339 posts
  • Russia
Eastern Syrian city of Dair Alzour as government forces battle Islamic State in early November.
Eastern Syrian city of Dair Alzour as government forces battle Islamic State in early November. (AFP / Getty Images)

The U.S. is nearing agreement with Russia on establishing additional ceasefire zones in Syria, a key step to finally resolving that country's brutal civil war.

Some officials had suggested agreement could be announced in a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of Friday's Asia summit in Vietnam. Moscow announced the meeting would take place, but the White House has said no "formal" encounter is planned.

Nevertheless, State Department officials said that as the battle in Syria shifts from fighting the largely defeated Islamic State, more attention is focusing on the festering civil war and post-war reconstruction. Russia backs the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad while the U.S. at least nominally  supports an armed opposition.

(AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that the mass arrests in Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are a matter of concern and should be watched carefully for broader repercussions throughout the region.

Tillerson, speaking to reporters onboard a flight from Beijing to Vietnam as part of President Trump's Asia tour, struck a more cautionary note than his boss, who has expressed unconditional support for the de facto Saudi leader.

Tillerson told reporters he had spoken to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, who allayed some of his concerns, but added: "How disruptive it’s going to be remains to be seen."

Senate candidate Roy Moore in Montgomery, Ala., in September.
Senate candidate Roy Moore in Montgomery, Ala., in September. (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

President Trump, under pressure to respond to an allegation that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore nearly four decades ago molested a 14-year-old girl, issued a noncommital statement through his press secretary Friday.

“Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. "However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."

Sanders said Trump, on his way to address a summit of Pacific Rim nations in Vietnam, wanted to "remain focused on representing our country on his historic trip to Asia."

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP/Getty Images)

The White House announced Friday that President Trump would not hold an official meeting with Vladimir Putin on Friday, though Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said an informal pull-aside is "certainly possible and likely." 

Any meeting with Putin could attract unwanted attention to a White House that is dealing with the intensifying investigation over potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Trump said on his way to Asia last week that he "expected" to meet with the Russian leader during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit\in Vietnam. A Putin aide told Russian media that the meeting was confirmed.

  • Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the headquarters of the "Russia Today" television channel in Moscow in 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the headquarters of the "Russia Today" television channel in Moscow in 2013. (Yuri Kochetkov / Pool Photo)

Russia said Thursday it could begin next week to take measures against U.S. media outlets working in Russia in retaliation for a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to make the Kremlin-funded RT news agency register as a foreign agent.

The Justice Department set a deadline of Nov. 13 for RT to register as a foreign agency based on accusations that the Russian government-funded cable news network and website was a Kremlin propaganda outlet. The decision came in the wake of investigations into Kremlin attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

RT’s chief editor, Margarita Simonyan, said the outlet would register by the deadline but planned to challenge the decision in a U.S. court. Failure to register could result in the seizure of RT’s U.S. bank accounts and the arrest of the senior editor, Simonyan told Russian news outlets.

  • Congress
  • Taxes
  • Economy

A House committee voted along party lines Thursday to approve the Republicans' sweeping tax overhaul bill -- with some last-minute changes -- a crucial step toward seeking the chamber's full passage by Thanksgiving.

"Americans deserve a new tax code for a new era of prosperity, and today we deliver," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committte.

The panel's approval by a 24-16 vote came as the Senate unveiled its own version of tax legislation that contains the same centerpiece -- a large cut in the corporate rate -- but has significant differences that will have to be worked out in the coming weeks.

Roy Moore, the conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, was accused Thursday of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor.

The explosive allegation, in a Washington Post report, comes against one of the GOP's most outspoken Christian conservatives less than five weeks before a special election that Moore is favored to win despite his long history of inflammatory rhetoric.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if the allegation is true, Moore "must step aside."


Large numbers of Americans signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act  in the first days of this year’s open enrollment period, according to new federal figures that show Americans flocking to insurance despite the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on the healthcare law.

In the first four days of the 2018 enrollment period -- which began Nov. 1 -- more than 600,000 people selected health plans through the insurance marketplace, which serves residents of 39 states.

That represents a daily average of more than 150,000 signups, outpacing the beginning of last year’s open enrollment period under the Obama administration, when an average of 84,000 people a day signed up through the first 12 days.

  • Congress
(AFP/Getty Images)

Another House committee chairman is planning to retire.

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a 13-term congressman from Virginia.

In a statement Thursday, he says it's "the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the 6th District."