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  • Congress
  • Budget

President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal — with its eye-popping nearly $1 trillion annual deficit — brought swift, muted reaction from Capitol Hill, where neither Republicans nor Democrats saw much to like.

White House budgets are intended to serve as more of a blueprint for presidential priorities than a funding document. That allowed Republicans who have railed against red ink for the past decade laregly keep quiet about Trump’s $4.3-trillion proposal.

Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, the Republican chairman of the Budget Committee, reminded reporters that it is only the “first step” in the annual budget process that will ultimately be decided by Congress.

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An Obamacare sign used by UniVista Insurance in Miami to sell health plans.
An Obamacare sign used by UniVista Insurance in Miami to sell health plans. (Getty Images)

Even as prospects for a new Republican push to roll back the Affordable Care Act remain dim, the White House is doubling down on the repeal effort, calling for massive cuts to healthcare assistance in its 2019 budget.

The budget blueprint – which lays out a host of Trump administration healthcare proposals – outlines nearly $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade to Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor.

And it would slash almost $700 billion in federal healthcare spending that helps low- and moderate-income Americans who rely on insurance marketplaces created by the 2010 healthcare law, often called Obamacare.

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(AFP / Getty Images)

Ignoring warnings from diplomats and even a powerful GOP-controlled Senate committee, the Trump administration went ahead Monday with drastic cuts to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, the two most important arms of American diplomacy.

The budget unveiled by the White House allots $39.3 billion for the department of about 24,000 foreign and civil service employees and USAID — down from about $55 billion last year.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had embraced the cuts when the White House first proposed them, and was met with steep criticism from the foreign policy establishment and numerous members of Congress. The Senate Appropriations Committee last fall said the reductions “serve only to weaken America’s standing in the world.”

  • Russia
(Mkadeb Antonov / AFP/Getty Images)

Street names, apparently, are not immune to the diplomatic tit-for-tat between Moscow and Washington.

Moscow’s city government announced Monday that it will consider a request from a Russian parliament member to change the postal address of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to 1 North American Dead-end.

The name change request seems to be retaliation for Washington’s announcement last month that it would name part of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy Nemtsov Plaza after slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Billboard in Cairo shows President Abdel Fattah Sisi
Billboard in Cairo shows President Abdel Fattah Sisi (AFP / Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson started a Middle East tour Monday in Cairo, where he declined to publicly criticize Egyptian officials who have arrested or disqualified several opposition candidates for elections scheduled in March.

“We have always advocated for free and fair elections, transparent elections, not just for Egypt but in any country,” Tillerson told reporters after meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

He ignored a second question about whether the United States would consider withholding military aid if the presidential elections do not meet standards for fairness and transparency.

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Donald Trump long thought the phrase “Drain the Swamp” was a little hokey, he has confessed to crowds. Yet it stayed. If Frank Sinatra had to croon “My Way,” even when he tired of it, Trump reasoned aloud, Trump could belt out his crowd-pleasing catchphrase.

(Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press)

President Trump appeared to question the #MeToo movement on Saturday, writing on Twitter that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

The tweet came a day after Trump had expressed support and sympathy for Rob Porter, his former aide accused of spousal abuse, and twice mentioned that Porter says he’s innocent.

Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. He denies the allegations.

(Jim Watson / AFP)

President Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he wants Democratic lawmakers to “re-do” a classified memo about government surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor before it is released.

Trump refused on Friday to approve the release of the 10-page memo written by Democratic minority members of the House Intelligence Committee.

The document aims to refute Republican claims that the FBI surveillance of Carter Page was politically motivated, even though the counter-intelligence warrants were renewed three times by different judges over the course of a year.

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Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, left, appears with Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and Associate Atty. Gen. Rachel Brand.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, left, appears with Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and Associate Atty. Gen. Rachel Brand. (Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

The No. 3 official in the Justice Department is resigning to take a job in the private sector, another high-profile departure from a department under relentless pressure from the White House.

Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general, will leave her job after less than nine months to take an unspecified private sector job, the department announced on Friday.

Ordinarily a low-profile position, that job potentially put Brand next in line to oversee the special counsel investigation, after Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein – who has become a target of increasing attacks from right-wing Republicans.

  • White House
  • Russia
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump met with key law enforcement figures Friday and will “respond soon” to a request to declassify a Democratic memo related to the probe and surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate, according to his spokesman.

Raj Shah, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement released Friday afternoon that Trump had met with FBI Director Andrew McCabe, top officials from the Justice Department and White House Counsel’s office “to discuss the memorandum from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and receive their input.”

“The President is weighing his options and will respond soon,” Shah added.