foreign-policy

White House, North Korea still don‘t define ‘denuclearization’ the same way
Trump and aides downplay expectations for summit with Kim Jong Un next week

A ballistic missile during a "Victory Day" parade in 2013 in North Korea. President Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week in Vietnam. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Just days before President Donald Trump will be face-to-face again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two sides remain divided on one of the biggest issues at the heart of their second summit.

Among the many unresolved issues as Trump and Kim prepare for another meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam is a common definition of what “denuclearization” would mean for the reclusive Asian country. A senior Trump administration official told reporters on a call Thursday morning that one of the top agenda items for the leaders’ second meeting is trying to agree to a “shared understanding of what denuclearization is.”

3 Takeaways: There’s a big 2020 hue within Trump’s anti-socialism push
'I am not a democratic socialist,' says Dem presidential candidate Kamala Harris

President Donald Trump delivers remarks to the Venezuelan-American community at Florida International University on Monday. He vowed during his speech that "America will never be a socialist country." (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump is vowing to rid the Western Hemisphere of socialist governments, but the early days of his push appear as much about his own re-election fight than anything happening in Central and South America.

“The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere,” Trump said to applause from an audience of Venezuelan-Americans Monday in Miami. “And, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered - not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba, as well.”

Mike Pompeo says he is not running for Senate in Kansas in 2020
Former congressman says he will be secretary of State as long as Trump wants him in that role

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a 2020 campaign for Senate in Kansas is “ruled out.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that he was ruling out running for Senate in Kansas in 2020 — at least as long as he is still the top diplomat.

“I love Kansas. I’m going to be the secretary of State as long as President Trump gives me the opportunity to serve as America’s senior diplomat,” Pompeo told NBC’s “Today Show” when asked about a possible race for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Pat Roberts.

‘The dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard’ and other highlights of the Senate’s European adventure
Senators have been traveling the globe this week, with many attending conferences in Europe

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reportedly told the acting Defense secretary that pulling all troops from Syria by April 30 was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve heard .” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over President’s Day weekend, it might have been easier to get a quorum of the U.S. Senate together in Europe than in Washington.

After contentious border moves, stakes only get higher for Trump
‘The real rough water for President Trump still lies ahead,’ GOP insider says

South Koreans watch on a screen at the Seoul Railway Station on June 12, 2018, showing President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — “Stay tuned” is a common refrain from White House aides when asked about the many cliffhangers created by President Donald Trump. But remarkably, even after three topsy-turvy months that culminated Friday in a wild Rose Garden appearance, that West Wing mantra will apply doubly over the next few weeks.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border to unlock Pentagon funds for his proposed border wall came wrapped in an announcement press conference during which he veered from topic to topic, undercut his own legal position, often appeared dispassionate when discussing the emergency declaration, and made more baseless claims. That matter is already embroiled in court fights, putting perhaps his biggest campaign promise in legal limbo, and has appeared to created new distance between him and some Senate Republicans.

Trump denies calling Andrew McCabe's wife a ‘loser’ as feud intensifies
Former acting FBI boss is under president’s skin ahead of Kim summit, China tariffs deadline

Then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Since fired, he is at war with President Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump is at war with Andrew McCabe, accusing the former acting FBI director of “Treason!” and accusing him of a “lie” by claiming the president once called his wife a “loser.”

Even during and after a long weekend at his South Florida resort after a chaotic mid-December to mid-February stretch, Trump was unable to ignore claims McCabe, who ordered a counterintelligence investigation into Trump and his possible coordination with Russians, is making as he peddles a new tell-all book.

Trump wings it in feisty, combative Rose Garden emergency announcement
POTUS berates reporters, slams Dems as policy event morphs into campaign rally

\President Donald Trump speaks in the White House Rose Garden on Friday. Trump said he would declare a national emergency to free up federal funding to build a wall along the southern border. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS  — A testy and combative President Donald Trump winged it Friday in the Rose Garden, turning an often-rambling defense of his border security emergency into a 2020 assault on Democrats.

Trump has redefined the presidency around his unique style and penchant for unpredictable and unprecedented moves, as well as the sharp rhetoric he uses both at the White House and his rowdy campaign rallies. But there was something different during Trump’s remarks Friday, with the president leading off his remarks by talking about anything but the compromise funding measure and border security actions he signed later that day.

Trade talks with China ‘intensive’ but tariffs still set to balloon on March 1, White House says
‘Much work remains,’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders said ahead of new round next week

U.S. and Chinese officials made “progress” in trade talks this week in Beijing, the White House said. But spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not provide details as a new round of talks is slated for next week in Washington. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images file photo)

The White House on Friday said “intensive” trade talks this week with Chinese officials yielded “progress,” but there was no indication President Donald Trump is ready to delay a substantial ballooning of tariffs on Chinese-made goods set to take effect March 1.

“These detailed and intensive discussions led to progress between the two parties,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Much work remains, however.”

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump, here addressing reporters on Jan. 10, will sign a government shutdown-avoiding bill and declare a national emergency at the border to access Pentagon funds for his proposed southern border barrier. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

U.S. trade team ‘soldiering on’ in China ahead of high-stakes Xi meeting
Kudlow downplays deficit growth as experts, lawmakers sound alarms

White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow holds a news briefing at the White House in June. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

U.S. officials on the ground in China for high-stakes trade talks are “soldiering on” and will get facetime with Chinese President Xi Jinping, something a top aide to President Donald Trump calls a positive sign as a key deadline approaches.

“I’ve talked to the group [in China]. They’re covering all the ground,” said Lawrence Kudlow, the White House’s chief economic official. “They’re hard at it. They are going to meet with President Xi, so that’s a very good sign.”