Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington:
- Senate leaders will bring up Obamacare fix if Trump endorses it
- Virginia gubernatorial race is a test for Trump, GOP establishment
- Video of congresswoman's speech raises questions about Kelly's criticism
- White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly says he urged President Trump not to call Gold Star families
Four female U.S. senators shared stories of sexual harassment Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press.”
Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) told stories of crude comments by colleagues or co-workers trying to touch them.
The interviews came on the heels of a social media outcry that sprung up following allegations of sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Actress Alyssa Milano requested on Twitter that women tell their stories of sexual harassment or assault with the hashtag #MeToo, and variations have taken hold in countries around the world.
"The first women who started the "me, too" campaign were incredibly brave," Warren said. "And they inspired the next wave. And in turn, they inspired the next wave and the next wave and the next wave. That's how we make real change."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he's waiting to hear if President Trump will support a proposed bipartisan healthcare fix before bringing the measure up for a vote.
The plan to fix parts of the Affordable Care Act and stabilize health insurance markets is backed by 12 Republican and 48 Democratic senators. It would reinstate federal payments to insurers that Trump cut off this month, offering millions of Americans some relief from rising premiums and shaky insurance markets. It would also give states some new flexibility to offer cheaper, less generous health plans.
"If there is a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the president will actually sign," McConnell (R-Ky.) said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And I'm not certain yet what the president is looking for here, but I'll be happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it."
Trump has given conflicting signals on whether he will support the compromise worked out by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, and the committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the plan, with the support of 60 senators, should be brought up immediately. "We should pass it and pass it now," Schumer said.
President Trump tweeted Saturday morning that pending more information, he plans to allow the release of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Several media outlets had reported in recent days that White House officials expected the president to block the release of thousands of classified files as security agencies voiced concerns that sensitive documents could be included if the full trove of more than 3,000 files is released.
The tweet didn't specify whether the president intends to allow all, or just some, of the information to become public, and he stipulates that the decision is "subject to the receipt of further information."
The White House clarified later in the day with an unattributed statement that "the President believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise."
In an effort to stamp down conspiracy theories, Congress passed the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act in 1992 to hold the files from public release for 25 years. Trump has until Oct. 26 to block the files' release, otherwise they are scheduled to be made public by the National Archives.
12:22 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from the White House. It was originally published at 6:14 a.m.
The U.S. ambassador in Niger did not deny support for a U.S. Special Forces unit that lost four soldiers in a deadly ambush on the border between Mali and Niger on Oct. 4, the State Department said Friday.
The Times reported Thursday that the ambassador had resisisted U.S. military requests for more drones or other surveillance aircraft and additional military medical support in Niger during the weeks and months leading up to the attack.
"Did the ambassador in Niger deny support or protection for military personnel involved in the attack? No," a State Department spokesman said in a statement.
The U.S. Special Forces unit was part of a broader mission run by U.S. Africa Command to train Nigerien units to counter Islamic State and Al Qaeda-linked groups trying to gain a foothold in the region. The attack is currently being investigated by the U.S. military and the FBI.
"As required by the president, the embassy and U.S. AFRICOM continuously engage to address security threats to all U.S. government personnel and operations," the spokesman said. "This close cooperation ensures activities are coordinated, effective and sustainable. The president directs that disagreements, which are rare, are quickly referred to the secretary of Defense and secretary of State for immediate resolution," the official said.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Friday that the Republican tax overhaul will include a fourth bracket for the wealthiest Americans to ensure that high earners don’t benefit more than the middle class.
The bracket would be “designed to make sure we don’t have a big drop in income tax rates for high-income people,” Ryan (R-Wis.), told “CBS This Morning.” Ryan didn’t say what the tax rate or income level would be for the fourth bracket in the Republican plan.
The outline of the tax plan released last month by the White House and top congressional Republicans called for reducing the current seven individual tax brackets to three, with the top rate declining to 35% from 39.6%.
In 2017, the top bracket applied to income of more than $418,400 for individuals and $470,700 for couples filing jointly.
A decade before Donald Trump upended national politics, Ed Gillespie was among the establishment Republicans counseling his party’s candidates to tread gently on the issue of immigration or risk ruination by alienating Latinos.
Now he is Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor, sounding remarkably like Trump as he speaks from a hay bale-laden stage at the Washington County Fairgrounds in southwest Virginia. The president won 75% of the vote in this part of the state, and Gillespie is trying to prove that an establishment Republican still can succeed under the shadow of Trump.
“Do we need to have sanctuary cities here in Virginia?” Gillespie asked the crowd, raising an issue he has highlighted in ads that feature heavily tattooed Latinos and threats of menacing gangs.
“No, we don’t!” the crowd shouted back, and he added firmly: “No, we don’t.”
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, in criticizing Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, misrepresented a 2015 speech she made at the opening of a new FBI building, an exclusive South Florida Sun Sentinel video of her speech shows.
Kelly made the comments at the White House on Thursday while discussing President Trump’s conversations with the families of four U.S. soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month.
Kelly chastized Wilson for listening in on the conversation between Trump and the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson. Wilson was in a car with the widow and Johnson’s mother going to the airport for the arrival of Johnson’s body, and the call was placed on speakerphone.
Kelly then continued his criticism of Wilson, mentioning the 2015 dedication of an FBI building in Miramar, Fla., where he said she focused her speech on asserting that she “got the money” for the building, a sum, he said, of $20 million.
Wilson said Kelly’s comment was a fabrication, that she wasn’t even a member of Congress when the funding for the building was approved. A Sun Sentinel video of the event supports Wilson’s version of events.
Wilson did take credit for securing approval just days before the dedication of naming the building in honor of two slain FBI agents.
House Speaker Paul Ryan took the mike at the annual Alfred E. Smith charity dinner -- and had more than a few zingers. Here are some of the shots he took:
President Trump praised Senate Republicans — giving an unusually upbeat shout-out to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — for passage of a GOP budget that sets the stage for tax reform.
Along with Trump's tweets, the White House issued a statement in which the president "applauds the Senate for passing its FY 2018 Budget Resolution" and "taking an important step in advancing the administration’s pro-growth and pro-jobs legislative agenda."
The proposed budget adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the decade to pay for Trump's tax cuts. It was approved on an essentially party-line vote, 51-49, late Thursday with one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, joining all Democrats in opposition.
Paul rejected the party's argument that a tax-cuts package, which is still a work in progress, will more than pay for itself by spurring economic growth that will produce more revenue.
"I will fight for the biggest, boldest tax cut we can pass, but I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps," the libertarian-leaning senator said.
The measure now must be reconciled with a House version.
In seven days, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ role for the Women's Convention in Detroit went from a primary speaker to a panelist to not attending at all.
Sanders said he can’t attend the event because he’ll be in Puerto Rico to survey the devastating damage from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island about a month ago.
“I want to apologize to the organizers of the Women’s Convention for not being able to attend your conference next Friday,” Sanders said in a statement. “Given the emergency situation in Puerto Rico, I will be traveling there to visit with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and other officials to determine the best way forward to deal with the devastation the island is experiencing.”
Instead, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) will give an opening speech at the convention, which is the first national Women’s Convention in 40 years. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (-L.A.) also will speak at the event.
The gathering, scheduled for Oct. 27-29 at Cobo Center, is expected to attract more than 3,000 people and aims to take on social injustice and uphold the feminist nonviolent resistance principles of the Women’s March, which is organizing the event.
When the Trump administration chose E. Scott Lloyd, a prominent antiabortion activist and attorney, to head the federal agency that oversees refugee affairs, he quickly set about enforcing strict policies.
For months, even as he personally intervened in cases and tried to talk young women out of getting abortions, his efforts drew little attention.
The case of a 17-year-old pregnant girl in an immigration detention center in Texas has suddenly changed that.
On Friday, a federal appellate panel in Washington is scheduled to hear arguments in a case brought by the girl, called Jane Doe to shield her identity, to force Lloyd’s office to allow her to have an abortion. The dispute could be an important early test of both abortion rights and the treatment of immigrants in custody in the Trump era.
Doe was pregnant when she crossed the border in September as an unaccompanied minor. Since then, she has been detained in a shelter in Texas. Lloyd, who has campaigned against abortion since his days as a law student at Catholic University, has denied her requests to leave the shelter to obtain an abortion, according to court papers.
Barack Obama returned to the campaign stage on Thursday to denounce the politics practiced by his successor as president, Donald Trump, as unbefitting a nation yearning for unity rather than division.
Speaking in New Jersey and Virginia on behalf of Democratic candidates for governor in next month’s off-year elections, Obama never mentioned Trump’s name in his first political activities since leaving office.
But his indictment of his replacement — and his defense of his own eight years as president — was by turns angry and somber, and clearly targeted at the White House.
In an extraordinary — albeit veiled — attack, former President George W. Bush delivered a scathing assessment Thursday of President Trump and his policies, suggesting he has promoted bigotry and falsehoods to the detriment of the country and its values.
Speaking at a policy seminar in New York, the nation’s 43rd president never mentioned Trump by name. But his target was unmistakable.
“We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said. “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism.”
“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children,” he said at another point. “The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”
The remarks were an exceptional breach of the protocol governing post-presidential behavior — be seen and rarely heard — and were especially striking coming from Bush. He has gone to great lengths to ignore repeated provocations from Trump, who savaged the former president’s younger brother Jeb in the 2016 campaign and often assailed the Bush administration.
President Trump met with Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen at the White House on Thursday as he neared a decision on who will lead the central bank after her first four-year term ends in February.
Yellen, 71, a Democrat nominated to the job by former President Obama, is one of five candidates and was the last to meet with Trump, a White House official said.
Trump told reporters this week he was nearing a decision on a job that could have a major influence on his efforts to boost economic growth by reshaping the world’s most powerful central bank.
“I would say within those five you'll probably get the answer,” Trump said Tuesday. “And I'll be making the decision over the next fairly short period of time.”
President Trump is heading to Capitol Hill next week for lunch with Senate Republicans as Congress struggles to push ahead on its next priority -- tax reform.
Trump was invited by the No. 4 Republican leader, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who organizes the weekly lunches.
Barrasso is also among those senators being targeted for a possible primary challenge by Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House advisor who has pledged a "war" on the Republican establishment he views as insufficiently supportive of Trump's policies.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Thursday gave an emotional defense of Trump's calls to the families of soldiers killed earlier this month in Niger, and assailed a Democratic congresswoman who was among the president's chief critics.
Kelly said he was “stunned” and “broken hearted” to see a member of Congress, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, describing Trump's conversation with the widow of Stg. La David T. Johnson, one of four U.S. soldiers who died in an Oct. 4 ambush in the West Africa country.
Wilson, a friend and mentor to the Johnson family, was with Myeshia Johnson in a car when the widow took Trump's call, and heard him on a speakerphone. Wilson later described Trump's message as insensitive for suggesting the sergeant knew what he was getting into when he joined the Army.
In the call to Johnson's widow, Trump was echoing words that Kelly had suggested, the chief of staff told reporters at the White House. Kelly lost a son in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan in 2010.
Before Trump placed the calls, the president had asked what to say, and Kelly recounted for him what Kelly's best friend had said when Kelly's son, Lt. Robert Kelly, had died. The friend said the young man at the moment of his death was doing exactly what he wanted to do, that he knew what he was getting into and that he was surrounded by the “best men on earth” when he died.
“That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day,” Kelly said. “In his way, he tried to express that.”