President Trump listens during a meeting at the White House on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
President Trump listens during a meeting at the White House on Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

The White House has belatedly acknowledged that President Trump had a consequential phone conversation with the British prime minister — a day after the British government broke the news.

The White House statement neglected to address the most important takeaway from the conversation, namely that Prime Minister Theresa May has “deep concern” over Trump’s new trade proposals.

The statement released Monday morning notes only the leaders’ agreement on Russia’s role in the continued conflict in Syria and a handful of matters.

Editor's note: President Trump announced Thursday that hard-line conservative John Bolton would replace Army Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security advisor. This profile of Bolton was published May 1, 2005, when he served as ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush.

When John R. Bolton charged into the State Department in 2001 as President Bush's top arms control official, he thought of himself as a loyal Republican soldier on a mission into hostile political territory, according to friends and colleagues.


President Trump has dismissed his national security advisor, Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, who was brought in last year to bring order to the national security staff after the short, tumultuous reign of Michael Flynn.

McMaster will be replaced by John Bolton, a hard-line conservative who was ambassador to the United Nations during part of the George W. Bush administration.

Congress approved a $1.3-trillion spending bill after hours of wrangling and a flurry of unsuccessful Democratic efforts to force legislators to take up a measure to protect young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The vote — late Thursday morning for the House and early Friday for the Senate — came as legislators faced a Friday deadline for a government shutdown. It also came just hours after the release of the 2,232-page bill, meaning that few voting on the measure had a clear idea of what it included, as members openly admitted.


The morning after Democrat Conor Lamb's electoral upset in a Pennsylvania House district that backed Donald Trump by 20 points, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shrugged off questions about whether she was worried that the candidate had campaigned on a pledge to replace her.

"We won," said the ever-confident Pelosi. "I just wanted him to win."

House and Senate negotiators reached tentative agreement Wednesday on a $1.3-trillion bill that would boost both defense and domestic spending, but at the same time put off solutions to other contentious issues, such as the fate of young immigrants in the country illegally.

The announcement of the deal late Wednesday came two days before the federal government would have been forced to shut down. The House and Senate now face a narrow opening to approve the 2,232-page measure by Friday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on stage with The Times' Patt Morrison at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in January.
Former Vice President Joe Biden on stage with The Times' Patt Morrison at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in January. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Joe Biden started it. President Trump counter-punched. Even pro wrestling has more realistic plot lines than this.

Biden, the 75-year-old former vice president, retold a fantasy he’s had about exchanging fisticuffs with Trump over comments that the president made about women that emerged during the 2016 election campaign on the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” video.

"They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no,’” Biden said Wednesday during a sexual assault prevention event at the University of Miami. “I said, 'If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'"

Iran nuclear deal delegations Friday in Vienna
Iran nuclear deal delegations Friday in Vienna (AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. official working to save the Iran nuclear deal said Wednesday that he held “very constructive” talks with key European allies, but could not say whether it would satisfy President Trump, the chief critic of the disarmament accord.

Brian Hook, the State Department director for policy planning, said a round of talks in Vienna last week with diplomats from Germany, France, Britain and other signatories to the 2015 accord were aimed at fixing what Trump sees as major flaws.

The talks left several issues unresolved, Hook told reporters on a conference call.

The president and the porn star sounds like a twisted variant on a fairy tale, or one of those Hollywood rom-coms, or maybe something from the oeuvre of Stephanie Clifford.

Clifford, better known by her stage name, Stormy Daniels, is associated with such works as "Sex Door Neighbors," "Lust on the Prairie," "Calipornia" and "Operation: Desert Stormy."

Federal Reserve officials see a stronger U.S. economy and signaled Wednesday that would mean a slightly faster pace of interest rate hikes in coming years.

For the moment, they're sticking with plans for three small hikes in their benchmark interest rate this year while adding one more hike in 2019 than they had indicated in December.