This Morning with Gordon Deal
4:00am - 6:00am
This Morning with Gordon Deal
banner banner banner banner banner banner
Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Politics
Subscribe To This Feed

BananaStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite all the activity on the Senate floor on Tuesday -- including a standing ovation for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was diagnosed with brain cancer and flew back at the last minute to cast the decisive vote -- the chamber only passed a procedural measure to move forward and kick off debate on the repeal-and-replace legislation that the House passed back in May.

Now the work begins. Over the next few days, senators will introduce amendments changing the House version and decide the final text of a bill they will vote on and try to pass.

After the vote Tuesday to move ahead to debate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced two possible amendments that would swap out the House text entirely and replace it with new language.

The first was a package that included the repeal-and-replace draft Senate leadership wrote up this summer but never made it to a floor vote, which failed on a series of procedural votes Tuesday night.

But the Senate has yet to consider the second possibility that McConnell introduced, which would swap out the House version with the text of a bill lawmakers voted on back in 2015 that repeals the Affordable Care Act with a two-year delay to leave allow time to pass a replacement.

This language passed both chambers of Congress back then, but even Senate Republicans acknowledge that it was a vote to send a message to President Barack Obama and to their voters back home because they knew it was going to get vetoed. Recently, several Republicans have said they won’t back a straight repeal option like this; as of now, it will likely fail.

Once those two options are voted on, the Senate will have more debate time -- 18 hours divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Then a so-called "vote-a-rama" begins, opening the floodgates for all senators to introduce as many amendments as they want. The vote-a-rama can last until senators reach literal physical exhaustion.

Democrats have said they have "hundreds" of amendments to offer and are preparing for a marathon.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and other Republicans have said leadership will likely continue to offer more limited repeal options that narrow the scope of repeal until they get something to pass.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos teamed up with Ivanka Trump on Tuesday at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where the pair read to a group of girls in an effort to excite them about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The pair took turns reading "Rosie Revere Engineer" -- which Trump said is her 6-year-old daughter Arabella's favorite book -- to a group of 6- to 10-year-olds from the Boys and Girls Club and a local YMCA in the Washington, D.C., museum's SparkLab.

The first daughter, who serves as an adviser to the president, tweeted a video of the event, describing the attendees as "amazing girls."

With @BetsyDeVosED reading Rosie Revere, Engineer to these amazing girls at today’s #SummerReading event. #STEM pic.twitter.com/py0lSdBU2F

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 25, 2017

According to a U.S. Department of Education press release, the reading was intended to "encourage students to stay actively engaged in their education while on summer break."

"This event is a continuation of the Department of Education’s summer reading initiative and will focus specifically on getting girls excited about science, technology, engineering and math," the statement read.

DeVos tweeted about the event, and after the reading, Trump snapped selfies with the pint-sized leaders of tomorrow, which the White House documented on its Snapchat account.

Fun morning of #SummerReading with @IvankaTrump and many incredible young girls at the @amhistorymuseum #SparkLab pic.twitter.com/nQGNVh3ntr

— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) July 25, 2017

Engineer? Scientist? Coder? These girls all have bright futures ahead of them! #SummerReading #GirlsInSTEM #SparkLab pic.twitter.com/CE7M2cwVNL

— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) July 25, 2017

And David Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian, tweeted that he was proud to show their STEM programs to their special guests.

Proud to show our important #STEM & innovation programs @amhistorymuseum #SparkLab to @BetsyDeVosED & @IvankaTrump at #SummerReading event pic.twitter.com/RhHYUD6nWd

— David J. Skorton (@DavidJSkorton) July 25, 2017

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Justin Merriman/Getty Images(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) -- President Donald Trump went back into campaign mode at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Tuesday evening.

He started by running through "what an amazing few days it's been," listing a number of public events he has held in the past week, including addressing a Boy Scout Jamboree on Monday and the procedural health care vote passage today in the Senate.

"We have spent the entire week celebrating with the hard-working American men and women who are making us make America great again," Trump said.

"I'm here to cut through the fake news filter and to speak straight to the American people," he said.

At points, he appeared to enjoy the chanting crowds, which called out frequent campaign maxims like "drain the swamp," "lock her up," and "build the wall" at various points.

"Don't even think about it -- we will build the wall," he said in response to one of the chants.

"Is there any place that's more fun, more exciting, and safer than a Trump rally?" he asked.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

eurobanks/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed sweeping sanctions that punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression toward its neighbors.

The legislation passed by a count of 419-3, sending a strong bipartisan message to the White House that Congress will maintain its check on power over President Donald Trump.

“The multitude of threats posed to our national security by Iran, Russia, and North Korea cannot be understated,” Speaker Paul Ryan noted following the vote. “These bad actors have long sought to undermine the United States and disrupt global stability. Our job in Congress is to hold them accountable. The bill we just passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is one of the most expansive sanctions packages in history. It tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe.”

Three Republicans -- Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee and Thomas Massie of Kentucky -- voted against the measure.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where an earlier version passed behind another bipartisan tally 98-2.

But with the upper chamber now consumed with health care reform, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said it’s possible the package may not face a vote on final passage before the August recess.

Corker also lamented the process for getting the legislation passed.

“It would have been much cleaner just to send Russia and Iran over. That was the language everyone agreed to,” Corker told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, urged his Republicans colleagues to take up the bill as soon as possible.

“Senate Republican leaders should move this bill as soon as possible, so that it can be on the president's desk without delay. Passing the bill on a bipartisan basis will send a strong signal to the White House that the Kremlin needs to be held accountable for meddling in last year's election,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

The White House has also sent contradictory signals on whether the president will sign the legislation, though it appears to have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

“He’s going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like,” incoming White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday.

In a statement later, Sanders added, "While the president supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the president’s desk."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee has dropped their subpoena compelling former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to appear after reaching a deal to work together, according to both sources close to Manafort and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed that an agreement was reached and Manafort will not be at the committee's hearing on Wednesday as the subpoena originally compelled him to be.

"Faced with issuance of a subpoena, we are happy that Mr. Manafort has started producing documents to the Committee and we have agreed to continue negotiating over a transcribed interview. It’s important that he and other witnesses continue to work with this committee as it fulfills its oversight responsibility," according to a statement from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the committee.

"Our investigation is still in its early stages, and we will continue to seek information from witnesses as necessary. As we’ve said before, we intend to get the answers that we need, one way or the other. Cooperation from witnesses is always the preferred route, but this agreement does not prejudice the committee’s right to compel his testimony in the future," the statement continued.

The panel has withdrawn its subpoena but reserves the right to compel him to appear in the future, a judiciary committee source told ABC News.

The subpoena was originally issued on Monday and announced this morning.

"While we were willing to accommodate Mr. Manafort's request to cooperate with the committee's investigation without appearing at Wednesday's hearing, we were unable to reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee," according to a statement from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the committee.

It continued, "While the Judiciary Committee was willing to cooperate on equal terms with any other committee to accommodate Mr. Manafort's request, ultimately that was not possible."

The statement said that Manafort may be excused from the hearing "if he would be willing to agree to production of documents and a transcribed interview, with the understanding that the interview would not constitute a waiver of his rights or prejudice the committee's right to compel his testimony in the future."

Jason Maloni, a spokesperson for Manafort, told ABC News earlier Tuesday that Manafort spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning.

"Paul Manafort met this morning, by previous agreement, with the bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and answered their questions fully," Maloni said.

Maloni said of Manafort's then-ongoing negotiations with the Judiciary Committee, "Paul has been cooperating from the beginning, and we hope to work something out." A source with knowledge of those negotiations told ABC News that Manafort's team was invited to attend Tuesday's session with Intelligence Committee investigators but the Judiciary Committee declined that invitation.

Manafort, 68, joined the Trump campaign on March 29, 2016, to lead its delegate-wrangling efforts.

A news release from the Trump campaign at the time said Manafort was "volunteering his considerable insight and expertise because of his belief that Mr. Trump is the right person for these difficult times."

Manafort was promoted to the campaign's chairman and chief strategist in May and directed the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

He departed the campaign on Aug. 19.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department is pushing back on a new wave of rumors that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning on resigning.

“That is false,” spokesperson Heather Nauert said when asked about the rumors at the department's briefing Tuesday. “The secretary has been very clear: He intends to stay here at the State Department. We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us. He recognizes that. He’s deeply engaged in that work.

“He does, however, serve at the pleasure of the president, just as any Cabinet official,” she added, in what could be taken as a nod to the president’s open criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and speculation that he might resign, too.

Tillerson has had some tension with the White House over staffing at the State Department and his independence to make decisions about the nation’s foreign policy agency, senior administration officials told ABC News. But he's also remarked about his commitment to service and the call he heard to take this role.

“I’m still developing myself as a values-based servant leader, and this new opportunity that I have to serve our country has provided me with new ways of learning ... so it gives me a chance to grow as a leader,” he told the Boy Scouts of America in an emotional address Friday.

Senior aide R.C. Hammond has said Tillerson will stay in the role as “as long as there are rogue regimes pursuing nuclear weapons or terrorists seeking safe haven,” according to Buzzfeed News.

Tillerson has also been out of the public eye since Friday, and Nauert said today that he’s “taking a little time off.”

“He does have the ability to go away for a few days on his own ... just taking a little time off," she said. “He’s got a lot of work. He just came back from that mega-trip from overseas -- as you all well know, many of you were there for the G-20, and his other travel as well, so he’s entitled to taking a few days himself.”

She later clarified that the vacation was planned in advance and was not in response to any resignation rumors.

Last Thursday, he met with the president, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and other top officials at the Pentagon, before briefing members of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill; meanwhile, his public schedule listed only “meetings and briefings” at the State Department.

Nauert also spoke to Tillerson’s thoughts on Trump’s politically charged speech to the Boy Scouts –- just three days after Tillerson’s own. Nauert said that Trump addressed the Boy Scouts Jamboree at Tillerson’s invitation, but the secretary could not attend.

Tillerson is “aware of the president’s comments,” but didn’t express an opinion on what he said, according to Nauert.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is "disappointed" in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, adding to a recent spate of public criticisms.

"He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else. So I think that's a bad thing, not for the president but for the presidency. I think it's unfair to the presidency, and that's the way I feel," Trump said at a joint news conference.

Trump said that he wants Sessions "to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level," he said.

"These are intelligence agencies. We cannot have that happen," he said.

"We will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell," he added.

The joint news conference took place alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is visiting the White House.

Before giving his official remarks about Hariri's visit, Trump praised today's health care vote, calling it a "big step" and thanking Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for making "a tough trip to get here and vote."


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was welcomed back to the Senate floor with a round of applause after returning to D.C. less than a week after disclosing his brain tumor diagnosis.

Senators from both sides of the aisle gave their colleague a standing ovation when he arrived on the floor to cast his vote Tuesday.

McCain decided to return to Washington quickly to be able to vote on a procedural motion that would allow senators to debate the Republican health care plan that would replace Obamacare.

McCain cast his vote in favor of the motion. It passed, allowing Republicans to advance their health care bill.

Following a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, McCain was given the opportunity to address his colleagues.

He stressed the importance of the Senate, issuing what appeared to be a warning to President Donald Trump.

"We are not the president's subordinates. We are his equal," McCain said of the legislative branch.

McCain also spoke at length about the at-times acrimonious relations within the Senate and urged his colleagues to work across the aisle.

"Our deliberations can still be important and useful, but I think we can all agree that they haven't been overburdened by greatness lately," he said.

"Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the internet. To hell with them!" he said in a line that was met by applause.

"What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions?" he asked.

McCain wrapped up his speech by saying that he has "every intention" of returning to the Senate after treating his tumor, warning that his return will give "many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me."

President Trump, who has a turbulent history with McCain, praised him as an "American hero" for coming back to vote.

During a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is visiting the White House Tuesday, Trump opened his remarks by saying that McCain is a "very brave man" who "made a tough trip to get here and vote."


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate voted 51-50 Tuesday to move forward with a debate on health care reform, even though it was not clear what measure the body would be considering. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

Susan Collins from Maine and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska were the only two Republican senators who joined Democrats in voting no on the motion to proceed.

Before the voting began, protesters chanted "Kill the bill" and "Shame! Shame!"

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was diagnosed with brain cancer last week, returned to the Senate floor to vote in favor of moving the debate forward. His appearance was met with a standing ovation.

"I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue and amendments be offered," McCain said. "I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It's a shell of a bill right now. We all know that."

The Senate GOP has been dealt several setbacks, including not having enough votes for its original plan to repeal and replace aspects of Obamacare as well as a straight repeal, but President Trump has pushed for the body to make progress.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the debate on health care in the Senate will be "an open amendment process."

"This is just the beginning. We’re not out here to spike the football, this is the long way," McConnell said after the vote. "But we’ll finish at the end of the week hopefully with a measure that can either go to the House and be taken up or go to Congress. And we’re pleased to have been able to take the first step and that’s the direction for today."

In a statement released today, Trump said he applauds senators for "taking a giant step to end the Obamacare nightmare."

"As this vote shows, inaction is not an option, and now the legislative process can move forward as intended to produce a bill that lowers costs and increases options for all Americans," the statement said. "The Senate must now pass a bill and get it to my desk so we can finally end the Obamacare disaster once and for all."

The president also thanked McCain on Twitter for returning to D.C. "for such a vital vote."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Members of the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia election interference questioned White House senior adviser Jared Kushner today on Capitol Hill for more than three hours on Tuesday.

Kushner, who was under oath, answered questions from Republicans and Democrats about his meetings with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

"What he said publicly is the same things he said to us," Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Florida, one of the Republicans leading the investigation, said Tuesday. "It was very conversational. Probably one of the easier interviews that we’ve done."

On Monday, following an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kushner denied collaborating with Russia to influence the presidential election.

"The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper," Kushner, the president's son-in-law, said in a statement outside the White House Monday after his closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so," he said. "I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses."

He also released an 11-page statement denying collusion Monday morning.

Rooney and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, led questioning for Republicans in Tuesday's session, while Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., did the same for Democrats.

"He expressed, and his counsel, receptivity to come back for further questions, but it was a very productive session," Schiff told reporters after the interview. The California representative has not ruled out inviting Kushner back to Capitol Hill.

Members seemed pleased with Kushner's cooperation after the session.

"We found him to be straightforward, forthcoming," said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas.

"He was cooperative," said. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn.

Kushner did not respond to questions about his willingness to testify publicly as he left the Capitol Tuesday.

Rooney, a former prosecutor, said he was "very impressed" by Kushner.

"I can understand why the president has so much faith in him, because he’s an extremely impressive guy," he said. "I actually felt good about the fact that he was working in the White House, that somebody like that is helping the president make his decisions."

The president also thanked McCain on Twitter for returning to D.C. "for such a vital vote."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci likened the tension between President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to a divorce.

When you start not liking each other, Scaramucci told ABC News on Tuesday, “You either reconcile or you separate.”

“They need to either get together or separate,” he said of the president and the nation's top law enforcement official.

When asked when they will get together, Scaramucci replied, “I don’t know if they will."

The president has been vocal in criticizing Sessions on Twitter in recent days, calling him "beleaguered" and accusing him of being "very weak" on Hillary Clinton's "crimes" and "leakers."

While Sessions was one of the president's earliest and most loyal campaign supporters on Capitol Hill, the president has grown increasingly frustrated with his attorney general over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia inquiry, a decision that infuriated the president and led Sessions to then offer his resignation to the president. The president rejected Sessions' offer at the time.

But since the president has taken to publicly rebuking his attorney general in recent days, Sessions has only signaled resolve to stay on in his post as attorney general.

At a news conference last week, Sessions said he plans to continue in the job "so as long as that is appropriate.".

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is hailing Sen. John McCain as an "American hero" as the Arizona senator, under treatment for a brain tumor, returns to the Capitol for a vote on the Republican health care bill.

So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave - American hero! Thank you John.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017


But during the presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump denigrated the war record of McCain, who served many years in the U.S. Navy and who during the Vietnam War was captured by the North Vietnamese, held as a prisoner of war and tortured.

"He's not a war hero," Trump said of the Republican senator at the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

Now Trump is saluting McCain for returning to Washington, D.C., for the vote to start debate on the GOP Senate leadership's health care legislation.

"So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave - American hero!" Trump tweeted. "Thank you John."

The president also wished the senator well last week during a White House event when news broke of his diagnosis.

“I can tell you, we hope John McCain gets better very soon because we miss him. He's a crusty voice in Washington, plus we need his vote," Trump said of the 80-year-old McCain, who has served in the Senate for about three decades.

Trump's comments in 2015 were not the first time he questioned whether McCain was a military hero.

In January 2000, when McCain was the GOP nominee for president, Trump told NBC News in an interview, “You would say that maybe he wasn’t an actual war hero. He was captured, but maybe not a war hero."

McCain, who has in the past gone against his party's thinking, has also been critical of Trump.

During the 2016 election, McCain revoked his endorsement Trump for president following the release of a 2005 recording in which Trump can be heard making lewd comments about women.

Last Thursday, while the Arizona senator was at home recovering from surgery, his Senate office issued a statement quoting McCain criticizing the Trump administration after The Washington Post reported that Trump had ended a covert CIA program aiding rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"If these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. Making any concession to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted," the statement said.

During an event in May, following Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, McCain said the saga involving the president and Comey "is reaching the point where it's of Watergate size and scale."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump continued his public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions as part of a series of early-morning tweets, calling his appointed head of the Justice Department "very weak" on "Hillary Clinton crimes."

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017



The president also returned to his theme of dismissing the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates as a "witch hunt."

 

Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017


And Trump tweeted about the planned vote in the Senate today on the GOP health care bill. He slammed Obamacare and applauded Arizona Sen. John McCain for his expected return to the chamber for the vote.

 

 

So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave - American hero! Thank you John.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

 

 

ObamaCare is torturing the American People.The Democrats have fooled the people long enough. Repeal or Repeal & Replace! I have pen in hand.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

 

 

Big day for HealthCare. After 7 years of talking, we will soon see whether or not Republicans are willing to step up to the plate!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

 

Tuesday morning's tweet critical of Sessions continued a recent pattern by Trump.

Trump called his attorney general “beleaguered” Monday.

In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said he wouldn’t have appointed Sessions attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russian investigation.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?” Trump told The New York Times. “If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’

Trump said that Sessions’ recusal was “extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”

Despite the public criticism from the president, Sessions said last week he plans to stay on as attorney general, “as long as that is appropriate.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump is facing a stark foreign policy choice: Sign off on punishing new sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election or veto a rare bipartisan piece of legislation that would hurt his push for better relations with Russia.

Over the weekend, Congress reached an agreement on a bill to slap Russia, Iran, and North Korea with new sanctions while removing President Trump’s ability to alter them without Congressional approval. The House is set to vote on the bill Tuesday.

The legislation requires the executive branch to get a resolution of approval for any changes to sanctions -- a significant constriction on the president’s powers by his own party in Congress.

The White House has expressed reservations about that aspect of the bill after the Senate passed similar legislation last month. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress that the White House wanted the “flexibility” to deal with Russia, and White House legislative director Marc Short expressed opposition to the “unusual precedent of delegating foreign policy to 535 members of Congress.”

There were also concerns among Republicans and in the oil and gas industry over a rule in the Senate bill that would bar American companies and individuals from working with Russian-sanctioned companies and individuals on big oil and gas projects.

The compromise for the two parties and the two chambers is to combine the Russian, Iranian, and North Korean sanctions into one bill, with moderate technical changes.

The bill would set into law Russian sanctions imposed by the Obama administration for Russia’s cyber-attack on the Democratic Party and interference in the election, including the end of Russia’s access to two diplomatic compounds in the U.S. -- one of which they are said to have used for espionage. It would also add penalties for Russian interference in Ukraine, Syria and the 2016 election hack.

The Trump administration would also be barred from making any changes to those sanctions or any others without Congressional approval. They can apply for waivers, including if Russia makes progress on implementing the peace deal in Ukraine known as the Minsk agreement.

American businesses could also work with Russian entities on certain oil and gas projects outside of Russia as long as they don’t involve a sanctioned Russian individual or company owning a 33 percent stake or more.

While the bill would require Congressional approval on any changes, it does also give the President the ability to ask Congress to lift some of them if the White House can certify that certain conditions have been met -- like Russian progress on the Minsk agreement or “significant” Russian efforts to “reduce the number and intensity of [its] cyber intrusions.” Like other sanctions, it also defers to the administration to designate new individuals and entities that are violating them and should be added.

The bill also includes new sanctions against Iran for its ballistic missile program and human rights violations, as well as on North Korea targeting its shipping industry and its use of forced labor abroad -- two major sources of income for its missile and nuclear programs. It also requires the administration to report to Congress on the ties between Iran and North Korea and whether North Korea should be re-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism within 90 days.

The resolution comes weeks after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a similar bill that codified existing sanctions against Russia and introduced some new ones against it and Iran in a 98-2 vote.

That legislation got stuck in the House, with lawmakers squabbling over technical details and pointing fingers between the two parties. The House had also voted nearly unanimously in May for North Korea sanctions, and Republican leadership wanted the Senate to take up that package.

The compromise isn’t a done deal, with Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, telling Reuters Monday night, “We still have a little work to do.”

But elsewhere, there was bipartisan praise for an agreement that strongly rebukes Trump over his praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin, his calls for the U.S. and Russia to work together and his skepticism of the U.S. intelligence community’s finding that Russia interfered in the election.

“North Korea, Iran, and Russia have in different ways all threatened their neighbors and actively sought to undermine American interests,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce, R-California, said in a joint statement, noting that the bill will “now exclusively focus on these nations and hold them accountable for their dangerous actions.”

“A nearly united Congress is poised to send President Putin a clear message on behalf of the American people and our allies, and we need President Trump to help us deliver that message,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It’s unclear if Trump will do that, with the White House sending mixed signals on its view of the legislation.

After initially telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that the President supports the bill, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday that Trump “wants to make sure we get the best deal for the American people ... He’s gonna study that legislation and see what the final product looks like.”

But given the overwhelming majorities that approved the sanctions in Congress and the intense scrutiny over Trump’s ties to Russia, the president could face a public backlash if he vetoes the final bill -- and doing so could lead to an embarrassing override by Congress.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump was critical of Senate Republicans for their work -- or lack thereof -- on health care reform during remarks at the White House on Monday.

"So far Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare. They now have a chance, however, to hopefully, hopefully fix what has been so badly broken for such a long time. And that is through replacement of a horrible disaster known as Obamacare," Trump said Monday.

"Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is," he said while standing in front of a group of Americans the White House referred to as "victims of Obamacare."

"For Senate Republicans, this is their chance to keep their promise," he added.

He went on to say the Senate "is very close to the votes it needs to pass a replacement," though there do not appear to be enough votes to pass a motion to proceed to a vote on a repeal without having a replacement plan in place.

The latest whip count had at least three Republican senators against a repeal of Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. In addition to those votes, Senate Republicans are down a vote while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is recovering from recent surgery during which doctors discovered a brain tumor. There can only be two Republican "no" votes for any vote to pass.

During his remarks, Trump then moved on to placing some blame for the failure to come up with a replacement health care bill on the Democrats.

"The problem is we have zero help from the Democrats they're obstructionists. That's all they are good at, obstructionism. Making things not work," he said.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Logan, Utah
°F
Full Forecast

 

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services