John T. Bennett

White House Says It Won’t Let Russia Interrogate Americans
Senate voted Thursday to approve measure rejecting the idea

Updated 3:19 p.m. | Facing an intense backlash, including from Congress, the White House on Thursday announced it does not plan to have allow any current or former U.S. officials to be questioned by the Russian government, part of an ongoing — and often clumsy — effort to recover from President Donald Trump’s Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Pence Again Presses McCaskill on Coming Supreme Court Vote
Heckler interrupts VP in St. Louis over migrant family separation

Vice President Mike Pence returned to Missouri Thursday to again campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and raise money for her opponent, pressuring her to support President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.

“If Claire won’t vote to confirm a judge like Brett Kavanaugh, you need to vote to give Missouri a senator who will,” Pence said in St. Louis of the solidly conservative D.C. Circuit appellate judge.

Trump-Putin II? President Teases Second Meeting Amid Confusion
POTUS on EU fine of Google: ‘I told you so!’

President Donald Trump on Thursday indicated he and Russian President Vladimir Putin soon could have a second meeting, even as the confusing fallout continues from their initial summit.

Lawmakers from both parties are perplexed by Trump’s behavior Monday at the Putin summit, including a joint press conference during which he sided with the Russian strongman over U.S. intelligence agencies. Senators are, for instance, preparing legislation that would slap new sanctions on Russia if U.S. spy agencies conclude the Kremlin meddles in the coming midterm elections.

At Trump White House, One Russia Controversy Breeds Another
What did POTUS mean? No one is sure, but he declares Putin summit a ‘success’

The Trump White House on Wednesday returned to a familiar pattern, fighting through multiple self-imposed controversies and confusing even its own allies.

President Donald Trump didn’t personally walk anything back, unlike on Tuesday. He left the mopping up to his top spokeswoman a day after he — in a rare move — admitted a mistake by amending one word of a 45-minute Finland press conference with Vladimir Putin that rattled both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Trump Again Breaks With Intel Chief Over Russia
Coats says 'warning lights are blinking' but POTUS denies threat

When asked if Russia is still targeting the United States and its midterm congressional elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday responded “no” — again breaking with his top intelligence official.

His own top intelligence brass recently warned “red lights” are blinking with regard to Moscow’s plans to again meddle in an American election, spy talk used only when a threat is imminent.

Trump Again Skips Intel Briefing After Siding With Putin
President broke with DNI Coats standing alonside Russian strongman

For the second consecutive day since he broke with America’s spy agencies over Russia’s election meddling, President Donald Trump on Wednesday will not get an intelligence briefing.

The daily presidential guidance email sent out each evening by the White House initially featured only one item, an 11:30 a.m. Cabinet meeting. It was was updated Wednesday morning to include a 2 p.m. press briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump Claims Credit for Roby GOP Primary Win
His endorsement opened ‘flood gates’ of support, Trump says

Eager for a win after his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump on Wednesday took credit for an incumbent Republican’s primary victory.

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby easily won her Republican primary runoff Tuesday evening by 36 percentage points.

Trump Stumbles Into Second Day of Putin Summit Walkback
Presidential mop-up operation begins early on Twitter

President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning continued trying to portray his widely panned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a success amid a bipartisan backlash.

Despite many reviews to the contrary, the commander in chief described a rocky NATO summit last week that was dominated by him lashing out at America’s foes as “an acknowledged triumph.”

What Summit? A Muted GOP Response, Then Back to Business on the Hill
Penn Ave Report: Connecting Congress and the White House at the intersection of politics

A handful of fellow Republicans rebuked President Donald Trump for his press conference performance standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. But White House correspondent John T. Bennett says there's no plans on the Hill to legislatively check the president's foreign policy powers, or even pass a resolution to rebuke the commander in chief....
In Mop-Up Mode, Trump Says He Accepts That Russia Meddled
President contends he has faith in U.S. intelligence agencies

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 American election, but it is unclear if his mea culpa will be enough to assuage frustrated lawmakers.

He told reporters he has “full faith” in America’s intel apparatus a day after he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials that his country interfered in the 2016 election that Trump won in a major upset. The president also claimed he misspoke in Finland when he said he saw no reason to believe Moscow meddled in the election.

Senators Eye New Russia Sanctions as Trump Defends Putin Summit
Corker on GOP unity with Trump: 'It feels like the dam is breaking'

As some senators discuss slapping new sanctions on Moscow, President Donald Trump is defending his widely panned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, tweeting he had a “great” meeting with NATO allies but an “even better” one with the Russian president.

While Trump and his team recover from a turbulent weeklong European swing in which the president attacked longtime American allies and dismissed the consensus findings of the U.S. intelligence community, one Republican senator said he senses GOP lawmakers’ insistence on standing by Trump no matter what could be weakening.

Analysis: Congress Mere Passenger in Trump Foreign Policy Express
Despite condemnation across the aisle, few efforts under way to alter path

President Donald Trump just concluded a European foreign policy swing that resembled a runaway car, and Congress is merely a passenger with seemingly no intention, at least from those setting the agenda, of taking the wheel.

Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia. The European Union is “a foe.” And when asked Monday if he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin ran an effort to interfere in the last U.S. presidential election, Trump responded: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Trump's Putin Leniency Suggests Kremlin Has Dirt on Him, Dems Say
If not kompromat, ‘what the heck could it be?’ Schumer asks

The top Democrats on Capitol Hill responded to President Donald Trump siding with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agenices by saying more forcefully the Russian president might have compromising information about him.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week suggested Putin might have damaging information about the U.S. businessman-turned-president. On Monday, she went a step further, saying the president’s “weakness” during the Helsinki summit “proves” the Kremlin has something on him.

Trump Takes Putin’s Word for it on Russian Meddling in Elections
Putin says charges against Russians wouldn’t have a ‘fighting chance’ in U.S. courts

Standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump said Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling into U.S. elections has hurt relations between the U.S. and Russia and has been a “disaster for our country.”

Taking questions from reporters, Putin denied his country had engaged in “so-called interference” and said it had no plans to do so in the future.

Trump, Putin Address Election Meddling Charges in Helsinki
Russian president denies what U.S. agencies have concluded he ordered

Updated 11:26 a.m. | Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Helsinki summit “a success” and a “very fruitful round of negotiations,” but he said he denied any involvement in meddling in the last U.S. election when pressed by President Donald Trump.

Putin also said he hopes stabilizing Syria could be an example of increased “joint work” between his country and the Trump administration.

A Visit to the Balkans Casts Light on the Divisions in America
Balkan-like partisanship in the U.S. set to get more intense, experts say

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A statue depicting an ancient soldier, thrusting a sword skyward, on horseback, rises in the main square here. Across the Macedonian capital’s famed Stone Bridge is another, of Philip II, urging on his son.

But locals are quick to provide visitors to the Balkan nation this advice: Whatever you do, “do not” refer to the equine-mounted fighter as Alexander the Great. The statue is known simply as “Warrior on a Horse.” For now, at least.

Trump Sets Notably Low Bar for Putin Summit
President also calls European Union a ‘foe’ on trade matters

Updated 10:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump has a message for his critics about his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine — just trust me. And, in a stunning remark, he called the European Union a “foe” of the United States on trade matters.

Trump continues to set low expectations for Monday’s summit with Putin amid concerns he could give into the Russian leader’s demands while getting little — if anything — in return. 

Trump Should Cancel Putin Summit Over Indictments, Democrats Say
Schumer: ‘Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections’

Democrats pounced on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s indictment of a dozen Russian military officers for their efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, with some saying Monday’s Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit should be canceled.

“These indictments are further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in a statement.

Mueller Indicts 12 Russians for DNC, Clinton Campaign Hacking
Special counsel again targets leading Russian intel agency

Updated 1:23 p.m. | The Justice Department’s special counsel announced Friday the indictments of a dozen Russian military officers involved in Moscow’s effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. And a senior Democratic lawmaker reacted swiftly by accusing President Donald Trump of “dangerous distortions” about the operation.

The indictment accuses the Russians of being heavily involved in hacking computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign organization. The military officers allegedly broke into those systems — and others in the United States — to plant malicious software, steal emails and nab other documents. To conceal their efforts, Rosenstein said, the Russians used networks “around the world” and paid for that access with Cryptocurrency.

Trump Walks Back Threat to Blow Up U.S.-British Trade Talks
British government ‘is keen’ to trade with its former colonies, May says

President Trump walked back his comments to The Sun newspaper in which he voiced opposition to UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s angling for a so-called "soft Brexit."

“I don’t know what they’re going to do, but whatever you do is fine with me,” he told May. “Just make sure that we can trade together. That’s all that matters.”