web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 81)

Help for the Economy? Despite Grumbling, Trump Has Had Plenty

Westlake Legal Group 00DC-TAILWINDS-01-facebookJumbo Help for the Economy? Despite Grumbling, Trump Has Had Plenty United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Federal Reserve System China

President Trump has complained that the Federal Reserve has been hurting the economy, first by raising interest rates and then by not lowering them fast enough. “No help from Fed!” he said on Twitter last week, in what has become a typical broadside.

But a New York Times analysis shows that under Mr. Trump, Fed policy has supported Mr. Trump’s push for economic growth. In fact, the central bank has kept interest rates lower than under any other president since Jimmy Carter, when adjusted for the economy’s output and inflation.

At the same time, Congress has provided an unusual level of fiscal support. Only one president in the past 25 years got a bigger lift from tax cuts and federal spending increases than Mr. Trump has since he signed the 2017 tax overhaul. That was George W. Bush, whose two terms included several rounds of tax cuts and deficit-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The stimulus measures have helped Mr. Trump’s trade war with China by buffering the economy against damage from tariffs imposed by both countries. But as the dispute escalates, that insulation may not be enough.

Mr. Trump has moved to add a new round of tariffs on Chinese products and to declare China a currency manipulator, while Beijing has canceled what officials had said would be new purchases of American agricultural goods. Economists warn that the moves will hurt growth in both countries, and that the Fed, in particular, has only so much help to give.

“Until the most recent escalation, it seemed that the Fed had at least been able to partly offset the drag from the trade war,” said Michelle Meyer, chief United States economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The Fed is attempting to sustain this recovery, and attempting to support growth, but there are clearly limits.”

After raising rates four times in 2018, Fed officials reduced them last week, to a range of 2 to 2.25 percent. Markets expect at least one more rate cut, and possibly two, before the year is out. That rate environment is abnormally low for an economy as strong as America’s has been during Mr. Trump’s term, the analysis by The Times shows.

The analysis draws on data from the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy and a monetary-policy gauge devised by a Stanford University economist. It found that since the final quarter of 2017, when the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul was enacted and unemployment was just above 4 percent, Mr. Trump has enjoyed unusually large levels of fiscal expansion and monetary accommodation for a period of such little joblessness.

The federal budget deficit usually falls when the unemployment rate declines, with additional economic growth yielding more tax revenue. Mr. Trump has bucked the trend. Corporate tax collections have tumbled under the Republican tax cut he championed, and there have been bipartisan agreements to bust budgetary caps created under President Barack Obama. This past spring, the Hutchins Center estimates, tax and spending policy added more to economic growth than in any quarter since 2010, when the country was just beginning to recover from a recession.

Mr. Trump signed legislation for the most recent spending increase last week, a move that the Hutchins Center projects will add even more stimulus. That could be the last dose for a while: Congress is unlikely to push through another large tax cut or increase in spending before Mr. Trump faces re-election.

The budget deficit is on track to top $1 trillion this year, according to the administration’s own projections, which would be an increase of more than 25 percent from 2018. It has grown throughout Mr. Trump’s time in office, in dollar terms and as a share of the economy. Mr. Trump ran larger annual deficits in 2017 and 2018, as a share of the economy, than any president since World War II with an unemployment rate below 5 percent.

Mr. Trump frequently asserts that he has been victimized by Fed policies, and that the economy would have grown significantly faster on his watch if the central bank had kept rates closer to zero over the past two and a half years. He seemed unimpressed with the lowering of rates last week, and on Thursday he said Fed officials “have called it wrong at every step of the way,” adding, “Can you imagine what would happen if they actually called it right?”

Across most of America’s history, presidents with economies as strong as Mr. Trump’s have experienced Fed policies that are much less supportive of growth.

There are a few ways of thinking about how much the Fed’s policies are doing to help the economy at a given time. One is to compare interest rates set by the Fed with what economists call a neutral rate — the level, based on long-term trends like demographics and productivity, that would neither stoke nor slow growth. Another is to compare it with the most common monetary policy-setting equation, a rule named for the Stanford economist John Taylor.

Professor Taylor’s formula assesses growth and inflation relative to their potential and the Fed’s goals, and spits out a recommended interest rate. Comparing the gap between the actual rate set by the Fed and the neutral rate indicates the degree of stimulus being applied. Comparing the gap with a Taylor Rule recommendation offers another perspective, measuring the Fed’s rates against key indicators of the economy’s condition.

The neutral-rate analysis shows that Mr. Trump has benefited from Fed policies that are likely to stimulate growth, although to a smaller degree than Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush. Mr. Obama also benefited from a large-scale bond-buying program meant to stoke growth, and from the Fed’s pledges to maintain low rates for an extended period after the financial crisis, efforts that are not captured by the analyses. The central bank ran out of room to cut rates in 2008, when it slashed them virtually to zero, curtailing how much interest-rate help it could offer under Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama.

From late 2017 to this month, the Fed pared its bond holdings, making monetary policy more restrictive. But it is difficult to quantify how much that mattered to growth.

MORE ON THE ECONOMY
‘Ready to Rumble’: U.S.-China Fight Puts World Economy on the Brink

Aug 6, 2019

The Increasingly Bizarre Interplay Between Trump’s Trade Policy and the Fed

Aug 1, 2019

Trump’s Policies, Not His Heckling, May Force Fed to Cut Rates

Jul 16, 2019

It is true that the Fed could have left rates at zero under Mr. Trump, and policy watchers on the left and right have urged a gradual approach to rate increases with inflation remaining benign.

But it is also the case that officials have been extraordinarily patient by historical standards, leaving Mr. Trump with a growth-friendly policy climate. Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama both experienced recessions while in office. Adjusting for the strong economy Mr. Trump inherited, the analysis using the Taylor Rule shows that the Fed has set rates lower on average during Mr. Trump’s tenure than under any president since Mr. Carter.

Still, growth is slowing this year from its annual rate of 2.5 percent in 2018. Economists warn that it could slow further if Mr. Trump follows through on the threat to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports in September, joining the tariffs he levied on steel, aluminum, washing machines and other goods and prompting China to retaliate.

With other clouds forming over the global economy, including a manufacturing slowdown and possible disruptions from the Britain’s planned exit from the European Union this fall, many economists expect the Fed to cut rates further to support growth.

“The Fed has been increasingly responsive this year to trade war threats, bond market expectations, and global growth concerns,” Goldman Sachs economists wrote this week in a research note. They predicted two more rate cuts this fall, but they said that rising inflation would stop the cuts by December.

The Fed does have some ammunition. It has room for eight more quarter-point rate cuts, and it could engage in renewed bond-buying. Fed officials, including Charles Evans, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, have implied that the central bank could cut rates a little more to support the economy should trade concerns lead to an economic pullback.

For now, the Fed is “in a period where we’re looking at the data” and assessing whether additional cuts are warranted, Mr. Evans told reporters on Wednesday.

But the monetary policy runway is shorter than it was ahead of the recession of 2007 to 2009. At that time, the Fed started with interest rates above 5 percent, leaving it with far more room to cut. Lower rates help to prop up growth by making it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend.

James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, told reporters at an event in Washington on Tuesday that the Fed was reacting to a one-time increase in trade uncertainty and sought to rebut the idea that it would move to counter every new development.

“I don’t think it’s realistic for the Fed to respond to each threat and counterthreat in a tit-for-tat trade war,” Mr. Bullard said. “You would destabilize monetary policy, and this would create more problems than it would solve.”

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

Andrew McCabe, Former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Sues Over His Dismissal

WASHINGTON — Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director who was fired for statements he made about communications between the F.B.I. and the press, sued the F.B.I. on Thursday, alleging that the dismissal was retaliatory and politically motivated.

The Justice Department engaged in a “politically motivated and retaliatory demotion in January 2018 and public firing in March 2018,” Mr. McCabe said in his lawsuit.

He added that President Trump “purposefully and intentionally” pushed the Justice Department to demote and terminate him as part of an “unconstitutional plan” to discredit and remove Justice Department and F.B.I. employees who were “deemed to be his partisan opponents.”

Andrew McCabe’s Civil Lawsuit Against the F.B.I. and Justice Department

Mr. McCabe, the former deputy director of the F.B.I., said in his lawsuit that his firing from the bureau was “politically motivated and retaliatory.” (PDF, 48 pages, 0.21 MB)

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Andrew McCabe, Former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Sues Over His Dismissal United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McCabe, Andrew G Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B   48 pages, 0.21 MB

Mr. McCabe, 51, was also the subject of a scathing Justice Department inspector general report that accused him of violating the bureau’s media policy when he authorized the disclosure of information to the press and of misleading investigators about what he had done.

When he was fired last March, Mr. McCabe told The New York Times that he had been let go for political reasons. He was among the first F.B.I. officials to question whether the Trump campaign had questionable ties to Russia and whether Mr. Trump himself had tried to obstruct justice.

“The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong,” he told The Times. “This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness.”

Earlier this week, Peter Strzok, the F.B.I. senior counterintelligence agent in the Russia investigations, also sued the Justice Department and the F.B.I. He said in his lawsuit that he had been terminated because of political pressure from the president, who was enraged by text messages that showed he had been a harsh critic of Mr. Trump.

“The F.B.I. fired Special Agent Strzok because of his protected political speech in violation of his rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” the lawsuit said. Mr. Strzok said his termination also violated his due process rights.

Neither the Justice Department nor the F.B.I. responded to a request for comment. The F.B.I. does not comment on pending litigation.

After Mr. McCabe was fired, Mr. Trump called his dismissal “a great day for Democracy.”

Mr. McCabe has long said that Mr. Trump’s public criticisms of him and his firing were meant to help discredit the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference and any role that the Trump campaign may have played in that activity.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said in his report released this spring that Russia had interfered in the election to benefit Mr. Trump. He said that the campaign itself had not conspired in that effort, even though it was receptive to help from Russia. Mr. Mueller declined to weigh in on whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice, saying only that he was unable to exonerate the president.

While the F.B.I. deems lack of candor to be a fireable offense, Mr. McCabe fought back against the recommendation that he be dismissed. The 21-year veteran of the F.B.I. appealed to senior career officials at the Justice Department, to no avail.

Two days before he was eligible to collect his full government pension, Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, said that he would terminate Mr. McCabe “effective immediately” for lack of candor under oath.

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

Wife of American Imprisoned in Iran Cites ASAP Rocky in Plea for Trump’s Help

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-detainee-facebookJumbo Wife of American Imprisoned in Iran Cites ASAP Rocky in Plea for Trump’s Help Wang, Xiyue United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Princeton University Political Prisoners Kidnapping and Hostages ASAP Rocky

WASHINGTON — The wife of an American held for three years in an Iranian prison appealed to President Trump on Thursday to help secure her husband’s release, invoking Mr. Trump’s recent assistance to another detainee navigating a foreign justice system: ASAP Rocky.

The wife, Hua Qu, said she has seen no progress on the case of her husband, Xiyue Wang, since the United States withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018. “My husband and our family have become innocent victims in an ever-intensifying quarrel between world powers,” Ms. Qu, a Chinese citizen, told reporters in Washington.

She urged the Trump administration to restart diplomatic talks with Tehran — if for no other reason than to help her husband and at least three other American citizens known to be detained in Iran.

Mr. Wang, a naturalized American citizen and Princeton University graduate student who traveled to Iran in 2016 for research, was convicted of espionage — a charge that his family and colleagues deny.

“Mr. Rocky just quickly got released after two days of intervention from Mr. President,” Ms. Qu said. “I believe the ordeal of my husband and other unjust detention cases deserve the same level of attention.”

Rocky was released from a Swedish jail earlier this month, pending a verdict in his assault trial, after Mr. Trump sent his international envoy for hostage affairs to Stockholm on the rapper’s behalf. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighed in through Swedish diplomats, and Mr. Trump used his Twitter feed to press the case for Rocky — an unlikely cause célèbre in Washington who came to the president’s attention through celebrities Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West.

By contrast, this week marked the third year of Mr. Wang’s imprisonment, which Ms. Qu was quick to point out was twice as long as the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.

In May, United Nations officials demanded that Mr. Wang be released from his 10-year prison sentence on what they called Iran’s absurd espionage charges violating rights that should be protected under international laws.

Ms. Qu said she was largely dependent on Swiss diplomats acting as a go-between for the Iranian government and the State Department; the last such encounter occurred two months ago. She said she also appreciated help from the Chinese government — which is a trade partner with Iran — but gave no details on what that included.

She said she last discussed the case with the State Department last week, but said, “there has literally been no progress.”

In a statement on Thursday, the State Department cited Mr. Wang’s “wrongful detention” but did not respond to Ms. Qu’s request for diplomatic talks with Iran to resume.

“We again call on Iran to return Mr. Wang to his family,” the statement said. “We are determined to secure the release of all U.S. hostages and wrongful detainees. We will not rest until they are home.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, offered in April to negotiate a prisoner exchange with the United States, which has charged or detained Iranian citizens accused of violating American sanctions.

But the already tenuous relations between the two countries plummeted in June, when Iran downed an unmanned American surveillance drone. Mr. Trump considered retaliating with a military strike against Iran but ultimately stepped back.

In the meantime, Ms. Qu said, her 6-year-old son is beginning to forget some of the times he shared as a toddler with his father. She last spoke to Mr. Wang by phone on Wednesday — a Chinese holiday that she described as the equivalent of Valentine’s Day. They spoke not of romance, she said, but of his enduring detention.

“We all know that nothing is impossible — all it takes is will,” Ms. Qu said in an appeal to the administration.

“My husband was criminalized only because of his American citizenship,” she said. “This must be resolved.”

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

Elizabeth Warren Calls Trump a White Supremacist

Westlake Legal Group 08warren-1-sub-facebookJumbo Elizabeth Warren Calls Trump a White Supremacist Warren, Elizabeth Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 O'Rourke, Beto

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said on Wednesday night that she believed President Trump was a white supremacist, broadly accusing him of dividing Americans along racial lines and providing direct and tacit support to those who believe white people are superior to other races.

Asked in a brief interview with The New York Times if she thought Mr. Trump was a white supremacist, Ms. Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.”

“He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists,” Ms. Warren said during a campaign swing in western Iowa. “He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country.”

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

Ms. Warren’s comments amounted to one of the starkest condemnations to date from a leading Democratic presidential candidate about Mr. Trump’s language toward minorities and immigrants. She spoke hours after former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas gave the same assessment of Mr. Trump. Asked by MSNBC if Mr. Trump was a white supremacist, Mr. O’Rourke replied, “He is.”

“He’s dehumanized or sought to dehumanize those who do not look like or pray like the majority here in this country,” Mr. O’Rourke said.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, also believes Mr. Trump is a white supremacist. Mr. Sanders was asked on CNN on Sunday if he believed the president was “a white supremacist or a white nationalist,” and Mr. Sanders replied, “I do.” A senior campaign official confirmed on Thursday that Mr. Sanders believed Mr. Trump was both.

Mr. Trump has a long history of using race for his own gain, and his time in the White House has been no exception.

After pushing the “birther” lie about President Barack Obama, Mr. Trump began his campaign for the presidency by disparaging Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. As president, he sought to bar people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States; said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.; and used an obscenity to describe African nations.

He has warned of an “invasion” of migrants at the southern border. And last month, he said that four congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries they came from; all four are American citizens and only one of the women was born outside the United States.

Mr. Trump has faced condemnations from Democratic presidential candidates in the wake of the mass shooting on Saturday in El Paso. The suspect in the attack is believed to have described it in a manifesto as “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” — echoing Mr. Trump’s language.

In a speech in Iowa on Wednesday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. argued that Mr. Trump had “fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.”

Mr. Biden has also called Mr. Trump “openly racist.” But when he was asked on CNN earlier this week if he believed Mr. Trump was a white nationalist, Mr. Biden stopped short of saying the president was one.

Another candidate, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, also cast blame on Mr. Trump for encouraging hatred. Mr. Booker made those remarks in a speech at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., where a white supremacist gunman killed nine people in 2015.

[Read more about the speeches by Mr. Biden and Mr. Booker.]

Mr. Trump contends he is not racist and criticized Democrats in a tweet on Wednesday for their remarks, saying their “new weapon is actually their old weapon, one which they never cease to use when they are down, or run out of facts, RACISM!”

Ms. Warren, for her part, said Mr. Trump was intent on dividing people.

“Donald Trump has a central message,” she said. “He says to the American people, if there’s anything wrong in your life, blame them — and ‘them’ means people who aren’t the same color as you, weren’t born where you were born, don’t worship the same way you do.”

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

Trump Wants a Weaker Dollar. Getting One Isn’t So Easy.

The trade war between Washington and Beijing took an unexpected turn this week as China let its currency drop sharply and the United States responded by officially designating the country a currency manipulator.

The confrontation underscored the Trump administration’s focus on weakness in foreign currencies — and the corresponding strength of the dollar — as a drag on the American economy.

Now, investors are gaming out the prospect that the United States could actively intervene in the financial markets, in a significant break from a decades-long commitment to free-floating currencies.

“It’s a big deal because I think it would mark a new sort of phase in how the U.S. approaches the international economy,” said Michael Feroli, chief United States economist with JPMorgan Chase.

On Thursday, the president again publicly expressed displeasure at the relative strength of the dollar, describing it as a drag on American industrial exports and the result of Federal Reserve monetary policy.

But while the president might want a weaker dollar, engineering one is complicated. Here’s the context you need to understand the United States’ changing approach to the dollar.

A weaker currency makes a country’s exports cheaper for buyers overseas, giving a country a competitive advantage. For years, an artificially weak renminbi underpinned China’s growth as a manufacturing base for the rest of the world.

The Trump administration’s tariffs on imports of Chinese-made goods are meant to raise the price of those products once they land in the United States, discouraging Americans from buying them.

But one way for China to respond is to weaken the renminbi and undermine the impact of those tariffs by making those products cheaper.

That’s why when China allowed its closely controlled renminbi to depreciate sharply against the dollar on Monday, it was taken as a sign that the trade war between the United States and China was getting worse.

The currency has since strengthened, easing this tension somewhat, but China isn’t the only trading partner the president has a problem with.

For instance, in June, after the European Central Bank said it might restart stimulus programs to bolster the economy, Mr. Trump accused it of pushing down the value of the euro, “making it unfairly easier for them to compete against the USA.”

“They have been getting away with this for years, along with China and others,” he said on Twitter.

A weaker dollar has other benefits. For instance, it could also bolster corporate earnings. Roughly 40 percent of the revenue of the biggest American companies now comes from overseas, and a weaker dollar means those foreign sales make a bigger contribution to the bottom line. Those higher earnings can help give the stock market a lift.

None of this is a secret. But in the past, governments have shied away from weakening their currencies, in part because they were afraid it would also lead to an ugly bout of inflation, which was traditionally viewed as the big risk of a weak currency. These days, inflation around the world is incredibly low and shows little sign of rising.

“You have almost the perfect macro backdrop for policymakers to encourage currency weakness,” said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at Deutsche Bank in New York.

Trump Accuses Europe of Bolstering Its Economy at America’s Expense

Jun 18, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_156643116_d571b469-61d3-499d-a557-0084c6694e9c-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Trump Wants a Weaker Dollar. Getting One Isn’t So Easy. US Dollar (Currency) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Renminbi (Currency) International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China
The U.S. Labeled China a Currency Manipulator. Here’s What It Means

Aug 6, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 06DC-CURRENCY-01-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Trump Wants a Weaker Dollar. Getting One Isn’t So Easy. US Dollar (Currency) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Renminbi (Currency) International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

Foreign exchange markets are a zero-sum game: If China’s currency weakens against the dollar, the dollar, by definition, strengthens.

So whether China is deliberately lowering the value of the renminbi, or the euro is tumbling because currency traders are worried about the region’s growth, the ultimate impact is that the dollar is stronger.

Strong currencies tend to weaken a country’s exports and bolster the consumption of foreign products. That can lead to larger trade deficits.

President Trump has made reducing the trade deficit with China a crucial focus of his administration and a crucial goal of the tariff war that began in 2018.

But that effort has had mixed results. The United States’ goods deficit with China initially widened to a record $43 billion in October before shrinking significantly since then. It is now hovering around $30 billion a month.

In theory, if the dollar weakened against the Chinese currency, it could do more to cut that trade deficit than a tariff battle, potentially offering the president a chance for a political victory going into the 2020 election.

In theory, it can. But in practice it isn’t easy.

In part, that’s just because the currency markets are so big. Every day, more than $5 trillion changes hands in those markets, and more than $4 trillion of those trades involve the dollar.

China controls the renminbi because it can use the bottomless buying power of its central bank, which publishes an official price for the currency every day around which it allows a certain amount of trading.

The People’s Bank of China has the ability to print renminbi to weaken the currency if the exchange rate gets too high. On the flip side, Beijing has $3 trillion in reserves it can deploy to keep the currency from getting too weak.

Right now, the United States doesn’t operate that way.

It has some capacity to intervene in financial markets by using the Exchange Stabilization Fund, a vehicle under the control of the Treasury secretary, with about $100 billion of buying power.

“Unless Congress gives Treasury authority to beef up the Exchange Stabilization Fund, it just doesn’t have enough firepower,” said Joseph Gagnon, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Last month, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said the White House had considered an intervention to weaken the dollar before deciding against it. The same day, however, Mr. Trump contradicted Mr. Kudlow, telling reporters that all options were on the table.

“I could do that in two seconds if I wanted,” Mr. Trump said. “I didn’t say that I’m not going to do something.”

White House Considered Weakening U.S. Dollar Before Ruling It Out

Jul 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158484129_4e77ff60-2854-451d-84cd-93fec4f3bd78-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Trump Wants a Weaker Dollar. Getting One Isn’t So Easy. US Dollar (Currency) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Renminbi (Currency) International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

So in the past, when American politicians wanted to change the value of the dollar, they had to coordinate efforts involving a number of countries. That’s what happened in 1985, when the United States engineered an agreement to weaken the dollar as part of an agreement known as the Plaza Accord.

Of course, those countries were all strategic allies of the United States. Persuading China to let its currency strengthen to help the United States is a different situation all together.

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

Trump Condemns White Supremacy but Stops Short of Major Gun Controls

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday denounced white supremacy in the wake of twin mass shootings over the weekend, and citing the threat of “racist hate,” he summoned the nation to address what he called a link between the recent carnage and violent video games, mental illness and internet bigotry.

But he stopped well short of endorsing the kind of broad gun control measures that activists, Democrats and some Republicans have sought for years, such as tougher background checks for gun buyers and the banning of some weapons and accessories such as high-capacity magazines.

And while he warned of “the perils of the internet and social media,” he offered no recognition of his own use of those platforms to promote his brand of divisive politics. Instead, he focused on a rising intolerance that he has been slow to condemn in the past.

“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”

It seemed unlikely that Mr. Trump’s 10-minute speech, coming after one of the most violent weekends in recent American history, would reposition him as a unifier when many Americans hold him responsible for inflaming racial division. He took no responsibility for the atmosphere of division, nor did he recognize his own reluctance to warn of the rise of white nationalism until now.

Speaking at a lectern beneath a portrait of George Washington in the Diplomatic Reception Room, Mr. Trump read from a teleprompter as he denounced the bilious anti-Hispanic manifesto of the suspect in the El Paso shooting, which killed 22 people, as part of an “evil contagion” spreading online.

“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation and a crime against all of humanity,” Mr. Trump said of the massacre in El Paso on Saturday and another in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday — at one point incorrectly referring to Toledo as the site of those killings. The Dayton gunman is not known to have had a political motive.

Between the two shootings, 31 people have now died.

Mr. Trump, who will visit Dayton and El Paso on Wednesday, took no questions. He also did not repeat his call on Twitter earlier in the morning for Republicans and Democrats to work together to strengthen background checks for prospective gun buyers.

That outraged Democratic leaders in Congress, who quickly accused Mr. Trump of retreating from more substantive action on gun control under political pressure.

“It took less than three hours for the president to back off his call for stronger background check legislation,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said in a statement. House Democrats passed such a measure in February, but the Republican-controlled Senate has not acted on it.

Even some Republicans called on Monday for that blockade to end. Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Braun of Indiana and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania all said a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases should be brought to a vote. Mr. Toomey and Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, separately called Mr. Trump to discuss the background checks bill that they drafted after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, only to see it fall to a filibuster.

“The president showed a willingness to work with us on the issue of strengthening background checks,” the senators said in a joint statement.

Mr. Trump’s first comments, made in early-morning Twitter posts, set some gun control advocates up for disappointment.

Mr. Trump had spent the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where he was thinly staffed as news of the shootings unfolded. Perusing the news in isolation, Mr. Trump tweeted several expressions of sympathy, along with more combative shots at the news media and his liberal critics.

By Sunday night, when Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, joined him for his return to Washington, Mr. Trump’s aides recognized that he needed to do more. Some advisers suggested that background checks would be an easy, bipartisan measure to endorse, but Mr. Trump was uncertain. When early drafts of his remarks began circulating, they did not mention background checks or immigration, according to two people briefed on them.

So aides were startled to discover that the president, sitting in the White House residence, had posted a tweet linking the two issues.

In a small meeting with Mr. Trump in his residence before the speech, several aides argued that the linkage was a mistake, and the president dropped both the immigration idea and the call for background checks from his prepared remarks.

Westlake Legal Group white-extremist-active-shooter-promo-1564961964300-articleLarge-v2 Trump Condemns White Supremacy but Stops Short of Major Gun Controls United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ohio Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides House of Representatives gun control El Paso (Tex)

White Extremist Ideology Drives Many Deadly Shootings

Active-shooter episodes in which the gunmen espoused white extremist beliefs have been among the deadliest in recent years.

It was not immediately clear what other gun control proposals Mr. Trump had been referring to on Twitter. The House passed back-to-back bills on firearms soon after Democrats took control, voting in February to require background checks for all gun buyers, including those at gun shows and on the internet, and to extend waiting periods for would-be gun buyers flagged by the existing instant-check system.

Instead of focusing on measures to limit the sale of firearms, Mr. Trump’s later remarks at the White House ticked through a list of proposals that Republicans have long endorsed as alternatives. They included unspecified action to address “gruesome and grisly video games” and “a culture that celebrates violence.”

Trying for a somber tone at the White House, Mr. Trump repeated his past endorsement of so-called red-flag laws that would allow for the confiscation of firearms from people found to be mentally ill and said mental health laws should be changed to allow for the involuntary confinement of people at risk of committing violence. He gave no indication of how he would pursue any of his goals.

Mr. Trump also warned that the internet and social media provide “a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.” But the president has himself amplified right-wing voices online with histories of racism and bigotry.

Mr. Trump also emphasized steps to better identify and respond to signs of mental illness that could lead to violence, repeating a familiar conservative formulation that de-emphasizes the significance of widely available firearms.

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Mr. Trump said. Calling those who carry out mass shootings “mentally ill monsters,” he also said he was directing the Justice Department to propose legislation calling for the death penalty for “those who commit hate crimes and mass murders.”

He added that he had “asked the F.B.I. to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.”

Gun control groups reacted sharply to Mr. Trump’s address.

“Let’s be clear: This is not about mental health. It’s not about video games. It’s not about movies,” said John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group. “Those are all N.R.A. talking points. This is about easy access to guns.”

Mr. Trump has previously denounced racism with scripted remarks that sounded out of tune with his typical language. After the killing of a counterprotester at a white-power rally in Charlottesville, Va., two years ago, he called white supremacists “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

But those remarks followed earlier off-the-cuff comments by the president, who had been criticized for not more forcefully denouncing the “Unite the Right” rally, which was organized by neo-Nazis. Instead he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Mr. Trump later declared that the event had “some very fine people on both sides.”

Aides said that he was referring to nonviolent protesters defending Southern heritage, and that he was angry that the news media had not paid more attention to left-wing Antifa activists who engaged in violence.

In March, after an avowed white supremacist killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand, Mr. Trump said he did not “really” see a rising threat from white nationalism. “It’s a small group of people,” he added.

The president has also previously declared himself a supporter of stronger gun control, only to retreat from the issue. After a gunman killed 17 at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last year, Mr. Trump startled Republican lawmakers that February when on live television, he appeared to embrace comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks, keep guns from mentally ill people and restrict gun sales for some young adults.

But he made little effort to follow through.

In Texas, law enforcement officials arrested a suspect, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Allen, which is about a 10-hour drive from the Walmart in El Paso where the gunman opened fire on Saturday. In his manifesto, Mr. Crusius said he supported the mass shootings in New Zealand.

The gunman in Dayton fired on popular night-life spot with a high-capacity magazine that can hold 100 rounds of ammunition. Nine people were killed, including the sister of the suspect, Connor Betts, 24.

Some of the Democrats campaigning for their party’s presidential nomination condemned Mr. Trump for not calling the El Paso attack a white supremacist act of domestic terrorism and blamed the White House for fueling white nationalist sentiment.

No federal agency is responsible for designating domestic terrorism organizations, as has been the case for international terrorism. Similarly, there is no criminal charge of domestic terrorism, and suspects who are by definition considered domestic terrorists are charged under other laws, such as hate crime, gun and conspiracy statutes.

According to F.B.I. statistics, there have been eight mass shootings in the United States since 2017 in which the attackers espoused white supremacist views.

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

Shootings Spur Debate on Extremism and Guns, With Trump on Defense

The politics of American gun violence follow a predictable pattern in most cases: outraged calls for action from the left, somber gestures of sympathy from the right, a subdued presidential statement delivered from a prepared text — and then, in a matter of days or even hours, a national turning of the page to other matters.

But after a white supremacist gunman massacred 22 people in El Paso, the political world hurtled on Monday toward a more expansive, and potentially more turbulent, confrontation over racist extremism. Though the gun lobby was again on the defensive, it was not alone; so were social media companies and websites like 8chan that have become hives for toxic fantasies and violent ideas that have increasingly leaked into real life, with fatal consequences.

Perhaps most of all, President Trump faced intense new criticism and scrutiny for the plain echoes of his own rhetoric in the El Paso shooter’s anti-immigrant manifesto.

Mr. Trump’s usual methods of deflection sputtered on Monday: His early-morning tweets attacking the news media and calling vaguely for new background checks on gun purchasers did little to ease the political pressure. A midmorning statement he recited from the White House — condemning “white supremacy” and warning of internet-fueled extremism, but declining to address his own past language or call for stern new gun regulations — did nothing to quiet the chorus of censure from Mr. Trump’s political opponents and critics, who are demanding presidential accountability.

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

No statement better captured how the gun violence debate was giving way to a reckoning on extremism than a statement on Monday afternoon from former President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama, who has weighed in sparingly on public events since leaving office, called both for gun control and for an emphatic national rejection of racism and the people who stoke it.

“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments,” Mr. Obama wrote, “leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as subhuman, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”

Mr. Obama did not mention Mr. Trump or any other leaders by name.

The Democrats seeking the presidency in 2020 did not hesitate to do so: Mr. Trump had scarcely finished speaking from the White House on Monday when his Democratic challengers blamed him explicitly for giving succor to extremists. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president and current Democratic front-runner, accused Mr. Trump on Twitter of having used the presidency “to encourage and embolden white supremacy.” And in an interview with CNN, Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump had “just flat abandoned the theory that we are one people.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158911989_4d44fda9-e7c3-48bb-836d-cdd1ef70ecee-articleLarge Shootings Spur Debate on Extremism and Guns, With Trump on Defense Trump, Donald J Terrorism Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Obama, Barack mass shootings Fringe Groups and Movements

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, accused President Trump of having used the presidency “to encourage and embolden white supremacy.”CreditSandy Huffaker for The New York Times

Other political leaders reacted with their own raw distress and alarm. Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who has bankrolled a yearslong crusade for gun control, wrote in a column that the “new atrocities need to change the political dynamic” around guns, and said Mr. Trump’s remarks were little more than “the usual dodge.”

And Democratic presidential candidates rounded on Mr. Trump in a front that transcended ideological and tonal divisions in the party. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a populist liberal, said Mr. Trump must be held responsible for “amplifying these deadly ideologies,” while Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who has campaigned as an advocate for racial justice and national healing, derided Mr. Trump’s speech as a “bullshit soup of ineffective words” in a text message that his campaign manager posted on Twitter.

An aide to Mr. Booker said he would deliver a major speech on gun violence on Wednesday morning in South Carolina, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston where a white supremacist gunman killed nine people in 2015.

And the entwined issues of gun violence and racist extremism began to tumble into elections for offices well beyond the presidency. In Colorado, Mike Johnston, a former state lawmaker and gun-control advocate who is challenging Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican, blamed Mr. Trump for having “created this toxic culture that incites white nationalists.” In 2020, he said, candidates would have to make a stark binary choice.

“Either you’re on the side of the white nationalist holding the AR-15, or you’re on the side of the millions of Americans living in fear of them,” Mr. Johnston said in an interview.

Mr. Trump, for his part, said he was open to “bipartisan solutions” that would address gun violence, and blamed “the internet and social media” for spreading what he termed “sinister ideologies.” He was not specific about any next steps his administration would take, though he stressed his strong support for the death penalty and seemed to express skepticism that gun restrictions would be an appropriate remedy.

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump’s campaign responded to criticism of the president with a statement deploring Democrats for “politicizing a moment of national grief.”

Mr. Trump condemned “white supremacy” but declined to address his own past language or call for stern new gun regulations.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“The president clearly condemned racism, bigotry and white supremacy as he has repeatedly,” said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s campaign. “He also called for concrete steps to prevent such violent attacks in the future.”

Mr. Murtaugh added that “no one blamed Bernie Sanders” when one of his supporters attempted to kill a group of Republican lawmakers at a Virginia baseball diamond in 2017. “The responsibility for such horrific attacks,” he said, “lies ultimately with the people who carry them out.”

If Mr. Trump and his allies are adamant that he is blameless in the rise of extremist violence, much of the public believes he has not adequately separated himself from white supremacists. A survey published in March by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans — 56 percent — said Mr. Trump had done “too little to distance himself from white nationalist groups.” That group included about a quarter of people who identified themselves as Republicans or as leaning toward Mr. Trump’s party.

It has not only been liberals who have argued that the mass shooting in El Paso, and another one hours later in Dayton, Ohio, represented a crisis for the country, and a major test for Mr. Trump. The conservative magazine National Review published an editorial on Sunday evening calling on Americans and their government to take on “a murderous and resurgent ideology — white supremacy” in much the same way the government has confronted Islamic terrorism.

Mr. Trump, the magazine said, “should take the time to condemn these actions repeatedly and unambiguously, in both general and specific terms.”

Frank Keating, the former Republican governor of Oklahoma, who led his state through the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by domestic terrorists, said in an interview that the moment called for both new restrictions on firearms and a new tone from the White House. He urged Mr. Trump to “carefully choose your words” to avoid instilling fear or inciting anger.

“He needs to realize the lethality of his rhetoric,” Mr. Keating said.

“The truth is, the president is the secular pope,” he added, “and he needs to be a moral leader as well as a government leader, and to say that this must not occur again — exclamation mark.”

Democratic presidential candidates, including former Representative Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, blamed Mr. Trump for fueling extremists.CreditIvan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times

It was not clear whether the El Paso shooting had the potential to become a pivot point in national politics, much as the Oklahoma City bombing had in the 1990s. After that attack, which killed 168 people, President Bill Clinton delivered a searing speech against the “loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible” — a denunciation widely understood as being aimed at the extreme right. Mr. Clinton’s handling of the attack helped restore voters’ confidence in him as a strong leader after a shaky start to his presidency.

Mr. Trump has shown no inclination in the past to play a role of such clarifying moral leadership, or to engage in any kind of searching introspection about his own embrace of the politics of anger and racial division. In the aftermath of a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 that resulted in the murder of a young woman, Mr. Trump said there had been “very fine people on both sides” of the unrest there. In recent weeks, he has engaged without apology in a sequence of attacks on prominent members of racial minority groups, including five different Democratic members of Congress.

While few Republican lawmakers had anything critical to say about Mr. Trump in public after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the party harbors profound private anxieties about the impact of his conduct on the 2020 elections. During last year’s midterm elections, Mr. Trump campaigned insistently on a slashing message about illegal immigration, and was rewarded with a sweeping rejection of his party across the country’s diverse cities and prosperous suburbs.

Punctuating the final weeks of the 2018 elections were a pair of traumatic events that may have deepened voters’ feelings of dismay about the president’s violent language and appeals to racism: a failed wave of attempted bombings by a Trump supporter aimed at the president’s critics, and a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, carried out by a gunman who had railed about immigrant “invaders.”

Mr. Trump responded to the Pittsburgh massacre in a tone similar to the one he used on Monday, lamenting the “terrible, terrible thing, what’s going on with hate in our country,” before taking up his caustic message again on the campaign trail. He paid no price for that approach with his largely rural and white political base, which has remained fiercely supportive of his administration through all manner of adversity, error and scandal.

In the Democratic presidential race, the weekend of bloodshed had the effect of muting, at least temporarily, the divisions in the party that were showcased in last week’s debates. The outbreak of solidarity may not last, but it underscored how much the 2020 campaign is likely to take shape in reaction to Mr. Trump’s worldview and behavior.

Even as they aired their disagreements last week, some Democrats appeared to recognize that political reality. In fact, on the morning after his party’s back-to-back debates concluded, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State predicted to a reporter in Detroit that his party would have little difficulty rallying together in the 2020 election.

“We’ve got the most unifying gravitational force, outside of a black hole,” Mr. Inslee remarked, “and that’s a white nationalist in the White House.”

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

Trump Echoes ‘Fox & Friends’ on Shootings. The New York Post Dissents.

Westlake Legal Group 05SHOOTINGMEDIA-02-facebookJumbo Trump Echoes ‘Fox & Friends’ on Shootings. The New York Post Dissents. Trump, Donald J School Shootings and Armed Attacks Santorum, Rick News and News Media New York Post French, David A Fox&Friends (TV Program) Fox News Channel El Paso (Tex) DAYTON, Ohio CNN Bush, George Prescott

In linking this weekend’s mass shootings to “gruesome and grisly video games” and inadequate treatment of mental illness, President Trump echoed talking points that emerged from conservative media strongholds even before his Monday address from the White House.

In his remarks, Mr. Trump condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” though he did not propose any new gun control measures, in keeping with several right-wing personalities who declined to endorse weapons bans in the hours after the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 dead and scores wounded.

Mr. Trump’s public statements often mirror comments made by pundits on Fox News, and there were striking connections between his remarks on video games and mental illness and what the cable network’s commentators said on Monday.

Pete Hegseth, a guest host on the morning Fox News program “Fox & Friends,” said on Monday’s broadcast that video games “desensitize folks to the violence.”

Mr. Hegseth’s co-host Ainsley Earhardt agreed, adding: “There’s so many different factors, you don’t know. I mean, maybe a child’s born with something — mental illness.”

“It does come back to that a lot,” chimed in the third host, Steve Doocy.

A day earlier on Fox News, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the House minority leader, had made the same argument about the supposed role that video games played in mass shootings. A “Fox & Friends” guest on Sunday, Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, took a similar line.

One reliably pro-Trump outlet, The New York Post, took a different tack, urging Mr. Trump to take action with an editorial billboarded on the tabloid’s front page with the headline “BAN WEAPONS OF WAR.”

It was not the first time The Post had spoken out in favor of gun regulation. In the wake of the shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla., in February 2018, in a front-page editorial, the tabloid argued for an assault-weapons ban. The headline for that edition was “MR. PRESIDENT, PLEASE ACT.”

In a statement on Monday, a spokeswoman for the newspaper said: “The New York Post has a long history of advocating for gun control, and today’s editorial speaks for itself.”

Rupert Murdoch, the influential media tycoon who controls The Post — as well as Fox News — has made his views in favor of stricter gun control legislation known at least since 2012, when he weighed in from his personal Twitter account on the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

On “Fox & Friends” on Monday, however, Mr. Hegseth, whom Mr. Trump has considered for a post in his administration, took issue with The Post’s call to ban the sale of assault weapons in the United States. He suggested that shoppers at the El Paso Walmart where the shooting took place would have been better off if the store had not been a gun-free zone.

“This is Texas,” Mr. Hegseth said. “We would expect someone to immediately be shooting back. Well, not in a place where you’re told you can’t have a personal firearm. So it’s not as simple as saying, ‘Ban weapons of war.’”

Rick Santorum, a former senator and Republican presidential candidate, made a similar point about the perceived downsides of stricter gun control during an appearance on CNN on Sunday.

“They go to soft targets,” said Mr. Santorum, who is a regular CNN analyst. “So the whole point is, when you restrict guns to law-abiding people, you make more soft targets.”

Another conservative CNN pundit, David Urban, an adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, insisted that addressing mental illness was more crucial to stopping mass shootings than any gun control measure.

“These people are twisted,” he told the CNN anchor Jim Sciutto. “They’ll find ways around that.”

After noting that high-powered weapons “have been available” for decades, Mr. Urban added, “What has changed in American culture that makes people do what they’re doing today?”

The first law enforcement officer arrived at the scene of the El Paso massacre six minutes after the shooting started. In Dayton, where nine people were killed and more than two dozen were injured, the police shot and killed the assailant within one minute of the first gunshots.

Some conservative commentators focused on legislation pertaining to high-powered weaponry, but George P. Bush, a Republican who serves as the Texas land commissioner, highlighted the role played by white nationalists in mass shootings in his public statements on Sunday and in an article published on The Atlantic’s website on Monday.

In the article, headlined “White-Nationalist Terrorism Must Be Stopped,” Mr. Bush, the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, referred to recent testimony by the F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray, to argue that “most of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. are a consequence of white-nationalist terrorism.”

David French, a prominent “Never Trump” conservative who flirted with a presidential run in 2016, went further in an article on the website of the right-wing magazine National Review, blaming Mr. Trump and certain quarters of Fox News for giving comfort to white nationalists.

“Think of the thrills, energy and inspiration they’ve experienced from the highest office in the land — and from parts of the most popular cable network in the land — since Trump came down the escalator in 2015,” Mr. French wrote.

Outside the United States, many global news organizations focused on American racism and Mr. Trump.

In Australia, a headline for an opinion article in The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday declared, “US in the midst of a white nationalist terrorism crisis.” A column in the German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung argued that Mr. Trump “has not withdrawn the poison from the political climate of which he is a beneficiary, but has contributed to it becoming more and more widespread.”

People’s Daily, the main newspaper of China’s Communist Party, cited “controversial remarks allegedly inciting racial hatred” by Mr. Trump. Taiwan’s government-owned Central News Agency reported that his White House tenure had helped “promote the rationale of white nationalism.”

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

Trump Condemns White Supremacy but Stops Short on Major Gun Control

WASHINGTON — President Trump forcefully denounced white supremacy in the wake of twin mass shootings over the weekend, citing the threat of “racist hate” with no acknowledgment that his own anti-immigrant rhetoric has become part of a national debate.

“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”

But he stopped well short of endorsing the kind of broad gun control measures that activists and Democrats have sought for years, instead falling back on longtime Republican remedies, such as stronger action to address mental illness, violence in the media and violent video games.

He warned of “the perils of the internet and social media,” but offered no recognition of his own use of those platforms to promote his brand of divisive politics.

It seemed unlikely that Mr. Trump’s 10-minute remarks, coming after one of the most violent weekends in recent American history, would reposition him as a unifier when many Americans hold him responsible for inflaming racial division. He took no responsibility for the atmosphere of division, nor did he recognize his own reluctance to warn of the rise of white nationalism until now.

Speaking at a lectern beneath a portrait of George Washington in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room, Mr. Trump read from a prepared script on a teleprompter as he denounced the bilious anti-Hispanic online manifesto of a shooter in El Paso, Texas, who killed 22 people on Saturday as part of an “evil contagion” spreading online.

“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation and a crime against all of humanity,” Mr. Trump said of the massacre in El Paso and another in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday — at one point incorrectly referring to Toledo as the site of those killings. The Dayton shooter is not known to have had a political motive.

Between the two massacres, 31 people have now died.

Mr. Trump took no questions, and did not repeat his call on Twitter earlier in the morning for Republicans and Democrats to work together to strengthen background checks for prospective gun buyers.

That outraged Democratic leaders in Congress, who quickly accused Mr. Trump of retreating from more substantive action on gun control under political pressure.

“It took less than three hours for the president to back off his call for stronger background check legislation,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said in a statement. House Democrats passed such a measure in February, but the Republican-controlled Senate has not acted on it.

Mr. Trump’s first comments, made in early morning Twitter posts, set some gun control advocates up for disappointment.

In his somber remarks, Mr. Trump repeated his past endorsement of so-called “red flag” laws that would allow for the confiscation of firearms from people found to be mentally ill and said mental health laws should be changed to allow for the involuntary confinement of people at risk of committing violence. He gave no indication of how he would pursue any of his goals.

It was not immediately clear what other gun control proposals Mr. Trump was referring to on Twitter. The House passed back-to-back bills on firearms soon after it Democrats took control, voting in February to require background checks for all gun purchasers, including those at gun shows and on the internet, and to extend waiting periods for would-be gun purchasers flagged by the existing instant-check system. The Republican-controlled Senate has not acted on either measure.

Instead of focusing on measures to limit the sale of firearms, Mr. Trump ticked through a list of proposals that Republicans have long endorsed as alternatives. They include unspecified action to address “gruesome and grisly video games” and “a culture that celebrates violence.”

Mr. Trump also warned that the internet and social media provide “a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.” But the president has himself amplified right-wing voices online with histories of racism and bigotry. Shortly before the shooting began in El Paso on Saturday, Mr. Trump retweeted Katie Hopkins, a right-wing British political commentator who has said Islam “disgusts” her and has urged her fellow citizens to “arm ourselves” to “fight back” against foreign infiltration.

Mr. Trump also emphasized steps to better identify and respond to signs of mental illness that could lead to violence, repeating a familiar conservative formulation that de-emphasizes the significance of widely available firearms.

Westlake Legal Group white-extremist-active-shooter-promo-1564961964300-articleLarge-v2 Trump Condemns White Supremacy but Stops Short on Major Gun Control United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ohio Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides House of Representatives gun control El Paso (Tex)

White Extremist Ideology Drives Many Deadly Shootings

Active-shooter episodes in which the gunmen espoused white extremist beliefs were among the deadliest in recent years.

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Mr. Trump said. Calling mass shooters “mentally ill monsters,” he also said he was directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation calling for the death penalty for “those who commit hate crimes and mass murders.”

Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, praised what he called a shift in tone for the president. On a conference call with reporters, Mr. Toomey said he had spoken Monday morning to Mr. Trump and that the president also expressed “a very constructive willingness to engage on” the issue of expanded background checks, long championed by the senator.

Mr. Trump delivered the remarks at the White House after a weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where he was thinly staffed as the weekend’s news unfolded. Perusing the news in isolation, Mr. Trump tweeted several expressions of sympathy, along with more combative shots at the media and his liberal critics.

By Sunday night, when his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner joined him for his return to Washington, Mr. Trump’s aides recognized that he needed to do more. Some advisers suggested that background checks would be an easy, bipartisan measure to endorse, but Mr. Trump was uncertain. When early drafts of his remarks began circulating, they did not mention background checks or immigration, according to two people briefed on them.

So aides were startled to discover that the president, sitting in the White House residence, had posted a tweet linking the two issues.

In a small meeting with Mr. Trump in his residence ahead of the speech, several aides argued the linkage was a mistake, and the president dropped both the immigration idea and the call for background checks.

Gun control groups reacted sharply to Mr. Trump’s address.

“Let’s be clear: This is not about mental health, it’s not about video games, it’s not about movies. Those are all N.R.A. talking points. This is about easy access to guns,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group.

Mr. Trump has previously denounced racism with scripted marks that sounded out of tune with his typical rhetoric. After the killing of a counterprotester at a white power rally in Charlottesville, Va., two years ago, he called white supremacists “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

But those remarks followed earlier off-the-cuff comments by the president, who had been criticized for not more forcefully denouncing the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville organized by neo-Nazis. Instead he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Mr. Trump later declared that the event had “some very fine people on both sides.”

Aides said he was referring to nonviolent protesters defending southern heritage, and that he was angry the media had not paid more attention to left-wing Antifa activists who engaged in violence.

In March, after an avowed white supremacist killed 51 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand, Mr. Trump said he did not “really” see a rising threat from white nationalism. “It’s a small group of people,” he added.

The president has also previously declared himself a supporter of stronger gun control, only to retreat from the issue. After a gunman killed 17 at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last year, Mr. Trump startled Republican lawmakers that February when on live television, he appeared to embrace comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks, keep guns from mentally ill people and restrict gun sales for some young adults.

But he made little effort to follow through.

In Texas, law enforcement officials arrested Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Allen, Texas, which is about a 10-hour drive from the Walmart in El Paso where he opened fire on Saturday. In the manifesto, Mr. Crusius said he supported mass shootings in two New Zealand mosques.

The gunman in Dayton, Connor Betts, 24, fired on popular night-life spot with a high-capacity magazine that can hold 100 rounds of ammunition. Nine people were killed, including Mr. Betts’s sister.

Some of the Democrats campaigning for their party’s presidential nomination condemned Mr. Trump for not calling the El Paso attack a white supremacist act of domestic terrorism and blamed the White House for fueling white nationalist sentiment.

No federal agency is responsible for designating domestic terrorism organizations, as it has for international terrorism. Similarly, there is no criminal charge of domestic terrorism, and suspects who are by definition considered domestic terrorists are charged under other laws, such as hate crime, gun and conspiracy statutes.

According to F.B.I. statistics, there have been eight mass shootings in the United States since 2017, in which the shooters espoused white supremacist views.

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

Shootings Renew Debate Over How to Combat Domestic Terrorism

WASHINGTON — With President Trump pledging to give federal law enforcement authorities “whatever they need” to combat domestic terrorism, officials said containing threats from white supremacists and nationalists would require adopting the same type of broad and aggressive approach used to battle international extremism.

Even before the shootings this weekend in El Paso and Dayton, the F.B.I. was pressing for better coordination with local and state law enforcement agencies, new laws that expand the government’s power to investigate and prosecute domestic terrorism, and more resources to expand its surveillance operations. Federal authorities have also been calling for increased cooperation with technology companies in an effort to identify and stop domestic terrorists before they strike.

“We cannot deter ideologically motivated terrorists by prosecuting the ones who successfully carry out plots,” Rod J. Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, said in an email interview.

Mr. Rosenstein said that law enforcement needed to model its domestic terrorism response after the international counterterrorism efforts undertaken after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We need to catch them and incarcerate them before they act on their plans,” Mr. Rosenstein said. “We need to be proactive by identifying and disrupting potential terrorists before they strike, and we can accomplish that by monitoring terrorist propaganda and communications.”

But that type of approach would also be complicated by a number of issues touching on politics, civil liberties and business, officials and analysts said. One is the degree to which technology and communications companies, including the big social media platforms, would be willing to share more information about domestic customers with law enforcement agencies.

Another is how aggressively law enforcement agencies will be willing to pursue cases whose mix of race, identity and violence makes them politically volatile, especially during a presidential campaign in which Mr. Trump has invoked racist tropes and cast undocumented immigrants in disparaging and sometimes threatening terms.

“It’s important to note that the context is now different in a critical way,” said Matthew S. Axelrod, who served as the principal associate deputy attorney general during Barack Obama’s presidency. “During the Obama administration, it was crystal clear to all Americans that their president resolutely and unequivocally opposed white nationalism. That is distressingly no longer the case.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 05dc-supremacy2-articleLarge Shootings Renew Debate Over How to Combat Domestic Terrorism Wray, Christopher A United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Terrorism Rosenstein, Rod J Race and Ethnicity Obama, Barack Homeland Security Department Fringe Groups and Movements Federal Bureau of Investigation

The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray told Congress last month that the bureau had made about 90 domestic terrorism arrests in the first three quarters of the year.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

In his remarks at the White House on Monday, Mr. Trump forcefully denounced white supremacy in the wake of the twin mass shootings, citing the threat of “racist hate,” but he took no responsibility for the atmosphere of division in the country, nor did he acknowledge his own reluctance to warn of the rise of white nationalism until now.

The domestic terrorism threat has been growing for years. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, more Americans have died in domestic terrorist attacks than in international terrorist attacks. Last month, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, told Congress that the bureau had made about 90 domestic terrorism arrests in the first three quarters of the year, roughly the same number of international terrorism arrests during that period.

But domestic terrorism is increasingly motivated by white supremacist ideology, according to the F.B.I.

Heidi Beirich, the director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said all domestic terrorist attacks in 2018 had been by white supremacists. Not a single one had been by an Islamic extremist, she said, adding that it was the first time in many years that had been the case.

A senior F.B.I. official said technology was one of the biggest challenges in combating domestic terrorism, as white supremacists and other extremists continue to be radicalized online. On the internet, they can align with other radicals, become inspired and find the resources they need to act alone — a process that has also helped foreign extremists become terrorists.

Law enforcement officials acknowledge that federal and local agencies focused their counterterrorism efforts outside the country after Sept. 11, as agencies like the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. were overhauled to combat the rising threat of Al Qaeda.

As the international terrorism threat evolved to include more lone actors, radicalized online rather than in terrorist cells abroad, the F.B.I. sought to enlist technology companies in its efforts to combat the threat. International terrorists were using YouTube to find and indoctrinate recruits. They were sharing beheading videos on Twitter. And they were using an array of messaging apps to communicate, share intelligence, and provide support and advice for attackers who were willing to kill innocent civilians and give their lives in the process.

“Terrorists have been using U.S. technology providers for a long time because they expected that U.S. privacy laws would protect them,” said Jamil Jaffer, the executive director of the National Security Institute and an associate counsel to President George W. Bush.

But former Obama administration officials say that the technology companies often balked at giving the government information that could help thwart international terrorists. Administration officials regularly met with companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook to convince them that their platforms were harboring and fostering violent extremists, with mixed results.

F.B.I. agents at the scene of the shooting in El Paso. According to the bureau, domestic terrorism is increasingly motivated by white supremacist ideology.CreditIvan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times

While the government focused on the international threat, some members of the intelligence community continued to focus on the creeping rise in domestic terrorism that began after the 2008 financial crisis and the election of Mr. Obama, the first black president.

A decade ago, a Department of Homeland Security official, Daryl Johnson, produced an intelligence report saying that right-wing extremism was a rising terrorism threat. Some Republicans denounced the report, and Mr. Johnson has said that, under political pressure, work related to right-wing extremism came to a halt and his group at the department was disbanded.

In 2011, the Justice Department issued a strategy to empower and work with local law enforcement in the fight against violent extremism. In 2015, the Obama administration found that it still needed to prioritize countering violent extremism, better coordination across law enforcement, and clearer responsibility and accountability across agencies.

In January 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department started an initiative to combat violent extremism that was meant to address those gaps.

Attention to domestic terrorism stalled out again under the Trump administration. Last year, Mr. Wray began to publicly cite domestic terrorism, especially racially driven attacks, as a national security threat.

The F.B.I. and local law enforcement are somewhat hamstrung in going after domestic terrorists. No government agency is responsible for designating domestic terrorism organizations, and there is no criminal charge of domestic terrorism. Individuals who are considered domestic terrorists are charged under other existing laws like hate crime, gun and conspiracy statutes.

The First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to engage in hateful speech or be affiliated with hate groups.

“Not every bigot goes on to commit violence,” said Brian H. Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “They have a First Amendment right to express their odious views.”

The F.B.I. has been training social media companies to identify threats, but is further along in working with those companies to combat overseas terrorists than domestic terrorists, according to the F.B.I.

As white supremacist ideology and domestic terrorism become greater threats, the F.B.I. field office in Phoenix recently issued a report that said conspiracy theories — often with racial overtones and fueled by dissemination online — have become a growing national security threat as well.

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