In spite of a daily barrage of Twitter attacks from President Trump, the White House press secretary said Wednesday that Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions should “stay focused” on performing his duties as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
“You can be disappointed in someone and still want someone to continue to do their job,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday, hours after Trump criticized Sessions for the third straight day – this time for not replacing acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters, but the relationship has turned icy as Trump continues to seethe about Sessions’ decision to step aside from supervising the investigation into alleged Russian interference with last year’s election.
President Trump surprised even the Pentagon on Wednesday morning by his unexpected announcement, via Twitter, of a ban on transgender service members.
The military has not had a chance to decide how to put such a ban into effect, acknowledged Trump's top spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as she fielded numerous questions on the topic later from White House reporters.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was on vacation, wasn't informed until Tuesday that Trump had decided to bar transgender service members from serving in any way.
Retired Gen. Elazar Stern was stupefied when a reporter from Israel Army Radio called Wednesday to ask for his reaction to President Trump’s series of tweets about banning the service of transgender military personnel.
“What?” Stern asked. “Why?”
“It makes us strong that we don't waste time on questions like this," said Stern, the former commander of the Israel Defense Forces Manpower Command. "It’s something to be proud of."
The Trump administration hit Venezuela with a new round of economic sanctions Wednesday in a bid to discourage President Nicolas Maduro from rewriting his nation's constitution, which U.S. officials said could doom Venezuela's democracy.
The sanctions target 13 current and former civilian and military officials, including the heads of several police agencies and the electoral board.
They represent the third round of sanctions for Venezuela in the six months of the Trump presidency in what one administration official called the "steady drumbeat" of efforts to put pressure on Maduro.
Russian officials expressed anger and frustration Wednesday at the new sanctions bill passed Tuesday in the House of Representatives, calling the proposal a devastating step in already fragile Russia-U.S. relations.
“The situation is highly worrisome,” said Konstantin Kosachev, a Russian senator in the upper house of parliament and the chair of that body’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
“We will have to get used to the new situation when we don't have any major reasons left to build relations with the U.S.,” he said at a press conference in Moscow.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was discharged from the hospital Tuesday, six weeks after he was shot at a congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Va.
Scalise and four other people were injured when a gunman opened fire at the practice. U.S. Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman.
"Congressman Steve Scalise has made excellent progress in his recovery from a life-threatening gunshot wound six weeks ago," according to a statement from MedStar Washington Hospital Center released by Scalise's office.
Scalise will begin an "intensive" inpatient rehabilitation, the statement said. "He is in good spirits and is looking forward to his return to work once he completes rehabilitation."
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry was the butt of a practical joke this month after two Russian comedians engaged him in a 22-minute phone call in which Perry was led to believe that he was speaking to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.
During the conversation, Perry discussed supplying coal to Ukraine, whose own supplies have been cut because of the conflict in its eastern regions, where Russia-backed rebels control large swaths of coal-rich territory.
President Trump ratcheted up pressure on Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to fire the acting FBI director, who has been a periodic target of conservative attacks.
In two tweets Wednesday morning, Trump criticized Sessions for not replacing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife ran for office in Virginia as a Democrat in 2015 and received contributions from the state Democratic Party.
"Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe," Trump wrote.
Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got....