John T. Bennett

Amid Mounting Criticism, Administration Digs In Over Migrant Separation Policy
'Congress can fix this tomorrow,' DHS secretary says as GOP complaints pile up

Facing an ever-widening swath of criticism, including from senior Republicans, Trump administration officials dug in Monday on their decision to separate migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, signaling they will only end the practice if lawmakers pass immigration legislation.

“Congress and the courts created this problem, and Congress alone can fix it,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during a contentious press briefing at the White House. “Until then, we will enforce every law we have on the books to defend the sovereignty and the security of the United States.”

How Trump's Immigration Policy Could Threaten GOP Legislative Agenda Ahead of Midterms
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

White House correspondent John T. Bennett analyzes how the Trump administration's policy of separating families crossing the border could impact the appropriations process and other Capitol Hill work this summer....
Trump Warns U.S. Could Follow Path of Germany on Immigration
President wants to meet with members of both parties on matter, spokesman says

Updated 10:05 a.m. President Donald Trump on Monday appeared to defend his administration’s policy of separating migrant families by warning that Germany’s and Europe’s immigration issues could be replicated here.

He used several tweets Monday morning to blast not only German and European immigration laws, but also Democratic lawmakers. The GOP president claimed anew that the opposition party is withholding the votes needed to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul measure that would address a list of unresolved matters.

How Donald Trump Shivved a Compromise GOP Immigration Bill
Aides were caught unaware by president's announcement

Updated 3:03 p.m. Senior White House officials worked with House Republicans for weeks on a compromise immigration measure, but were careful to avoid saying anything publicly that would sink the measure. That changed Friday morning when President Donald Trump walked out to the White House’s North Lawn.

House Republicans reached agreement on a sweeping immigration overhaul measure after conservatives, moderates and leaders negotiated behind closed doors for weeks — with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short also involved. Members said Thursday they had reached a deal to vote on two measures: a measure favored by conservatives and a compromise version in which all sides gave some ground.

Trump Hits FBI, Defends N.Korea Summit in Wild Driveway Scene
President: Without Singapore summit, ‘you’re going to have nuclear war’

President Donald Trump suggested Friday outside the White House that former FBI Director James B. Comey should be jailed and his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un averted “nuclear war.”

Trump broke with decades of protocol and ventured out to the executive mansion’s North Lawn to do a live interview with Fox News. He stayed outside with Secret Service agents scanning nearby Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Park for nearly an hour, taking a half hour of questions from a Fox anchor then another 30 minutes of questions from White House correspondents.

White House Hits China With New Tariffs, Ramping up Trade War
‘This situation is no longer sustainable,’ Trump says

The White House on Friday announced it is slapping tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods in response to alleged intellectual property theft, another escalation in President Donald Trump’s trade-related acts against allies and rivals alike.

“This situation is no longer sustainable. China has, for example, long been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” President Donald Trump said in a statement released Friday morning that formally announced 25 percent import penalties on some Chinese-made products.

Trump Uses Justice IG Report to Continue Attack on Comey
Dems’ counter-narrative: Report shows FBI aided Trump’s campaign

President Donald Trump on Friday suggested a Justice Department inspector general report that faulted the FBI for its actions during the 2016 campaign shows James B. Comey is not credible as the president tries to sow doubts about the agency’s Russia probe.

The department released the IG’s final report on the FBI’s handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of State, which contained an anecdote from one senior agent involved in that case texting another about the prospect of then-businessman and reality television star Trump becoming president: “We’ll stop it.”

Analysis: Trump Trip Showed New Approach to Presidency
But lawmakers doubt future presidents will follow such a path

First, Donald Trump remade the Republican Party in his own image. And after his double-dip of G-7 and North Korea nuclear diplomacy, it’s even more obvious he’s doing the same to the presidency.

Some congressional Democrats are worried the former reality television star’s eagerness to break with decades-old norms and traditions is soiling the office and influencing future chief executives to mirror Trump’s ways. And though a handful of Republican members publicly share those concerns, most are helping him transform the highest — and long the most revered — job in the land.

Trump Gloats Over Sanford Loss, Puts Kaine On Notice
President declares there is ‘no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea’

President Donald Trump roared back into Washington Wednesday morning in fitting fashion: with a tweetstorm mocking GOP Rep. Mark Sanford and lashing out at Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

Those social media posts followed others during his lengthy journey from Singapore in which he continued to lavish praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

‘Beast’ Mode: Democrats Worry Kim Is Playing Trump
GOP is willing to give him time, but Dems see ‘unprepared’ president

Kim Jong Un peered inside as a Secret Service agent held open a door of “The Beast,” President Donald Trump’s heavily armored limousine. The surreal moment left some lawmakers speechless, with Democrats saying it showed Trump was too conciliatory toward the North Korean leader during their historic summit.

Trump and Kim wrapped their Singapore summit by signing a preliminary nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague. It expresses the United States is “committed” to providing unspecified security assurances to the North and that Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Vague Pact Signed, Trump Sees ‘Arduous’ Process Ahead With North Korea
Trump shifts view of Kim, calling him ‘worthy negotiator’ and ‘very talented’

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague, with the U.S. commander in chief saying it merely kicks off an “arduous” process to potentially disarm the North.

Trump bemoaned the notion that he and U.S. officials gave up a raft of concessions to Kim even before the two leaders shook hands around 9 a.m. local time in Singapore. But he announced that part of the accord includes the United States ending its joint military exercises with South Korea, which Trump called too “provocative.”

Trump Cannot Leave Kim Summit Empty Handed, Lawmakers Say
Sen. Blunt: ‘Something positive has to come out of the first meeting’

Nuclear-tinged threats. Name-calling. Missiles flying over Japan. Emergency war council meetings. And now, a face-to-face meeting.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have sparked fears of a mushroom cloud conflict between two nuclear-armed countries. But in the unpredictable Trump era, their Tuesday morning summit in Singapore seems a fitting next chapter for the two heads of state.

Trump: Kim Gets ‘One-Time Shot,’ Allies on Notice Over Trade
‘My touch, my feel’ will guide North Korea talks, president says

Updated 3:14 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Saturday said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has a “one-time shot” at a denuclearization deal and downplayed tensions with some of America’s closest allies even as he threatened to sever all trade ties with them.

Trump predicted he will know if Kim is serious within 60 seconds of their scheduled meeting Tuesday in Singapore, and reiterated his stance that Russia should rejoin what is now known as the G-7 group of wealthy countries. He also left open the possibility of a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this year, even as he and his associates remain under federal scrutiny for possible improper campaign coordination with Russians.

What to Watch as Trump Heads to Historic North Korea Summit
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

John T. Bennett has the latest on relations with North Korea heading into a one-on-one summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Back home, Senate Democrats have a long list of demands for striking a deal that Bennett says could be difficult to meet....
Analysis: Trump Wanted a Fight. He Found One — With His Allies
Lawmakers are split over president’s tough-love approach for Europe, Canada

President Donald Trump was looking for a brawl with some of America’s closest allies Thursday morning. By evening, he had found — no, provoked — one. And lawmakers are split on his tough-love approach.

“Fight.”

Trump Says Russia Should Be Part of G-7 Talks
President again asserts he has right to pardon himself as he heads for tense summit with allies

President Donald Trump on Friday called for Russia to rejoin the group of wealthy countries now known as the G-7, and reiterated his stance that he has the legal authority to pardon himself.

The president departed the White House nearly an hour later than planned, taking questions from reporters for nearly 15 minutes in what amounted to a mini-news conference. In calling for Russia to be readmitted to the G-7, Trump acknowledged his proposal “might not be politically correct,” but he declared Russian officials “should be at the negotiating table.”

White House Would Seek Congressional Approval Of N. Korea Deal
Trump has been preparing for ‘months and months,’ Pompeo says

Trump administration officials intend to ask Congress to approve any nuclear deal President Donald Trump might strike with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says has vowed to give up his nuclear arsenal.

Pompeo told reporters at the White House Thursday the administration would submit a “document” to Congress for their review and possible approval. The idea is to give Kim confidence that a possible nuclear accord would be honored when the next U.S. administration takes over in 2021 or 2025.

Trump on Kim Summit: I Don’t Have to ‘Prepare That Much’
President is willing to normalize relations with North Korea

Updated 3:27 p.m.President Donald Trump on Thursday said he has not been cramming for his nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and signaled he might cancel it again. He also expressed a willingness to normalize relations with the North.

“We would like to see normalization, yes,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump Taunts Flake by Mocking His Name
‘Let’s face it, he’s a Flake!’ president tweets

President Donald Trump on Thursday took aim at a potential 2020 GOP primary foe, using retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s last name as a rhetorical bludgeon.

The retiring Arizona senator has not ruled out a presidential bid and — unlike others in his party — has been a vocal critic of Trump.

Trump Heads to G-7 Isolated by Tariffs, Estranged From Allies
‘There is a growing frustration,’ Ways and Means Chairman Brady says

President Donald Trump will arrive Friday at a G-7 meeting in Canada, with no specific goals for the summit and under fire from Republican lawmakers and the very world leaders with whom he will spend the weekend.

The U.S. leader’s steel and aluminum tariffs have upset other heads of state and caused many to retaliate with their own proposed fees on U.S. goods such as bourbon and cheese. Among the agitated leaders are those from G-7 countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. But before the president hears new pleas from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May to drop the tariffs, he is getting an earful from members of his own party.