US Politics in Trump era
Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who played a central role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of President Trump, completed his break with the White House on Wednesday, asserting for the first time in public that the president was fully aware of the efforts to dig up damaging information on his behalf.
For 10 days, President Trump and his team have struggled to describe the reasoning behind the decision to launch a drone strike against Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite security forces, propelling the two nations to the brink of war. Officials agree they had intelligence indicating danger, but the public explanations have shifted by the day and sometimes by the hour.On Sunday came the latest twist. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he was never shown any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on four American embassies, as Mr. Trump had claimed just two days earlier.
The White House on Thursday introduced major changes to the nation’s benchmark environmental protection law, moving to ease approval of major energy and infrastructure projects without detailed environmental assessment or consideration of climate change.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general. This week, he is back in his role as the nation’s top diplomat, trying to contain the international crisis the general’s death created.
President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran on Wednesday and called for a new diplomatic effort as the bristling confrontation of the last six days appeared to ease after Iranian missile strikes that proved more symbolic than deadly.
Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are based, the Pentagon said Tuesday. “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.
President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, and threatened “very big sanctions” on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave the country.
President Trump ordered the killing of the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in a drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport early Friday, American officials said. General Suleimani’s death was confirmed by official Iranian media.
The United States military on Sunday struck five targets in Iraq and Syria controlled by an Iranian-backed paramilitary group, in response to a rocket attack on Friday that killed an American contractor, the Pentagon said. The airstrikes, carried out by Air Force F-15E fighter planes, hit three locations in Iraq and two in Syria, all controlled by the paramilitary group, Kataib Hezbollah.
This is the letter President Trump sent to Nanci Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote in the house of representatives. The editorial board has fact checked Trump's assertions and defense and found 19 false, misleading and exaggerated statements and called it a rambling angry letter.
The child tax credit, begun in 1997 as a tax cut, has become an anti-poverty program. But more than a third of children don’t receive it because their parents earn too little. The 2017 tax bill, President Trump’s main domestic achievement, doubled the maximum credit in the two-decade-old program and extended it to families earning as much as $400,000 a year (up from $110,000). The credit now costs the federal government $127 billion a year — far more than better-known programs like the earned-income tax credit ($65 billion) and food stamps ($60 billion).
President Trump campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to restore jobs — manufacturing jobs, specifically — to long-struggling Midwestern communities, and he has made the economy a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. But job growth has slowed sharply this year in Michigan, Pennsylvania and other states that were critical to Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016, as well as in states like Minnesota that he narrowly lost.
Federal Reserve officials believed that the labor market was about as good as it could get. They were wrong. It seems like there are many people on the sideline that are trickling back into the job force and who are not counted as unemployed since they have been out of the job market for over 6 months or more. Furthermore, the wages have remained stagnant which also signals a weaker economy than projected.
House Democratic leaders on Tuesday formally called for President Trump’s removal from office, asserting that he “ignored and injured the interests of the nation” in two articles of impeachment that charged him with abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
House Democrats on Tuesday asserted that President Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election, releasing a 300-page impeachment report that found that Mr. Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States.”
The refusal to send lawyers Wednesday continues a pattern of stonewalling by Mr. Trump, who has sought to block witnesses and documents, as he and his allies call the proceedings “deranged” and a “witch hunt.” People familiar with the president’s legal strategy have said privately that his lawyers are deeply suspicious of taking part in a process they view as unfair to Mr. Trump.
The White House’s former top Europe and Russia expert sharply denounced what she called a “fictional narrative” embraced by President Trump and his Republican allies that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 elections, testifying that the claim at the center of the impeachment inquiry was a fabrication by Moscow that had harmed the United States.
The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policy making.
The Russians were hard to miss. They appeared suddenly last year in Madagascar’s traffic-snarled capital, carrying backpacks stuffed with cash and campaign swag decorated with the name of Madagascar’s president.It was one of Russia’s most overt attempts at election interference to date.
The yield curve, an indicator from the bond market just a few months ago set off alarms about the risk of a recession. Now it has gone back to normal, and that signal has been met with relief in the markets. But as far as the economy is concerned, it might not matter. Once the yield curve has predicted a recession, one usually follows even if that signal changes later.
Days after a decorated Army lieutenant colonel offered damaging testimony about President Trump’s conduct on a July phone call with Ukraine’s leader, Mr. Trump stood on the South Lawn and issued a vague but ominous warning.“You’ll be seeing very soon what comes out,” Mr. Trump said on Saturday, referring to the officer, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman.
With a populist message that promises to rein in corporate excess, Ms. Warren has been facing more hostility from the finance industry than any other candidate. From corporate boardrooms to breakfast meetings, investor conferences to charity galas, Ms. Warren’s rise in the Democratic primary polls is rattling bankers, investors and their affluent clients, who see in the Massachusetts senator a formidable opponent who could damage not only their industry but their way of life.
Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election, according to a set of new surveys from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College.
The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation meant to limit the leaching of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into water supplies from the ash of coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans.
The Federal Reserve is hoping that its latest interest-rate cut will help keep the economy safely at cruising altitude. But don’t expect it to provide much of a lift to the housing market. Few economists expect the housing market to take off in response to this week’s rate cut, because rates aren’t what was holding back housing in the first place. Instead, they point to other factors.
The Keystone pipeline system, an addition to which has been the subject of environmental protests for years, leaked about 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota, covering an estimated half-acre of wetland, state environmental regulators said.
Dogged by uneasiness over trade frictions and weak global growth, the American economy’s growth inched lower over the summer. Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the economy — grew at a 1.9 percent annual rate for the third quarter, according to preliminary data released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.
The House is legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a federal judge ruled on Friday, delivering a major victory to House Democrats and undercutting arguments by President Trump and Republicans that the investigation is a sham.
He has undermined efforts by career diplomats to deliver messages to Washington about corruption and democratic backsliding in Hungary. And he has privately acted as a broker for Mr. Orban’s point of view, taking positions contrary to United States policy, according to interviews with roughly two dozen current and former American and foreign officials as well as others who have worked with Mr. Cornstein.
The Taliban have wanted the United States to pull troops out of Afghanistan, Turkey has wanted the Americans out of northern Syria and North Korea has wanted them to at least stop military exercises with South Korea. President Trump has now to some extent at least obliged all three — but without getting much of anything in return.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said Thursday that the Trump administration withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate what the president has long insisted was Kiev’s assistance to Democrats during the 2016 election.
President Trump seemed to wash his hands of the conflict between Turkey and America’s Kurdish allies in Syria on Wednesday, generating withering criticism from Republican allies, who rebuked him in a House vote. The day ended with a heated confrontation between Mr. Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office.
Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine in May, testified to impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”
The United States is sending about 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia in the latest military response by the Trump administration after it accused Iran of attacks last month on Saudi oil facilities, the Pentagon said on Friday. The move came only five days after President Trump said that his desire to terminate America’s “endless wars” led to his decision to pull back from the border area between Syria and Turkey about 50 troops who were working to create a “safe zone” between Turkish and Kurdish troops.
Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.
The White House declared war on the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, announcing that it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election” and setting the stage for a constitutional clash with far-reaching consequences.
In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America’s tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home.
An anti-Muslim organization plans to host its annual gala at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., in November.ACT for America claims to be the nation’s largest grass-roots national security organization, and is considered the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups.
President Trump on Thursday publicly called on China to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in an extraordinary presidential request to a foreign country for help that could benefit him in the 2020 election.
In the first skirmish in what promises to be an epic impeachment struggle between the executive and legislative branches, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at three congressional committees that are seeking to depose diplomats involved in American policy toward Ukraine, calling their demands for confidential interviews “an act of intimidation.”
President Trump pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call.
President Trump on Monday questioned whether the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, should be arrested for treason for his description of a phone call Mr. Trump had with the president of Ukraine during a recent congressional hearing.
President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory that he and his lawyer were pursuing was “completely debunked” long before the president pressed Ukraine this summer to investigate his Democratic rivals, a former top adviser said on Sunday.
President Trump told a crowd of staff from the United States Mission to the United Nations on Thursday morning that he wants to know who provided information to a whistle-blower about his phone call with the president of Ukraine, saying that whoever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days,” spies were dealt with differently.
After hearing that President Trump tried to persuade Ukraine to investigate a 2020 campaign rival, senior officials at the White House scrambled to “lock down” records of the call, a whistle-blower alleged in an explosive complaint released Thursday.
After months of caution, Ms. Pelosi has become convinced that Mr. Trump’s reported actions, and his administration’s refusal to share details about the matter with Congress, left the House no alternative but to move forward with an inquiry that has the potential to reshape his presidency and cleave an already divided nation just a year before he plans to stand for re-election.
President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he discussed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Ukraine’s president as Democrats ramped up calls for an investigation into whether he improperly pressured a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent.
The Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools after concluding that it was offering students a biased curriculum that, among other complaints, did not present enough “positive” imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region.
Investors take for granted that the Federal Reserve controls interest rates. But a surprisingly lively couple of days in short-term money markets has meant that the “how” became nearly as important as the “why.” The stress started on Monday in the market for repurchase agreements, or repos. Repos are short-term loans mainly used by banks and hedge funds in their daily bond trading and brokerage businesses.
The Trump administration on Thursday is expected to complete the legal repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation, which had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and water bodies. Weakening the Obama-era water rule had been a central campaign pledge for Mr. Trump, who characterized it as a federal land-grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit.
The White House was directly involved in pressing a federal scientific agency to repudiate the weather forecasters who contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian would probably strike Alabama, according to several people familiar with the events.
President Trump said on Tuesday that Chinese manufacturing would “crumble” if the country did not agree to the United States’ trade terms, as newly released data showed his trade war was washing back to American shores and hurting the factories that the president has aimed to protect.
The Trump administration unveiled a regulation on Wednesday that would allow it to detain indefinitely migrant families who cross the border illegally, replacing a decades-old court agreement that imposed a limit on how long the government could hold migrant children in custody and specified the level of care they must receive.
Israel on Thursday barred the entry of two American Democratic congresswomen who had planned to visit the West Bank, hours after President Trump had urged the country to block them.Mr. Trump’s intervention was an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home.
Almost exactly a year ago, on Aug. 16, 2018, I visited Jeffrey Epstein at his cavernous Manhattan mansion.The overriding impression I took away from our roughly 90-minute conversation was that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people, and had photos to prove it. He also claimed to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use.
In ominous signs of the damage being done by the trade war between China and the United States, data released on Wednesday indicated that the German economy was hurtling toward recession and that growth at Chinese factories was slowing at a pace not seen in nearly two decades.
Elliott Broidy had the kind of past that might have given a more traditional White House reason to keep him at a distance: A wealthy businessman, he had pleaded guilty in 2009 to giving nearly $1 million in illegal gifts to New York State officials to help land a $250 million investment from the state’s pension fund.
Attorney General William P. Barr said on Monday that there were “serious irregularities” at the federal jail in Manhattan where Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who was long dogged by accusations of sexual abuse of girls, was found dead on Saturday morning after he had apparently hanged himself.
The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.
President Trump began a day set aside for healing in Dayton and El Paso by lashing out against his political rivals and the news media, employing the kind of divisive language that prompted protests in both cities even before he arrived. He mocked Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for president who once represented El Paso in Congress, for having a “phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage” and he linked the Dayton shooter to liberal politicians.
The trade war between the United States and China entered a more dangerous phase on Monday, as Beijing allowed its currency to weaken, Chinese enterprises stopped making new purchases of American farm goods and President Trump’s Treasury Department formally labeled China a currency manipulator.
Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported on Sunday, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month as the United States applies its campaign of “maximum pressure,” sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the country.
Cheaper mortgages are usually a boon to the housing market. But this year, a sharp drop in mortgage rates hasn’t provided much of a lift, and that could bode poorly for the Federal Reserve’s efforts to shore up economic growth.
The Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade on Wednesday as it attempted to guard the record-long economic expansion against mounting global risks. The widely expected quarter-point move, the Fed’s first since it cut rates to near zero in 2008, is meant to protect the economy against the potentially harmful effects of a growth slowdown in China and Europe and uncertainty from President Trump’s trade war.
President Trump announced on Sunday that Dan Coats will step down as director of national intelligence after a tenure in which the two were often at odds over Russia, North Korea and the president’s own attacks on the intelligence community.“I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
President Trump lashed out at a leading African-American congressman on Saturday, calling him “a brutal bully” who represents a Baltimore-based district that has become a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
The American economy is slowing, dragged down by trade tensions and weak growth overseas. But there are few signs that the decade-long expansion is on the verge of stalling out.Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the economy, rose at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the second quarter, according to preliminary data released by the Commerce Department on Friday.
Four of the world’s largest automakers, including the Ford Motor Company, have struck a deal with California to reduce tailpipe pollution, in a setback to the Trump administration as it prepares to weaken national emissions standards and revoke states’ rights to set their own such rules.
Dream Center Education Holdings, a subsidiary of a Los Angeles-based megachurch, had no experience in higher education when it petitioned the federal Education Department to let it take over a troubled chain of for-profit trade schools.But the organization’s chairman, Randall K. Barton, told the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, that the foundation wanted to “help people live better lives.”
History will record last week as a moment when President Trump turned to raw racial appeals to attack a group of nonwhite lawmakers, but his attacks also underscored a remarkable fact of his first term: His rhetorical appeals to white working-class voters have not been matched by legislative accomplishments aimed at their economic interests.
Mr. Epstein, who was charged this month with sex trafficking of teenage girls, liked to portray himself as a financial wizard, someone whose business and investing acumen made him indispensable to corporate executives and other leaders. But there is little evidence to support that notion. The financial services that Mr. Epstein dispensed appear to have been mostly pedestrian, and his list of clients small.Mr. Epstein nonetheless managed to affix himself to a handful of prominent Wall Street veterans, including Mr. Staley, who is now chief executive of the British bank Barclays.
The American military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said during a ceremony at the White House.Mr. Trump said the unmanned aircraft threatened the Boxer, an amphibious assault ship that can launch attack jets and helicopters from its landing deck.
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to weaken rules that for the past quarter-century have given communities a voice in deciding how much pollution may legally be released by nearby power plants and factories.
Mr. Epstein is routinely described as a billionaire and brilliant financier, and he rubbed elbows with the powerful, including former and future presidents. Even after his 2008 guilty plea in a prostitution case in Florida, he promoted himself as a financial wizard who used arcane mathematical models, and he often dropped the names of Nobel Prize-winning friends. He told potential clients that they had to invest a minimum of $1 billion. At his peak in the early 2000s, a magazine profile said he employed 150 people, some working out of the historic Villard Houses on Madison Avenue.Much of that appears to be an illusion, and there is little evidence that Mr. Epstein is a billionaire.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they have no following in Congress. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York shot back that she and three of her fellow liberal freshmen, darlings of the left known collectively as “the squad,” are wielding the real power in the party.
A day after pledging that the 2020 census would not ask respondents about their citizenship, Justice Department officials reversed course on Wednesday and said they were hunting for a way to restore the question on orders from President Trump.
In the hours before and after leaving for an international summit meeting, Mr. Trump assailed Japan, Germany and India. He complained that under existing treaty provisions, if the United States were attacked, Japan would only “watch it on a Sony television.” He called Germany a security freeloader and chastised India for raising tariffs on American goods.
Congress sent President Trump a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package on Thursday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates and dropped her insistence on stronger protections for migrant children in overcrowded border shelters.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the challengers opposed to partisan gerrymandering, the practice in which the party that controls the state legislature draws voting maps to help elect its candidates. The vote in two cases was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. The court appeared to close the door on such claims.
At the squat, sand-colored concrete border station in Texas that has become the center of debate over President Trump’s immigration policies, a chaotic shuffle of migrant children continued on Tuesday as more than 100 were moved back into a facility that days earlier had been emptied in the midst of criticism that young detainees there were hungry, crying and unwashed.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Tuesday called the White House “mentally retarded” and vowed that Tehran would not be intimidated by American sanctions — drawing a blistering threat of “obliteration” from President Trump.“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, calling Mr. Rouhani’s comments “ignorant and insulting.”
Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland,” but the milk makers who gave the state its moniker are vanishing, falling prey to a variety of impediments, including President Trump and his global trade war.
President Trump said Friday morning that the United States military had been “cocked and loaded” for a strike against Iran on Thursday night, but that he called it off with 10 minutes to spare when a general told him that 150 people would probably die in the attack.
Iran shot down a United States surveillance drone early Thursday, both nations said, but they differed on the crucial issue of whether the aircraft had violated Iranian airspace, in the latest escalation in tensions that have raised fears of war between the two countries.Iranian officials said that the drone was over Iran, which the American military denied — an important distinction in determining who was at fault — and each side accused the other of being the aggressor.
Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.
President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary, leaving the Pentagon in transition at a time of escalating tensions with Iran and questions about the role of the military at the border with Mexico.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that intelligence reviewed by American officials showed that Iran was responsible for attacks earlier in the day on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a critical waterway for the transit of much of the world’s oil.Mr. Pompeo did not present any evidence to back up the assessment of Iran’s involvement.
A House committee voted on Wednesday to recommend that the House hold two cabinet secretaries in contempt of Congress, hours after President Trump invoked executive privilege to block disclosure of crucial documents on the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.