President Donald Trump said Monday the U.S. would begin “cutting off, or substantially reducing” aid to three Central American nations over a migrant caravan heading to the U.S. southern border.
Trump tweeted: “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.”
The three countries received a combined more than $500 million in funding from the U.S. in fiscal year 2017, though it was not immediately clear how much Trump is seeking to cut.
The Monday morning tweets marked the latest escalation by the president, who is seeking to re-inject immigration politics into the national conversation in the closing weeks of the midterm elections.
Note; The number keeps drastically changing, but it does appear the caravan is growing in size.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered government support to efforts to open up Germany to U.S. gas, a key concession to President Trump as he tries to loosen Russia’s gripon Europe’s largest energy market.
Over breakfast this month, the chancellor told a small group of lawmakers her government had decided to co-finance the construction of a €500 million ($576 million) liquefied natural gas shipping terminal in northern Germany, according to people familiar with the meeting, giving a crucial nudge to a project that had failed to get off the ground for years in a country that gets most of its gas cheaply from Russia.
Mr. Trump has intensively lobbied Europe to buy significant amounts of LNG as part of his campaign to rewrite the terms of trade relations. German and U.S. officials said Berlin hoped embracing U.S. gas might help solve a protracted trade dispute and possibly even defuse threats by Washington to sanction Nord Stream 2, an unbuilt German-Russian gas pipeline that would double Russia’s existing gas export capacity to Germany.
Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump dropped something totally unexpected on Democrats and the mainstream media — “a very major tax cut for middle-income people” — while campaigning Saturday in Nevada.
“We are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people,” Trump told reporters just before boarding Air Force One to return to the nation’s capital.
“And if we do that it will be, I would say, probably sometime just prior to November. We are going to be putting in, and are studying right now around the clock, a very major tax cut for middle income people.”
The new proposal would slash taxes “not for business at all, but for middle income people,” Trump continued. “The last one was for middle income taxpayers and for business, and now our businesses are now coming back because of it.”
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: Thank you very much, Larry. Appreciate it. And I think Larry is going to be very happy with what I'm going to say. I might as well leave the press to say it because it will put more pressure on all of the people gathered around our table.
I'm going to ask each of you to come back with a 5-percent budget cut from your various departments. Whether it's a secretary, an administrator, whatever, I'm going to ask everybody with a 5-percent cut for our next meeting. I think you'll all be able to do it. There may be a special exemption, perhaps. I don't know who that exception would be. If you can do more than five -- some of you will say, "Hey, I can do much more than five."
You know, I've heard about the penny plan for 15 years. One penny every year per dollar -- one penny every year -- after four or five years, the country is in good shape. I'm saying, let's not do the penny plan; let's do the five-penny plan. I think you can do it.
So I'd like to have everyone sitting around the table -- your incredible domains that you preside over so brilliantly, in some cases. In some cases very well; in some cases brilliantly. I would like you to come back with a 5-percent cut. Get rid of the fat. Get rid of the waste. And I'm sure you can do it. I'm sure everybody at this table can do it. It will have a huge impact.
Last budget we had to go -- because of the military -- we had to fix our military. Our military is in the process of being fixed. Planes are being made. Boats are being made. Ships are being made. Missiles, rockets, everything. Our nuclear is being brought to a level that nobody else could even imagine. Pray to God we don't have to use it. But there will be nothing like what we have, and there is nothing like what we have.
And that's why I did that. I made deals with the devil in order to get that done, because we had to improve our military. Our military was depleted. It was in bad shape. Our great people in the military hadn't received a wage increase in more than 10 years. Now they're getting an increase. First time in more than 10 years.
So I wanted to do that and -- in order to get that done -- because the Democrats won't vote for the military. They don't like the military. They don't like law enforcement. They don't like borders.
You see what's happening with the border, where people are coming up in caravans and we have to stop them even though the laws are terrible. The laws are terrible. Our laws are terrible. They're a laughingstock all over the world. And we're supposed to stop people with laws that aren't very good, but we're doing better than anybody else could possibly even think about.
But I'd like you all to come back with a 5-percent cut. And I think if you can do more than that, we will be very happy. There are some people sitting at the table -- I'm not going to point you out -- but there are some people that can really do substantially more than that. Because now that we have our military taken care of, we have our law enforcement taken care of, we can do things that we really weren't in a position to do when I first came.
So we'll see you at the next meeting. I'll see you many times before. I'm sure I'll speak to all of you during this term. But that's a very, very important request that I'm making of everybody sitting around this table. It's tremendous amounts of money, and it's something that we can do.
And I believe we could actually do it, easily. So rather than go by the penny plan, we'll call it the nickel plan. At least it will be a one-year nickel plan. We may do another nickel plan next year too.
Thank you all very much. To the press, thank you very much.
REPORTER: Mr. President, does that include the Defense Department, sir? The 5-percent cut.
TRUMP: We know what the budget -- the new budget is for the Defense Department. It will probably be $700 billion. So it's 716; it was 700 -- 716. And that's a very substantial number but it's defense. It's very important. I mean, to us, without defense, maybe the rest of it doesn't mean very much.
But if you know, it was a $520 [billion] a very short while ago. And the reason I brought it up to 700 and then 716 was to build new ships. We're building new, incredible submarines, the finest in the world. The most powerful in the world, anywhere, ever.
We're doing things that we have never done on this scale. So that included a lot of rebuilding of our military. So despite that, I'm going to keep that at $700 billion -- defense. Okay?
Real Clear Politics
Joe Arpaio, the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, has filed a libel suit against The New York Times and a member of its editorial board.
In a complaint filed Tuesday evening with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the ex-lawman takes issue with a Times opinion piece published just after Arpaio’s loss in the state’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate. The article — “Well, at Least Sheriff Joe Isn’t Going to Congress: Arpaio’s loss in Arizona’s Senate Republican primary is a fitting end to the public life of a truly sadistic man" — was written by Michelle Cottle.
Arpaio argues in the court filing that “[w]hile the Defamatory Article is strategically titled as an opinion piece, it contains several false, defamatory factual assertions.” The claims made in the article, Arpaio says, were “carefully and maliciously calculated to damage and injure” his reputation among the law enforcement community, as well as among GOP donors who could help bankroll his intended run for the late Sen. John McCain’s seat in 2020, currently held by Sen. Jon Kyl.
Arpaio is seeking $147.5 million in damages from Cottle and the Times, as well as payment to cover his attorneys’ fees and costs. He is represented by Larry Klayman, the chairman and general counsel of the conservative watchdog group Freedom Watch.
The United States returned to the top spot as the most competitive country in the world for the first time since 2008 after it made the second highest overall gain from the previous year's ranking from the World Economic Forum.
The top five countries were the U.S., Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan — all of which saw their scores increase in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"Economic recovery is well underway, with the global economy projected to grow almost 4% in 2018 and 2019,” the report stated, adding that "recovery remains vulnerable to a range of risks and potential shocks."
The Daily Wire
NBC News reports that "FBI agents were seen raiding an office on the 15th and 14th floor of Torre Municipal de San Juan, according to authorities. The operation was related to suspected corruption in the purchasing department."
"We are seeking documents and evidence that support this allegation," an FBI spokesman told reporters, according to NBC. "This search will help us confirm if allegations are true or not. We will look through every document, bill, email ... anything that will let us clarify the claims."
Cruz commented on the raid on Twitter, pledging her "total collaboration" with the FBI's investigation: "If someone has done something wrong, they should be subjected to due process and face the consequences of their actions."
That might include Cruz. Fox News reports that the FBI's investigation centers around whether Cruz and allies in the San Juan city government handed city business — and city money — to preferred companies, many of whom allegedly charged the city thousands more than other suppliers.
The Daily Wire
Donald Trump has defeated the defamation suit brought against him by Stormy Daniels.
The adult film actress, whose birth name is Stephanie Clifford, sued him in April for suggesting on Twitter that she lied about a man allegedly threatening her to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter she claims to have had with the president.
At the time, Trump tweeted about Daniels’ claims, calling the allegation “a total con job” and “playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
On Monday, Federal District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles dismissed Daniels’ lawsuit against Trump, calling his tweet “rhetorical hyperbole normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States,” according to the ruling obtained by CNN.
“Mr. Trump’s tweet is a non-actionable opinion that cannot be the subject of a defamation claim,” the ruling states, later explaining, “The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement.” (Judge Otero previously indicated in September during arguments that he believed the tweet by Trump that named her appeared to be protected by the First Amendment.)
President Donald Trump added his signature to the “Save Our Seas Act” on Thursday, green-lighting an initiative to clean up eight million tons of debris from the planet’s oceans.
“As president I will continue to do everything I can to stop other nations from making our oceans into their landfills. That’s why I’m pleased – very pleased, I must say – to put my signature on this important legislation,” Trump said as he signed the Save Our Seas Act into law at the Oval Office.
Sponsored by Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, the bill aims to promote better domestic and international efforts at cleaning up garbage that is littered throughout the oceans. The new law will extend the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program for another five years, and promote cohesion among different federal agencies on how to reduce marine debris.
The Daily Caller
Senate Democrats accepted an offer Thursday from Senate Republicans to confirm 15 lifetime federal judges in exchange for the ability to go into recess through the midterms, allowing endangered Democrats to campaign.
The calculation by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his caucus was simple: That Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be able to confirm roughly 15 judges if he kept the Senate in session for the next few weeks anyway. So Democrats OK’d an offer to confirm three Circuit Court judges and 12 Circuit Court judges as the price to pay to go home for election season.
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