2016

Undeterred Trump to tout economy in ‘toss-up’ New Hampshire despite stock tumble
It’s not ‘guaranteed’ every Clinton state will remain blue in 2020, analyst says

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He will hold another rally Thursday night in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A White House official grimaced slightly Wednesday as a cable news chyron showed stocks plummeting, potentially undercutting President Donald Trump’s Thursday plans to say his stewardship of a strong economy should help earn him a second term.

Trump will make another campaign-trail pitch to voters Thursday evening in what his aides see as a likely 2020 battleground state that could be a photo finish next November: New Hampshire.

Trump reprises his pitch as the only savior for a Rust Belt battleground
Environmental groups call Pennsylvania facility he visited part of a ‘cancer alley’

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pennsylvania on May 20. He was back in the state, his 11th visit in two years, on Tuesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump interrupted his summer vacation Tuesday to again court Rust Belt voters that helped deliver him the White House, espousing false statements and bold promises as he seeks a second term.

“The political class in Washington gutted … your factories,” Trump told workers at a new Shell-owned petrochemical plant in Beaver County, along the border with Ohio, another perennial swing state he also won in 2016. Trump also blamed other countries for American industrial decline, drawing cheers when he told the audience “they have been screwing us for years.”

Trump’s new hard-line immigration rule at odds with independent voters’ views
75 percent of key voting bloc sees immigration as ‘good’ for U.S., poll finds

The “Defund Hate” campaign holds a protest on June 25 in the rotunda of the Russell Building to honor immigrants who died in federal detention. The Trump administration on Monday announced another hard-line immigration policy. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Monday again answered a chorus of criticism by pivoting to a hard-line immigration policy, even though it could drive away independent voters in key battleground states.

With the commander in chief on his third full day of a 10-day “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf resort, the White House deployed Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for a rare session with reporters in the James A. Brady Briefing Room — a briefing that came two days after former Trump friend and alleged child sex-trafficker Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his New York City jail cell.

The Iowa State Fair: Our proactive primer on politics, pork and public officials
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 85

Politicians love to hang out at the Iowa State Fair, so that is where Political Theater will relocate next week to cover all the political races — for president, Senate and House — as well as various foods served on a stick. Here, Republican Rep. Steve King and future Sen. Joni Ernst hang out amid the pork at the Pork Tent in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political Theater is heading to the Iowa State Fair to check out how the 2020 races for president and Senate and four competitive House contests are shaping up in this bellwether state. Why Iowa? Because that’s where the candidates are.

Bridget Bowman, our senior political writer, and Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections lay it all out for us on the latest episode of Political Theater. 

Here’s the beef: Trump formally announces trade pact with European countries
EU will purchase more American beef after U.S. president rattled markets with new China tariffs

Roger Meirick looks over beef and hogs sides hanging in his cooler awaiting processing at Elma Locker & Grocery on July 25, 2018, in Elma, Iowa. President Donald Trump on Friday will announce the EU is buying more American beef. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Updated 2:15 p.m. | President Trump on Friday formally announced an agreement with the European Union under which countries in the bloc will purchase additional amounts of American beef, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The deal, largely negotiated by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other administration officials, was made possible when Australia and other beef-producing countries renegotiated their agreements with the EU. Under it, the U.S. beef industry will have access to nearly 80 percent of the EU’s yearly quota on hormone-free beef over seven years, European officials announced in July.

3 things to watch: Trump returns to trail after racist ‘send her back!’ chant
President holds rally days after saying he expects to face ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden in general election

A supporter of President Donald Trump displays a campaign flag before his “Salute to America” celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4. Trump goes to the swing state of Ohio for a rally Thursday night. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail Thursday night in Cincinnati with his first political rally since his supporters in North Carolina chanted “send her back!” about a Somali-born House Democrat.

That chant was directed at Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — who has been critical of U.S. policy, Israel and Trump — by a crowd in Greenville. It prompted a rare instance of the president criticizing, though lightly, his conservative base, saying the next day he disagreed with the chant. He also falsely claimed he quickly tried to shut down the chant, a contention that was undone by video showing him standing silent behind his podium for more than 10 seconds.

Forget ‘MAGA’ or ‘KAG,’ Trump just tweeted Hillary’s 2016 slogan
President returns to campaign trail Thursday after Biden puts in improved debate performance

Then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and then-Vice President Joe Biden conduct a campaign rally at Riverfront Sports in Scranton, Pa., on Aug. 15, 2016. The slogan in the background showed up in a Trump tweet Thursday morning. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Forget “Make America Great Again.” And perhaps it’s time to put a stop on those “Keep America Great” ball caps and T-shirts. President Donald Trump might be poised to recycle a former foe’s campaign slogan.

The former reality television star will return to the trail Thursday evening with a 7 p.m. EDT rally in Cincinnati, eager to try again securing Ohio as he seeks to rebuild his 2016 Electoral College win. And when he does, expect the usual survey to ask his supporters if “MAGA” should be replaced by “KAG.”

Maybe it’s time to untie the hands of special counsels
The way Mueller interpreted the special counsel’s limits to make a ‘prosecutorial judgment’ about a sitting president needs to be explored

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. He testified earlier in the day before the House Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III made clear he wouldn’t discuss “deliberations within our office” when he took questions from two House committees July 24 about his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and what Donald Trump’s presidential campaign knew and did about it.

That’s unfortunate. Even if you put aside the argument that Mueller writing that his report “does not exonerate” Trump really means he is “guilty” or “should be impeached,” the way Mueller interpreted the special counsel’s limits to make what he called a “prosecutorial judgment” about a sitting president needs to be explored further.

‘The Great Hack,’ Cambridge Analytica and our blurred reality
Political Theater, Episode 84

Christopher Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, is one of the fascinating characters telling the story of the Cambrige Analytica scandal in the documentary “The Great Hack.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

How do you make a story about data privacy interesting? That was the challenge of the documentary “The Great Hack.”

Filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim set out to chronicle the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which millions of Facebook users had their personal data compromised to influence the 2016 election.

Trump turns dour on trade pact because Chinese leaders 'don’t come through'
President says Beijing is reneging on promise to buy U.S. farm goods. China says vow never happened

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of China Xi Jinping (C), look to the photographers while U.S. President Donald Trump looks down before Angela Merkel opens the first working session of the G20 Nations Summit. Trump pivoted away from optimistic promises of a sweeping trade deal with China Tuesday on Twitter. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

In a notable pivot away from his optimistic promises of a sweeping trade deal, President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Chinese leaders for reneging on handshake agreements like one to purchase more U.S. farm products.

“China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 - was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now - no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through,” the U.S. leader tweeted Tuesday morning. The social media post was perhaps Trump’s most dismal description of years-old trade talks with Beijing yet.