Advertisement
1067 posts

President Trump kicked off his two-day visit with NATO allies by doing exactly what many of them feared, worsening tensions within the alliance by claiming that Germany, a bulwark of the transatlantic democratic order, "is totally controlled by" and "captive to Russia."

Trump, who often goes on the attack by accusing someone of behavior he has been accused of, irked allies last month by suggesting that Russia should be readmitted to the G-7, and is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. He began a series of meetings with NATO leaders here Wednesday by suggesting during a welcome breakfast that a natural gas pipeline project has made Germany subservient to Russia.

He did not name the project, but appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would transport Russian gas to Germany's Baltic coast and dramatically increase the amount of gas Russia is able to export directly to Germany. The U.S. and some European Union countries oppose the project.

Advertisement
President Trump attends a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, ahead of a NATO Summit on July 11.
President Trump attends a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, ahead of a NATO Summit on July 11. (Stephanie Lecocz / EPA/Shutterstock)

In a combative start to his NATO visit, President Donald Trump asserted Wednesday that a pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" and blasted NATO allies' defense spending, opening what was expected to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies.

Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany when the European nation is making deals with Russia.

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia," Trump said during a breakfast with Stoltenberg, his first event since arriving in Brussels. "We're supposed to protect you against Russia but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate."

Advertisement

In choosing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump went with a well-credentialed Washington insider who compiled a long record as a reliable conservative and won the respect of White House lawyers and the outside groups that advise them.

A group of asylum seekers waits to be processed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego.
A group of asylum seekers waits to be processed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego. (Alejandro Tamayo / San Diego Union-Tribune)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials attempted to rebut claims that they have been separating families at border ports of entry, saying Monday that the agency split only seven families out of 5,298 who presented themselves at legal international checkpoints from May to June.

“Separation at the ports of entry is very rare,” said Todd C. Owen, executive assistant commissioner of the agency’s office of field operations. “We are very judicious about the family unit.”

Owen said, however, that U.S. officials have been struggling to process asylum seekers because of a lack of temporary holding space at the nation’s 328 ports of entry. He also said the agency has been working with Mexican counterparts to hold families seeking asylum at shelters in Mexico instead of letting them wait on border bridges where they would be “exposed to the elements.”

Advertisement

A 30% U.S. tariff on imported solar panels put in place last winter should have caused prices here to jump.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on Sunday sought to downplay North Korea’s harsh complaints about U.S. demands and insisted that negotiations on Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament were making progress.

Narrowly outnumbered in the Senate, Democrats are embarking on a Hail Mary campaign to block President Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Advertisement
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions speaks during a Medal of Valor ceremony in the White House on Feb. 20.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions speaks during a Medal of Valor ceremony in the White House on Feb. 20. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)

The Trump administration is moving to rescind Obama-era guidance to colleges and universities on how they can use race in admissions decisions to promote diversity, according to an administration official.

The action, expected Tuesday afternoon, is likely to signal a shift toward advocacy of race-neutral admissions. The Supreme Court has upheld race-conscious admission practices as recently as 2016, but affirmative action in higher education remains a contentious issue.

In 2011 and 2016, the Obama administration's Justice and Education departments jointly spelled out for colleges their view of the law on the voluntary use of race in admissions.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. (Kris Tripplaar / TNS)

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to North Korea on Thursday to continue talks with Kim Jong Un’s government, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

Pompeo’s visit follows the historic summit between Kim and President Trump in Singapore in June. The secretary of State, who will be making his third trip to North Korea, will seek answers about Kim’s intentions after new intelligence suggested that his country has continued to ramp up its nuclear capabilities.

The trip represents the highest-level exchange between the two sides since Trump and Kim met and agreed to work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” without establishing a framework or guideposts for achieving that goal. Trump administration officials have deflected criticism of the agreement, describing it as the first step in a negotiated process to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.