syria

Amid Epstein child sex scandal, Trump doesn’t rule out firing Secretary Acosta
About 2007 plea deal, president says he will ‘look at it very carefully’

Alex Acosta, center, then-nominee for secretary of Labor, talks with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after the senators introduced him during his Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions confirmation hearing in March 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday left open the possibility that he might fire Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta over a plea deal he struck last decade with accused child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein after top congressional Democrats called for his ouster.

Acosta has been an “excellent secretary of Labor,” Trump said. But the president stopped short of saying Acosta would remain a part of his Cabinet as yet another scandal has engulfed his administration.

Qatar has ties to Iran, but Trump eyes ‘investments’ ahead of talks with emir
President didn’t mention Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan during dinner for al-Thani

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., in May. He meets with the emir of Qatar, who has ties to Iran amid tensions with that Middle East power. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Escalating a name-calling feud with your closest ally’s envoy to your government and threatening another with trade penalties is an unconventional way to build a coalition. But amid tensions with Iran, President Donald Trump is doing just that.

The U.S. leader is slated to meet privately Tuesday afternoon with Qatar’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Oval Office. The duo will have no shortage of things to discuss, from how to combat Iran’s increasingly aggressive actions related to its nuclear program to Qatar’s ongoing spat with some close American allies.

Trump admits he lacks exit strategy for an Iran war
Candidate Trump harshly criticized ‘stupid wars’ in Middle East that U.S. couldn’t untangle

Peshmerga fighters are seen driving along the frontline outside the town of Altun Kubri on October 23, 2017 in Altun Kubri, Iraq. President Donald Trump long criticized George W. Bush and Barack Obama for their lack of exit strategies in the Middle East. Now, he might need one for war with Iran. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump admitted Tuesday he has no plan for how to get out of war with Iran if one breaks out, even though he campaigned on ending protracted American wars in the Middle East that he long has called “stupid.”

Hours after he responded to insults by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by warning him of “obliteration” if a shooting conflict starts, CQ Roll Call asked Trump this during an unrelated event in the Oval Office: “Do you have an exit strategy for Iran, if war does break out?”

U.S.-Iran confrontation escalates as Trump threatens ‘obliteration’ after Rouhani’s insult
Schumer: ‘The danger of bumbling into war is acute‘

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., conduct a news conference in the Capitol after a briefing with senators on the Iran nuclear deal in September 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Responding to Iranian officials calling his White House “mentally retarded,” President Donald Trump called their latest statement “ignorant and insulting” before warning them he is prepared to use “great and overwhelming force” against their country.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used the same televised Tuesday address that included an insult for Trump and his staff to say new sanctions the Trump administration slapped on some of their top leaders “useless.” He sharply criticized Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, as “a source of belligerence and aggression” in the region. (Bolton for years has advocated a U.S. policy of seeking regime change in Tehran.)

With Iran reversal, did Trump break pledge to never ‘telegraph’ military ops?
‘He basically called them up and told them what he was going to do,’ military expert says

Navy Lt. Rob Morris watches as an F/A-18F Super Hornet lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on May 30. The Lincoln strike group is in the Middle East amid tensions with Iran. (Photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Smalley)

Iran’s military got a glimpse of how President Donald Trump would attack their country despite his years-old pledge never to “telegraph” U.S. military operations to an enemy.

My administration will not telegraph exact military plans to the enemy,” then-candidate Donald Trump said on Aug. 15, 2016 — less than three months before he was elected president.

As Turkish leader courts Russia, U.S. prepares to cut ties
House appropriators expected to soon approve provision in defense spending bill to remove Turkey from F-35 program.

An F-35 fighter jet taxies out for a training mission at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the first base to get combat-ready F-35s in 2017. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

Jilted by the United States, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has found a new friend, and possibly a new defense patron, in Washington’s longtime nemesis, Vladimir Putin.

For the United States, a NATO ally cozying up to Russia is more than an inconvenience. It’s a national security threat.

Trump heads to Pennsylvania, where China trade war is hitting home
State leaders: Tariff tussle hurts local manufacturers, farmers and consumers

President Donald Trump, here speaking to reporters on April 27 at the White House, is headed to battleground Pennsylvania on Monday even as his China trade war is hurting farmers and manufacturers there. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump heads to Pennsylvania on Monday evening — another battleground state vital to his chances of winning a second term. But Air Force One will touch down in Montoursville for a campaign rally just when his trade war with China is squeezing many of his core supporters there.

Trump has complicated his own quest to reassemble the Electoral College map he cobbled together in 2016 by slapping tariffs on Chinese-made products, according to political strategists, some lawmakers and state officials. The Keystone State is a prime example as China’s retaliatory levies are hitting its manufacturers, farmers and consumers particularly hard.

Trump downplays China trade ‘squabble,’ rattles sabre at Iran
POTUS: ‘We would send a hell of a lot more troops than’ 120,000 reportedly being mulled

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he leaves the White House here on April 5. He was back on the South Lawn talking about Iran and China on Tuesday morning. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump called stalled trade talks with America’s biggest economic rival, China, just “a little squabble,” even as Congress and the markets are increasingly unnerved by it, and, touching on another foreign policy hot spot, suggested he would send more than 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to confront Iran.

The remarks came after The New York Times reported the administration is considering sending troops to the Middle East. The president already has ordered a carrier strike group and bomber wing to the region. 

Trump team struggles with Iran, global tests after months of Mueller probe battles
Former official: ‘Provocative actions against Iran’ seem to have imprint of John Bolton

National security adviser John Bolton has struck a hawkish tone on Iran and other global hotspots despite President Donald Trump’s “America first” philosophy. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

After months of mostly battling domestic political foes, the Trump White House is suddenly juggling a handful of potentially volatile situations from South America to the Middle East to East Asia.

President Donald Trump, his top White House aides and outside surrogates have largely spent the months since November’s midterm elections pre-butting, then rebutting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian election meddling. But since its release last month, the commander in chief has been forced to deal with Venezuela’s political strife, a defiant North Korea, a chill in trade talks with China and a newly aggressive Iran.

Trump says China would best Buttigieg even as his own trade talks slow
President returns to Florida, where polls show an uphill re-election battle

President Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally at the Van Andel Arena on March 28 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was in Panama City, Florida, Wednesday evening for another rally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump mocked congressional Democrats at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday and called on them to end their investigations into his business and personal activities.

“It’s time to end the nonsense,” the president said of House Democrats’ probes on a day when Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the country has entered a “constitutional crisis.”