Tag Archives: internal

Donald Trump chats to Vladimir Putin for third time in six weeks, as internal battles over Russia policy are exposed

Donald Trump chats to Vladimir Putin for third time in six weeks, as internal battles over Russia policy are exposedDonald Trump has conversed with Vladimir Putin for the third time in six weeks as the confusion at the heart of his administration over Russian policy was revealed in a report. The US president said the call was primarily about getting Russia’s co-operation on North Korea but added that Mr Putin made some “very nice” comments about his time in office.  It came as The Washington Post published a 7,000-word expose on the internal battles over Mr Trump’s Russia policy in the last year.  The paper reported that Mr Trump’s refusal to endorse the intelligence agencies' view that Russia hacked the election had undermined attempts to retaliate.  It said that some officials downplay information about Russia in intelligence briefings with the president for fear of triggering his ire.  Some aides have even adopted a “don’t walk that last 5 ½ feet” position, meaning do not enter the Oval Office amid fears Mr Trump could “erupt” or “overrule” decisions, it was reported.  Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr Trump again dubbed claims  he colluded with the Russians a “hoax” and said he wanted to “get back to running the country”.  The president also declined to rule out pardoning Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser charged with lying to the FBI over his conversations with the Russian ambassador.  Mr Trump called Mr Putin, the Russian prime minister, on Thursday to thank him for “acknowledging America’s strong economic performance” at a press conference.  It is the latest in a string of recent chats, including meeting in Asia in early November and discussing Syria in a lengthy call later that month.  Mr Trump’s first year in office has been overshadowed by questions about his campaign’s links to Russia, which are being looked into as part of an investigation into the country’s election meddling.  Since taking office, Mr Trump has made a series of contrasting comments about whether he believes the Russians were involved in disrupting last year’s election – as America's intelligence agencies have concluded.  In a lengthy piece based on interviews with more than 50 current and former US officials, The Washington Post revealed tensions at the very top of the administration over Russia. There has been no cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or how to hit back since Mr Trump took office, the paper reported, despite the seriousness of the accusations.  The targeting of the election was estimated to have cost the Russians just $ 500,000 (£375,000), according to estimates quoted in the report.  One unnamed source told the paper that if you mention Russian interference in Mr Trump’s daily intelligence briefing it goes “off the rails”. There has also been a battle over whether to return to Russian compounds in America that the US government seized as a punishment under Barack Obama.  Mr Trump’s supporters note that he has signed legislation bringing in new sanctions on Moscow and closed three Russian diplomatic facilities as proof he has not gone easy on the country.  Asked about his call to Mr Putin, Mr Trump said on Friday: “We would love to have his help on North Korea.  China is helping. Russia is not helping."  Asked if he would pardon Mr Flynn, Mr Trump said: "I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens.”



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MI5 launches internal probe over Manchester attack warnings

MI5 launches internal probe over Manchester attack warningsBritain’s MI5 intelligence service launched an internal inquiry on Monday into whether vital clues were missed in the run-up to the Manchester suicide bombing, as police arrested another man in connection with the attack. The developments come a week after 22-year-old Salman Abedi, a British-born university dropout of Libyan origin, detonated his device outside a pop concert by teen idol Ariana Grande, killing 22 people including six children under the age of 18. A 23-year-old man was arrested in the southern coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Manchester on Monday over the attack claimed by the Islamic State group.



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White House says 'Let Girl's Learn' Initiative' has not been changed despite internal documents

White House says 'Let Girl's Learn' Initiative' has not been changed despite internal documentsThe White House says there have been no changes to the “Let Girls Learn” Initiative. “There have been no changes to the program,” Kelly Love, a White House spokeswoman, told CNN, hours after the network reported on internal documents which stated that the stand-alone program would be shut down immediately. Statements from the Peace Corps and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to CNN and The Independent, respectively, indicated that the program would stop operating at full capacity, effective Monday.



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EPA's internal watchdog to check vulnerability to emission cheating

EPA's internal watchdog to check vulnerability to emission cheatingOn Thursday, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said carbon dioxide released by human activity is not a major cause of climate change, directly contradicting the scientific consensus. The day before that, however, the EPA’s internal watchdog announced plans to confirm the agency’s ability to do the job it’s charged with. The EPA Office of the Inspector General will look at whether the agency’s emissions tests are vulnerable to cheating, reports The Detroit News.



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