scandal

Trump increases China tariffs as stocks tumble amid latest trade tensions
President posts odd tweet blaming markets’ jitters on largely unknown House Democrat

A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California. President Donald Trump and China traded barbs again Friday in an escalating trade battle that has prompted global recession fears. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Capping an extraordinary day of major power muscle-flexing and more odd presidential behavior, Donald Trump on Friday answered a tariffs threat from Beijing by increasing coming import duties on $550 billion worth of Chinese-made items.

“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen! In the spirit of achieving Fair Trade, we must Balance this very....” he wrote in a tweet before adding in another: “..unfair Trading Relationship. China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!).”

Trump, self-described ‘Chosen One,’ heads to G-7 looking for ‘respect’
President heads to France summit after an odd, chaotic week — even by his standards

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House on Wednesday, a gaggle during which he called himself “The Chosen One” and gestured toward the heavens. He leaves Friday night for a G7 summit in France. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Look out, Biarritz, here comes “The Chosen One.

The chic resort town on France’s picturesque Basque coastline will host a G-7 summit this weekend amid worries about a global recession and fraying alliances in Europe and Asia. President Donald Trump — who used that moniker Wednesday to describe himself as a savior in a decades-old trade dispute with China despite so far failing to resolve a single issue — will be center stage after one of the most erratic and strange weeks of his wild presidency.

Now background checks are back on the table as Trump veers again
POTUS makes Danish leader latest female critic he has dubbed ‘nasty’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration will push for background checks legislation that would close “loopholes.” (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued careening from one policy stance to the opposite, this time saying he has an “appetite” for background checks legislation after twice this week backing away from just that.

“We’re going to be doing background checks,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House for a speech to military veterans and two fundraising events in Kentucky. Notably, he said his focus would be on closing so-called “loopholes” in existing laws.

Payroll tax cuts off the table? Not so fast, says Trump in another whiplash reversal
No immediate move likely on taxes, as president also distances himself from gun background checks

President Donald Trump concludes a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:15 p.m. | In yet another whiplash policy reversal, President Donald Trump directly contradicted his staff Tuesday by saying payroll tax cuts are on the table as he looks to stave off an election-year recession.

A White House official on Monday afternoon, responding to a Washington Post report that the White House was eyeing a payroll tax cut amid recession fears, dismissed the idea this way: “More tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time.”

Trying to conceal tax returns, Trump sees political coordination in subpoenas
President accuses New York officials of working with House Democrats to damage him

President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the release of his state tax returns. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool file photo)

President Donald Trump says New York Attorney General Letitia James is “closely coordinating with House Democrats in a joint effort to obtain and expose” the president’s tax returns and financial information.

The allegation came in a filing Monday in federal district court in Washington as Trump amended the July 23 lawsuit he brought to block James and Michael R. Schmidt, commissioner of New York state’s Department of Taxation and Finance, from providing the president’s state tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

North Carolina to start voting in a new election — under the shadow of the last one
Democrats hope last fall’s Republican ballot fraud scandal motivates the base in 9th District redo

James E. Nance, center, and Chris Council, right, listen to North Carolina Democrat Dan McCready speak at his campaign office in Elizabethtown, N.C., on Aug. 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. — Chris Council, a 53-year-old African American landscaper, is fired up about Democrat Dan McCready’s campaign for Congress.

“I’m not a betting man, but he’s going to win this race,” Council said after attending a McCready event in this 3,500-person town, the county seat of Bladen County, North Carolina.

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Undeterred Trump to tout economy in ‘toss-up’ New Hampshire despite stock tumble
It’s not ‘guaranteed’ every Clinton state will remain blue in 2020, analyst says

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He will hold another rally Thursday night in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A White House official grimaced slightly Wednesday as a cable news chyron showed stocks plummeting, potentially undercutting President Donald Trump’s Thursday plans to say his stewardship of a strong economy should help earn him a second term.

Trump will make another campaign-trail pitch to voters Thursday evening in what his aides see as a likely 2020 battleground state that could be a photo finish next November: New Hampshire.

Duncan Hunter said person making ‘OK’ sign in photo was a ‘stranger.’ The man calls Hunter a friend
California Republican backtracks, but episode could foreshadow his 2020 strategy

California Rep. Duncan Hunter was photographed at a July Fourth parade with a man who has ties to white supremacists. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When a constituent who posed for a photo with Rep. Duncan Hunter was later found to have white supremacist ties, a Hunter staffer dismissed him as “a stranger in a parade who wanted to be in a picture” with the Republican congressman.

The photo showed Hunter at a July Fourth parade in his Southern California district, standing beside Kris Wyrick, who flashes an “OK” gesture — a sign appropriated by extremists in recent years to mean “WP” or “white power.”

After shootings, Trump again shows he prefers political brawler to consoler in chief
White House has ‘a problem’ with alleged ‘disingenuous’ comments by Sherrod Brown, Dayton mayor

President Donald Trump on Wednesday injected politics into his attempts to console those affected by mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Even on a day when he was thrust once again by gunmen into his consoler-in-chief role, President Donald Trump found new political enemies — and started throwing rhetorical elbows as the country reeled from two more gun massacres.

The president and first lady Melania Trump spent time Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, with the victims of weekend mass killings and law enforcement officers who neutralized the shooters. But before, during and after even his critics gave him points for consoling and spending time with those affected, the president appeared more focused on political sparring than emotional healing.