John T. Bennett

Trump Denies Forcibly Kissing Woman in 2005
‘The whole thing probably lasted two minutes,’ accuser says

President Donald Trump, less than an hour before his scheduled daily intelligence briefing, fired off a series of tweets denying a 13-year-old allegation that he forcibly kissed a young woman in Trump Tower.

At issue is an allegation by Rachel Crooks, who was a secretary for a company that had an office in Trump’s Manhattan building. She alleges that after she met Trump near the elevators, he held her hand and began kissing her against her will.

Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances
Embattled chief of staff to phase out interim security clearances

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under fire after a former staffer’s domestic abuse scandal, has admitted the Trump team mishandled aides’ background investigations, and ordered new steps in how the West Wing handles security clearances.

In a five-page memo to staffers released Friday afternoon by the White House, Kelly alluded to the Rob Porter scandal but also attempted to spread the blame for a process he said was flawed but was one he inherited.

Analysis: Trump’s Hawks Won Senate Immigration Debate (By Not Losing)
White House remains well-positioned for coming rounds as DACA deadline looms

President Donald Trump’s immigration hard-liners proved Thursday it is possible to win even when the outcome of a battle is, on paper, a draw.

An immigration overhaul amendment backed by the administration received fewer votes Thursday than three other Senate proposals that also failed to pass the Senate. But the White House emerged from that chamber’s underwhelming and unproductive floor debate in strong shape for future fights on the issue.

Trump’s Two Personas on Full Display After Shooting
President hints he will visit with families of victims this weekend

The two public personas of Donald Trump were on full display Friday morning, illustrated by a pair of tweets posted just a dozen minutes apart.

In the first social media post, the president flashed the somber side he has shown in the midst of some national tragedies and disasters since he took office. Trump suggested he will be meeting with family members and others affected by the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, over the long Presidents Day weekend.

White House Call on Immigration Plan Gets Personal, Testy
Bipartisan compromise ‘spectacularly poorly drafted,’ official says

The White House is “alarmed” by a bipartisan immigration measure offered by nearly 20 Republican and Democratic senators, a senior administration official said during a testy midday briefing.

The measure is “totally and completely unserious,” the official said during a conference call that would only be attributed to senior officials despite their sharp critiques, by name, of sitting U.S. senators. Other terms and words this official used: “dead on arrival,” “reckless,” and “spectacularly poorly drafted.”

After Shooting, Trump Focuses on Mental Health, Not Guns
President says safety at schools will be priority, not limiting access to firearms

An American citizen’s use of a military-style semi-automatic weapon to carry out a mass murder on U.S. soil thrust President Donald Trump into a somber spotlight on Thursday, and he sent a clear signal he views the incident as about mental health, not guns.

The president offered his condolences to the loved ones of the 17 people law enforcement officials say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He also spoke in the same measured tone he and his predecessor, Barack Obama, have used following shooters’ murderous rampages.

Trump to Address Nation About Florida School Shooting
Report ‘bad and erratic behavior,’ president says of reports that those close to alleged shooter had concerns

Updated at 9:25 a.m. | President Donald Trump will address the nation Thursday morning about the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school after contending there were “so many signs” that a 19-year-old who killed 17 people was “mentally disturbed.”

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Trump will deliver remarks from the White House at 11 a.m. about the Wednesday shooting, something his predecessor often did following such incidents. The president also has ordered all flags at public buildings to be flown at half staff to honor the Parkland victims, according to Sanders. 

Trump Divided, Conquered in First Year in Office
An analysis of votes cast in 2017 shows GOP senators voted with the president 96 percent of the time

Donald Trump campaigned as a successful business mogul whose negotiating skills made him uniquely qualified to be a president capable of ending Washington’s decades of bitter partisanship to get things done.

Trump, in fact, got his way on almost every vote last year where he publicly stated a position, setting a record for success. The results of votes by both House and Senate combined show he won 98.7 percent of the time on issues he supported. That set a new bicameral record, besting Obama’s 96.7 percent success level in 2009 (the last time a president’s party controlled both chambers.)

Trump Condemns Domestic Violence a Week Into Porter Scandal
‘I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind,’ POTUS says

One week into a scandal involving a now-former staffer who is accused of abusing his two ex-wives, President Donald Trump finally condemned such actions on Wednesday.

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence, everybody here knows that,” the president told reporters. “I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. ... It almost wouldn’t even have to be said.”

Kelly Should Keep Job Despite Missteps, Pence Says
VP: ‘Talking’ to North Korea ‘is not negotiation’

Vice President Mike Pence wants embattled White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to keep his job even as he admits officials mishandled the fallout of the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal.

“John Kelly has done a remarkable job as chief of staff for the president of the United States,” Pence said Wednesday at an event in Washington sponsored by Axios. “And I look forward to continuing to work with him for many, many months to come.”

Short DACA Fix Would Be ‘Insufficient’ for Trump, White House Warns
Senate debate just beginning, coming on heels of court orders halting end of program

Senior White House officials on Wednesday warned lawmakers against turning to a possible fallback measure that would temporarily make legal a program that protects nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation.

It appears a longshot that the House and Senate will both pass immigration overhaul bills that address the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program and reconcile differences ahead of a March 5 deadline for its termination. One option should Congress fail to act by that date would be a measure legalizing DACA temporarily as members keep trying to strike a broader deal.

Analysis: Trump Takes the Budget Out of Budget Day
‘This is going to be awful,’ Mulvaney says of own budget briefing

Sometimes it’s what a president doesn’t say that reveals his true priorities. That certainly appears to be the case with Donald Trump’s second budget request.

The Trump administration is asking Congress to spend $4.4 trillion in taxpayer funds, but the president has shown little interest in selling the fiscal 2019 request. The chief executive had multiple opportunities Monday and Tuesday to speak into microphones and use his bully pulpit to advocate for the spending priorities. Instead, he focused on other matters.

GOP Frets as Trump Calls U.S. Stupid on Trade
Republicans warn president about setting off tariff battle

Several Republican lawmakers did Tuesday what few of their colleagues have since Donald Trump took office: They challenged one of the president’s core principles to his face.

Sen. Roy Blunt was among those who warned Trump against starting a trade war with other countries on which many U.S. companies buy goods and materials.

FBI, White House Offer Different Timelines on Porter Clearance
FBI director testifies background check report was first completed in July

FBI Director Christopher Wray has offered a different account from the White House of the timeline for the security clearance investigation of former Staff Secretary Rob Porter.

“I can’t get into the content of what was briefed,” Wray testified Tuesday at the Senate Intelligence Committee. “What I can tell you is that the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March, and then a completed background investigation in late July. Soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry, and we did the follow-up and provided that information in November.

Trump Rises Early With a Warning for Democrats
‘There will never be another opportunity’ to address DACA, he tweets

President Donald Trump rose before sunrise Tuesday with one group on his mind: congressional Democrats.

The GOP president criticized the opposition party for what he sees as a collective unwillingness to cut immigration and infrastructure deals.

‘Crisis Budgeting’ Likely Ahead Despite White House Claim
‘All sorts of riders’ could bring new shutdown threats, experts say

White House officials contend the two-year budget deal that became law last week will end Washington’s spending crises and government shutdown threats. But President Donald Trump’s new budget request suggests otherwise.

Trump himself was lukewarm about the spending package he signed last week, which raised defense and domestic spending caps for the remaining seven-and-a-half months of this fiscal year and the next. And the president had little to say about the fiscal 2019 budget blueprint his administration sent to Capitol Hill on Monday. But his top aides painted each one as game-changing documents.

The Curious Case of Melanija Knavs
First lady’s immigration history remains murky as Senate debate begins

President Donald Trump stood in the well of the House chamber on the penultimate night of January and spoke about undocumented immigrants with his familiar rhetoric.

During his first State of the Union address, the “America first” president lambasted the country’s immigration laws, saying they have for too long “allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities,” cost poor Americans jobs, and “caused the loss of many innocent lives.”

Trump’s Budget Request Won’t End the Cycle of Crisis Budgeting

White House correspondent John T. Bennett breaks down Washington, and the president’s, response to his own budget proposal for the next fiscal year....
Dems Wrote Memo To Set Up White House, Trump Says
President: Intel Dems wanted to ‘blame the White House for lack of transparency’

President Donald Trump is accusing House Intelligence Committee Democrats with purposely crafting their rebuttal memo about FBI and Justice Department officials’ actions early in the Russia election meddling probe in a way that would back his White House into a corner.

The president used a Saturday tweet to explain his Friday night decision to block the release of the Democratic document that counters one released last week by the panel’s Republicans. Trump claims the Democrats crafted “a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted.”

Trump Blocks Release of Democrats’ Intelligence Memo
Pelosi sees a 'desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the president'

Updated 6:47 a.m., Feb. 10 | Despite his commitment earlier Friday, President Donald Trump is blocking release of a Democratic House Intelligence Committee memo rebutting one from the Republican side, and senior Democrats are now accusing him of a "cover up."

The Russia matter took an incredible new turn Friday night when Trump's top White House lawyer informed the House Intelligence Committee that the president could not allow the Democrats' document to be made public “because the memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages."