Russia to seize US properties in retaliation over sanctions

Moscow (CNN)The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded Friday that the United States cut its diplomatic staff in Russia and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties in a sharp response to a new sanctions bill the US Congress passed a day earlier.

The order — which affects the US Embassy in Moscow and consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok — would reduce US diplomatic and technical staff to 455, the same number Russia has in the United States, by September 1.

White House, business groups start major push to cut taxes

The White House and congressional Republicans — backed by business and conservative groups — are mustering forces to muscle through a large tax cut package later this year.

Trump administration officials hope to play a much more proactive role both in writing the legislation and in selling it to voters, following internal criticism that they ceded too much discretion to lawmakers who bungled passage of the health-care bills.

Trump tells police not to worry about injuring suspects during arrests

During a speech on Long Island on Friday, President Trump took a break from discussing gang violence and illegal immigration to give the law enforcement officers gathered for his remarks some advice on how to treat suspects.

“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?” Trump said, miming the physical motion of an officer shielding a suspect’s head to keep it from bumping against the squad car.

Trump administration threatens retribution against Alaska over Murkowski health votes

Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski’s vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.

The response follows Trump’s no-holds-barred style of governing, even when it comes to his own party. It is his first strike of retaliation against Murkowski, however, despite her tendency to stray from the party line and the president’s priorities.

Pentagon caught flat-footed on Trump’s transsexual ban

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump abruptly declared a ban on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military, catching the Pentagon flat-footed and unable to explain what it called Trump’s “guidance.” His proclamation, on Twitter rather than any formal announcement, drew bipartisan denunciations and threw currently serving transgender soldiers into limbo.

Trump’s Scaramucci Deletes Tweet Claiming Release of his Public Financial Disclosure is a “Felony”

Trump’s new White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci has deleted a tweet calling for the FBI and Justice Department to investigate what he said was a “felony” leak of his financial disclosure forms.

The documents were actually available to the public four days ago.

The documents obtained by Politico show that Scaramucci still holds an ownership stake in his Wall Street hedge fund SkyBridge Capital and earned $4.9 million from it in the first six months of the Trump administration while working at the government’s Export-Import Bank. That’s on top of the $5 million salary he drew.

House Judiciary Committee votes to probe Comey and Clinton’s 2016 campaign

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to request documents about former FBI director James B. Comey’s conversations with the Obama administration and journalists, amending and replacing a Democratic resolution that was designed to obtain documents about Comey’s firing by President Trump.

Trump announces ban on transgender people in U.S. military

By tweets Wednesday morning the president wrote: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

Trump gives Boy Scouts at jamboree a taste of Washington politics

It did not take long for Trump to veer from inspiration to denigration. The teenaged boys loved it, cheering wildly at each sick burn, hooting and hollering like they were at a wrestling match.

“Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that,” he told the teenaged boys, sitting state by state in brightly colored t-shirts.

Trump renews Twitter attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions

President Trump launched another public assault Tuesday morning on his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, questioning why the Justice Department chief has not done more to investigate alleged “crimes” by Hillary Clinton and those who have leaked information to the media

Break-in, ‘threatening note’ at office of GOP senator considered swing vote in health-care bill

Police said a “threatening note” was found over the weekend after a break-in at the Las Vegas office of Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who could be a critical swing vote on the GOP health-care bill.

Las Vegas police said officers responded to a call about a burglary alarm Saturday morning at Heller’s office in southwest Las Vegas. There, they discovered what they described in a statement as a “threatening note” addressed to Heller (R-Nev.) near the door to his office.

Donald Trump Jr. releases email chain on his Russian meeting

Trump Jr. tweeted out the emails after The New York Times first reported on the meeting between Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer on Saturday. The Times subsequently reported that Trump Jr. had been informed that the information he was promised on Clinton was part of Russian government efforts to help his father’s campaign.

Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign

WASHINGTON — Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

Trump accuses Comey of illegally leaking classified information

President Trump accused former FBI director James B. Comey of illegally leaking classified information to the media, part of an angry, early morning tweet storm Monday as the president faces new allegations about his 2016 campaign’s contact with the Russians.

Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer during presidential campaign after being promised information helpful to father’s effort

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, said in a statement Sunday that a Russian lawyer with whom he met in June 2016 claimed she could provide potentially damaging information about his father’s likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

He said he had agreed to the meeting at Trump Tower in New York because he was offered information that would be helpful to the campaign of his father, then the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Did Russia Collude with pro-Trump Web Sites?

"Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee... has said that at least 1,000 'paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia' were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign... "Warner said there was...

Maryland elections officials deny Trump request for voter data

Baltimore Sun -- July 3, 2017.  Luke Broadwater and Talia Richman photo: Letter from Linda Lamone regarding the request of the Presidential Advisory Commision on Voter Integrity. Maryland elections officials on Monday denied the Trump administration's request for...

AP Exclusive: US nuclear inspection results now concealed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has thrown a cloak of secrecy over assessments of the safety and security of its nuclear weapons operations, a part of the military with a history of periodic inspection failures and bouts of low morale

Trump blasts states for refusing to hand over voter data

Reuters -- July 2, 2017. Reporting by Joel Schectman, Chris Kenning and Toni Clarke; Editing by Bernard Orr and Jonathan Oatis  Accessed 7/3/2017 Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump waits for the arrival of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jeong-sook...

Travel ban takes effect as State Department defines ‘close family

Washington Post --By Carol Morello June 29 at 9:52 PM. Accessed 6/30/2017 After five months of bitter legal squabbling, the Trump administration’s modified travel ban took effect Thursday night under new guidelines designed to avert the chaos of the original rollout....

‘It is really not normal’: Both sides condemn Trump for vulgar tweet about TV host

The first tweet contained the typical name-calling fare from President Trump, the kind of attacks that no longer surprise most people — labeling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” as “poorly rated” and calling its hosts “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and “Psycho Joe.”

But the second tweet, landing about six minutes later, caused an immediate and sustained uproar, as it contained a deeply personal and vulgar attack on Mika Brzezinski

EPA chief met with Dow CEO before deciding on pesticide ban

By MICHAEL BIESECKER 06/28/2017 Original Article. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health...

EPA chief met with Dow CEO before deciding on pesticide ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health studies showed it can harm children’s brains, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

Senate GOP updates health care bill to include 6-month lockout for uninsured

Sen Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday updated the health care bill he is whipping votes for to penalize people who do not have insurance and wish to purchase it on the exchanges.

The new bill says that people who have lacked insurance coverage for 63 days or more must wait six months before reentering the marketplace

Supreme Court to hear partisan gerrymandering case

CNN -- By Ariane de Vogue and Daniella Diaz, CNN  Updated 4:47 PM ET, Mon June 19, 2017. Accessed 6/19/2017 Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court will take up the most important gerrymandering case in more than a decade, it announced Monday. The case involves district...

Democrats to halt Senate business in health care protest

CNN -- CNN Digital Expansion DC By Manu Raju, Senior Congressional Reporter  Updated 5:58 PM ET, Mon June 19, 2017. Accessed 6/19/207 Washington (CNN)Senate Democrats will move to bring the chamber to a halt Monday night to protest the Republicans' closed-door process...

Senate backs measure limiting President’s power to lift sanctions

NYTimes -- July 14, 2017 by MAYA SALAMJUNE . Accessed 7/15/2017 Photo: “We cannot let Russia’s meddling in our elections go unpunished,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said Wednesday. Credit Zach Gibson/Getty Images NY Times --...

Trump lashes out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, again

CNN -- By Eliza Mackintosh, CNN  Updated 2:26 PM ET, Mon June 5, 2017 US President Donald Trump renewed his criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday, a day after attacking his handling of the weekend's terror attack in the city. Trump, writing on Twitter Monday,...

Trump Announces Plan To Privatize Air Traffic Control

NPR.ORG -- June 5, 201712:06 PM ET by David Schaper  Accessed 6/5/2017 Photo: The Dulles International Airport Air Traffic Control tower.   Cliff Owen/AP President Trump announced Monday a plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system — a move that would...

Comey to testify publicly about Trump confrontations

CNN -- By Eric Lichtblau, CNN Investigates   Updated 1:24 PM ET, Wed May 31, 2017  Accessed 5/31/2017. Fired FBI director James Comey plans to testify publicly in the Senate as early as next week to confirm bombshell accusations that President Donald Trump pressured...

Dubke resigns as White House communications director

Washington Post -- Phillip Rucker May 30 at 7:57 AM  Accessed 5/20/2017 Mike Dubke has resigned as White House communications director in the first of what could be a series of changes to President Trump's senior staff amid the growing Russia scandal. Dubke, who...

Clapper: Russia ‘absolutely’ meddled in the 2016 election

CNN -- Eugene Scott  Updated 8:52 AM ET, Tue May 30, 2017   Accessed 5/30/2017 Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said there has never been a case of election interference more aggressive than that involving Russia and the 2016 presidential...

Trump scolds NATO allies over defense spending

CNN -By Jeremy Diamond, May 28,2017. Accessed 5/28/2017. - Brussels (CNN)President Donald Trump on Thursday chided NATO member countries directly for not meeting their financial commitments to the alliance and declined to reiterate US commitment to the alliance's...

Facing fuming British prime minister, Trump vows to plug leaks

CNN -- By Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny.  Updated 10:48 AM ET, Thu May 25, 2017. Accessed 5/25/2017 Brussels (CNN) -- President Donald Trump arrived at NATO headquarters here Thursday under a cloud of suspicion about the security of foreign intelligence shared with the...

Trump scolds NATO allies over defense spending

CNN --By Jeremy Diamond.   Updated 11:15 AM ET, Thu May 25, 2017. Accessed 5/25/2017 Brussels (CNN)President Donald Trump on Thursday chided NATO member countries directly for not meeting their financial commitments to the alliance and declined to reiterate US...

James Comey to Testify Publicly Before the Senate

From The Guardian: "Former FBI director James Comey will testify in an open hearing of the Senate intelligence committee at some point after Memorial Day, the committee announced Friday.... "'The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former director...

Trump pulls trigger for NAFTA talks

CNN Money -- by Patrick Gillespie  May 18, 2017: 1:15 PM ET  Accessed 5/18/2017 President Trump gave formal notice Thursday he will renegotiate NAFTA, the free trade deal between the US, Canada and Mexico. Administration officials sent a letter to Congress that...

Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

WASHINGTON — President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after...

At a Besieged White House, Tempers Flare and Confusion Swirls

By GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMANMAY 16, 2017 Photo The White House on Monday. Earlier in the day, President Trump told his communications staff they needed to “get on the same page,” according to a person briefed on the meeting. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times...

Soverign Citizens Movement Ignored by Trump Administration

From The Guardian: "Although the Trump administration is reportedly planning to restructure the Department of Homeland Security’s countering violent extremism (CVE) program to focus exclusively on radical Islam, a 2014 national survey of 175 law enforcement agencies...

Callista Gingrich set to be named ambassador to the Vatican

CNN -- By Jeff Zeleny and Caroline Kenny   Updated 11:58 AM ET, Sun May 14, 2017 Callista Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is the preferred nominee to be the next ambassador to the Vatican. The White House hopes to announce her nomination...

Trump threatens Comey in new tweet

CNN --By Eugene Scott, CNN  Updated 9:52 AM ET, Fri May 12, 2017  Accessed 5/17/2017 (CNN)President Donald Trump issued a thinly veiled threat Friday to fired FBI Director James Comey, an extraordinary development in the ongoing feud between the President and the...

Jeff Sessions’ Role in Comey Firing Creates Legal Jeopardy

From The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin writes in her Right Turn column: "Refusing to recuse oneself from a conflict or breaking the promise to recuse from a conflict is a serious breach of legal ethics. 'Someone could file a bar complaint, and/or one with DOJ’s...

Mitch McConnell Averse to Independent Russia Investigation

From The Washington Post: "On Wednesday, one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), basically flat-out said he wouldn't support a special investigation. The various committees in Congress already looking into...

Washington Post’s The Fix on Trump Firing of Comey

From The Washington Post: "What's clear a little more than 12 hours later is that the White House now has a major perception problem in firing the man who is in charge of investigating alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. And what appears to have been a...

President Trump fires FBI Director Comey

Washington Post -- By Devlin Barrett, Adam Entous and Philip Rucker May 10 at 7:35 AM  Accessed 5/10/2017 Photo: Getty Images. Donald Trump and James Comey. President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday, at the recommendation of senior Justice...

Behind the scenes of James Comey’s epic firing

CNN -- By Kevin Liptak, CNN White House Producer  May 10, 2017  Accessed 5/10/2017 Photo: NBC News. James Comey A little past 5 p.m. Tuesday, a black Ford Taurus slowed to a stop just outside FBI headquarters in Washington and dispatched a white-haired man in a dark...

Comey’s Testimony on Huma Abedin Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate

ProPublica -- by Peter Elkind, special to ProPublica, May 8, 2017, 10:39 p.m. Accessed 5/9/2017 FBI director James Comey generated national headlines last week with his dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining his “incredibly painful” decision...

White House Proposes Cutting Drug Control Office Funding by 95%

NY Times -- By ALAN RAPPEPORTMAY 5, 2017. Accessed 5/6/2017 Police search a man for drug paraphernalia in Huntington, W.Va. On Friday, the Trump administration revealed plans to gut the 2018 budget of his Office of National Drug Control Policy. Credit Brendan...

Web Services Provider Enables Hate Groups

This isn't technically a government story, but still important for all you Monitors out there. From ProPublica: "The widespread use of Cloudflare’s services by racist groups is not an accident. Cloudflare has said it is not in the business of censoring websites and...