles are paraded through Tehran on Irans annual army day on 18 April. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

    Of particular interest is a meeting involving the US presidents eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information about Clinton.

    Trump has repeatedly signalled his intention to scrap the Iran deal, denouncing it as the worst deal ever. In a January speech the US president accused his predecessor of having curried favour with the Iranian regime in order to push through the disastrously flawed Iran nuclear deal.

    Last Monday, Netanyahu, accused Iran of continuing to hide and expand its nuclear weapons know-how after the 2015 deal, presenting what he claimed was new and conclusive proof of violations.

    However, European powers including Britain responded by saying the Israeli prime ministers claims reinforced the need to keep the deal.

    On Thursday the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres urged Trump not to walk away from the deal, warning that there was a real risk of war if the 2015 agreement was not preserved. The following day details emerged of some unusual shadow diplomacy by Kerry, meeting a top-ranking Iranian official in New York to discuss how to preserve the deal.

    It was the second time in around two months that Kerry had met foreign minister Javad Zarif to apparently strategise over rescuing a pact they spent years negotiating during the Obama administration. On Sunday Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, will arrive in Washington, hoping to persuade Trump to keep the deal, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA).

    Straw, who was foreign secretary between 2001 and 2006, said: The campaign against the JCPOA has been characterised by abuse and misinformation. It is the best chance of ensuring Iran never develops a nuclear weapons programme, and it is insane to suggest abandoning the deal could do anything but endanger international security.

    Israel faces outcry over Gaza killings during Jerusalem embassy protests – Trending Stuff

    Israel faces outcry over Gaza killings during Jerusalem embassy protests – Trending Stuff
    Palestinians carry a demonstrator injured during the clashes. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

    Fury and desperation at Trumps December declaration on the embassy helped to ignite the six-week protest movement. To international condemnation, Israeli snipers have regularly fired on demonstrators in past rallies. Mondays shootings raised the total deaths close to 100 and made it the bloodiest day in the coastal enclave since the 2014 war.

    Gazas rulers Hamas has fought three conflicts with Israel but say they support peaceful ideals advocated by civilian protest leaders.

    Donald Trump,who had tweeted that Monday was a great day for Israel, did not attend the embassy opening but spoke in a video message, saying he extended a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbours. May there be peace.

    Amnesty International criticised the bloodshed as another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way.

    At the ceremony in Jerusalem, Washingtons ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stood on a stage painted with the US flag and said:Todays historic event is attributed to the vision, courage, and moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude: President Donald J Trump. The crowd cheered and gave a standing ovation.

    The only direct reference to the bloodshed came from Trumps son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who said: As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.


    In Washington, the White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah was repeatedly challenged to condemn the Israeli response. We believe Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths, he told reporters. Their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is whats leading to these deaths and we want it stopped.

    Israel has portrayed the protests as a terrorist ploy by Hamas. Naftali Bennett, Israels education minister, told Israel Radio that anyone who approached the fence would be considered a terrorist. A foreign ministry spokesman labelled protesters murderous rioters.

    The army said it had almost doubled the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank on Monday.

    The Israel Defence Forces said in a statement: The rioters are hurling firebombs and explosive devices towards the security fence and IDF forces, and are burning tires, throwing rocks and launching flaming objects in order to ignite fires in Israeli territory and harm IDF troops.

    The peace process has been at deaths door since the former secretary of state John Kerrys peace mission ended in failure in 2014. But the international community apart from the US is united in saying recognition of Jerusalem as the capital ofIsraelis disastrous for any hopes of reviving meaningful talks. The status of Jerusalem is one of the pivotal issues that diplomats and peacemakers have said must be agreed between the two parties in negotiations.

    Palestinians will see Trumps announcement as the end of their hopes and demands for East Jerusalem as a capital of a future independent state. While few want a return to violence, many will feel diplomatic efforts have got them no closer to a state of their own.

    The Israeli government will be thrilled. Ever since it captured (and later annexed) East Jerusalem in the 1967 six-day war, Israel has claimed the city as its eternal and undivided capital, and has longed for international recognition. Some 200,000 Israelis living in illegal settlements will also celebrate.

    Israels military said its troops had killed three terrorists attempting to place an explosive device adjacent to the fence in the southern area of the strip under the cover of violent riots.

    Hamas has encouraged and funded the protests and said it would not stop people from attempting to break the metal fence. Loudspeakers at the frontier called for people to push through as Israeli drones dropped teargas on the crowds.

    Until this week, no Israeli had been harmed since protests began on 30 March. An IDF spokesman, Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, said one soldier had been slightly wounded by shrapnel on Monday but he did not have details on the source of the injury.

    No one had crossed the fence despite several attempts, Conricus said. Our troops have not taken any sustained direct fire, he added.

    Protest organisers have called for an end to a decade-old Israeli-imposed blockade, and for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to their ancestral homes.

    Mosques in Gaza called for people to protest as a general strike was observed. Buses ferried residents to the perimeter. Black clouds billowed from piles of burning tyres which organisers say are used as a smokescreen against Israeli snipers. People have been shot tens of metres from the fence.