John T. Bennett

White House Team Might Still Head to North Korea Summit Site
Trump, Kim Jong Un talk about reviving nuclear talks

A White House “advance team” slated to head to Singapore in preparation for the president’s canceled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might still make the trip.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday left open the possibility and reiterated that President Donald Trump still wants to meet with Kim about a nuclear disarmament pact. That came one day after Trump canceled the June 12 meeting, concluding the North’s change in behavior from receptive to chilly to hostile meant Kim had gotten cold feet.

Shovels Down: White House Drives Dagger Into Infrastructure Bill
Administration ‘optimistic’ about a farm bill this year, Short says

The White House formally drove a dagger into the passage this year of the kind of massive infrastructure package called for by President Donald Trump.

What is on the White House’s legislative agenda for the rest of the year includes another tax package, a farm bill, more federal judiciary nominations — and possibly immigration legislation.

Trump Says MS-13, North Korea Show Democrats Have ‘Lost Touch’
President lashes out after Dems blame him for summit cancellation

President Donald Trump on Friday said congressional Democrats “have lost touch,” accusing the opposition party of rooting against his attempts to disarm North Korea and coddling members of the violent MS-13 gang.

The president on Thursday thanked a bipartisan group of lawmakers who helped pass a bill that eases financial regulations before he signed it at the White House. But the next morning, he tweeted that “Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea.”

Dems Blame Trump for Nixed Kim Summit, GOP Applauds Move
President warns North Korea, saying U.S. military is ‘ready’

Updated 12:28 p.m. | Democratic lawmakers said Thursday that President Donald Trump canceled a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because his administration was ill-prepared for the sensitive talks, but GOP members hailed the move as strategically prudent.

A few hours after the White House released a letter he penned to Kim informing him the talks are off — for now, at least — Trump delivered a hawkish warning to the North Korean dictator. The U.S. commander in chief said his military is “ready” and “by far” the most powerful in the world, contending it has been “greatly enhanced.”

Trump Says All or Nothing on Immigration Bill
President says he won’t sign any legislation unless it includes funding for ‘a real wall’

President Donald Trump says he would sign only a sweeping immigration bill, rejecting the idea of more modest legislation featuring border wall funding and protections for individuals brought into the country by their parents as youngsters.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday morning, the president was asked if he would sign a bill what would amount to a mini-bargain on immigration.

Hill Frets Over Trump Pattern of Promising Big, Then Backtracking
‘In the end, it can mean absolutely nothing,’ says a Republican strategist

Rep. Peter T. King — in true New Yorker fashion — used his hands to hammer home his point as he walked through the Cannon Tunnel. As he talked about President Donald Trump’s style, he raised one hand, pushing higher an imaginary bar.

“He’s not afraid to take on challenges. He’s not afraid to go big,” the Republican congressman said of the president. “With him, there’s the ‘art of the deal.’ It’s give. It’s take. It’s forward. It’s backward. It’s sideways. But in the end, he typically goes forward.”

New York Visit Drops Trump Into Contested GOP Primary
Long Island event provides president with chance to talk MS-13 again

Flanked by a trio of Republican congressmen, President Donald Trump ventured to his native New York on Wednesday to accuse Democrats of coddling violent gangs and being soft on immigration and provided one of the members with a photo-op as he fends off a tough primary foe. 

One week after a White House event led to an extensive back and forth of the president's use of the term “animals” to describe, depending on whom was interpreting, MS-13 gang members or undocumented immigrants writ large, the trio of New York House Republicans — Peter T. King, Dan Donovan, and Lee Zeldin — showed no reluctance to being seen with Trump as they participated in the Bethpage, N.Y., roundtable.

Democrats Won’t Get Data on Trump Campaign Intel Source
WH spox: ‘Democrats have not requested that information’

Democrats will be shut out of a White House-brokered meeting during which Justice Department officials will tell two House GOP chairmen about an intelligence source who provided information about President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump asked White House chief of staff John Kelly to set up the meeting, which comes after Justice officials have for months been reluctant to hand over any information on the matter to Republican members. The order to broker the meeting, slated for Thursday, came after Trump met Monday with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a session the president on Tuesday described as “routine.”

Rubio Leads Chorus of Lawmakers Critical of Trump’s Trade Talks With China
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

How Trump’s Attacks on Mueller Probe Are Playing on Capitol Hill
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

Trump Takes Action to Squeeze Maduro in Venezuela
WH: Strongman 'starving' his people via 'smash-and-grab' tactics

President Donald Trump has ordered new economic actions aimed at preventing the Venezuelan government from selling off state assets, with senior administration officials charging it with “starving” its people via a “smash-and-grab” operation.

The White House was joined by members of both parties on Capitol Hill in harshly condemning the Sunday re-election of President Nicolas Maduro to a second six-year term. Trump aides called the election “fraudulent” and the result of an “illegitimate process,” and several senators echoed that sentiment.

Trump Vows to Sign Compromise Prisons Bill
President made similar promise on immigration, then helped sink bipartisan measure

President Donald Trump on Friday did little to help resolve lawmakers’ standoff over differing House and Senate prison overhaul bills, opting against using his bully pulpit to pressure either side.

Instead, Trump gave both sides leverage when he said his administration “strongly supports these efforts,” referring to each chambers’ bill. The remark was something of a shift for the president. Previously, his administration has voiced support for a measure awaiting House floor action but been cooler to a Senate version that includes proposed sentencing changes.

Analysis: Giuliani Escalates Effort to Erode Legitimacy of Mueller Probe
Trump lawyer attacks Sessions, Comey and casts president as victim of ‘crimes’

Former FBI Director James Comey is a “proven liar” and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “didn’t step up” to shut down an “unjustifiable investigation.” Those were just two of the claims made Friday by Rudy Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, as he continued an escalating effort to erode the legitimacy of the Justice Department’s Russia probe.

As Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team continue their probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, possible coordination with the Trump-Pence campaign, and whether the president obstructed justice, Giuliani — joined by Trump and others — are executing a strategy intended to raise doubts about the necessity of the investigation, whether Mueller and the FBI are out to get Trump, and the special counsel’s tactics.

Trump Breaks With New Security Adviser Bolton on North Korea Plan
Records appear to contradict president’s claim that no U.S. official has ever negotiated with China

President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke with his national security adviser, denying that his administration is following the U.S. playbook in Libya — which led to the ouster and death of itsleader at the time — as it prepares for talks with North Korea.

“The Libya model is not a model we have at all with North Korea,” the president told reporters. “With [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un, he’d be there, running his country.

Trump Wants Full Border Wall Funding This Year
At event on sanctuary cities, president attacks California officials

President Donald Trump has threatened a government shutdown unless Congress hands him more funding for his proposed southern border wall. Now he’s demanding full funding for the project this year.

Trump said he will attempt to secure full funding for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall during the next congressional appropriations process. That would mean he will demand both chambers approve up to $25 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, a figure pitched earlier this year by senior White House officials.

No Word From Kim on Canceling Nuke Summit, Trump Says
U.S. president: 'We haven't seen anything. We haven't heard anything.'

Updated 12:54 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration has received no official notification from the North Korean government about canceling a summit with Kim Jong Un over the dictator’s nuclear arms and long-range missile programs.

“We haven't been notified at all, we’ll have to see. We haven’t seen anything. We haven’t heard anything,” the president said. “We will see what happens.

Trump Call to Curb August Recess Picks Up Steam
Republican senators seem eager to keep Democrats off campaign trail

President Donald Trump did most of the talking Tuesday during a lunch-hour meeting with Senate Republicans, but lawmakers said he did not prod them to cancel their August recess. He did not have to. 

That’s because the idea appears to be gaining steam for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the large number of Democratic incumbents running for re-election could find themselves off the campaign trail and in Washington at a prime time for campaigning.

Will Any of House Legislative Push Make It to Trump’s Desk?: What You Need to Know
Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics 

The House is suddenly very busy with a farm bill, prison reform measure, the national defense authorization bill and more. But the White House seems to have different priorities, says correspondent John T. Bennett. Here are the realities at the other end of Pennsylvania when considering the likelihood of such measures getting enacted. ...
Trump Renews Call for Cop Killers to Get Death Penalty
Using campaign-trail rhetoric, Pence vows to ‘make America safe again’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed his call for individuals convicted of killing police officers to receive the death penalty, but his White House has yet to produce a proposal to turn his campaign pledge into policy.

During the 2016 presidential election, candidate Trump often vowed, if elected, to sign an executive order that he contended would force convicted cop killers to be put to death. He renewed that call in December. But he has yet to sign such an executive action and his administration has yet to send Congress legislative language on the matter.