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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin listens as President Trump speaks in Jerusalem in May.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin listens as President Trump speaks in Jerusalem in May. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump summed up a central reason for declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel — one of the most consequential and globally risky decisions of his presidency — in a single statement.

"While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver," he said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Wednesday. "Today, I am delivering."

The decision may have alarmed prime ministers, presidents, kings and their subjects around the world. But it fit neatly into Trump's political calculus and personal view of his mandate.

Donald Trump appears at a campaign rally last year. His son, Donald Trump Jr., is second from left.
Donald Trump appears at a campaign rally last year. His son, Donald Trump Jr., is second from left. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was left scratching his head after the House Intelligence Committee’s closed-door interview with Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday.

Trump Jr. claimed attorney-client privilege to avoid discussing a conversation with his father, said Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Why did he make that claim despite the fact that neither man is a lawyer? Schiff said it was because a lawyer happened to be in the room during the meeting.

(Alex Brandon / AP)

The White House said President Trump’s slurred speech at the end of his announcement about Jerusalem was no more than a case of dry mouth.

“His throat was dry. There’s nothing to it,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said when asked to explain why President Trump garbled “God bless the United States” at the end of his remarks on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing plans to build a U.S. Embassy in the disputed city.

Pressed on whether the slurred words might indicate any health concerns, Shah said: “I know what you’re getting at. I’m saying there’s nothing to it.”

Pilgrims attend 'fire' ceremony at Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Pilgrims attend 'fire' ceremony at Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Associated Press)

Heads and patriarchs of Christian churches in Jerusalem on Wednesday bemoaned President Trump’s decision to recognize the ancient city as Israel’s capital, and urged its international status be retained.

“We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land,” the leaders said in a letter to Trump, “moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division.”

Thirteen heads and patriarchs signed the letter. They represent various branches of the Christian faith, including Greek, Syrian and Armenian Orthodox churches; Episcopalians, Catholics and Lutherans.

(Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

Michael T. Flynn was helping a former business partner lay the groundwork for nuclear power plants in the Middle East, a plan that involved a partnership with Russia, despite his role as an advisor to President Trump, according to a purported whistleblower who provided an account to a leading Democrat in Congress. 

The whistleblower said Flynn sent text messages to Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners, from Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 to say the plan was “good to go.”

Copson said Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security advisor, had promised to end sanctions on Russia that had been imposed by former President Obama in retaliation for the country’s interference in last year’s election, the whistleblower said. 


President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv, upending decades of U.S. policy.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Trump said. “It is nothing more and nothing less than a recognition of reality.”

Trump’s decision, announced during a speech at the White House, makes good on an election campaign promise but quickly angered allies throughout Europe and the Arab world -- as well as the Palestinians, who seek to claim East Jerusalem as their capital in an eventual independent state.

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(Saul Loeb / AFP)

President Trump said a government shutdown "could happen" Saturday and wants any blame to fall on Democrats for refusing to agree to tougher immigration measures.

"It could happen,” Trump told reporters at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. “Democrats maybe will want to shut down this country because they want people flowing into our country,” Trump said.

Lawmakers have hit a stalemate on funding government agencies past Friday, when the current appropriation bills expire. Republicans have been trying to reach a stop-gap deal to fund the government to at least Dec. 22.

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (Michael Reynolds / EPA)

Democratic senators, starting with six women, demanded the resignation of Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday, as another woman surfaced to say that the Minnesota senator had kissed her against her wishes.

Within minutes of each other Wednesday morning, Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Claire McCaskill of Missouri forcefully called on their colleague to leave office.

Shortly after, several other Democratic senators joined the growing calls for Franken to step down. 

(Atef Safadi / EPA/Shutterstock)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted Wednesday that President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will not ruin efforts to find peace with the Palestinians.

“What I would encourage people to do: Listen carefully to the entirety of the speech, listen to the full content of the speech,” Tillerson said in a news conference in Brussels, where he is attending meetings with European allies — none of which recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The president is very committed to the Middle East peace process,” Tillerson continued. “He has a team he put into place. That team has been working very diligently. … We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved.”