John T. Bennett

Low Approval Ratings Could Speed Possible Trump-GOP Clash
Two polls put president-elect at 40 percent, more than half Obama's 2009 rating

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday tried to cast doubts on his low approval ratings, but the numbers — around half those of his predecessor’s in 2009 — could accelerate an emerging collision with his own party.

Two new polls put Trump’s approval at 40 percent just three days before he will be sworn in as the 45th president. At the same point in President Barack Obama’s transition period, one of those polls, conducted by CNN and ORC International, had his approval rating at 84 percent.

Obama Doubts Trump Can Govern Via Twitter, Admits Some Missteps
Outgoing president: Bitter partisanship means ‘we’re weakening ourselves’

President Barack Obama used his final national television interview to express doubts that Donald Trump will be able to effectively govern by firing off tweets and offered some advice about the president-elect’s feud with the intelligence community.

In a lengthy interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program, Obama also acknowledged some mistakes — a rarity for the outgoing chief executive. Among them were missteps he made in dealing with Congress.

White House Watch: What to Watch for in Trump’s Inaugural Address
 

This week, President Barack Obama addressed the nation for the last time, urging the public to overcome political divisions and hostility, while a combative president-elect held his first press conference since the election. Watch the full video for analysis from Roll Call’s John T. Bennett, plus what he’ll be watching for in the inaugural address now less than a week away....
White House Sees McAuliffe Playing Big Role for Dems in Post-Obama Era
Earnest floats notion next singular party leader is, for now, an unknown to most

President Barack Obama expects the Democratic Party to transition to leadership by committee when he leaves office next Friday, and his top spokesman expects Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will play a major role. 

Asked Thursday to whom Obama will articulate concerns or offer advice, Press Secretary Josh Earnest pointed to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and the new Senate Minority Leader, Charles E. Schumer of New York, then added McAuliffe to the list.

Combative Trump Won't Divest Holdings, Vows Obamacare Replacement Soon
President-elect won't reveal next steps on Russian hacking

President-elect Donald Trump used his first post-election news conference on Wednesday to acknowledge that Russia hacked Democratic Party email systems, refuse to divest his business holdings, and vow to unveil a replacement for the 2010 health care law in a few weeks.

Nine days before he is to be sworn in, Trump started subdued but then turned defiant, engaging in an angry exchange with a CNN reporter and refusing to answer his question. “Not you. Not you. Your organization is terrible. Quiet. Quiet. Don’t be rude. You are fake news,” Trump shot at correspondent Jim Acosta.

Contrast Shows With Trump in Obama’s Farewell Address
Outgoing president calls for unity; Trump calls critics ‘stupid people’

The friendly crowd in Chicago booed when President Barack Obama mentioned his fast-approaching return to private life when he will hand power to his successor, Donald Trump.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Obama stopped them, saying next Friday’s “peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next” a “hallmark of our democracy.”

Trump Facing Questions on Whether Russian Intel ‘Cultivated’ Him
President-elect, via Twitter, calls reports ’fake news’

Here’s a question President-elect Donald Trump likely did not expect to be asked Wednesday during his first post-election press conference: Have you been “cultivated” by Russian intelligence for half a decade?

What was shaping up as a question-and-answer session about his business dealings, Cabinet picks, potential conflicts of interest involving his family and senior aides and repealing the 2010 health care law got an added wrinkle Tuesday evening.

Trump Takes on Meryl Streep After Golden Globes Speech
And says getting border wall funds from Congress would speed project

Donald Trump began the final full week before he will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by responding to actress Meryl Streep’s criticism with harsh words after her Golden Globes rant.

The Hollywood legend, a Hillary Clinton supporter, used a six-minute acceptance speech at the annual awards dinner to take umbrage with the president-elect’s campaign style and often-sharp rhetoric.

Trump Blames DNC for Getting Hacked by Russia
President-elect accuses organization’s leaders of ‘gross negligence’

President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday tried to deflect attention from what the U.S. intelligence community has concluded was a Kremlin-ordered effort to influence the American election by blaming the Democratic National Committee.

Trump appeared to go to bed Friday and rise the next morning with the same goal: To steer media outlets away from an intel community report released Friday detailing Russian interference in the general election. The intelligence agencies believe the Russian government wanted to help his campaign while damaging Hillary Clinton’s.

Trump Election Is Made Official Over Scattered Objections
House Democrats object to Electoral College results, but senators remain mum

For Donald Trump, all that’s left is the oath of office — and, likely, many tweets.

House Democratic efforts to challenge the electoral process failed Friday when no senators joined the objections as Congress certified Trump’s Electoral College victory.

Trump’s Morning Tweets Are One-Way White House Briefing
Hours before Russia briefing, PEOTUS gloats over Schwarzenegger’s low ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ ratings

Donald Trump will be briefed Friday on what U.S. intelligence has concluded was Russian interference in the election that made him president-elect. But he began his day, as he often does, by tweeting what amounts to a one-way briefing. Among Friday’s topics: “Celebrity Apprentice” ratings.

President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman, Josh Earnest, spent much of Thursday answering reporters’ questions that stemmed from a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with U.S. intelligence officials about their conclusion that the Russian government was directly involved in the hacking. Earnest fielded questions about whether the Obama administration's response was strong enough and whether what the Kremlin did should be considered an act of war.

White House Watch: Uncertainty Surrounds Obamacare Repeal

With the new Congress in session, Republicans are moving quickly to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, but they’re struggling with the timeline and next steps. White House correspondent John T. Bennett has more....
White House Won’t Call Russia Hacking an Act of War
POTUS takes Kremlin-backed actions ‘quite seriously’

The White House on Thursday declined to classify what the intelligence community has concluded was a Kremlin-backed hacking campaign to influence the U.S. general election as an act of war. 

In retaliation for Russia’s actions on behalf of President-elect Donald Trump, President Barack Obama last week slapped new sanctions on Russia and expelled nearly three dozen Russian intelligence operatives from the United States. Obama aides have signaled covert actions have also been conducted.

Obama Touts Record, Sends Trump Message in Farewell Letter
Letter accompanies exit memos from Cabinet secretaries

The United States is “stronger and more prosperous” than it was on Inauguration Day 2009, President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to the American people, a dispatch that appears to have a message for his successor.

The letter, which will accompany exit memos from each of Obama’s Cabinet secretaries, begins with the 44th president reminding Americans of the challenges he faced when he was sworn in. Obama then ticks off what he sees as his top achievements, from bailing out U.S. automakers to avoiding an economic depression to passing his health care law to killing Osama bin Laden to a historically high high school graduation rate.

Trump Calls Schumer ‘Head Clown’ Over Obamacare Stance
President-elect bashes top Senate Democrat, then calls for parties to ‘get together’ on replacement bill

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday harshly accused Democrats of refusing to talk with Republicans about a health care law replacement plan, using a series of tweets to brand Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer his party’s “head clown.”

The latest Trump broadside on one of his foes came via the same platform many others have: Twitter. In a series of posts on the social media site around 7 a.m. Eastern time, the president-elect again exhibited behavior that breaks with just about every one of his predecessors in recent memory.

House GOP Hails Pence as Obamacare Slayer
Dismisses Medicaid expansion he presided over in Indiana

House Republicans on Wednesday cast Vice President-elect Mike Pence as a conservative white knight uniquely qualified to dismantle the 2010 health care law, while shrugging off his decision to embrace the law’s Medicaid expansion while governor of Indiana.

Pence huddled in the Capitol with House Republicans on Wednesday about their designs for scrapping President Barack Obama’s signature legislative legacy as Obama rallied House and Senate Democrats to resist those efforts a few hundred feet away in the Capitol Visitor Center.

Trump Criticizes House GOP on Ethics Office Overhaul
President-elect says party should focus on tax reform, Obamacare

Donald Trump on Tuesday chastised the more than 100 House Republicans who voted Monday night to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, marking the first clash between the president-elect and his party’s House caucus.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it,” Trump tweeted in a multipart message, following on, “........may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS”.

Lawmakers Return to Mounting Trump Contradictions Ahead of Inauguration
Murky legislative outlook as president-elect’s rhetoric, picks fail to neatly align

Obama to Make Farewell Speech Next Week
Cites George Washington’s precedent in saying goodbye to American people

President Barack Obama will say goodbye to the American people from his hometown of Chicago next Tuesday.

The 44th president cited the first, George Washington, noting he will be following in the Revolutionary War general’s footsteps by delivering a farewell address. The White House did not announce a specific time for the speech, which will come 10 days before Donald Trump, is sworn in.

White House Watch: No Chance For a Smooth Transition?

Cabinet members as the transition with the Obama administration hit a bump. Trump took to Twitter to criticize the president’s decision to abstain from blocking a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territory. White House correspondent John T. Bennett has more....