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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks about President Trump's response to Steve Bannon's comments about Donald Trump Jr. and his Russia meeting.

President Trump publicly — and scathingly — cut ties with Stephen Bannon, his former campaign executive and White House strategist, on Wednesday after it was reported that Bannon made disparaging comments about Trump and his family in a new book.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

Trump called Bannon, who led Trump’s presidential campaign for its final months and later served as a top White House advisor, “a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination.” 

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Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 14.
Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 14. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

Fusion GPS, the secretive consulting firm that produced a now-notorious dossier about Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, publicly pushed back Wednesday at what they called Republican misinformation about their work. 

“We’re extremely proud of our work to highlight Mr. Trump’s Russia ties. To have done so is our right under the First Amendment,” former journalists Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, founders of the company, wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Fusion GPS hired a former British intelligence officer to compile allegations about Trump, including some that were salacious and have not been verified. The effort was funded first by Republicans and later by Democrats.

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President Trump congratulates Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after Congress passed tax cuts in December. (Associated Press)
President Trump congratulates Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after Congress passed tax cuts in December. (Associated Press)

White House officials head to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for budget talks with congressional leaders ahead of a mid-January deadline to avert a federal shutdown that could imperil President Trump’s agenda.

But Democrats want to talk about more than funding levels, insisting on a legislative solution to protect immigrant “Dreamers” from deportation and other issues in exchange for helping the Republican majority pass the spending bill.

The afternoon meeting, expected to convene at House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office, resumes high-stakes negotiations that fizzled last year as both sides seek to use the Jan. 19 deadline for leverage.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Some of the harshest criticism of a Trump Tower meeting involving the president’s son and a Russian lawyer promising incriminating information about Hillary Clinton apparently came from Steve Bannon, according to a new book.

The book, written by Michael Wolff and obtained pre-publication by the Guardian, said Bannon, the president’s former White House strategist, described the meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. as “treasonous.”

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad ..., and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Bannon said. 

It’s a new year — happy! happy! — and being even-numbered that means elections across the country.

The political stakes, befitting the bigger-means-better Age of Trump, are considerably higher than usual.

For the first time in years, control of the House is seriously in play and, with it, the prospects for the latter half of Trump’s presidential term, which could bolster his record for reelection in 2020 or prove a death march through a slough of subpoenas and congressional torment.

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