John T. Bennett

Congressional leaders, White House give spending caps talks another try
Fall government shutdown looms if both sides can’t agree on a deal

White House officials plan to meet with congressional leaders Wednesday — for the second time in as many months — to reach a deal on spending limits that would prevent another government shutdown this fall.

The first meeting, on May 21, produced some initial hopes that a bipartisan deal could be reached relatively quickly, avoiding a breakdown in the appropriations process when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Trump kicks off re-election bid that could extend key legal protections into 2025
Federal statute of limitations on Mueller’s findings would expire in second term, ex-U.S. attorney says

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night started his re-election bid, ending years of speculation that he might return to private life and opt out of seeking a second term that could provide him legal protections into 2025.

Political operatives since before he took office have suggested the 73-year-old former real estate mogul and reality television host might tire of the grueling job of president, choosing to enjoy running his businesses alongside his children in Manhattan and his various resort properties around the world. He put an end to that talk Tuesday during a raucous campaign rally in Orlando, Florida.

Trump again pressures Fed to cut rates with lukewarm comment about its chairman
President says he wants a ‘level playing field’ from central bank

President Donald Trump on Tuesday opted against giving a public vote of confidence to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as the central bank mulls a possible interest rate cut in coming weeks.

“Let’s see what he does,” the president said, appearing to suggest Powell’s future as chairman could be linked to whether the Fed answers his call and slashes rates.

Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan gives up post, withdraws name from nomination
Shanahan was to succeed Mattis, who had differences with President Trump

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has given up his post and withdrawn his nomination to take the job permanently, President Donald Trump tweeted, announcing yet another Cabinet change.

Army Secretary Mark Esper will be the new acting Pentagon boss, Trump said. Shanahan, a former defense industry executive, replaced retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis when he stepped down, citing differences with Trump.

Spending talks between White House, Hill leadership to resume Wednesday
A round of meetings on May 21 with the same principals involved got off to a positive start, but then petered out in the afternoon

The four top congressional leaders from both parties plan to sit down again Wednesday morning with senior Trump administration officials to try to hammer out an agreement on next year’s spending levels.

The talks at the Capitol will include acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and acting budget director Russell Vought, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Trump targets Florida electoral haul with Orlando campaign kick-off
Booming and diverse state presents challenge, and is key to re-election bid

President Donald Trump will pull out all the stops Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, when he announces his re-election bid in a state he narrowly won in 2016 and needs again as he tries to reconfigure the electoral map that put him in the White House.

But Democrats are already countering his expected message of a strong economy and tough trade tactics, arguing that Trump’s tariffs are hurting middle-class voters and causing battleground states to shed jobs. That’s the message the party and many of its 2020 candidates are pushing in hopes of reversing Hillary Clinton’s 1-point loss in the Sunshine State three years ago. 

Could Donald Trump replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders with John Barron?
President never replaced his last communications director, prefers to drive own messaging

ANALYSIS | Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ voice cracked Thursday afternoon as she described her reasons for giving up her White House press secretary gig.

“I feel like it’s important for the president to be able to put somebody in place as he moves into the campaign season,” Sanders said in an impromptu gaggle in her office, also saying she wants to spend time with her three young kids. 

Trump: No doubt Iran was behind attacks on tankers
President says he won't fire Kellyanne Conway despite findings of Hatch Act violations

President Donald Trump on Friday said U.S. officials are confident Iran is behind attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East.

During a wild 50-minute interview with "Fox & Friends," the president defiantly said he will not fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway despite findings from a federal investigator that she broke the law, refused to endorse any future presidential run by Vice President Mike Pence, and tried to walk back comments from a controversial television interview by claiming he would contact the FBI if another government tried to meddle in a U.S. election.

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders leaving White House press secretary post
Trump tweets she will return to Arkansas, encourages her to run for governor

Updated 5:59 p.m. | White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who shut down daily briefings and was frequently accused of making false statements, is leaving her post at the end of this month and returning to her home state of Arkansas, President Donald Trump announced Thursday.

Sanders said she was “blessed and forever grateful” to Trump for the opportunity to serve, adding that she was “proud of everything he’s accomplished.”

White House and White House appointee fight over Kellyanne Conway
Office of Special Counsel accuses Conway of violating Hatch Act as White House punches back

A federal special counsel nominated by President Donald Trump is calling for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to be removed from office for taking overtly political actions while fulfilling her official government duties.

But the White House is pushing back, saying the office violated Conway’s due process rights and is questioning the special counsel’s motivations.

Trump announces deal with Mexico to avoid tariffs
President says Mexico has agreed to “strong measures” to stem migrant flows toward border

President Donald Trump on Friday night announced his administration has struck a deal with Mexico over curbing migrant flows toward the U.S. border after a dramatic week of threats and negotiation.

“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” the president tweeted after returning from a European swing. “The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.”

Trump: ‘Something pretty dramatic’ could happen with Mexico as tariffs loom
POTUS to allies at D-Day anniversary event: ‘Our bond is unbreakable’

President Donald Trump on Thursday breathed life into Republican members’ hopes that his administration might opt against imposing tariffs on goods entering the country from Mexico. And he also took a shot at Republican lawmakers who oppose the tariffs.

Mexican government officials met Wednesday at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration officials. The two sides are slated to meet again Thursday — though Pence is scheduled to travel to Virginia and Pennsylvania for D-Day anniversary and political events.

Dems pounce on GOP tariffs civil war and other takeaways from Trump‘s UK visit
Under Trump, U.S. is ‘standing around not doing much,’ former VP Biden says on trail

ANALYSIS - President Donald Trump ended his U.K. visit Wednesday in an uncharacteristic manner, sitting silently before the television cameras during an unplanned meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The moment offered a juxtaposition to his full-throated, unapologetic three days on British soil.

“The two leaders sat, smiling at the pool without saying a word,” wrote a reporter who was in Portsmouth, England, where the two leaders met briefly during a reception following a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day invasion.

Trump backtracks from comment that U.K. health service would be part of trade talks
Outgoing PM May on Tuesday appeared to leave wiggle room in nascent negotiations

Attempting to keep hopes of a sweeping U.S.-U.K. trade pact alive, President Donald Trump reversed himself by taking Britain’s National Health Service off the table.

I don't see it being on the table. Somebody asked me a question today and I say everything is up for negotiation, because everything is but I don't see that being,” the U.S. leader told “Good Morning Britain” on ITV in an interview that aired Wednesday morning. “That's something that I would not consider part of trade. That's not trade.”

Republican rebellion over Mexico tariffs overshadows Trump’s European visit
As D-Day ceremonies begin, GOP members send a rare warning to the president

President Donald Trump’s latest tariff war sparked a rare rebellion by Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, stealing the spotlight from his state visit to the United Kingdom and threatening to intrude on the ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France.

“On the proposed Mexico tariffs, look, there is a window here,” House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady said Tuesday of escalating tensions over the tariff threat. “Negotiations, and what I’ve heard constructive negotiations, are occurring as we speak with Mexico representatives in Washington right now.”

Trump tries to pour cold water on notion of GOP blocking his Mexico tariffs
Spat between president, Republican allies reaches across ocean

From across the Atlantic Ocean, President Donald Trump on Tuesday tried to pour cold water on an inner-Republican battle at home over tariffs that are set to take effect next week on goods moving into the United States from Mexico.

In a joint appearance with Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump told reporters in London he doubts any GOP members will move to block his proposed tariffs on goods moving into the U.S. from Mexico even though some have signaled a desire to do so.

Trump lands in UK in fighting mood as he attacks CNN and London’s mayor
President’s arrival isn’t a charm offensive as he urges AT&T to cancel CNN’s morning show

President Donald Trump had some important business to attend to as soon as he landed in London Monday morning: Get to the nearest television and tune in to American cable news.

The U.S. leader often slams U.S. media outlets as “fake news.” But those who watch him closely know he often is obsessed with how cable news networks and a handful of major print outlets cover him and his presidency.

Another ally prepares to fete Trump, but ample disputes remain
Like in Japan, Trump’s UK visit comes amid trade and security disagreements

For the second time in as many weeks, President Donald Trump is headed overseas, where he will be feted by a foreign government despite long-standing differences on combustible issues that could overshadow the pomp and circumstance.

Trump will land in the United Kingdom on Monday morning for an official state visit that will allow him to rub elbows with the British royal family. He will also meet one-on-one with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, who last week delivered a tearful announcement that she will step down on Friday.

Trump to announce his re-election campaign at Orlando rally
Trump won Florida in 2016, and it is among the states political analysts say he must retain to secure a second term

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he will announce his re-election campaign on June 18 at a rally in Orlando, Florida.

The often crowd size-obsessed president noted the Amway Arena, site of the event, holds 20,000 people. Trump won Florida in 2016, and it is among the states political analysts say he must retain to secure a second term.