John T. Bennett

Trump Excludes Chicago Officials From Windy City Crime Discussion
President says city has been “an absolute and total disaster”

President Donald Trump declared Chicago “an absolute and total disaster” and vowed to discuss crime in the Midwestern hub with governors and other state officials he hosted Thursday at his New Jersey golf resort to talk about a prison policy overhaul.

There was one catch: He did not invite any Chicago or Illinois officials.

3 Takeaways From the Pence ‘Space Force’ Sales Pitch
Vice president ignores white elephant: a skeptical military and Congress

There’s a new applause line in President Donald Trump’s campaign spiel.

It’s not quite up there with “Crooked Hillary” or demanding professional football players who kneel for the National Anthem to “get the hell out of here.” Crowds react with loud cheers when the president touts his envisioned “Space Force.”

Trump Takes Post-Election Victory Lap Despite Close Races
Experts still forecasting tough races ahead for Republicans

Donald Trump is taking a victory lap after Tuesday’s congressional and gubernatorial elections, but the president’s football-spiking might be premature.

Trump first tweeted Wednesday morning that Republicans went “5 for 5!” In another tweet about 45 minutes later, the president declared GOP candidates “have now won 8 out of 9 House Seats” that have been up for grabs since he took office. He also slammed the “Fake News Media,” contending its coverage would make “you would think we are being clobbered.”

What Midterm Election? Trump Is Already Campaigning for 2020
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

President Donald Trump is attending a host of rallies to boost GOP nominees ahead of the November midterm vote. But White House correspondent John T. Bennett counts off five sure signs that Trump is already looking ahead to his own re-election battle....
White House Sends Mixed Signals on Oval Office Repairs
What was a ‘working vacation’ now pegged to ‘needed renovations’

Is the Oval Office under construction or not?

The White House said yes Monday, only to send out a list of West Wing and East Wing renovations a day later that did not mention the world’s most famous office.

Trump Reiterates Falsehood About California Water Diversions
California officials not sure what to make of presidential claims

President Donald Trump on Monday again falsely stated that the California government is diverting river water into the Pacific Ocean that could be used to fight forest fires, but he also signaled he will fast-track federal help.

For the second consecutive day, the president took to Twitter to contend Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is sending water from “the North” into the Pacific Ocean. Trump contended Monday that water could be used for “fires, farming and everything else.”

White House’s Mixed Messages to Iran Continue With Sanctions
Economic penalties had been removed under nuclear pact Trump left

Updated 11:14 a.m. | The Trump administration reactivated sanctions Monday on Iran in an attempt to further squeeze its stumbling economy, a tough move that is the latest in a volley of mixed signals from Washington.

“Our actions will continue to limit Iran” from obtaining the resources needed to “support its malign behavior” across the Middle East, a senior administration official said Monday. “We are fully committed to rigorously enforcing our sanctions … to ensure they fully change course.”

Trump Tries to Save Reliable GOP House Seat in Ohio
Republican Troy Balderson is in tight race against Democrat Danny O’Connor

Updated 20:29 p.m. | President Donald Trump dove headfirst into a House special election Saturday evening, aiming to give Ohio Republican Troy Balderson a final push three days before Election Day.

The race in the suddenly competitive 12th District between the state lawmaker and Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, polls say, is now essentially tied. Trump and Republican leaders are eager to keep the seat in GOP hands after the retirement of former Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi earlier this year.

White House Slams Schumer, Feinstein for ‘Disingenuously’ Demanding Kavanaugh Docs
Reviewing requested materials could take until October, National Archives says

The White House slammed Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein for “disingenuously” demanding records about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that are “irrelevant” to his legal views.

“Despite published reports, the White House’s requests for meetings between Judge Kavanaugh and Senators Schumer and Feinstein remain unanswered after over three weeks,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

After Public Praise for Diane Black, Trump Embraces Bill Lee
Tennessee Republican’s gubernatorial campaign touted support of the president

President Donald Trump, who previously praised Rep. Diane Black, essentially cast her aside Friday after she lost a Republican gubernatorial primary in Tennessee.

Though the president never officially endorsed her, he did mention her — and not Bill Lee, the eventual victor — during a May 31 rally in Nashville.

Trump May Have Tipped His Hand on 2020 Democratic Foe
President appears leery of facing Biden, GOP operative says

Already thinking about his 2020 re-election bid, President Donald Trump essentially dared Democratic voters Thursday evening to pick a nominee from that party’s most liberal ranks.

Trump often lets the world know his thoughts on legislation, policy decisions and foreign policy matters — either during free-wheeling political rallies or Twitter rants. That was the case during a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, when he signaled he would prefer to run against “Pocahontas” — his racially tinged nickname for Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren — or “Crazy Bernie” — his dismissive moniker for Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

So... How Does the White House Really Feel About Russia?
Trump undercuts security officials again with ‘the Russian hoax’

Senior U.S. national security officials were clear Thursday afternoon: The Kremlin was involved in meddling in the 2016 American election and continues to be oversee efforts to do so again. Hours later, however, President Donald Trump described himself and Russian President Vladimir Putin as buddies.

As it often does, the Trump White House on Thursday sent mixed — starkly opposite, really — messages about Moscow’s ongoing hostile actions to upend the American political system and U.S.-Russian relations. The confusion leaves those very officials and lawmakers — including Republicans who have criticized Trump as too weak on Putin — still searching for the official administration stance on election meddling and posture toward America’s Cold War rival.

In Pennsylvania, Trump Rips Casey as ‘Sleeping Bob’
GOP Senate nominee Barletta tells crowd Democrat will ‘take away your tax cuts’

Looking to boost Republican Rep. Lou Barletta in his Pennsylvania Senate bid, President Donald Trump dismissed the Democratic incumbent Bob Casey at a rally Thursday as “Sleeping Bob,” calling him “overrated” and too controlled by his party’s leaders.

Trump called Barletta onstage near the start of the rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, calling him a “very special man” who has “been with me.”

Top 10 Trump Nicknames and Why They Stick to His Foes
Derisive monikers often ‘are code words for something else,’ Dem strategist says

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump had the friendly crowd at a simmer during a campaign rally Tuesday evening in Tampa, Florida. Then the showman in chief dropped two words that sent them into a raucous boil: “Crooked Hillary.”

Trump had long pivoted away from the man he was ostensibly there to boost in his no-longer-long-shot bid for the Republican nomination for governor, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis. Trump was touting Trump. Just before employing the derisive moniker that helped him vanquish his 2016 general election foe, Trump was boasting about moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Russian Election Meddling Remains ‘Pervasive,’ Intel Chief Says
Coats: Kremlin wants to ‘weaken and divide the United States’

U.S. intel officials continue to see a “pervasive” effort by the Russian government to upend America’s political process, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Thursday.

“Pervasive” is how the former GOP Indiana senator described what U.S. intelligence officials have concluded is a “messaging campaign by Russia to weaken and divide the United States,” Coats said during the daily White House briefing. But what Russia is doing this election cycle is not as “robust” as two years ago — “so far,” he noted.

Trump Vents Rage at Koch Brothers Again
President dubs Charles Koch’s criticism of tariffs ‘ridiculous’

Escalating his feud with the influential conservative donor Koch brothers, President Donald Trump on Thursday dubbed one of them “ridiculous” and suggested he puts foreign workers over American ones.

Trump’s Twitter strike on Charles Koch comes two days after he went to war with the libertarian-leaning megadonors who are powerful in Republican circles by labeling them a “total joke” who are “against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade.”

Trump Says He Might Delay Shutdown Showdown Until After Elections
‘I happen to think it’s a great political thing,’ president says of border security

President Donald Trump signaled Wednesday that he might side with some Republican lawmakers and delay a government shutdown showdown until after November’s midterm elections.

“Now, the shutdown could also take place after the election. I happen to think it’s a great political thing, because people want border security,” Trump said on the Rush Limbaugh radio program.

Trump's Tweets, Shutdown Threats Muddy the Waters Less Than 100 Days From Midterms
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

No Obstruction in Trump Tweet on Mueller Probe, Sanders Says
‘Ax could fall on the Mueller investigation at any time,’ former Obama aide warns

The White House pushed back Wednesday on the notion that President Donald Trump obstructed justice with a morning tweet saying Attorney General Jeff Sessions should “stop” the Justice Department’s Russia election meddling probe “right now.”

“The president is not obstructing, he’s fighting back,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “He’s certainly expressing the frustration,” he has long felt over “corruption” by former Justice Department officials like former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, she said.

Trump Tells Sessions to End Mueller’s Russia Investigation
Members of both parties have said that would be a bad idea

President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation of Russia election meddling and possible presidential obstruction of justice.

Members of both political parties have cautioned Trump to avoid such public statements, and to resist the urge to simply give Sessions an order to end former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller’s probe — or fire him and any other senior Justice Department official who refuses to and replace them with someone who will shutter the investigation.