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President Trump threw a wrench Monday into long-stalled regional trade talks, saying that Mexico and Canada could avoid planned new tariffs on aluminum and steel if they agreed to make concessions to Washington in negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump has frequently threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if its two pact partners don’t accede to U.S. demands for a more favorable deal.

But on Monday, the president suggested that Canada and Mexico could avoid the tariffs if they made concessions in negotiations to rewrite the almost quarter-century-old agreement. The three sides wrapped up the seventh round of talks in Mexico City on Monday with little progress on the key sticking points.

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) at the Capitol in January.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) at the Capitol in January. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi announced Monday that he will resign effective April 1.

Cochran, who has appeared increasingly feeble in recent years, said in a statement released by his office that his health “has become an ongoing challenge.”

“I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate,” said Cochran, who is 80.

  • Congress
In a file photo, President Trump talks to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan during a meeting at the White House
In a file photo, President Trump talks to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan during a meeting at the White House (Associated Press)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan publicly broke with President Trump on Monday, the latest Republican to call on the president to reverse his planned imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that many fear could set off a trade war.

“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” said AshLee Strong, Ryan’s spokeswoman. “The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardize those gains.”

Trump stunned Congress last week when, without apparent consultation with members of his staff, Republican leaders or trading partners, he announced that he would impose 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% penalties on aluminum imports.

(Associated Press)

For years, lobbyists treated the Foreign Agent Registration Act the same way some drivers treat speed limits — not something to worry about if there isn’t a speed trap around the corner.

Most people registering as advocates for foreign governments or political parties didn’t bother to file their paperwork on time, according to the Department of Justice’s inspector general. Some didn’t register at all.

But that’s changing now that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is prosecuting violations. Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, is facing charges of undisclosed lobbying on behalf of Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin government. 

President Trump listens during a meeting at the White House on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
President Trump listens during a meeting at the White House on Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

The White House has belatedly acknowledged that President Trump had a consequential phone conversation with the British prime minister — a day after the British government broke the news.

The White House statement neglected to address the most important takeaway from the conversation, namely that Prime Minister Theresa May has “deep concern” over Trump’s new trade proposals.

The statement released Monday morning notes only the leaders’ agreement on Russia’s role in the continued conflict in Syria and a handful of matters.


As President Trump appears to lurch from crisis to crisis on the world stage, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have quietly maneuvered to constrain an impulsive commander in chief, the latest sign of a national security team that is increasingly challenging the president.

(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

It may be hard to remember, but there was a time when the National Rifle Assn. was a bipartisan organization.

During the 1992 election cycle, the NRA contributed 37% of its congressional campaign donations to Democrats. Republicans got the lion's share — 63% of the $1.8 million the group gave that year — but it was not as if the NRA was a pseudo-wing of the party.

By 2016, that had all changed.

(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Authorities said a man shot himself to death outside the White House on Saturday.

District of Columbia police said in a tweet that an "adult male has been declared deceased. We are working to notify next of kin."

That tweet came about two hours after the Secret Service reported that it was responding to reports of gunfire along the White House's north fence.

Former White House aide Rob Porter, right, follows Chief of Staff John Kelly, front, and economic advisor Gary Cohn off Air Force One.
Former White House aide Rob Porter, right, follows Chief of Staff John Kelly, front, and economic advisor Gary Cohn off Air Force One. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly sought again Friday to defend his role in handling the ouster of Rob Porter, who remained in President Trump’s inner circle at the White House for months after notifications from the FBI that Porter’s two ex-wives had accused him of spousal abuse.

“We didn’t cover ourselves in glory in terms of how we handled that,” Kelly told reporters Friday, referring to days of conflicting statements from the White House after Porter resigned on Feb. 6. “It was confusing.”

But Kelly insisted that his overall conduct was appropriate, and that he never considered resigning over the episode, as some media reports had suggested.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana last month
The U.S. Embassy in Havana last month (Alejandro Ernesto / EP/Shutterstock)

The Trump administration Friday ordered a permanent reduction in U.S. personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, the most significant step yet in reversing former President Obama’s efforts to restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba.

In response to a string of mysterious ailments reported by two dozen American officials or their relatives stationed in Havana, the State Department last year ordered a temporary transfer out of Cuba of most key personnel and their families.

Friday’s order makes the staff reduction permanent by declaring Havana an “unaccompanied post,” meaning no families are permitted, and by assigning only “the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions.” The statement did not give a number, but it’s believed to be fewer than 30, the same size as the skeleton staff that has been working in the mission since the first departures were ordered.