US President Donald Trump’s communications director resigns

Trump’s communications director resigns

The White House on Tuesday said communications director Mike Dubke has resigned, the first in what is expected to be a series of moves to shake up Donald Trump’s press team.

Dubke, 47, occupied the high-powered but low-profile, post for three crisis-filled months. “I can confirm that Dubke has resigned,” an official told AFP.

No date for his departure, which has been in the works for almost two weeks, has been announced.

For months rumors have echoed around the West Wing about Trump being poised to fire his public relations staff en masse.

Trump’s communications director resigns

Many come from the Republican Party establishment and have been uneasy allies with the president.

Trump has privately and publicly expressed fury over a litany of bad headlines, lashing out at reporters, alleged “fake news” headlines and staff.

The president’s failure to pass significant legislation, legal challenges to his executive orders and a rolling scandal over his inner circle’s ties with Russia have hobbled his young administration.

That has put the future of press secretary Sean Spicer and his staff into doubt.

Although the White House communications director is a much less recognizable figure than Spicer, they are usually major players — defining how the West Wing communicates and shaping the media agenda.

During Barack Obama’s administration top aide and confidant Dan Pfeiffer held the post.

AFP

US President Donald Trump satisfied with outcome of 1st overseas trip

NEWS UPDATE – U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed satisfaction at the results of his first overseas trip, the U.S. Department of State, has said.

Trump told service members at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, that they are the greatest force for peace and justice the world has ever seen, the U.S. Department of State, said.

Trump spoke to service members and their families at the end of his first overseas trip as president, and he detailed the trip to them, according to the Department.

“Our travels took us to some of the holiest sites in the three Abrahamic religions, and to gatherings of both America’s oldest and newest friends.

“We travelled the world to strengthen longstanding alliances, and to form a new partnership among nations devoted to the task of eradicating the terrorism that plagues our planet,” Trump said.

The President said he was more confident than ever that the will existed for nations to work together against the terrorists that launched recent attacks in Manchester, England, and in Egypt.

“Together, civilized nations will crush the terrorists, block their funding, strip them of their territory, and drive them out of this Earth,” Trump told the service members.

Trump’s first stop on the trip was in Saudi Arabia, where he spoke at a summit of the leaders of more than 50 Muslim and Arab nations.

His second stop was in Israel and Palestine, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The U.S. leader said he believes both Netanyahu and Abbas sincerely wanted peace in the troubled region.

The president then stopped in Rome and met with Pope Francis: “It was truly an honour to meet the Pope and to pray for peace on those hallowed grounds,” he said.

Trump then moved on to Brussels for a NATO summit, saying he got a commitment from allies to increase their defense spending, and the alliance itself committed to joining the coalition against terror.

Finally, he attended the G-7 Summit in Taormina, Italy. “I called for much greater security and cooperation on matters of both terrorism and immigration migration to protect our citizens,” he said.

“The president believes he has ‘paved the way for a new era of cooperation among the nations of the world to defeat the common enemy of terrorism and provide our children with a much more hopeful future’.”

“And American service members provide much of the security and strength that will be needed against the terrorists.

“I want you to know that you have a commander in chief who will never, ever forget,” he said.

“My pledge to you is that we will always protect those who protect us. You are protecting us, and we will always remember that, and we will always, always protect you,” Trump, who returned to Washington DC at 9 p.m. Saturday, said.

United States President Trump’s Decision To Take His Wife & Daughter On His Trip Fuels Rumours Of Rivalry

Trump, Melania and Ivanka

Who’s The Real First Lady? Trump’s Decision To Take His Wife & Daughter On His Trip Fuels Rumours Of Rivalry

Theirs is the White House rivalry that dares not speak its name, but which, this week, was rather too glaring to ignore.

Donald Trump went on his first international trip as President and took with him his wife Melania, 47, and his daughter Ivanka, 35.

Normally, there is no confusion on the identity of America’s First Lady – it’s the President’s wife. Nowadays, however, it’s not so clear.

For Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter by his first marriage, to Czech model Ivana  has taken an increasingly prominent White House role alongside her husband, Jared Kushner, now reportedly Mr Trump’s closest adviser.

With the fragrant, ever-smiling Ivanka turning up at State dinners, world leader receptions and top-level government meetings, her stepmother Melania has remained in New York with her young son Barron. Melania has been far more out of the spotlight than Ivanka of late.

United States President Trump to create ‘war room’ in White House

US President Donald Trump

Once President Trump wraps up an initial foreign trip that aides believe has gone very well, the Commander-in-Chief plans to strike quickly next week to beef up the White House staff with a “war room” aimed at taking the fight to the administration’s critics more aggressively, according to two advisers to the president.

The names of David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, two trusted hands from the Trump campaign, are being bantied about as possible additions to the White House staff.

But the advisers to the president stress both men are currently focused on continuing to help the president from outside, and no final decisions have been made on whether the president will ask them to officially join the administration or simply defend the president more aggressively from the outside.

The advisers to the president describe a hands-on Trump who is prepared to go on offense after realising perhaps belatedly that he has to get far more serious about two critical matters, pushing back against leakers in the federal government and dealing with the political damage from the various Russia investigations led by Congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said one of the advisers to the president who is involved in the planning.

The second adviser added bluntly, “there are going to be some changes” to the president’s existing staff.

However, both advisers were adamant about stressing that the continued speculation about a massive staff “shakeup” is overblown, and that there is nothing imminent in terms of potential changes for Press Secretary Sean Spicer and other top aides.

Instead, the president’s moves next week are more likely to be about addition than subtraction. “It is about bolstering and adding on to the staff,” noted one of the advisers.

The website Axios quoted one Trump ally as saying, “The White House is embracing the fight, which is going to last as long as Donald Trump is president. We’re getting street fighters ready to go.”

The president has already selected Mark Kasowitz, a tough New York lawyer, to lead his outside legal team to focus on the investigations.

One adviser to the President noted Kasowitz is “ready to rumble” with the President’s critics from outside the White House, so now the focus is who will be added to the West Wing to help Trump.

In the spotlight now are Bossie and Lewandowski, two people who have the trust of the president but did not join the administration in the early months.

Advisers now describe Bossie and Lewandowski as still wanting to help Trump from the outside, but both men would be honoured and hard-pressed to say no if the President asks them for more direct help when he returns from the foreign trip.

Lewandowski said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday night that he has no plans to join the administration and only goes to the White House as a visitor.

But he still left the door open by saying he would be honoured if the president wants him to work in the White House.

“My loyalty is to the president and the agenda he ran on,” Lewandowski said, adding “if I can help the president do that, of course.”

Source: Fox News

Appeal Court Judge Rebukes President Trump

Trump

In a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump, a U.S. Appeals Court refused on Thursday to reinstate his temporary travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations, delivering another blow to the White House in a legal battle likely headed to the Supreme Court.

The decision, written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory, described Trump’s executive order in forceful terms, saying it uses “vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

In a 10-3 ruling, a majority of judges on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said that the challengers to the ban -who included refugee groups and individuals – were likely to succeed on their claim that Trump’s order violates the U.S. Constitution’s bar on favoring one religion over another.

Citing statements by Trump during his presidential election campaign calling for a “Muslim ban,” Gregory wrote that a reasonable observer would likely conclude that the order’s “primary purpose is to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

The appeals court was reviewing a March ruling by Maryland-based federal judge Theodore Chuang that blocked part of Trump’s March 6 executive order barring people from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days while the government put in place stricter visa screening.

A similar ruling against Trump’s policy from a Hawaii-based federal judge is still in place and the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals court is reviewing that decision.

The Trump administration has argued that the temporary travel ban is a national security measure aimed at preventing Islamist militant attacks.

The March ban was Trump’s second effort to implement travel restrictions through an executive order. The first, issued on Jan. 27 just a week after the Republican president took office, led to chaos and protests at airports before it was blocked by courts.

The second order was intended to overcome the legal issues posed by the original ban, but it was blocked by judges before it could go into effect on March 16.

The case is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which would make the final decision.

Federal Appeal Court Upholds Decision Blocking Trump’s Travel Ban

Trump

NEWS UPDATE – A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President Trump’s revised travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican’s administration from temporarily suspending new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. So, this latest ruling preserves the status quo.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban, which Mr. Trump’s administration had hoped would avoid the legal problems that the first version encountered.

“Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” the chief judge of the circuit, Roger L. Gregory wrote.

Trump will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the venue the president’s travel ban has long been expected to reach.

JUST IN: Trump-Russia probe shifts to Deutsche Bank

Trump-Russia probe shifts to Deutsche Bank

US POLITICS – Democrats on a U.S. of House of Representatives panel have asked Deutsche Bank to provide information on whether any accounts connected to President Donald Trump have ties to Russia, adding another dimension to probes into connections between Moscow and Trump.

Democrats on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee said on Wednesday they had sent a letter the previous day to Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer John Cryan seeking details of internal reviews to determine if Trump’s loans for his real estate business were backed by the Russian government.

The congressional inquiry also seeks information about a Russian “mirror trading” scheme that allowed $10 billion to flow out of Russia.

“Congress remains in the dark on whether loans Deutsche Bank made to President Trump were guaranteed by the Russian government, or were in any way connected to Russia,” the Democrats wrote. “It is critical that you provide this committee with the information necessary to assess the scope, findings and conclusions of your internal reviews.”

The Democrats requested the documents from the bank, but cannot compel it to hand over the information. The committee has the power to subpoena the documents, but that would require cooperation from committee Republicans who make up the majority of the panel because the party has control of the House. No Republicans signed on to the document request.

Citing media reports, the Democrats called for the bank to hand over any documents tied to internal reviews of Trump’s personal accounts at the bank. They also said the bank should state publicly that it had reviewed both the “mirror trading” scheme and Trump’s accounts.

Mirror trading involved buying stocks, for example, in Moscow in rubles, with related parties selling the same stocks shortly thereafter through a bank’s London branch.

They also called on the bank to name an independent auditor to verify the results of the reviews, which should be turned over to the committee “as soon as reasonably practicable.”

Renee Calabro, a spokeswoman for Deutsche, declined to comment.

The House panel request to Deutsche comes as Trump is mired in controversy over FBI and congressional probes into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential collusion between the Moscow and the Trump campaign. Moscow has denied the allegations, and Trump has denied any collusion

US President Trump spills another US secret to Duterte

Trump

Still mired in controversy over telling Russia about a planned ISIS attack, President Donald Trump is caught in yet another, this time spilling US military secret to President Rodrigo Duterte of Philippines..

The New York Times reported that Trump told Duterte that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula,  a disclosure likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.

Trump has said “a major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible because of its nuclear and missile programs and that all options are on the table but that he wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically.

North Korea has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Washington had “a lot of firepower over there”, according to the New York Times, which quoted a transcript of an April 29 call between the two.

“We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all,” the newspaper quoted Trump as telling Duterte, based on the transcript.

The report was based on a Philippine transcript of the call that was circulated on Tuesday under a “confidential” cover sheet by the Americas division of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

In a show of force, the United States has sent the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to waters off the Korean peninsula, where it joined the USS Michigan, a nuclear submarine that docked in South Korea in late April.

According to the Times, a senior Trump administration official in Washington, who was not authorised to publicly discuss the call and insisted on anonymity, confirmed the transcript was an accurate representation of the call between the two leaders.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at talks in the Oval Office this month, raising questions about Trump’s handling of secrets.

Trump also praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem”, the New York Times reported, a subject that has drawn much criticism in the West.

US President Trump, Pope Francis meet one on one

Trump and Pope Francis

US President Donald Trump has finally met Pope Francis, after they clashed at a distance on issues including migration and climate change.

They met at the Vatican for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip.

He arrived for the meeting along with his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Mr Trump and his entourage arrived at the Vatican just before 06:30 GMT.

They were led by the Swiss Guard from the Vatican courtyard to the offices of Pope Francis.

On one hand, the Jesuit who has made his mission the championing of the poor and dispossessed; on the other the property developer who has championed getting rich, and surrounded himself with billionaires in his cabinet.

And though this is their first meeting, they’ve already sparred. During the election the Pope on a visit to the Mexico-US border said that people who only think of building walls instead of bridges were not Christian.

Donald Trump described those comments as disgraceful, and accused the pontiff of being a pawn of the Mexican government.

Trump visits

Former US President Obama floors Donald Trump in internet comparison

Trump and Obama

US President Trump is fond of comparing himself to Barack Obama, describing how he is stronger, and generally better than his predecessor.

But when it comes to signing guest books, Mr Trump may decide it’s better to cede the field.

Social media users seized on a 19-word, mixed-capitals note that Mr Trump left at Israel’s Holocaust memorial and compared it to a much longer, more thoughtful note written by Barack Obama.

“IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS – SO AMAZING AND WILL NEVER FORGET!” Mr Trump wrote at Yad Vashem on Tuesday after laying a wreath in memory of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis.

The note was immediately compared to an entry by Mr Obama from July 2008.

“I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world.

“Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again’. And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”

Barack Obama’s note at Yad Vashem Credit: GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

The stark differences in the entries reflect the literary tastes of the two presidents.

Mr Obama is an avid reader who wrote several books and enjoyed long dinners with novelists and other artists to talk about their work.

Mr Trump rarely reads book and prefers to watch television. His bestselling book The Art of the Deal was written by a ghostwriter.

Source: UK Telegrapgh