President Trump denied on Tuesday that his administration had been slow to respond to Puerto Rico's hurricane devastation because he'd been distracted by his five-day feud with protesting NFL players.
At a news conference in the Rose Garden with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey of Spain, Trump repeatedly said Puerto Rican officials had praised his administration's efforts. Those same officials have begged for more assistance to the island, which suffered grievous damage earlier this month from Hurricane Maria, after a near-hit from Hurricane Irma.
On his favorite communications platform, Twitter, Trump had not mentioned Puerto Rico from Sept. 20 until Monday night. In the interim, he had written dozens of tweets, many on his criticisms of NFL players who kneel during the pre-game rendition of the national anthem to protest police brutality toward African Americans.
Republican political consultant Roger Stone testified Tuesday to a House committee investigating whether President Trump's aides had improper contacts with Moscow during last year's campaign.
Stone later denied to reporters that he had cooperated with Russian agents or operatives during the race, and said he knew of no one else who did so either.
"I am aware of no evidence whatsoever of collusion by the Russian state or anyone in the Trump campaign," Stone said after he had appeared for nearly three hours in a closed-door session of the House Intelligence Committee.
The Pentagon's top uniformed officer said Tuesday that he believes gender identity is not a credible reason to discharge transgender service members from the military, an opinion that puts him odds with President Trump.
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he has advised the White House to keep any troops who have served "with honor and value" and will continue to provide that advice.
"I would say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve," he said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) on Tuesday knelt on the House floor in solidarity with protests by NFL players against police brutality.
"There is no basis in the 1st Amendment that says that you cannot kneel for the national anthem or in front of the flag," Jackson said, citing the text of the amendment.
"I kneel in honor of the 1st Amendment. I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom. I kneel because I'm going to stand against racism. I kneel because I will stand with those young men, and I'll stand with our soldiers, and I'll stand with America, because I kneel."
"I kneel in honor of the First Amendment," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee kneels on the House floor in solidarity with NFL players pic.twitter.com/2UwjAygx9R
Tightening pressure on nuclear-armed North Korea and its allies, the Trump administration on Tuesday announced another round of economic sanctions against Pyongyang, blacklisting banks and individuals in several countries.
Even as the administration stepped up the economic pressure, President Trump repeated his warnings of possible military action.
“Not a preferred option,” he told reporters. “But if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea.”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke walked into a big gathering of the National Petroleum Council on Monday already facing at least two government probes for his management of the department’s workforce of 70,000 — but that didn’t stop him from bashing his employees.
Zinke told the gathering that he figured upon taking his post that nearly a third of the people at the department were disloyal. The comment may have shed light on the secretary's reasons for directing department officials to reassign approximately 50 top managers in June, as soon as the move may have been legally permissible.
Several of the managers interviewed by The Times said they were puzzled by the directives, which sent them to corners of the agency where they had no expertise. At least one has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit.
President Donald Trump says he'll visit hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico next Tuesday.
Trump announced the visit after the administration came under criticism for its response to the damage on the island that is home to more than 3 million U.S. citizens. The island has been coping with shortages of food, drinking water, electricity and various forms of communication after Hurricane Maria struck earlier this month.
Trump said Tuesday is the earliest he can visit without disrupting recovery operations.