Trade

Trump Hedges on $5 Billion for Border Wall on Day of Meeting With Schumer, Pelosi
President hints at military construction of barrier, which could be problematic legally

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just before a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders on border security funding, President Donald Trump appeared to soften his demand for $5 billion in construction funds for his southern border wall proposal.

in a series of tweets, the president sought to build a case that portions of fencing and levee wall already built or in the works on his watch have successfully increased border security to a degree, even without the money he wants. And in a subsequent tweet, Trump foreshadows “some important announcements” in his administration’s trade talks with China; if true, any positive headlines of those talks could be drowned out by an ugly partial government shutdown that Trump likely would be blamed for.

Ahead of Meeting With Democratic Leaders, Trump Repeats False Wall Claim
President to meet with Schumer and Pelosi to talk border wall funding

President Donald Trump said Democrats have resisted border security for political reasons and because they have been “pulled so far left.” (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, just hours ahead of a key meeting on the issue with Democratic leaders, made an impassioned plea for his southern border wall — and repeated another partially false claim.

The commander in chief claimed that “large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country” have ceased in Central America because of “our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military.”

Harvard Tradition Agitates Democrats’ Left Wing
Number of lobbyists, not identifying some as such, at orientation for incoming Democrats draws criticism

New York Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the many corporate interests present at the Harvard Bipartisanship Orientation for New Members. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A prestigious, 50-year-old orientation for new members of Congress at Harvard University predicated on the virtues of bipartisanship and civility has drawn intense criticism this week for the presence of lobbyists and business executives — evidence of the growing influence of the left wing of the Democratic Party that has abstained from corporate PAC money.

Most incoming members of Congress attend the storied Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday. Since 1972, the Harvard Institute of Politics has hosted more than 700 current and former representatives, according to the school’s website.

Retiring Kansas Lawmaker Opens Lobbying Shop While Still in Office
Watchdogs say Lynn Jenkins’ new business flouts ethics laws

Retiring Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., shown here with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., has raised the ire of ethics watchdogs for opening a lobbying firm before she finishes her term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins launched a new lobbying firm in her home state weeks before she officially steps out of public office, according to a local media report published Friday.

Lawmakers are restricted from working as lobbyists until they have been out of office for a year. But the federal law that restricts their activities is porous, and former lawmakers routinely find ways to trade their influence before the prohibition expires.

Three Takeaways as Trump Picks Former Fox Anchor for UN Envoy Post
President makes clear he’s running foreign policy, wants salesperson in New York

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (center) speaks with staff, including spokeswoman Heather Nauert, President Trump's pick for UN ambassador, during a G-20 summit last week in Argentina. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha / Public Domain via Flickr)

By selecting State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert as his next UN ambassador, President Donald Trump has further consolidated his control of America’s foreign policy.

“Heather Nauert will be nominated for the ambassador to the United Nations,” Trump told reporters on his way to Marine One on Friday.

A Naive Letter From Fledging House Democrats
Politicians play their linguistic shell games — and the public loses

Walter Shapiro writes that linguistic sleight of hand is a popular trick on the Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — An enduring Washington truth: When a politician uses multiple clauses in a sentence, the opening words are camouflage soon to be contradicted by what comes later.

Here are a few typical examples of this rhetorical shell game:

Markets Tumble Again But White House Not Guaranteeing China Deal
‘We'll see,’ President Trump's top economic adviser says of tricky talks

The flags of China and the United States are displayed in front of the portrait of China’s late communist leader, Mao Zedong, outside the Forbidden City on Nov. 9, 2017 in Beijing, before President Trump’s state visit. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images file photo)

U.S. markets plunged again Thursday amid doubts the Trump administration and China can strike a legitimate trade deal that would avoid an escalation of tensions and economic turbulence as the White House urges patience — and few guarantees of success.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ and S&P 500 Index all were closed Wednesday as part of a national day of mourning for the late President George H.W. Bush following a Tuesday sell off. But the one-day break did little to calm spooked markets.

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy Doubts Trump’s Optimistic Claims on China Trade Talks
Democratic lawmaker just isn’t buying president’s contention of a big win

President Donald Trump greets the press as the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, shows the way to a meeting during a G-20 summit last week. (Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images file photo)

Hours after threatening “major tariffs” on Chinese goods unless a new trade deal is reached, President Trump on Wednesday claimed his administration is hearing “very strong signals being sent by China.”

But one Democratic senator, Connecticut’s Christopher S. Murphy, isn’t buying it.

Final Farm Bill Would Make Hemp Legal, Other Details Revealed
Lying in state of George H.W. Bush disrupts bill release schedule

Corn grows on a farm on July 13, 2018 near Amana, Iowa. Farmers in Iowa and the rest of the country, who are already faced with decade-low profits, are bracing for the impact a trade war with China may have on their bottom line going forward. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The top House Agriculture Democrat says a final farm bill agreement rejects controversial House provisions to tie food stamp benefits to expanded work requirements, greenlights hemp cultivation and tweaks programs important to farmers and ranchers.

The death of former President George H.W. Bush and his lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda disrupted congressional schedules this week, including the release of a final farm bill. Lawmakers have spent weeks negotiating to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation.  

Trump Threatens ‘Major Tariffs’ Against China if Trade Pact Falters
Tweet demands a ‘REAL DEAL’

President Donald Trump is threatening to charge major tariffs against Chinese products if a final trade pact isn’t reached. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump again Tuesday threatened “major Tariffs”  on Chinese products shipped to the United States if his administration fails to strike a final trade pact with Beijing.