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Trump to attend World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a gathering synonymous with wealth and power

The White House said on Jan. 9 that President Trump will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “to advance his America First agenda.” (Reuters)

President Trump will address the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this month, the White House said Tuesday, a startling decision that will bring the unorthodox U.S. leader face to face with global elites who have been Trump’s fierce critics and frequent foils.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump will use the forum to talk about his “America First” worldview. Trump has described the approach as the sensible prioritizing of American interests over those of other nations. His critics inside the United States and abroad call it a retreat from an American global leadership based on democratic principles.

“He welcomes the opportunity to go there and advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” Sanders told reporters.

She said details of the president’s attendance at the Jan. 23-to-26 gathering are being worked out, and it is not yet clear whether he will hold separate meetings with world leaders there. He does not expect to visit any other countries apart from Switzerland, Sanders said.

The surprise engagement, first reported by the New York Times, will place Trump among many of the world’s richest and most influential leaders in government, business and foreign policy.

Trump would be the first U.S. leader since President Bill Clinton to attend the Davos meeting. Its picturesque location in the Swiss Alps has long attracted some of the world’s wealthiest financiers, but it is also seen as a posh opportunity for leaders to interact with the world’s economic elite.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the Davos meeting in 2017, a first for a Chinese leader. Xi’s speech was praised as statesmanlike and a counterpoint to Trump’s criticism of international bodies and collective decision-making. Sanders said Xi’s attendance last year was not a factor in Trump’s decision to attend now.

The Davos announcement comes as Trump faces crucial decisions about where to take his economic agenda in the second year of his presidency. The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul package Congress passed last month has just gone into effect, something that he has promised will lead to an expansion of the U.S. economy and higher wages. But he is also mulling a number of controversial trade decisions, including whether to rework or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, a potential move that has many world leaders on edge.

President Trump signed $1.5 trillion tax bill into law on Dec. 22 in the Oval Office. (The Washington Post)

As an outsider presidential candidate in 2016, Trump railed about the erosion of U.S. jobs and what he called the trade giveaways that previous presidents had negotiated. Globalization was the enemy of American economic primacy, Trump argued, and the “rigged economy” that benefited those who needed the help the least was a symptom.

He directly blamed “powerful corporations, media elites and political dynasties.”

“I want you to imagine how much better our future can be if we declare independence from the elites who’ve led us to one financial and foreign policy disaster after another,” Trump said in a July 2016 economic speech in Pittsburgh.

Organizers of the glittery gathering in a Swiss mountain town say it is “committed to improving the state of the world.”

This year’s theme is “creating a shared future in a fractured world.”

“The global context has changed dramatically: Geostrategic fissures have re-emerged on multiple fronts with wide-ranging political, economic and social consequences,” the World Economic Forum website says in announcing this year’s meeting. “Realpolitik is no longer just a relic of the Cold War. Economic prosperity and social cohesion are not one and the same. The global commons cannot protect or heal itself.”

“Politically, new and divisive narratives are transforming governance,” it says, in a possible reference to the populist-influenced political shifts that helped propel Trump to victory in the 2016 presidential election and that are also coursing through European politics.

“Economically, policies are being formulated to preserve the benefits of global integration while limiting shared obligations such as sustainable development, inclusive growth and managing the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the statement continues. “Socially, citizens yearn for responsive leadership; yet, a collective purpose remains elusive despite ever-expanding social networks. All the while, the social contract between states and their citizens continues to erode.”

The Davos trip follows Trump’s messy falling-out with his former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who often ridiculed such international gatherings. Instead, Trump has shown a tendency in recent months to follow the advice of market-focused friends and advisers. This can be seen in last-minute changes he agreed to in the new tax law, which reduced taxes for the wealthy more than many were expecting.

It remains unclear whether Trump will show flashes of populism ahead of the midterm elections as he decides how to follow through on trade threats. Those decisions, which could affect the global flow of steel and aluminum, could come within weeks.

Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn was a frequent Davos attendee when he was a Wall Street banker. He skipped the gathering last year. Sanders said the delegation accompanying Trump is still a work in progress, but that some administration figures would be at the gathering for longer than Trump will stay. Cohn is likely to be among them.

“What the heck is Trump doing at Davos?” said MIT economist David Autor, who has been to Davos many times and is on several panels this year discussing his work on the impact of robots and trade on jobs. “Trump made fun of Davos. This is exactly the crowd he doesn’t want to talk to.”

Autor said he hopes Trump gets the message from business and global leaders at Davos that the more America withdraws from the world and pursues “America first” policies, “the vacuum that will be created will be filled by China.”

Heather Long contributed to this report.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/09/white-house-confirms-trump-to-attend-davos-gathering-synonymous-with-wealth-and-power/

Trump urges Congress to pass ‘bill of love’ to protect ‘dreamers’ but reiterates demand for border wall

President Trump at the White House on Thursday during a meeting with Senate Republicans to discuss immigration issues. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Trump declared Tuesday he wants Congress to pass a “bill of love” to protect younger undocumented immigrants from deportation, but he reiterated his demands for a border wall and cuts to legal immigration that Democrats have opposed.

Ahead of a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers at the White House, Trump challenged them to “put country before party” in his push to tighten border-control laws in exchange for providing legal status to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, a group known as “dreamers.”

“I really do believe Democrat and Republican, the people sitting in this room, really want to get something done,” Trump said.

Lawmakers in both parties have said they are waiting for the Trump White House to specify its demands before the negotiations can move forward. But at the meeting, Trump insisted he would support any deal that negotiators in Congress agree on.

“My position is going to be what the people in this room come up with,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for people on both sides. What I approve will be very much reliant on what people in this room come to me with. If they come to me with things not in love with I’m going to do it.”

Lawmakers are facing a March 5 deadline, set by Trump, before the bulk of nearly 700,000 work permits issued to the dreamers under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begin to expire in bulk. Trump terminated the program in September but gave lawmakers six months to develop a legislative solution.

But negotiators have been at an impasse over how to proceed. Democrats and some moderate Republicans are eying a Jan. 19 deadline for a must-pass government spending deal as leverage to get a deal done on DACA. But the talks are deadlocked over Trump’s demands for the wall and cuts to legal immigration, including ending a diversity visa lottery and ending what the president calls “chain migration,” the practice of Americans sponsoring extended family members for green cards.

Democrats have balked at accepting major new border security provisions, saying the administration’s call for $18 billion in funding for hundreds of miles of a border wall is costly and unnecessary at a time when illegal immigration levels have plummeted.

“Lives are hanging in the balance. We’ve got the time to do it,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), an original sponsor of legislation to legalize dreamers, said in the meeting with Trump.

At one point, Trump appeared to agree with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said Democrats are seeking a “clean” DACA bill without additional border security provisions. House Majority Leaders Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) then added quickly that Republicans want security included.

Trump also said he hoped to pursue a “comprehensive” immigration bill after lawmakers strike a deal on the dreamers. Comprehensive bills under former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush failed on Capitol Hill.

 

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/09/trump-urges-congress-to-pass-bill-of-love-to-protect-dreamers-but-reiterates-demand-for-border-wall/

Pence reschedules Middle East trip for late January, adds stop in Jordan

Vice President Pence greets people as he walks through the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on his way to the House of Representatives for the vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Dec. 19. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Vice President Pence’s office has announced new dates for his delayed trip to the Middle East: Jan. 19-23.

Pence was originally scheduled to travel the week before Christmas, but postponed the trip so he could remain in Washington in case his vote was needed to pass tax legislation. At the time, White House aides insisted the move had nothing to do with uproar in the region over the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Many U.S. allies disagreed with Trump’s decision, as no other country has its embassy in Jerusalem, under a long-standing international consensus the city’s status should be decided in a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Pence plans to leave Washington on Jan. 19 and arrive in Egypt on Jan. 20 to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. Pence will then travel to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II on Jan. 21, a meeting that was not on his original itinerary. Pence will then spend Jan. 22 and 23 in Israel, where he will participate in a bilateral discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and give a speech at the Knesset. While in Israel, Pence also plans to visit the Western Wall and Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

“At President Trump’s direction, the Vice President is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the U.S.’s allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” Pence’s press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement on Monday morning. “The Vice President is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel to discuss ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security.”

This trip, which has been in the works for months, was originally supposed to include meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and the pope of the Egyptian Coptic Church, who leads the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East. Pence had also planned to visit Bethlehem. After Trump announced on Dec. 6 that his administration had decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of U.S. policy, Abbas and others canceled their meetings. At the time, Abbas’s diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Abbas would not meet with Pence “because the U.S. has crossed red lines” with its decision on Jerusalem. Sissi has agreed to meet with Pence, despite the deep unpopularity of Trump’s decision.

Originally, Pence had planned to focus heavily on the persecution of Christians and religious minorities during his visit. Following the Jerusalem decision, the focus of the trip sharply shifted to rebuilding relationships in the region and on the collective problem of terrorism. In particular, Pence plans to make clear that Egypt continues to be an “incredibly important” partner in the region, according to aides. Ahead of the original trip last year, a senior administration official said the Trump administration understands “the Palestinians may need a cooling-off period,” and Pence did not plan to put any pressure on them during his trip.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/08/pence-reschedules-middle-east-trip-for-late-january-adds-stop-in-jordan/

White House adviser Stephen Miller calls Bannon an ‘angry, vindictive person’ over comments in Wolff book

Trump aides and administration members attacked Michael Wolff, his new book “Fire and Fury,” and Stephen K. Bannon on Jan. 7. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Stephen Miller, President Trump’s top policy adviser, on Sunday eviscerated former White House colleague Stephen K. Bannon over comments attributed to him in a new book, calling him an “angry, vindictive person” whose “grotesque comments are so out of touch with reality.”

Miller said the “whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments” in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a scathing tell-all by Michael Wolff that paints Trump as unprepared for the presidency and portrays his aides as concerned about his performance.

“It reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discredible author,” Miller told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The book is best understood as a work of poorly written fiction. The author is a garbage author of a garbage book. . . . The betrayal of the president in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him,” Miller continued.

Trump Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller on Wolff book: “The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction…The author is a garbage author of a garbage book” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/Uh8YHTxyYV https://t.co/8zEk9Myt8y

— CNN (@CNN) January 7, 2018

Shortly after Miller’s appearance on the show — which ended when Tapper abruptly cut him off, calling him “obsequious” and concerned only about “one viewer” — Trump tweeted about the “Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author.”

I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Wolff if he left out anything in the book that would have been favorable to Trump because it didn’t fit the narrative.

“If I left out anything it was probably stuff even more damning. It’s that bad,” Wolff responded. “It’s an extraordinary moment in time. The last several days focused on my book are proof of this. What happened here? What’s going on here?”

FULL INTERVIEW: Author @MichaelWolffNYC joins Chuck EXCLUSIVELY on #MTP to talk about his new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”https://t.co/fydLWbnDi9

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 7, 2018

 

Wolff went so far as to raise the specter of the 25th Amendment, in which a president’s Cabinet could attempt to remove him from office for being unable to perform his duties, although experts said that amendment was designed with the idea of a president being incapacitated by, for example, a coma.

“It is not an exaggeration or unreasonable to say this is 25th amendment kind of stuff,” Wolff said. Asked if folks in the White House talked about that possibility, he added: All the time. They would say… we’re not at 25th amend level yet. The 25th amendment concept is alive every day in the White House.”

But he added that the president’s aides refuse to confront him. “It’s how to look away, how not to confront,” he said. “It’s how to rationalize.”

“Read the book,” Wolff added, “and see if you don’t feel alarmed.”

Miller and Bannon were once thought to be kindred spirits — both hard-liners on immigration who sought to exploit Trump’s populist rhetoric to advance a nationalist agenda. But as Bannon began to lose favor in the West Wing, Miller reportedly realigned himself with a faction led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka Trump.

In his book, Wolff relied heavily on on-the-record interviews with Bannon, who was critical of other White House aides and Trump’s children. Bannon referred to a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russia lawyer at Trump Tower as “treasonous” and suggested that it was highly likely that Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting. That meeting has been scrutinized by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of his probe into the Trump campaign’s contact with Russian officials during the 2016 election.

Asked whether the president was aware of the meeting at the time, Miller said Bannon was not present and therefore “is not even a remotely credible source on any of it.”

Growing frustrated as Miller began evading questions and repeating his talking points, and glowing praise of Trump, Tapper cut him off early and went to a commercial. “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time,” Tapper said, as Miller attempted to keep talking.

“Welcome back to planet Earth,” Tapper said to viewers after the show returned. But Trump was eager for the last word.

Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018

 

Read more:

Michael Wolff tells a juicy tale in his new Trump book. But should we believe it?

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/07/white-house-adviser-stephen-miller-calls-bannon-an-angry-vindictive-person-over-comments-in-wolff-book/

Trump says he’s open to talks with North Korea, hopes rogue nation participates in Winter Olympics

President Trump told reporters at a news conference at Camp David Jan. 6 that he would be willing to speak to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by phone. (The Washington Post)

President Trump on Saturday said he remains open to direct talks with North Korea’s regime over its nuclear program and added that he hopes the rogue Asian nation participates in the Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea next month.

“Sure, I always believe in talking,” Trump said during a news conference at Camp David, where he was meeting with Republican congressional leaders over the GOP’s 2018 agenda. “But we have a very firm stance. … But I absolutely would do that.”

Asked if he has no prerequisites to bilateral talks — past U.S. presidents have demanded the North be committed to denuclearization — Trump said Pyongyang knows that he is “not messing around” in his past statements that he will protect the United States and its allies against attacks from the North.

“At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and a very good solution. … If something happens and something comes out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all humanity, it would be a great thing for all the world,” Trump said.

The president’s remarks come amid mounting concerns that rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula could escalate into a military confrontation.

Trump has engaged in a continuing war of words with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over the countries’ nuclear arsenals. Trump recently tweeted that his nuclear button is “much bigger & more powerful” than Kim’s, after the North’s leader boasted about having a button on his desk at the ready.

Even as he seemed to offer an opening to Pyongyang, the president appeared to suggest he remains ready to use military force if necessary: “You have to be prepared to do certain things and I’m totally prepared to do them.”

North Korea said it would reopen a border hotline with South Korea Jan. 3, hours after President Trump said he has a “bigger” nuclear button than Kim Jong Un. (Reuters)

Trump has vacillated between threats and offers of talks. Last spring he said he’d be open to talks, but then shifted course after North Korea continued its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and after Otto Warmbier, an American college student, died several days after his release from 17 months in captivity in the North.

Trump on Saturday took credit for Kim’s recent overture to South Korea; the two nations spoke through a secure communications hotline and agreed to talks over the Olympics and other issues.

“Right now, they’re talking Olympics; it’s a start, a big start,” Trump said. “If I was not involved, they would not be talking Olympics right now.”

Trump, who agreed in a talk with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to halt joint military exercises through the Olympics, said of the North that he would “like to see them get involved in the Olympics and things will go from there. … I’d love to see them take it beyond the Olympics.”

Trump added that his tough talk of being willing to use military force against the North “is not a stance; it’s what has to be done, if it has to be done.”

South Korea welcomed an offer of talks by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ahead of February’s Pyeongchang Olympics, but analysts say the Kim regime is looking to fulfill its own agenda. (Jason Aldag,Simon Denyer/The Washington Post)

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/06/trump-says-hes-open-to-talks-with-north-korea-hopes-rogue-nation-participates-in-winter-olympics/

Trump boasts that he’s ‘like, really smart’ and a ‘very stable genius’ amid questions over his mental fitness

Stephen K. Bannon isn’t the only person offering a candid assessment about the Trump administration in the upcoming book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

President Trump lashed out again at a new book that suggests top White House aides fear that he is unfit for the job, calling the book “a work of fiction” and declaring that libel laws are too weak.

“It’s a disgrace that he can do something like this,” Trump said of the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by New York media writer Michael Wolff. “Libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen.”

Trump’s remarks, during which he referred to Wolff as a “fraud,” came during a brief news conference at Camp David where he is meeting with Republicans leaders to plot the GOP agenda for 2018.

 

In a tweetstorm Saturday morning ahead of the news conference, the president called himself a “very stable genius” and called being “really smart” one of his greatest assets. Trump cited his career in business and reality television and his victory in last year’s election as evidence of his mental prowess. And he again lashed out at the ongoing special counsel investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives, calling suggestions that he colluded with Moscow a “total hoax on the American public.”

Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

 

….to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

Trump’s outburst came a day after the public release of the book by Wolff, who said he spent time in the West Wing interviewing top aides, as well as Trump. Wolff said he spent a total of three hours talking with Trump during the campaign and after Trump became president, but White House aides said Wolff spoke to Trump only once by phone for about five to seven minutes after he assumed office.

Conservatives are taking sides after President Trump criticized his former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon for unflattering comments in a new book. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Wolff paints the picture of a president who is unfit for the job and aides who come to fear Trump is not capable of, or interested in, processing information and making important decisions. Late Friday, Trump blasted Wolff as a “total loser,” and the president mocked his former campaign chairman and former White House adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, who was a key source for the book. Bannon criticized other aides and Trump’s son, calling a meeting at Trump Tower last year between Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”

Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad! https://t.co/mEeUhk5ZV9

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018

White House aides have mounted an all-out attack on the book since it was first reported on Wednesday, calling it “fiction” and a “complete fantasy.” And Trump’s lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to Wolff and his publisher demanding they not release the book. But the publisher, Henry Holt, moved up the release date from later this month to Friday amid the publicity, and hard copies were quickly sold out in the Washington area.

At Camp David, Trump said Wolff, who has said he has a relationship with Trump, “does not know me at all.”

“By the way, he did not interview me,” Trump said, though he then said Wolff interviewed him once “a long time ago” about for magazine story.

Trump also criticized Wolff’s past reporting, including a book about News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

The president said Bannon gave Wolff the most access. “I guess ‘Sloppy Steve’ brought him into the White House a lot,” Trump said of Bannon, who left the White House under pressure in August. “That’s why Sloppy Steve is looking for a job.”

Reporters asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday to respond to the book’s suggestion that Trump is mentally unfit for office.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Jan. 4 said the tell-all book by Michael Wolff is “complete fantasy.” (Reuters)

“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said. “If he was unfit, he probably wouldn’t be sitting there and wouldn’t have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen.  This is an incredibly strong and good leader.  That’s why we’ve had such a successful 2017 and why we’re going to continue to do great things as we move forward in this administration.”

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/06/trump-boasts-that-hes-like-really-smart-and-a-very-stable-genius-amid-questions-over-his-mental-fitness/

Trump calls for ‘bipartisan’ immigration deal for ‘dreamers’ but reiterates demand for border wall

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders outlined President Trump’s priorities on immigration reform on Jan. 4. (Reuters)

President Trump on Thursday called on Congress to deliver a bipartisan deal to ensure that some younger undocumented immigrants can remain in the country without fear of deportation, but he maintained his demand for a border wall and cuts to legal immigration channels that Democrats have opposed.

“I think it can be bipartisan,” Trump said at the White House ahead of a meeting with Republican senators on immigration. “I hope it can be bipartisan. It can take care of a lot of problems; it would be really nice to do it in a bipartisan way.”

Lawmakers are facing a March 5 deadline to pass legislation to help the dreamers, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, after Trump announced in September he would terminate an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that has provided two-year work permits to hundreds of thousands of them. Nearly 700,000 dreamers had been enrolled in the program and, after March 5, nearly 1,000 per day will lose their work permits unless Congress acts.

Democrats are pushing to complete a deal on DACA by Jan. 19, when lawmaker face another deadline to secure a funding bill to keep the government open. Some Republicans, however, have resisted tying the two issues together.

“If we have support from Democrats on DACA that would be terrific,” Trump said. But the president emphasized that “any legislation on DACA must secure our border with a wall. It must give our immigration officers the resources they need to stop illegal immigration.”

He also reiterated previous calls to end a diversity visa lottery that provides 50,000 green cards a year to immigrants from countries with low immigration rates to the United States. “The lottery system has to be laughed at by people outside our country,” Trump said.

After the meeting at the White House, two Republican senators, Thom Tillis (N.C.) and James Lankford (Okla.) said in a joint statement that the lawmakers and Trump are “on the same page when it comes to security our borders once and for all and providing long-term certainty for DACA youth.”

However, the senators added that “our discussions on border security and enforcement with Democrats are much further apart, and that is key to getting a bipartisan deal on DACA. Until that happens, we cannot accomplish the solutions our country needs and many families deserve.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would play host to a bipartisan group of Congress members next week to continue the immigration negotiations.

Immigrant rights groups, including those that represent dreamers, have called for a “clean” DACA bill that is not attached to the spending bill and does not contain other border security provisions. Congressional Democrats have signaled they are open to some security measures, but they have steadfastly refused to support Trump’s border wall, saying such a barrier is costly and unnecessary at a time when illegal crossings at the Mexican border are at records lows. Some moderate Republicans are also wary of supporting a wall.

Among the GOP senators meeting with Trump was Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who has been supportive of immigration reform efforts that offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Trump, in his remarks, said Graham “used to be a great enemy of mine; now he’s a great friend.”

“We’re working with Democrats,” Trump added. “We’re moving across the aisle. I think we have a lot of support. But we’ll soon see. I’d like to take care of DACA, but only under these conditions.”

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/04/trump-calls-for-bipartisan-immigration-deal-for-dreamers-but-reiterates-demand-for-border-wall/

Trump on Bannon compliment: ‘He changed his tune pretty quick’

President Trump talks to Stephen K. Bannon, right, and Jared Kushner during a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff members at the White House in Washington on Jan. 22, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

President Trump spoke publicly Thursday about his nasty feud with former senior aide Stephen K. Bannon, noting that the Breitbart News executive had praised him on a radio show a night earlier.

“He called me a ‘great man’ last night,” Trump told reporters at the White House, ahead of a meeting with Republican senators on immigration. “He obviously changed his tune pretty quick.”

Bannon delivered the compliment Wednesday evening on “Breitbart News Tonight,” which is broadcast on Sirius XM Radio, during which he also emphasized that he supports Trump “day in and day out.” His remarks appeared to be an effort to ratchet down tensions with the president in the wake of a new book in which Bannon was sharply critical of some Trump aides and family members.

Trump had lashed out at Bannon earlier Wednesday, saying his former campaign chairman had “lost his mind” and accusing him of leaking sensitive White House information. Among other things, Bannon called a Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”

Trump aides also criticized the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff, calling it fiction. The president’s personal lawyers served cease-and-desist letters to Wolff and his publisher in an effort to stop release of the tell-all.

In his remarks at the White House, Trump insisted that he no longer communicates with Bannon, who left the White House under pressure in August. Last month, Bannon said in a television interview that he regularly spoke with Trump.

“I don’t talk to him. That’s just a misnomer,” Trump said.

Asked by reporters for her opinion of the book as she entered the Capitol on Thursday, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump smiled, laughed at first and said, “I think the president has made his point of view very clear and that the White House agrees with him.”

She walked away without taking other questions.

Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/04/trump-on-bannon-compliment-he-changed-his-tune-pretty-quick/

Trump making plans to attend Georgia-Alabama college football championship

President Trump points to guests at the conclusion of a Dec. 20 White House event to celebrate Congress passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump is reportedly making plans to attend the college football national championship game between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama on Monday night in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that local law enforcement is working with the Secret Service to prepare for Trump’s arrival at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. First lady Melania Trump also is expected to attend the game. A White House official did not contest the report, although the plans have not been finalized.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened the daily briefing by offering Trump’s congratulations to the two teams for their semifinal victories. Both schools, she noted, are “in the heart of Trump country.”

Republican Donald Trump won Alabama by 30 points and Georgia by 5 over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election. But Trump experienced an embarrassing political defeat last month when Republican Roy Moore, whom the president had endorsed, lost to Democrat Doug Jones in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. Jones was sworn into office Wednesday.

The Atlanta newspaper reported that Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, who hails from Georgia, would attend the game with the Trumps.

Since taking office, Trump has not attended any college sports events and, aside from visits to two professional golf tournaments, has not watched professional games in person. In October, Pence walked out of an NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers after some 49ers took a knee during the national anthem as part of an ongoing protest over police brutality.

Trump has railed against the NFL and the players who have protested, calling their act an insult to the country.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/03/trump-making-plans-to-attend-georgia-alabama-college-football-championship/

Former DHS secretaries Chertoff, Napolitano and Johnson warn Congress over ‘dreamers’ deadline

A woman holds up a sign in support of the Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, during a rally outside the White House in August. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

A trio of bipartisan former Homeland Security secretaries is warning Congress that time is quickly running out for a legislative solution to protect nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers” from possible deportation.

President Trump has set a March 5 deadline for Congress to act before the bulk of work permits provided under an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) begin to expire. The Trump administration announced the termination of the program in September, calling it unconstitutional because President Barack Obama established the program through executive authority to shield immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

Now, Michael Chertoff, who headed the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, and Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson, who served under Obama, are warning lawmakers that they must strike a deal this month or risk running out of time. Even if Congress were to act this month, they cautioned, it would mean a massive undertaking for DHS to be able to launch a new administrative program to accommodate dreamers who are eligible to seek permanent legal status.

“The realistic deadline for successfully establishing a Dreamers program in time to prevent large-scale loss of work authorization and deportation protection is only weeks away,” the former secretaries wrote in a two-page letter Wednesday.

The GOP is starting 2018 with a lofty legislative agenda. Here are ten of its top priorities this year. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

The letter comes as White House officials travel to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders to continue negotiations over the fate of the DACA program and an impasse over the federal budget. Lawmakers face a Jan. 19 deadline to pass a spending resolution to keep the government open, and some are suggesting that a DACA fix should be included. But it’s not clear what conditions Trump, who has said a deal on the dreamers is predicated on building a border wall and curbing legal immigration, is demanding to support such an agreement.

Napolitano was the architect of DACA, bringing the concept to the Obama White House in early 2012 as she sought ways to streamline an ever-growing backlog of immigration cases. Under the program, which Obama announced in June of that year, those who meet the criteria are provided renewable, two-year work permits allowing them to remain in the country without fear of deportation.

In 2015, Obama and Johnson attempted to create a similar program for millions of undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens, but a federal judge in Texas blocked it after Texas and 25 other states sued, calling it unconstitutional.

In their letter, the former Homeland Security secretaries noted that it took DHS 90 days to create the initial DACA program and that a 45-day timeline between mid-January and the March 5 deadline set by Trump would be a tight window for the agency to create a new administrative program.

Such a shortened timeline “is very aggressive, but should be seen as an actual best-case deadline based on our collective experience with these administrative and security requirements,” they wrote.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2018/01/03/former-dhs-secretaries-chertoff-napolitano-and-johnson-warn-trump-over-dreamers-deadline/