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Trump calls Cohen’s taping of phone call ‘inconceivable,’ possibly illegal

Cohen records Trump discussing payments to model Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with then-candidate Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments, which were never made, to a former Playboy model. President Trump on Saturday described former lawyer Michael Cohen’s taping of a private conversation between them as “totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,” but he reassured supporters that he has done nothing wrong. Trump did not mention Cohen by name but appeared to be responding to reports that Cohen recorded a conversation with him in September 2016 in which they discussed possible payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal — who claimed she had an affair with Trump in 2006. The New York Tim...

Former Trump administration officials: A list of notable departures

A growing number of people have left the Trump administration in just over a year, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, chief strategist Steve Bannon and FBI Director James Comey. Some, such as Comey, were fired by President Trump, while others resigned or retired for a variety of reasons. Trump’s administration has set records for turnover of senior officials, with more than 60 percent of those with the title of assistant to the president departing in the first 18 months. The president addressed the high turnover in the White House in a March tweet, denying there is any “chaos.”  “People will always come [and] go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seekin...

Trump was briefed about Putin’s meddling role 2 weeks before taking office: report

President-elect Donald Trump, two weeks before taking the oath of office in January 2017, was shown highly classified intelligence claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian interference efforts into the 2016 presidential election, according to a report. The data was backed up by emails and texts from Russian military officers and a top-secret source close to Putin, who told the CIA how the Kremlin decided to start its hacking and disinformation efforts against U.S. targets, the New York Times reported. Trump was “grudgingly convinced” by the assessment, according to the Times, which spoke with several other people who attended the intelligence briefing. The meeting occurred Jan. 6, 2017, at Trump Tower in New York City, and Trump was briefed by a number of offici...

White House not ruling out Putin proposal to let Russia question ex-US ambassador, prominent financier

The White House said Wednesday that President Trump would consider whether to allow Russian prosecutors to interview onetime U.S. ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul and other Americans in connection with criminal claims against Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Wednesday, Sanders said there “was some conversation” between Trump and Putin at their Monday summit about Russia’s request, “but there wasn’t a commitment made on behalf of the United States and the president will work with his team and we’ll let you know if there’s an announcement on that front.” “Work with his team to do what?” McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia between 2012 and 2014, responded in an email to Fox News. “The Trump ...

Michael Goodwin: What happened to Trump and America First?

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. Even when you are the president of the United States. From the moment President Trump and Russian boss Vladimir Putin walked toward the podium for their joint press conference Monday, and until they shook hands afterward, Putin looked more relaxed and confident. He spoke first, giving a lengthy recap of their private meeting, thus creating the initial record of what happened. The event was in Finland, but Putin acted as if he were playing on his home field. Trump followed, but it was not the bold, self-confident Donald Trump of the recent NATO and G-7 conferences, where he enjoyed being the bull in Europe’s china shop. Then he stuck up for American workers on trade deals and for American taxpayers stuck paying for Europe’s defens...

Trump says ‘I’m not pro-Russia,’ hits ex-CIA chief Brennan for calling Putin news conference ‘treasonous’

President Trump denied he was “pro-Russia” and slammed former CIA Director John Brennan in a Fox News interview airing Tuesday night, after the ex-intelligence chief described Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “treasonous.” “I think Brennan is a very bad guy and if you look at it a lot of things happened under his watch,” Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday. “I think he’s a very bad person.” The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” interview was recorded in Helsinki following the Trump-Putin news conference, at which Trump appeared to dismiss the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Trump backtracked on Tuesday, claiming he meant to ...

Trump blasts Mueller probe, Putin denies meddling as leaders tout summit as ‘success’

Trump deflects question on Russia meddling at Putin presser President Trump, after being questioned by a reporter on if he believed U.S. intelligence or Vladimir Putin’s denial about meddling in the 2016 election, says he has confidence in both parties; John Roberts reports on the takeaways from the post-summit press conference. President Trump and Vladimir Putin tackled allegations of election meddling in unprecedented terms following their one-on-one summit Monday, with Trump opening the door to an unusual offer of cooperation in the special counsel probe and the Russian president suggesting he indeed favored the billionaire businessman in 2016.  But Putin, emphatically and repeatedly, denied meddling in the U.S. election, saying there’s “no evidence.” And Trump, ...

Trump says ‘European Union is a foe’ to US ahead of summit with Putin

President Trump ratcheted up his criticism of the European Union the day before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, calling the political and economic union “a foe” of the United States. “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Trump said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe.” Speaking ahead of his summit meeting on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and after a tumultuous week in Europe, Trump said that European leaders were taking advantage of the U.S. and failing to boost defense spending despite demands from Washington. More on this… “EU is very difficult,” Trump said. “In a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantag...

Trump slams May over ‘very unfortunate’ Brexit plan, says ‘it will probably kill’ US trade deal

President Trump criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit Thursday, telling The Sun newspaper that her plan was “very unfortunate” and would “probably” kill any possible trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K. The comments could be seen as a body blow to May’s government, which is struggling to steady itself after two key Cabinet members — including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson — resigned in protest earlier this week at her plan to keep Britain and the European Union in a free market for goods, with a more distant relationship for services. When asked about the ongoing negotiations between May’s government and the EU over the terms of their divorce, Trump told The Sun: “I would have done it much differ...

NATO pledges to boost defense spending after stern words from Trump

NATO leaders pledged their “unwavering commitment” to boost defense spending on Wednesday, following stern words from President Trump criticizing European leaders for spending too little. The U.S. and European allies signed a declaration stating they are “committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership.” The declaration comes after confrontational and testy discussions between Trump and other NATO leaders. Since the election, Trump has criticized NATO countries for not paying their fair share, while suggesting he would only come to the defense of NATO nations that fulfilled their financial obligation. Trump also has pressed NATO countries to fulfill their goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense by 2024. NATO...

Trump tangles with NATO leaders in testy start to Brussels summit

President Trump kicked off the highly anticipated NATO summit Wednesday with sharp words for the head of the alliance and Germany, using the meeting to challenge European countries over their defense spending and even agreements with Russia.  Before sitting down for the first official meeting of the day, the president engaged in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He pressed why the U.S. should continue to pay money to the military alliance while the countries purchase energy from Moscow. “We are stronger together,” Stoltenberg said, while acknowledging there can be differences among allies. “But how can you be together when you’re getting energy from the group you want protection from?” Trump responded, using Germany as an example. Trump challenged Stoltenberg t...

Some conservatives lukewarm, but Trump delivered for his base with Kavanaugh

Most conservatives are genuinely pleased with President Trump’s Supreme Court choice, but there’s a lack of excitement in some quarters. Even the fiercest detractors of Brett Kavanaugh—who we now know was privately endorsed by Anthony Kennedy—are conceding that he is eminently qualified for the high court. But he is also an upstanding, Georgetown Prep, Ivy League, well-connected Washington insider. Former judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News legal analyst, said yesterday: “I’m disappointed in the president because this is not the type of person that he said he would pick. Justice Gorsuch was. This person is at the heart and soul of the D.C. establishment against whom the president railed.” David French, the National Review writer who pined for Amy Coney Barre...