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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 128)

Trump Is Assailed for Saying He Would Take Campaign Help From Russia

WASHINGTON — For President Trump, the special counsel report was supposed to put Russia in his rearview mirror. But with some off-the-cuff remarks in the Oval Office, he has thrust his relationship with Moscow back into the debate over the future of his presidency.

Mr. Trump’s defiant declaration that “I’d take it” if Russia again offered campaign help and his assertion that he would not necessarily tell the F.B.I. about it drew bipartisan condemnation on Thursday, fueling calls for legislation requiring candidates to report such offers to the authorities and emboldening Democrats seeking his impeachment.

The furor shifted the discussion in Washington away from obstruction of justice and back to the original issue that had dogged Mr. Trump since his election in 2016. Although the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, found no illegal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president’s comments renewed questions about his willingness to profit from the aid of a hostile foreign power.

“The president has either learned nothing from the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Irritated at what they considered an unnecessary distraction, Republicans, including some of the president’s staunchest supporters, joined in the chorus of criticism. While some sought to turn the tables on Democrats by accusing them of taking foreign help, too, Republicans flatly rejected Mr. Trump’s insistence that it was acceptable.

“If a public official is approached by a foreign government offering anything of value, the answer is no — whether it be money, opposition research,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of the president who said he spoke with Mr. Trump on Thursday about the matter.

”I wouldn’t do it,” said Senator Jodi Ernst of Iowa. “I wouldn’t accept material like that.”

When a reporter noted that Mr. Trump said politicians do it all the time, she added firmly: “No, we don’t. Let’s stop there. No we don’t.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats used the moment to advance legislation to require candidates to report to the authorities any effort by foreign governments to influence American elections. But when Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, sought to pass such a bill by unanimous consent Thursday afternoon, Republicans blocked it.

The president’s comments did not change Ms. Pelosi’s reluctance to pursue impeachment against Mr. Trump. But they did prompt one more Democrat to come out for an impeachment inquiry, Representative Eric Swalwell of California, who is also running for president. His decision meant that a majority of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee now publicly support impeachment hearings.

Other Democratic presidential candidates pounced on Mr. Trump as well. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said a president should not “abet those who seek to undermine democracy.” Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey each called Mr. Trump’s comments “disgraceful.” And Senator Kamala Harris of California said the president was “a national security threat.”

The outpouring of criticism was touched off Wednesday when Mr. Trump said in an interview with ABC News that he would gladly take incriminating information about a campaign opponent from adversaries like Russia and saw no reason to call the F.B.I., as the bureau’s director, Christopher A. Wray, a Trump appointee, said campaigns should do.

“I think I’d take it,” Mr. Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. He scoffed at the idea of calling the F.B.I. “Give me a break — life doesn’t work that way,” he said. When Mr. Stephanopoulos noted that the F.B.I. director said a candidate should inform the bureau, Mr. Trump snapped, “The F.B.I. director is wrong.”

Mr. Trump defended himself on Thursday by comparing his willingness to accept campaign help to the sorts of diplomatic meetings he holds regularly with foreign leaders like Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.

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Westlake Legal Group 13pelosi-still-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Is Assailed for Saying He Would Take Campaign Help From Russia Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Federal Bureau of Investigation Charles, Prince of Wales

Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted on Thursday to President Trump’s statement that he would accept election help from foreign governments.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” he wrote on Twitter. “I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!’” he added, misspelling the title of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, before fixing and reposting it.

“Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings?” he continued. “How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being said, my full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media. They purposely leave out the part that matters.”

The comparison was startling even for Mr. Trump. Having tea with the queen of England is hardly the same as taking clandestine help from agents of President Vladimir V. Putin as part of a concerted campaign by Russian intelligence to tilt an American presidential election.

American law makes it a crime for a candidate to accept money or anything of value from foreign governments or citizens for the purposes of winning an election. Many lawyers argued about whether incriminating information, as Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016 agreed to take from the Russian government, would qualify as a thing of value.

The president’s interview came on the same day that his son Donald Trump Jr. appeared on Capitol Hill to answer questions from lawmakers. During the 2016 campaign, the younger Mr. Trump — along with Jared Kushner, the future president’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, then his campaign chairman — met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer after being told she would have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

With his latest comments, Democrats said the president was effectively inviting Russia and other powers to intervene in next year’s election, comparing it to Mr. Trump’s public remarks during the 2016 campaign when he said, “Russia, if you are listening,” it should find and publish Mrs. Clinton’s emails. While Mr. Trump later said he was only joking, Mr. Mueller’s investigators reported that Russian agents tried to do just that hours later.

“The message he seems to be sending now is as long as a foreign power wants to help his campaign, they can count on him having the good discretion not to alert his F.B.I. about it,” Mr. Schiff said. “It is just dangerous, appalling, unethical, unpatriotic — you name it.”

Republicans across the board said they would never do what Mr. Trump suggested. “Certainly, absolutely not,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. “Just say no. Turn it over,” said Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said, “I would go immediately to the authorities, period.”

Yet some Republicans, like Mr. Graham, also tried to turn the tables on the Democrats by pointing to their use of information gathered about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who produced a dossier of reports and rumors about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

“The outrage some of my Democratic colleagues are raising about President Trump’s comments will hopefully be met with equal outrage that their own party hired a foreign national to do opposition research on President Trump’s campaign and that information, unverified, was apparently used by the F.B.I. to obtain a warrant against an American citizen,” Mr. Graham said.

The Republican National Committee issued a statement called “Hypocrisy Alert” accusing Democrats of seeking incriminating information from foreign sources, citing Mr. Steele and a Democratic operative who tried to work with Ukrainian officials to expose Mr. Manafort’s overseas lobbying activities.

But they are not precise parallels. While many have criticized the veracity of Mr. Steele’s dossier and how it was used by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign or the government, he was not working for a hostile government and he turned over his findings to the F.B.I.

Likewise, Mr. Trump accused Mr. Warner and Mr. Schiff of double standards, saying that each of them spoke with someone “purporting to be a Russian Operative” about the president. “Did he call the FBI, or even think to call the FBI?” Mr. Trump wrote of Mr. Schiff. “NO!”

An aide to Mr. Warner said the office was uncertain what Mr. Trump was referring to. He could have been conflating the senator with Mr. Schiff, who in 2017 did take what turned out to be a prank telephone call from two Russians masquerading as a member of the Ukrainian parliament who had compromising information on the president.

Mr. Schiff responded in a tweet on Thursday that he had in fact informed the F.B.I. of the outreach, which he believed could aid a House investigation into Russian interference. “When a foreign national offered info relevant to our investigation — not election — we informed the FBI before and after the call,” he wrote, responding to Mr. Trump. “It’s called ethics. You should try it.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

After Placing Blame for Attacks, Trump Faces Difficult Choices on Confronting Iran

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s accusation on Thursday that Iran was behind an attack on two oil tankers forces President Trump to confront a choice he has avoided until now: whether to make good on his threat that Tehran would “suffer greatly” if American interests were imperiled.

For weeks, Mr. Trump has weaved on the issue, by turns ordering a carrier group last month to head to the Persian Gulf and then distancing himself from the hawkish views of his national security adviser, John R. Bolton. Last week, the president said he was open to negotiating with Iranian leaders the way he has negotiated with North Korea. And on Thursday, with images of black smoke rising from a tanker hit with a mine, Mr. Trump seemed to reverse course, posting on Twitter that “it is too soon to even think about making a deal,” adding, “They are not ready, and neither are we!”

His equivocation reflects divisions in his administration, which has never come to an agreement on a comprehensive strategy to deal with Iran — especially after it shattered the unity of the United States’ key allies, who had joined with the Obama administration to force Tehran into the 2015 nuclear deal that Mr. Trump subsequently abandoned.

Now, operating largely without allies, he faces an Iran that is escalating nuclear production and retaliating for sanctions the White House has reimposed without a diplomatic path in sight to steer the two longtime adversaries away from confrontation.

“If the Iranians were responsible for the attacks on shipping in the gulf, it is reckless and dangerous,” said William J. Burns, a former deputy secretary of state who opened the negotiations with Iran during the Obama administration.

“Sadly, that is also at least partly a predictable consequence of an American coercive diplomacy strategy that so far is all coercion and no diplomacy,” Mr. Burns said. “The risk is that hard-liners in both Tehran and Washington become mutual enablers, going up a very unsteady escalatory ladder.”

Mr. Trump seems to sense this, just as he sensed the same forces at work two summers ago, when he was threatening “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against the government of Kim Jong-un in North Korea. By early the next year, he had reversed course, starting negotiations and claiming that he now had plenty of time to solve a nuclear crisis he had once called urgent.

But North Korea and Iran are radically different political entities, with vastly different abilities. North Korea already has nuclear weapons, giving it leverage Iran can only imagine. And while Mr. Kim is an absolute ruler, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, is hardly a free actor: He would lose face, and perhaps his job, if he negotiated without first forcing the United States to rejoin the 2015 agreement that Mr. Trump has rejected as fatally flawed.

So the Iranian government has begun to respond to the tougher economic sanctions that Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo have championed by conducting its own form of escalation — beginning to edge out of the limits imposed on it by the nuclear accord. So, presumably, has the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is believed to be a player in the acts of sabotage in the gulf.

While the administration tries to find the line between deterrence and provocation, the Iranians appear to be struggling with the same problem. Mr. Rouhani did not announced a total nuclear breakout last month, but step-by-step moves to enlarge the country’s stockpile of reactor grade — not bomb grade — nuclear fuel. And Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has not directly confronted American or Saudi or United Arab Emirates forces in the gulf.

“Iran’s supreme leader has to carefully calibrate his response to Trump’s maximum pressure campaign,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “If he responds insufficiently, he risks losing face. If he responds excessively, he risks losing his head.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155880870_74ee57b5-84b2-424d-ab0f-7ce99623582c-articleLarge After Placing Blame for Attacks, Trump Faces Difficult Choices on Confronting Iran United States Politics and Government United States Navy United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Pompeo, Mike Khamenei, Ali Iran Embargoes and Sanctions Defense and Military Forces Bolton, John R

The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln this month on the Arabian Sea.CreditJon Gambrell/Associated Press

Two months ago, Mr. Pompeo declared the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization, and announced sanctions on the businesses that have been among its major sources of revenue. When intelligence agencies picked up threats in early May, the aircraft carrier Lincoln was directed to steam toward the oil lanes that Iran could threaten.

That is when a debate broke out in the Defense Department. American commanders in region, led by the new head of the United States Central Command, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, called for an increase of nearly 20,000 troops in the region, officials said. Some top military brass, including Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged caution, fearing that Iran would see that increase as provocative — and perhaps a sign that, despite denials, the Trump administration’s real goal was regime change.

In the end, the president ordered about 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East to increase the protection of American forces already based there.

Those tensions were echoed Thursday morning in the secure meeting room at the Pentagon, called the Tank, where Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, General Dunford and other senior administration national security officials gathered in a previously scheduled meeting to discuss threats in the Middle East as well as American troop levels in the region.

Mr. Shanahan, treading carefully because his formal nomination to be defense secretary has not yet been sent to the Senate, had pared back General McKenzie’s request because he feared Mr. Trump might reject it. But since then, Central Command has modified its request for more air and naval forces to protect American forces in the region and to deter an Iranian attack, two American officials said.

Preparing for Thursday’s meeting, Mr. Shanahan and General Dunford were ready to make the case that Mr. Trump had told the Pentagon to reduce American forces and United States involvement in the current wars in Middle East, and avoid direct confrontation with Iran, one senior administration official said.

The policy choices advocated by Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton policy are having the opposite effect, the official said.

It was unclear how the rapidly unfolding news from the gulf on Thursday altered the tenor of the meeting, but one senior military official said afterward that attacks on the tankers represented a clear escalation in the simmering crisis.

Mr. Pompeo offered no evidence publicly that Iran was responsible — even though officials said that the United States has video of an Iranian patrol boat brazenly removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers — but that did not stop him from stating an unambiguous conclusion.

“Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security,” he said, saying they were part of a 40-year pattern of terrorist activity by Iran.

The Iranians responded Thursday night with a statement, issued from their mission to the United Nations, saying that “the U.S. and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots as well as false flag operations in the region,” and that it, too, was concerned over “suspicious incidents for the oil tankers that occurred today.” They were, in effect, charging that the United States had staged the episode — making declassification of the evidence all the more important.

It may also be important in Congress, where several members insisted Thursday that Mr. Trump would need to get congressional authorization if he ever intended to strike back at Iran.

“Going to war with Iran is not necessary,” said Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts and a presidential candidate, who served with the Marines in Iraq. “John Bolton and others in the Trump administration are trying to drag us into Iran just as they dragged us into Iraq, using the same tactics to convince a weak commander in chief — who doesn’t have the credibility to say no to war because he dodged serving in war himself — to lure us into conflict again.”

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House at the End of the Month

WASHINGTON — Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary who fiercely defended President Trump through one of the most tumultuous periods in American politics while presiding over the end of the iconic daily news briefing, will step down at the end of the month.

Mr. Trump announced her departure on Thursday on Twitter, the presidential tweet having supplanted the role that a White House press secretary played in previous administrations. He later praised her for her grit, her heart and her loyalty to him and his goals.

“We’ve been through a lot together. She’s tough and she’s good,” the president said as he brought Ms. Sanders onstage at an unrelated event in the East Room of the White House. “She’s a warrior,” he added, kissing her affectionately on the side of the head.

Ms. Sanders appeared emotional as she joined him unscheduled at the event, which was officially devoted to criminal justice policy, and she praised Mr. Trump and his team. “I’ve loved every minute, even the hard minutes,” she said. “I love the president. I love the team that I’ve had the opportunity to work for.”

Her resignation came on a typically head-spinning day in the Trump White House that would challenge any press secretary. The president was under fire for saying he would still accept derogatory information about a campaign opponent from Russia without necessarily calling the F.B.I. A government watchdog agency called on Mr. Trump to fire his counselor, Kellyanne Conway, for violating federal law on politics in the government workplace. And amid it all, Kim Kardashian West made an appearance with the president in the East Room.

While Ms. Sanders said she planned to spend more time with her three children, Mr. Trump urged her to run for governor of Arkansas, an ambition she has quietly nurtured for some time. Her father, Mike Huckabee, served as governor from 1996 to 2007. The current governor, Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, was just re-elected last year but cannot run again in 2022 because of term limits.

No successor was announced, but the next press secretary will take over just as Mr. Trump is heading into the thick of a re-election campaign that will determine the fate of his presidency. The job of communications director has been vacant since the departure of Bill Shine, who left in March.

Ms. Sanders’s confrontations with reporters escalated even beyond the norm. At one point, she suspended the White House pass of a CNN reporter, Jim Acosta, who angered the president, only to have a judge order it reinstated. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, wrote in his report that Ms. Sanders had admitted it was untrue when she claimed the White House had heard from “countless” agents who complained about James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director fired by Mr. Trump.

But Mr. Trump admired her, concluding that she had the right disposition for the job, one senior administration official said on Thursday. The president liked that Ms. Sanders could be hard-hitting with reporters without in his view getting excessively personal.

“Sarah was successful because she knew her North Star was the president,” said Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s. “Her job was to defend and explain, and she did that almost flawlessly.”

Breaking with decades of tradition, Ms. Sanders effectively killed the daily briefing from the White House lectern that had been one of the most visible symbols of the American presidency. It has been 94 days since she held a formal briefing. Instead, she left the daily feeding of the media to Mr. Trump, who prefers to speak for himself and takes questions from reporters on a far more regular basis than most of his recent predecessors.

The move was widely criticized.

Katie Hill, a former assistant press secretary for President Barack Obama and now his post-presidential spokeswoman, said the daily briefing was not just for the benefit of the press. She said it served as an “organizing mechanism” for the administration, from the Treasury Department to the National Security Council, to understand and carry out the president’s priorities.

“It was one of the most powerful tools that the White House had to signal to the rest of the world what its message was and what its beliefs were,” Ms. Hill said.

Ms. Sanders, 36, rose from a campaign spokeswoman to one of Mr. Trump’s top lieutenants in three years, navigating an era of toxic media relations that shocked even the most seasoned Washington veterans. She ascended to the role of press secretary in mid-2017 at a time of staff turmoil and public spats between her predecessor, Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as communications director.

Westlake Legal Group all-the-major-firings-and-resignations-in-trump-administration-promo-1530825933054-articleLarge Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House at the End of the Month Trump, Donald J Sanders, Sarah Huckabee Arkansas Appointments and Executive Changes

The Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration

Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.

She became one of the most recognizable faces of the administration, a popular figure on the right who was cheered at Mr. Trump’s rallies. But she was vilified by the left, once asked to leave a restaurant and skewered by a comic at last year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner who mocked her “smokey eye” makeup and compared her to “an Uncle Tom” for “white women.”

Ms. Sanders never gave an inch, pushing back against her critics and the president’s while declining to repudiate Mr. Trump’s description of the news media as the “enemy of the people.” Viewing performances like these, Mr. Trump grew to trust Ms. Sanders, appreciating her public loyalty to him, even if legions of critics said it came at the cost of her credibility.

But in the past several months, as the press briefing atrophied and then disappeared, a Washington mystery emerged: What was the press secretary doing all day if she was not briefing the press?

The four hours or so that previous secretaries dedicated to preparing for and holding formal briefings each day was time that Ms. Sanders had available to stay constantly near Mr. Trump, even as reporters complained that they were not getting questions on the day’s news answered in a formal fashion.

But for Ms. Sanders, the answer also seemed to be living her best life. During the president’s recent overseas trips, Ms. Sanders and other White House aides posted behind-the-scenes updates to Instagram.

In Tokyo, she took a sushi-making class. In London, she posted a Buckingham Palace selfie with the actress and cabinet wife Louise Linton. (In an undocumented interaction, she asked the Prince of Wales to sign her dinner menu. He did.) In Ireland, Ms. Sanders and her husband, Bryan, took a photo with a group of Trump loyalists at the president’s private golf club and visited a local pub.

“The best days for a press secretary are the days you don’t brief,” Ari Fleischer, who had the job during President George W. Bush’s administration, said in an interview before Ms. Sanders’s resignation was announced. “Sarah’s having a lot more best days than I ever had.”

Others who have had the job say a return to the more traditional briefing under Mr. Trump seems unlikely. It could well be up to the first press secretary under the next president to decide how — or whether — to approach the news media in a formalized way, said Josh Earnest, who served as press secretary for Mr. Obama.

“That person is going to have to make some fundamental decisions about how and whether to rebuild some of the norms that I and my predecessors in both parties worked really hard to protect,” Mr. Earnest said. “How important is it to tell the truth? How important is it to get the facts right? Is it necessary to be in the loop at the White House and accurately reflect the president’s thinking?”

At the White House this week, Ms. Sanders seemed to return to her old routine: arranging for reporters to interview Mr. Trump, sitting in on Oval Office meetings, answering questions from reporters piecemeal in the White House driveway and not holding formal briefings.

On Thursday, as Mr. Trump hosted reporters for nearly an hour for a working lunch with American governors, the heavy wooden door to Ms. Sanders’s West Wing office stayed closed. A bundle of newspapers addressed to her sat unread and still tied together with plastic.

Ms. Sanders informed her team of her departure around 3 p.m. At that time, several staff members had gathered in her office, and loud laughter could be heard behind the door.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, emerged just long enough to say that he thought it was wrong for reporters to stand in the hallway outside the press secretary’s office and possibly overhear conversations. (Mr. Mulvaney was reminded that the door was thick and that his comments were on the record.)

But on Thursday evening, she invited reporters into the office and said she did not regret not holding more briefings. She said she thought it had been more important to facilitate opportunities for the president to speak.

“No one elected me to anything,” Ms. Sanders said. “They elected the president.”

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Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs

Westlake Legal Group merlin_135250356_534da025-4092-4d41-b86d-676021e49482-facebookJumbo Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2016 Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

In President Trump’s first two years in office, factory job growth accelerated, an achievement he has been claiming credit for ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in the industrial Midwest. His administration is “restoring American manufacturing,” Mr. Trump told workers at an Ohio factory in March.

Some of the 465,000 factory jobs that the country created in 2017 and 2018 are in the most economically beleaguered counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. But the biggest winners have not been the traditional manufacturing hubs where workers have been hammered this century by outsourcing and automation, federal statistics show.

Instead, factory job creation has flowed to frontiers of the advanced manufacturing economy — like Nevada, home to a Tesla factory that churns out batteries for electric cars, homes and utilities — and oil-patch epicenters like Tulsa, Okla. The strong growth includes large contributions from the booming craft brewing, wine and spirits industries, which the federal government classifies as manufacturing and added nearly 30,000 jobs in that time.

The vast majority of the factory jobs have come in counties that were already adding factory employment before Mr. Trump took office. And a disproportionate share of the expansion was concentrated in prosperous areas like Silicon Valley and Houston.

An analysis of those statistics by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that studies regional inequality and pushes for policies to combat it, reveals a mixed political and economic picture for Mr. Trump. His 2016 victory was forged with upsets in manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he has reveled in blue-collar job growth on his watch.

A combination of tax cuts and deregulation pushed by the Trump administration appears to have fueled a widespread, though possibly temporary, increase in the pace of job creation in manufacturing. Production jobs increased in many more counties in Mr. Trump’s first two years than under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016.

Those gains have started slowing this year, in part under strain from the president’s trade wars with China and other countries. And it appears doubtful that Mr. Trump will achieve his campaign promise of restoring the millions of factory jobs that many states and counties lost over the last two decades.

The United States lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010 as companies moved production to China and other low-cost countries, increased use of machines on factory floors and scaled back operations after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy has regained just under 1.5 million, but not always in the places that lost the most.

The Mountain West and the energy-rich Great Plains have experienced much faster factory job growth than the Great Lakes states that are crucial to Mr. Trump’s hopes of winning a second term. Nearly every state west of the Mississippi added manufacturing jobs faster than the national average in 2017 and 2018, the analysis shows. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were all at or below average. And several Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, lost factory jobs.

As a result, Nevada, the Dakotas and Utah have regained the manufacturing jobs they lost after 2000 — and then some. Pennsylvania still has only two-thirds of the factory jobs it had at the turn of the century, and Michigan is down nearly as much. Rhode Island has recovered the fewest production jobs of any state.

Nearly half the counties that had more manufacturing employment in 2018 than in 2010 are in the West. But not all Western counties fared well. Los Angeles County lost more than 11,000 factory jobs and nearby Ventura County nearly 4,000 in Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Administration officials celebrate job growth in manufacturing — and credit Mr. Trump’s policies — but acknowledge that it has mostly helped more prosperous parts of the country, at least so far.

“If you look, there are a heck of a lot of successful manufacturing parts of the country right now,” Kevin Hassett, the departing chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “But look at where they’re being created.”

Mr. Hassett drew a distinction between “creative destruction” parts of the country, where the Great Recession wiped out jobs but others sprung up to replace them, and “destruction-destruction” parts, where jobs have been slow to return. Recent factory job growth, he said, was “not necessarily disproportionately in the destruction-destruction places.”

Mr. Hassett said many of those left-behind areas would add more factory jobs as a result of the opportunity zone program in the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed in 2017, which aims to steer investment to distressed communities.

The list of counties that added the most manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 2018 highlights that divide. It is led by Harris County, Tex., which includes Houston and factories that supply the oil and gas industry. It also includes Alameda County, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Storey County, Nev., east of Reno, which are home to Tesla plants that added jobs after Mr. Trump took office.

Only two of the top 10 counties are in the industrial Midwest: Macomb County, Mich., near Detroit, and Peoria County in western Illinois.

  • Harris County, Tex. 11,592 jobs

  • Storey County, Nev. 10,197

  • Santa Clara County, Calif. 9,909

  • Alameda County, Calif. 9,855

  • Maricopa County, Ariz. 9,674

  • Peoria County, Ill. 8,429

  • Tulsa County, Okla. 8,381

  • Tarrant County, Tex. 6,327

  • Orange County, Calif. 6,242

  • Macomb County, Mich. 5,991

Source: Economic Innovation Group and Labor Department

Nearly half the job gains were in the most prosperous quintile of counties in America, according to the Economic Innovation Group, even though those counties accounted for just 40 percent of the nation’s factory jobs before Mr. Trump took office. And in an indication that many of the gains may be part of long-running economic trends, two-thirds of the new positions were in counties that added jobs from 2010 through 2016.

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. Collectively, they lost factory jobs throughout the Obama administration, but they added more than 20,000 during Mr. Trump’s first two years, with the biggest gains in the Southeast, including Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas and Georgia.

“The manufacturing sector is steadily realigning after the shocks of the early part of this century,” said John Lettieri, the president of the Economic Innovation Group, which came up with the idea for the opportunity zone program. “The West is emerging as a new growth engine for the sector, and manufacturing’s rebound is finally reaching many distressed areas of the country.”

He added, “These gains are real but still fragile.”

The fragility is a result of a global manufacturing slowdown, which many analysts link to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China — among other products — and the escalation of trade tensions with countries around the world.

American manufacturers have added just 13,000 jobs since January, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 19,000 a month during Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

“Manufacturing have a trifecta of headwinds in their face: an overhang of inventories, weak global growth and tariffs,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

It is hard to quantify the effect precisely, but “there are indications that some of this tariff stuff may be having a slowing effect on hiring in the manufacturing sector,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “One suspects that tariffs may be playing a role there.”

Administration officials remain optimistic that the slowdown in factory jobs is temporary and that Mr. Trump’s policies will drive manufacturing growth in more places.

“My own personal view is there is a little mini inventory correction going on,” as manufacturers work through stockpiles of goods, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, said on Thursday. “I can’t get too worried about it.”

Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs

Westlake Legal Group merlin_135250356_534da025-4092-4d41-b86d-676021e49482-facebookJumbo Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2016 Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

In President Trump’s first two years in office, factory job growth accelerated, an achievement he has been claiming credit for ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in the industrial Midwest. His administration is “restoring American manufacturing,” Mr. Trump told workers at an Ohio factory in March.

Some of the 465,000 factory jobs that the country created in 2017 and 2018 are in the most economically beleaguered counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. But the biggest winners have not been the traditional manufacturing hubs where workers have been hammered this century by outsourcing and automation, federal statistics show.

Instead, factory job creation has flowed to frontiers of the advanced manufacturing economy — like Nevada, home to a Tesla factory that churns out batteries for electric cars, homes and utilities — and oil-patch epicenters like Tulsa, Okla. The strong growth includes large contributions from the booming craft brewing, wine and spirits industries, which the federal government classifies as manufacturing and added nearly 30,000 jobs in that time.

The vast majority of the factory jobs have come in counties that were already adding factory employment before Mr. Trump took office. And a disproportionate share of the expansion was concentrated in prosperous areas like Silicon Valley and Houston.

An analysis of those statistics by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that studies regional inequality and pushes for policies to combat it, reveals a mixed political and economic picture for Mr. Trump. His 2016 victory was forged with upsets in manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he has reveled in blue-collar job growth on his watch.

A combination of tax cuts and deregulation pushed by the Trump administration appears to have fueled a widespread, though possibly temporary, increase in the pace of job creation in manufacturing. Production jobs increased in many more counties in Mr. Trump’s first two years than under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016.

Those gains have started slowing this year, in part under strain from the president’s trade wars with China and other countries. And it appears doubtful that Mr. Trump will achieve his campaign promise of restoring the millions of factory jobs that many states and counties lost over the last two decades.

The United States lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010 as companies moved production to China and other low-cost countries, increased use of machines on factory floors and scaled back operations after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy has regained just under 1.5 million, but not always in the places that lost the most.

The Mountain West and the energy-rich Great Plains have experienced much faster factory job growth than the Great Lakes states that are crucial to Mr. Trump’s hopes of winning a second term. Nearly every state west of the Mississippi added manufacturing jobs faster than the national average in 2017 and 2018, the analysis shows. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were all at or below average. And several Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, lost factory jobs.

As a result, Nevada, the Dakotas and Utah have regained the manufacturing jobs they lost after 2000 — and then some. Pennsylvania still has only two-thirds of the factory jobs it had at the turn of the century, and Michigan is down nearly as much. Rhode Island has recovered the fewest production jobs of any state.

Nearly half the counties that had more manufacturing employment in 2018 than in 2010 are in the West. But not all Western counties fared well. Los Angeles County lost more than 11,000 factory jobs and nearby Ventura County nearly 4,000 in Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Administration officials celebrate job growth in manufacturing — and credit Mr. Trump’s policies — but acknowledge that it has mostly helped more prosperous parts of the country, at least so far.

“If you look, there are a heck of a lot of successful manufacturing parts of the country right now,” Kevin Hassett, the departing chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “But look at where they’re being created.”

Mr. Hassett drew a distinction between “creative destruction” parts of the country, where the Great Recession wiped out jobs but others sprung up to replace them, and “destruction-destruction” parts, where jobs have been slow to return. Recent factory job growth, he said, was “not necessarily disproportionately in the destruction-destruction places.”

Mr. Hassett said many of those left-behind areas would add more factory jobs as a result of the opportunity zone program in the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed in 2017, which aims to steer investment to distressed communities.

The list of counties that added the most manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 2018 highlights that divide. It is led by Harris County, Tex., which includes Houston and factories that supply the oil and gas industry. It also includes Alameda County, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Storey County, Nev., east of Reno, which are home to Tesla plants that added jobs after Mr. Trump took office.

Only two of the top 10 counties are in the industrial Midwest: Macomb County, Mich., near Detroit, and Peoria County in western Illinois.

  • Harris County, Tex. 11,592 jobs

  • Storey County, Nev. 10,197

  • Santa Clara County, Calif. 9,909

  • Alameda County, Calif. 9,855

  • Maricopa County, Ariz. 9,674

  • Peoria County, Ill. 8,429

  • Tulsa County, Okla. 8,381

  • Tarrant County, Tex. 6,327

  • Orange County, Calif. 6,242

  • Macomb County, Mich. 5,991

Source: Economic Innovation Group and Labor Department

Nearly half the job gains were in the most prosperous quintile of counties in America, according to the Economic Innovation Group, even though those counties accounted for just 40 percent of the nation’s factory jobs before Mr. Trump took office. And in an indication that many of the gains may be part of long-running economic trends, two-thirds of the new positions were in counties that added jobs from 2010 through 2016.

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. Collectively, they lost factory jobs throughout the Obama administration, but they added more than 20,000 during Mr. Trump’s first two years, with the biggest gains in the Southeast, including Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas and Georgia.

“The manufacturing sector is steadily realigning after the shocks of the early part of this century,” said John Lettieri, the president of the Economic Innovation Group, which came up with the idea for the opportunity zone program. “The West is emerging as a new growth engine for the sector, and manufacturing’s rebound is finally reaching many distressed areas of the country.”

He added, “These gains are real but still fragile.”

The fragility is a result of a global manufacturing slowdown, which many analysts link to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China — among other products — and the escalation of trade tensions with countries around the world.

American manufacturers have added just 13,000 jobs since January, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 19,000 a month during Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

“Manufacturing have a trifecta of headwinds in their face: an overhang of inventories, weak global growth and tariffs,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

It is hard to quantify the effect precisely, but “there are indications that some of this tariff stuff may be having a slowing effect on hiring in the manufacturing sector,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “One suspects that tariffs may be playing a role there.”

Administration officials remain optimistic that the slowdown in factory jobs is temporary and that Mr. Trump’s policies will drive manufacturing growth in more places.

“My own personal view is there is a little mini inventory correction going on,” as manufacturers work through stockpiles of goods, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, said on Thursday. “I can’t get too worried about it.”

Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

More about manufacturing jobs
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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs

Westlake Legal Group merlin_135250356_534da025-4092-4d41-b86d-676021e49482-facebookJumbo Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2016 Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

In President Trump’s first two years in office, factory job growth accelerated, an achievement he has been claiming credit for ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in the industrial Midwest. His administration is “restoring American manufacturing,” Mr. Trump told workers at an Ohio factory in March.

Some of the 465,000 factory jobs that the country created in 2017 and 2018 are in the most economically beleaguered counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. But the biggest winners have not been the traditional manufacturing hubs where workers have been hammered this century by outsourcing and automation, federal statistics show.

Instead, factory job creation has flowed to frontiers of the advanced manufacturing economy — like Nevada, home to a Tesla factory that churns out batteries for electric cars, homes and utilities — and oil-patch epicenters like Tulsa, Okla. The strong growth includes large contributions from the booming craft brewing, wine and spirits industries, which the federal government classifies as manufacturing and added nearly 30,000 jobs in that time.

The vast majority of the factory jobs have come in counties that were already adding factory employment before Mr. Trump took office. And a disproportionate share of the expansion was concentrated in prosperous areas like Silicon Valley and Houston.

An analysis of those statistics by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that studies regional inequality and pushes for policies to combat it, reveals a mixed political and economic picture for Mr. Trump. His 2016 victory was forged with upsets in manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he has reveled in blue-collar job growth on his watch.

A combination of tax cuts and deregulation pushed by the Trump administration appears to have fueled a widespread, though possibly temporary, increase in the pace of job creation in manufacturing. Production jobs increased in many more counties in Mr. Trump’s first two years than under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016.

Those gains have started slowing this year, in part under strain from the president’s trade wars with China and other countries. And it appears doubtful that Mr. Trump will achieve his campaign promise of restoring the millions of factory jobs that many states and counties lost over the last two decades.

The United States lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010 as companies moved production to China and other low-cost countries, increased use of machines on factory floors and scaled back operations after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy has regained just under 1.5 million, but not always in the places that lost the most.

The Mountain West and the energy-rich Great Plains have experienced much faster factory job growth than the Great Lakes states that are crucial to Mr. Trump’s hopes of winning a second term. Nearly every state west of the Mississippi added manufacturing jobs faster than the national average in 2017 and 2018, the analysis shows. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were all at or below average. And several Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, lost factory jobs.

As a result, Nevada, the Dakotas and Utah have regained the manufacturing jobs they lost after 2000 — and then some. Pennsylvania still has only two-thirds of the factory jobs it had at the turn of the century, and Michigan is down nearly as much. Rhode Island has recovered the fewest production jobs of any state.

Nearly half the counties that had more manufacturing employment in 2018 than in 2010 are in the West. But not all Western counties fared well. Los Angeles County lost more than 11,000 factory jobs and nearby Ventura County nearly 4,000 in Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Administration officials celebrate job growth in manufacturing — and credit Mr. Trump’s policies — but acknowledge that it has mostly helped more prosperous parts of the country, at least so far.

“If you look, there are a heck of a lot of successful manufacturing parts of the country right now,” Kevin Hassett, the departing chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “But look at where they’re being created.”

Mr. Hassett drew a distinction between “creative destruction” parts of the country, where the Great Recession wiped out jobs but others sprung up to replace them, and “destruction-destruction” parts, where jobs have been slow to return. Recent factory job growth, he said, was “not necessarily disproportionately in the destruction-destruction places.”

Mr. Hassett said many of those left-behind areas would add more factory jobs as a result of the opportunity zone program in the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed in 2017, which aims to steer investment to distressed communities.

The list of counties that added the most manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 2018 highlights that divide. It is led by Harris County, Tex., which includes Houston and factories that supply the oil and gas industry. It also includes Alameda County, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Storey County, Nev., east of Reno, which are home to Tesla plants that added jobs after Mr. Trump took office.

Only two of the top 10 counties are in the industrial Midwest: Macomb County, Mich., near Detroit, and Peoria County in western Illinois.

  • Harris County, Tex. 11,592 jobs

  • Storey County, Nev. 10,197

  • Santa Clara County, Calif. 9,909

  • Alameda County, Calif. 9,855

  • Maricopa County, Ariz. 9,674

  • Peoria County, Ill. 8,429

  • Tulsa County, Okla. 8,381

  • Tarrant County, Tex. 6,327

  • Orange County, Calif. 6,242

  • Macomb County, Mich. 5,991

Source: Economic Innovation Group and Labor Department

Nearly half the job gains were in the most prosperous quintile of counties in America, according to the Economic Innovation Group, even though those counties accounted for just 40 percent of the nation’s factory jobs before Mr. Trump took office. And in an indication that many of the gains may be part of long-running economic trends, two-thirds of the new positions were in counties that added jobs from 2010 through 2016.

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. Collectively, they lost factory jobs throughout the Obama administration, but they added more than 20,000 during Mr. Trump’s first two years, with the biggest gains in the Southeast, including Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas and Georgia.

“The manufacturing sector is steadily realigning after the shocks of the early part of this century,” said John Lettieri, the president of the Economic Innovation Group, which came up with the idea for the opportunity zone program. “The West is emerging as a new growth engine for the sector, and manufacturing’s rebound is finally reaching many distressed areas of the country.”

He added, “These gains are real but still fragile.”

The fragility is a result of a global manufacturing slowdown, which many analysts link to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China — among other products — and the escalation of trade tensions with countries around the world.

American manufacturers have added just 13,000 jobs since January, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 19,000 a month during Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

“Manufacturing have a trifecta of headwinds in their face: an overhang of inventories, weak global growth and tariffs,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

It is hard to quantify the effect precisely, but “there are indications that some of this tariff stuff may be having a slowing effect on hiring in the manufacturing sector,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “One suspects that tariffs may be playing a role there.”

Administration officials remain optimistic that the slowdown in factory jobs is temporary and that Mr. Trump’s policies will drive manufacturing growth in more places.

“My own personal view is there is a little mini inventory correction going on,” as manufacturers work through stockpiles of goods, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, said on Thursday. “I can’t get too worried about it.”

Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

More about manufacturing jobs
A Weak Jobs Report Poses a New Challenge to Trump: A Slowing Economy

June 7, 2019

With His Job Gone, an Autoworker Wonders, ‘What Am I as a Man?’

May 27, 2019

How Democrats Are, and Aren’t, Challenging the Trump Economic Record

May 26, 2019

Trump’s Washing Machine Tariffs Stung Consumers While Lifting Corporate Profits

April 21, 2019

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Assailed for Saying He Would Take Campaign Help From Russia

WASHINGTON — Democrats and Republicans joined together on Thursday to condemn President Trump for saying that he would still accept campaign help from Russia or other foreign governments, but disagreed on whether new legislation was required.

In an interview broadcast on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump rejected his own F.B.I. director’s recommendation that candidates call the authorities if foreign governments seek to influence American elections, saying he would gladly take incriminating information about a campaign opponent from adversaries like Russia.

Democrats said Mr. Trump seemed to be inviting the help of Russia and other foreign powers as he campaigns for re-election in 2020. “Yesterday, the president gave us, once again, evidence that he does not know right from wrong,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. She added, “I believe that he’s been involved in a criminal cover-up.”

Ms. Pelosi said Democrats would advance legislation intended to make it a legal requirement for candidates to report to law enforcement authorities any effort by foreign governments to influence American elections. She and other Democrats said it should not be necessary to write that into law but Mr. Trump’s comments made it clear there was no choice.

In the Senate, Republicans on Thursday rejected an attempt by Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, to pass a bill by unanimous consent that would require candidates to report any attempts by foreign nationals to donate or coordinate with their campaign by offering assistance.

But Republicans agreed that Mr. Trump was wrong to express willingness to take help from Russia.

“If a public official is approached by a foreign government offering anything of value, the answer is no — whether it be money, opposition research,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of the president, told reporters. “The right answer is no.”

Mr. Trump sought to defend himself on Thursday by comparing his willingness to accept campaign help to the sorts of diplomatic meetings he holds regularly with foreign leaders like Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.

“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” he wrote on Twitter. “I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!’” he added, misspelling the title of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, before fixing and reposting it.

“Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings?” he continued. “How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being said, my full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media. They purposely leave out the part that matters.”

The comparison was startling even for Mr. Trump. Having tea with the queen of England is hardly the same as taking clandestine help from agents of President Vladimir V. Putin as part of a concerted campaign by Russian intelligence to tilt an American presidential election.

American law makes it a crime for a candidate to accept money or anything of value from foreign governments or citizens for purposes of winning an election. Many lawyers argued about whether incriminating information, as Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016 agreed to take from the Russian government, would qualify as a thing of value.

In the end, Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, said in his recent report that he could not establish an illegal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia to influence the election. But his report documented numerous contacts between the two camps and concluded that Mr. Trump benefited from Moscow’s efforts to help elect him.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 13pelosi-still-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Assailed for Saying He Would Take Campaign Help From Russia Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Federal Bureau of Investigation Charles, Prince of Wales

Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted on Thursday to President Trump’s statement that he would accept election help from foreign governments.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

In his interview with ABC News aired on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump said he saw nothing inherently wrong with taking damaging information about a campaign opponent and would not necessarily call the F.B.I., as the bureau’s director, Christopher A. Wray, a Trump appointee, said campaigns should do.

“It’s not an interference,” Mr. Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, describing it as opposition research like any other generated or accepted by political campaigns. “They have information — I think I’d take it.” He would call the F.B.I. only “if I thought there was something wrong.”

He scoffed at the idea of calling the F.B.I. “Give me a break — life doesn’t work that way,” he said. When Mr. Stephanopoulos noted that the F.B.I. director said a candidate should inform the bureau, Mr. Trump snapped, “The F.B.I. director is wrong.”

Democrats called the comments astonishing given what has been learned about the Russian government’s secret efforts to tilt the 2016 election.

“The president has either learned nothing from the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters.

“There is no claiming ignorance of the law anymore,” he added. “Foreign adversaries pay attention to every word the president of the United States has to say.”

Mr. Schiff and other Democrats compared the latest comments to Mr. Trump’s public remarks during the campaign when he said, “Russia, if you are listening,” it should find and publish Hillary Clinton’s emails. While Mr. Trump later said he was just joking, Mr. Mueller’s investigators reported that Russian agents tried to do just that hours later.

“The message he seems to be sending now is as long as a foreign power wants to help his campaign, they can count on him having the good discretion not to alert his F.B.I. about it,” Mr. Schiff said. “It is just dangerous, appalling, unethical, unpatriotic — you name it.”

Republicans joined in the criticism.

“You don’t ever want to take foreign money — that’s illegal — and the next route to money is information,” Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia said. “If you take information from somebody that’s foreign and it’s involved in your campaign, you’re running the risk of inviting foreign money into your campaign. You’ve got to be very careful.”

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa said she would rebuff any such offers. “I wouldn’t do it,” she said. “I wouldn’t accept material like that.”

When a reporter noted that Mr. Trump said politicians do it all the time, she added firmly: “No, we don’t. Let’s stop there. No, we don’t.”

Still, some Republicans tried to turn the tables on the Democrats by pointing to their use of information gathered about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who produced a dossier of reports and rumors about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

“The outrage some of my Democratic colleagues are raising about President Trump’s comments will hopefully be met with equal outrage that their own party hired a foreign national to do opposition research on President Trump’s campaign and that information, unverified, was apparently used by the F.B.I. to obtain a warrant against an American citizen,” Mr. Graham said.

The president’s interview came on the same day that his son Donald Trump Jr. appeared on Capitol Hill to answer questions from lawmakers. During the 2016 campaign, the younger Mr. Trump — along with Jared Kushner, the future president’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, then his campaign chairman — met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer after being told she would have “dirt” on Mrs. Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

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Trump Is Urged to Fire Kellyanne Conway for Hatch Act Violations

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-conway-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Is Urged to Fire Kellyanne Conway for Hatch Act Violations United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Law and Legislation Hatch Act (1939) Government Employees Conway, Kellyanne

WASHINGTON — A federal government agency recommended on Thursday that President Trump fire Kellyanne Conway, his White House counselor, for repeated violations of the law barring partisan politics from the federal workplace.

In a report to Mr. Trump, the agency called Ms. Conway a “repeat offender” of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in campaign politics at work, and said her flagrant defiance of the law justified her dismissal from her White House post.

“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” the agency said in a statement. “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”

The agency, Office of Special Counsel, enforces the Hatch Act. It is not related to the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Trump Equates Taking Dirt From Russia With Presidential Diplomacy

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-trump2-facebookJumbo Trump Equates Taking Dirt From Russia With Presidential Diplomacy Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Federal Bureau of Investigation Charles, Prince of Wales

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday defended his willingness to accept campaign help from Russia or other foreign governments by equating it to the sort of diplomatic meetings he holds with world leaders as the nation’s chief executive.

In an interview broadcast on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump had rejected his own F.B.I. director’s recommendation that candidates call the authorities if foreign governments seek to influence American elections, saying he would gladly take incriminating information about a campaign opponent from adversaries like Russia.

“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter. “I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!’” he added, misspelling the title of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, before fixing and reposting it.

“Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings?” he continued. “How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being said, my full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media. They purposely leave out the part that matters.”

The comparison was startling even for Mr. Trump. Having tea with the queen of England is hardly the same as taking clandestine help from agents of President Vladimir V. Putin as part of a concerted campaign by Russian intelligence to tilt an American presidential election.

American law makes it a crime for a candidate to accept money or anything of value from foreign governments or citizens for purposes of winning an election. Many lawyers argued about whether incriminating information, as Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016 agreed to take from the Russian government, would qualify as a thing of value.

In the end, Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, said in his recent report that he could not establish an illegal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia to influence the election. But his report documented numerous contacts between the two camps and concluded that Mr. Trump benefited from Moscow’s efforts to help elect him.

In his interview with ABC News aired on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump said he saw nothing inherently wrong with taking damaging information about a campaign opponent and would not necessarily call the F.B.I., as the bureau’s director, Christopher A. Wray, a Trump appointee, said campaigns should do.

“It’s not an interference,” Mr. Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, describing it as opposition research like any other generated or accepted by political campaigns. “They have information — I think I’d take it.” He would call the F.B.I. only “if I thought there was something wrong.”

He scoffed at the idea of calling the F.B.I. “Give me a break — life doesn’t work that way,” he said. When Mr. Stephanopoulos noted the F.B.I. director said a candidate should inform the bureau, Mr. Trump snapped, “the F.B.I. director is wrong.”

Democrats criticized Mr. Trump’s comments on Thursday, saying he had taken no lessons from the 2016 experience and seemed even now to be inviting the help of Russia and other foreign powers as he campaigns for re-election in 2020.

“The president has either learned nothing from the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters.

“There is no claiming ignorance of the law anymore,” he added. “Foreign adversaries pay attention to every word the president of the United States has to say.”

Mr. Schiff and other Democrats compared the latest comments to Mr. Trump’s public remarks during the campaign when he said, “Russia, if you are listening,” it should find and publish Hillary Clinton’s emails. While Mr. Trump later said he was just joking, Mr. Mueller’s investigators reported that Russian agents tried to do just that hours later.

“The message he seems to be sending now is as long as a foreign power wants to help his campaign, they can count on him having the good discretion not to alert his F.B.I. about it,” Mr. Schiff said. “It is just dangerous, appalling, unethical, unpatriotic — you name it.”

Mr. Schiff said that Democrats were working on legislation that would define receiving foreign assistance to more clearly prohibit using foreign opposition research, or “dirt,” in a federal campaign.

Most Republicans were silent on the matter on Thursday morning. One of the few who spoke out was Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of the president.

I believe that it should be practice for all public officials who are contacted by a foreign government with an offer of assistance to their campaign — either directly or indirectly — to inform the F.B.I. and reject the offer,” he said in a statement.

But he tried to turn the tables on the Democrats by pointing to their use of information gathered about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who produced a dossier of reports and rumors about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

“The outrage some of my Democratic colleagues are raising about President Trump’s comments will hopefully be met with equal outrage that their own party hired a foreign national to do opposition research on President Trump’s campaign and that information, unverified, was apparently used by the F.B.I. to obtain a warrant against an American citizen,” Mr. Graham said.

The president’s interview came on the same day that his son Donald Trump Jr. appeared on Capitol Hill to answer questions from lawmakers. During the 2016 campaign, the younger Mr. Trump — along with Jared Kushner, the future president’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, then his campaign chairman — met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer after being told she would have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

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Shinzo Abe’s Latest Diplomatic Long Shot: Peacemaking in Iran

Westlake Legal Group 12iran-japan-span-facebookJumbo Shinzo Abe’s Latest Diplomatic Long Shot: Peacemaking in Iran United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Rouhani, Hassan Politics and Government Nuclear Weapons Khamenei, Ali Japan Iran International Relations Embargoes and Sanctions Abe, Shinzo

TOKYO — Shinzo Abe’s visit to Iran this week, the first to that country by a Japanese prime minister in more than 40 years, is the latest in a series of high-minded but long-shot efforts to lift Japan’s influence on the global stage.

Mr. Abe, who flew to Tehran on Wednesday, is putting himself in the middle of a confrontation between the United States and Iran that has raised fears of war.

The tensions, which began with President Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear accord and impose crippling sanctions, escalated recently as the Trump administration moved additional troops into the Persian Gulf after having accused Iran of plotting to attack American targets.

Mr. Abe’s effort to avoid frictions was reflected in his remarks to reporters after having met President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Agence France-Presse quoted Mr. Abe saying it was “essential that Iran plays a constructive role in building solid peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Mr. Rouhani seemed less diplomatic in remarks reported by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency from his joint news conference with Mr. Abe. “We have never started a war against any country, but we will firmly respond to any aggressor,” Iran’s president was quoted saying, clearly referring to the United States.

For Japanese business leaders, the conflict is a headache. Under American pressure, Japan has stopped oil imports from Iran, a country with which it has long had cordial relations. Japanese businesses, too, have reassessed their ties with the country for fear of provoking American displeasure.

For Mr. Abe, however, the crisis is an opportunity. In November, he is set to become the longest-serving prime minister in Japan’s history. But he is struggling to cement a lasting political legacy, and has tried to make a mark with diplomatic overtures to countries like North Korea and Russia.

The prime minister has also worked assiduously to cultivate a personal relationship with Mr. Trump, who has voiced support for Mr. Abe’s outreach to Iran and who has said he himself is open to doing the same.

During Mr. Abe’s 24-hour diplomatic sprint, he also planned to meet with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But the odds of any breakthrough are long, and Japanese officials have worked to lower expectations. Mr. Abe is not bearing a message from the American president, government officials told reporters on Tuesday. Nor is he seeking to serve as a mediator between the two countries, they said.

The chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said Mr. Abe would use the visit as an opportunity to encourage Iran’s leaders to “ease regional tensions.” And Mr. Abe, speaking at Haneda Airport in Tokyo before leaving for Iran, said he wanted Japan to “play whatever role it can to promote peace and stability in the region.”

The formulation seemed like a step down from the grander vision Mr. Abe described during meetings late last month with Mr. Trump in Tokyo, where the prime minister called for “close collaboration” between the United States and Japan to prevent tensions with Iran from turning into armed conflict.

But even the modest goal of lowering tensions might be a stretch. Although Japan has good relations with the United States and Iran, it has little ability to affect the outcome of the dispute between them, said Tobias Harris, an expert on Japanese politics at Teneo Intelligence, a consulting firm in Washington.

Japan has not clearly articulated what it hopes to achieve with Mr. Abe’s visit, Mr. Harris said, and even if it did, “Japan doesn’t have military power in the region.”

“It’s an important consumer but it is not a major market for Iranian goods,” he added. “What leverage does it have?”

In its favor is Japan’s long history of friendly relations with Iran, which is in large part a reflection of Tokyo’s desire for stability in the Middle East, a crucial supplier of energy to Japan. Mr. Abe has met with Mr. Rouhani at least six times since taking office, and the countries are celebrating 90 years of diplomatic relations.

And Japan has tried to broker peace with Iran before. In 1984, Mr. Abe accompanied his father, who was then Japan’s foreign minister, on a failed mission to mediate the war between Iran and Iraq.

Japanese officials played up the countries’ relationship ahead of the visit, presenting Mr. Abe as a trusted interlocutor who can lend a sympathetic ear to Iran and convey its concerns to the rest of the world.

“We can’t play hardball,” said Kuni Miyake, a former Japanese diplomat who served in the Middle East. “We don’t want to. But as a soft power, we can do something different. Mr. Abe’s fully aware of that.”

Although Iran appreciates Japan’s friendship, it is also wary of Tokyo’s close relationship with Washington, said Koichiro Tanaka, an expert on Iran at Keio University. He said that Tehran might require a peace offering from Mr. Abe in the form of a demonstration that he is willing to stand up to American sanctions.

Japan is also late to the game. Despite mounting international concerns over the last decade about Iran’s behavior, Japanese officials chose not to participate in the negotiations that led to the 2015 deal to curb the country’s nuclear ambitions.

That decision created space for Tokyo to pursue an independent policy toward Tehran, but it also limited Mr. Abe’s ability to play a role in resolving disputes over the deal.

Yukio Okamoto, a former Japanese diplomat and policy adviser to past Japanese prime ministers, said the world powers that sat at the table with Iran for all those years might be inclined to “sneer” at Mr. Abe’s efforts, asking “why should he step into what we’ve been toiling over, as a newcomer.”

Still, Mr. Abe has little to lose.

If anything, the trip could improve his standing at home as the country heads into elections for the upper house of Parliament next month. He wants to establish his legacy “by advancing Japan’s foreign and domestic agenda,” Mr. Okamoto said, and the Tehran visit offers an opportunity.

But although Mr. Abe has been an active advocate of Japan abroad, Mr. Okamoto added, he has “yet to show the public concrete solutions to several important issues, especially with Russia and North Korea.”

The Japanese leader has sought to insert himself in the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear program, offering to meet with the country’s leader with no preconditions. And he has aggressively courted President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in an attempt to end a decades-old territorial dispute over islands off Japan’s northern prefecture.

Those efforts have not yielded much success. North Korea has ignored his entreaties, and there has been no substantial movement in discussions with Russia. Mr. Abe’s courting of Mr. Trump, too, has produced limited benefits. It has delayed, but not eliminated, the threat of American tariffs against Japan’s key exports.

The prime minister has had more success with China. Last year, he became the first Japanese leader to visit the country since a 2012 disagreement over disputed islands derailed relations with Beijing.

Still, even if success is elusive, there’s no real downside to trying, said Daniel Sneider, an expert on Japanese diplomacy at Stanford University.

“I don’t see the French president going to Iran,” he said.

“If Abe goes, other people might follow,” he added. “And that makes it harder to trigger a conflict.”

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