John T. Bennett

Trump, Afghan President Contradict One Another on Situation There
U.S. president sees 'hornets' nest,' but Ghani says 'victory is within our sights'

President Donald Trump and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani delivered contradictory assessments Thursday of the situation on the ground as the U.S. military operation there enters its 16th year.

Addressing reporters together on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly session, the leaders offered their conflicting assessments a month after Trump altered America’s strategy and deployed more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to help indigenous forces and target extremist groups.

Trump Endorses Graham-Cassidy, Knocks Rand Paul
In morning tweet, president calls legislation ‘GREAT!’

President Donald Trump formally threw his weight behind a health care overhaul sponsored by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, and criticized another high-profile Republican for opposing it.

Trump used a pair of Wednesday morning tweets to call the bill “GREAT!” and touted its plan to provide federal “Money direct to States!”

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.

Trump Threatens to ‘Destroy’ North Korea
President warns Pyongyang at UN address

The United States is prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea unless Kim Jong Un’s government gives up its nuclear arms and missile programs, President Donald Trump told the United Nations on Tuesday.

“We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” unless it changes its behavior, Trump said in his address to the U.N. General Assembly. The president described Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs as a threat to the United States and its allies. He did not give North Korea a deadline before he deploys U.S. military troops to carry out his threat.

'America First' Approach to Dominate Trump's UN Address
President's foreign policy philosophy irks many Republican lawmakers

President Donald Trump on Tuesday will take his vision to the United Nations for an America that leads on the global stage only when its sovereignty is threatened, a message that in the past has drawn howls from his own political party.

American allies reportedly are still struggling to fully understand Trump’s “America first” governing philosophy — and what it means for how it will shape foreign policy. Some of his top aides often say “America first” does not mean America alone, and the president will have an opportunity to reassure Washington’s longtime friends when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly for the first time.

Trump Again Floats Military Parade That Pentagon Once Vetoed
President wants July 4 parade of combat hardware down Pennsylvania Avenue

The Pentagon might have vetoed President Donald Trump’s idea of parading U.S. military vehicles across the streets of Washington during his inauguration festivities. But now he’s the commander in chief and talking about holding such a show of military might on July 4.

Trump floated the idea to reporters during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he joined in Paris in July for that country’s Bastille Day festivities. Trump was the VIP guest on the French president’s viewing stand for a parade of French military troops and equipment.

Trump Casts Doubt on GOP Clearing 60-Vote Hurdle in Senate on Tax Bill
Criticizes UK officials after terror attack on London

President Donald Trump on Friday declared Senate Republicans “can’t get” 60 votes in the Senate and again urged GOP leaders to alter rules for major legislation.

He followed his Twitter rant against Senate Republicans with his first comments on Friday’s terrorist attack in London to criticize British security officials.

Before Confusion, Trump and Democrats Agreed to Keep Talking
‘No deal was made last night on DACA,’ president tweets

Updated 1:04 p.m. | One thing appears clear amid the web of confusion after a Tuesday dinner meeting at the White House: President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders agreed to keep talking about immigration and border security issues.

But beyond that, Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York are having a tough time clearly describing what was agreed to over Chinese food in the White House’s Blue Room.

White House Aide Walks Back Trump’s Tax Hike for Rich Remarks
Democrats’ reactions, however, to president’s words were positive

Hours after President Donald Trump suggested he would be fine with a tax bill that raised rates on the richest Americans, a senior White House aide tried to walk back the idea. 

At the start of a mid-afternoon meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, Trump told reporters that the wealthiest Americans “will not be gaining at all with this plan.”

Trump Open to Bigger Tax Bill for Richest Americans in Pursuit of Dems
President: ‘The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan’

Updated at 6:19 p.m. | Eager to garner Democratic support for a still-emerging tax overhaul package, President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed a willingness to send larger tax bills to the wealthiest Americans.

During a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, Trump pledged that he wants lawmakers to craft a bill focused on slashing middle-class tax rates and doing things to create jobs — code for a dramatic corporate tax rate cut.

Frustrated by Congress’ Plodding Pace, Trump Urges Speed on Tax Bill
President feels let down by GOP leaders who promised health overhaul by April break

Updated at 8:40 a.m. | Donald Trump on Wednesday implored lawmakers to quickly send him a tax overhaul package a day after his top liaison to Congress said the president is frustrated by the often-plodding pace on Capitol Hill.

Trump and his top aides are busily discussing the contents of a bill that would slash individual and corporate tax rates, while also simplifying the federal tax code, with congressional Republicans and Democrats. Trump wants to sign a bill into law this calendar year.

Thanks to Bannon, White House Can't Shake Comey Firing
Former FBI boss, Hillary Clinton's book distract from taxes, hurricane response

Updated 6:23 p.m. | Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s explosive comments about the firing of former FBI Director James B. Comey is pulling administration officials away from their intended messaging about two federal hurricane responses and a quest for bipartisan tax legislation.

White House officials set up a week featuring a series of high-level meetings, including several involving President Donald Trump and key lawmakers, meant to portray him and his senior team as aggressively working with members of both parties on issues such as revisions to the tax code, racial tensions, and other matters.

White House Nudge for Long-Shot Repeal Bill
Trump Hill boss seeks boost on Graham-Cassidy legislation

Updated at 2:28 p.m. The White House gave a subtle nudge to a long-shot bill from two Republican senators that would overhaul the 2010 health care law as a Sept. 30 deadline to take up the measure quickly approaches.

Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana have been working on legislation that would incorporate much of the Senate GOP leadership-crafted health care measure that failed to pass the chamber earlier this year.

White House Tepid on GOP Leaders After Bannon ‘War’ Declaration
Sanders: Trump is committed to working with Ryan, McConnell ‘at this point’

The White House on Monday offered a lukewarm defense of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after President Donald Trump’s former top strategist said he is going to war with them.

Trump is “committed” to working with the current crop of congressional GOP leaders, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday. But then, rather than saying the GOP leaders and the president share a conservative policy agenda or otherwise defending them, she merely added that she had “nothing beyond that — at this point.”

Flight 93 Passenger Heroism, in Personal Terms
Vice President Mike Pence says passengers likely saved his life

Vice President Mike Pence’s voice cracked as he spoke Monday in the Pennsylvania field where United Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. The only reason he was standing there, he said, was because of a group of passengers on board the airliner 16 years ago.

The typically upbeat former member of the House Republican leadership grew noticeably emotional at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony near Shanksville, at the site where Flight 93 crashed after a group of passengers forced the al-Qaida hijackers to end their mission early.

White House Continues Pivot Toward Congressional Democrats
POTUS will work with any members who ‘want to move the ball forward’

The Trump White House on Friday continued to pivot away from a legislative strategy based almost exclusively on Republicans, seemingly handing more leverage to congressional Democrats by the day.

Trump’s deal earlier this week with House and Senate Democratic leaders was not a one-off, and he intends to continue trying to pass bipartisan legislation, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. The approach, which caught members of his own party off guard and added fuel to ongoing intra-party tensions, came after the president spent his first seven months relying on Republicans to pass major bills.

Trump to Jilted GOP: Inaction Led to Deal With Dems
President: Senate rules means Republicans will ‘never’ pass bills alone

President Donald Trump on Friday delivered a message to congressional Republicans, essentially telling them their inaction led him to cut a deal with Democrats this week.

Amid GOP members’ collective frustration-venting in public this week about Trump’s decision to cut a deal with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Trump used a series of tweets to explain his choice — and give his fellow Republicans some instructions for the fall legislative session.

Trump on Hurricane Irma: ‘Get Out Of Its Way’
President: Storm is one of ‘epic proportion’

President Donald Trump on Friday urged those in the path of megastorm Hurricane Irma to “get out of its way.”

The president had used his Twitter account this week to tout his administration's response to Hurricane Harvey and its plan for Irma, which blazed a path of destruction through the Caribbean and is churning toward Florida.

U.S.-North Korea War 'Certainly' Possible, Trump Warns
President predicts 'very sad day' for isolated nation if America attacks

War with North Korea is possible as that country continues its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

“Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable,” Trump said during a joint press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart. “But it’s something certainly that could happen.”

White House Brushes Off Calls for Updated Authorization of Military Force
Despite bipartisan interest in new AUMF, administration says it’s not happening

Despite calls from members of both parties, President Donald Trump will not propose an updated authorization for use of military force measure to cover ongoing U.S. operations against groups such as al-Qaida, the Islamic State and others, a White House National Security Council official said Thursday.

White House officials have concluded they have ample legal authorities to continue conducting such military missions.