cabinet

Trump Vows Hands-Off Approach to Justice Department — Maybe
President makes it clear he might change his mind

President Donald Trump called in for a high-octane, wide-ranging interview on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday. (Screengrab from “Fox & Friends”)

President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to take a hands-off approach to the Justice Department until the special counsel’s Russia probe wraps up — but he also made it clear he could change his mind at any moment.

During a high-octane and wide-ranging phone interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump said he has decided he will “not be involved with the Justice Department” while special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is still conducting his investigation of Russia’s 2016 election meddling, possible Trump campaign collusion, and whether the president obstructed justice.

Veterans Affairs Nominee Jackson Bows Out Amid Firestorm
Trump says he has another nominee in mind, but declines to identify his second choice

Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirsken Building after a meeting with Kansas GOP Sen. Jerry Moran on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, announced Thursday he was stepping aside amid new allegations of abusing alcohol and handing out prescription drugs.

Jackson’s withdrawal comes two days after Trump publicly advised him to bow out and just hours after a report surfaced, citing Senate Democrats’ summary of allegations against him, that he once got intoxicated and crashed a government automobile.

White House: No Red Flags In Multiple Jackson Background Checks
Despite Trump team's efforts, nomination appears stalled

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves Dirksen Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on April 24, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House on Wednesday continued defending embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson, saying multiple background checks have turned up no red flags. And, for the first time, a senior official said an internal review could happen as his nomination appears stalled.

With his Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee confirmation hearing still on hold amid allegations he over-prescribed medication, was drunk on the job and fostered a hostile work environment, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters he has undergone four federal background checks since becoming a White House doctor.

White House Uses Obama to Try to Salvage Jackson Nomination
Trump opens door to let VA nominee see himself out, Democrats question White House vetting

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is trying to salvage Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Veterans’ Affairs secretary by citing former President Barack Obama, even after President Donald Trump publicly advised him to step aside.

Hours after Trump told reporters he would not continue as the nominee if he were in the White House physician’s shoes, a senior official shared information touting Jackson’s record. The information included praise from Obama, including the 44th president’s recommendation that Jackson, a Navy officer, be promoted ahead of his peers.

Opinion: Best and the Brightest? Trump’s Troika of Troubled Nominees
Senate can stop president’s dismal choices for cabinet jobs

White House physician Ronny Jackson, nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, had better hang on to his day job after lawmakers cited “serious concerns,” Walter Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate confirmation fights have been the stuff of Washington drama from the fictional “Advise and Consent” (1960 Pulitzer Prize) to the real-life rejection of John Tower (a rumored alcoholic and inveterate skirt chaser) for Defense secretary in 1989. And of course, Mike Pence last year had to break a 50-50 Senate tie over the fate of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

But never in modern times has a president in the midst of his first term had three nominees as troubled as the Trump Troika.

Drug Pricing Proposal Should Revamp Medicare, GOP Experts Say
Overhauling Part B drug benefit could have “massive impact overnight”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has been outspoken in seeking to carry out the president’s push to reduce drug costs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An upcoming Trump administration proposal on lowering drug costs should ask Congress to allow private insurance companies to negotiate prices for drugs administered in a doctor’s office or hospital, two Republican policy experts said.

The administration’s proposal is a request for comment on strategies to lower drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. It was originally expected to be released in tandem with a speech by President Donald Trump on Thursday, but the speech was delayed as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recovers from an infection.

Allegations of Excessive Drinking and Hostile Work Environment Delay VA Nominee’s Hearing
Jackson gave Trump clean bill of health in January

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will delay confirmation hearings for Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, after allegations rose from his past.

An aide with ranking Democrat Jon Tester confirmed to Roll Call that hearings were delayed after Chairman Johnny Isakson told the Washington Post and CNN.

Trump Confirms Pompeo Met With North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Diplomacy better than ‘comparing the size of our nuclear buttons,’ Schiff says

South Koreans watch a television broadcast reporting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Seoul Railway Station in March. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 7:49 a.m. | President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, his nominee to become secretary of state, met last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea,” Trump tweeted.

Trump: ‘High Crime’ Likely in California After Gov. Brown Rejects Border Troops
Nonpartisan group rejected president’s claim about barrier being built near San Diego

Members of the Kentucky National Guard 206th Engineer battalion arrive on a C-130 Hercules transport plane in July 2006 in Tucson, Arizona, to support Border Patrol agents maintaining the U.S.-Mexican border. (Gary Williams/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump slammed California’s Democratic governor Tuesday, contending “high crime” will rise in the state after Jerry Brown rejected the president’s request for National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Brown last week indicated he would deploy California Guard troops to the border — but not for the immigration enforcement mission Trump requested. Instead, the governor told the Trump administration in a letter guardsmen and women would focus on combating transnational crime groups.

White House Provides No Internal Assessment Backing Mueller Firing Claim
After making vague contention, Sanders said: ‘I can’t go anything beyond that’

The White House is unable to provide any internal analysis to support its contention that President Donald Trump can fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials are unable to point to any internal assessment to justify their contention that President Donald Trump has the legal authority to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers are urging Trump to let the former FBI director complete his investigation of Russian election meddling and possible misconduct by the president and his campaign associates. Those pleas intensified last week when the president and his top spokeswoman signaled the White House has concluded he has the authority to do so.