Top News Stories for Today – February 10, 2017
Trump holds 2-day summit with Abe
US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begin two days of talks Friday that provide both leaders with opportunities to reinforce a long-established security treaty and bolster their economic relationship. Trump and Abe will hold talks in the Oval Office Friday morning followed by a midday news conference. The two leaders will then fly to Palm Beach, Florida for a weekend stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
It will be the most time Trump will have spent with a foreign leader since he became president on January 20. It will be Trump’s second face-to-face meeting with a key ally after hosting British Prime Minister Theresa May two weeks ago. VOA
Canada town taking refugees from USA
A small town in rural southern Manitoba says it is hopeful help is coming to assist with an influx of refugee claimants. The municipality of Emerson-Franklin is preparing for more people crossing illegally at the Canada-US border. They had 22 border jumpers cross last weekend. The town of some 700 people, near a major interstate highway, has been struggling with growing numbers of asylum seekers over the past two years.
While the new US President, Donald Trump, has made a hardline stance on immigration a key policy, north of the border is very different. Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau made global headlines for accepting nearly 40,000 refugees, and has said his country will welcome those fleeing persecution and war. The two leaders will meet in Washington for the first time on Monday. BBC
US allies worry about Trump
Some US allies are increasingly uneasy about the future of joint intelligence endeavors with Washington as they try to figure out just how much Trump plans to shake up the existing order. The concerns are still in the early stages, with most of those willing to share their thoughts expressing a willingness to give the Trump administration more time to get people in place at the various agencies and departments.
Starting on the campaign trail, Trump continually talked about his respect for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a view he has clung to even since taking office. At the same time, Trump has criticized NATO repeatedly, calling it “obsolete.” VOA
Trump loses bid to reinstate travel ban
On Thursday evening, a three-judge panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided against restoring President Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Washington state and Minnesota had sued for the executive order’s suspension.
In the decision, the judges invoked Trump’s “numerous statements” about his intention to enact a “Muslim ban,” and weighed both the merits of the case and the states’ standing to sue. “We hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay,” the judges wrote. The case is expected to wind up before the Supreme Court. Trump responded to the ruling on Twitter, writing in all caps: “SEE YOU IN COURT.” ABC News, The New York Times, The Week
Tom Price confirmed as HHS secretary
Democrats argued before the vote that Price, a seven-term congressman and former orthopedic surgeon, had failed to come clean about some suspicious-looking stock transactions and has a history of pushing to revamp Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans argued that he is very knowledgeable about health care policy. Both sides expect him to take a leading role in dismantling the Affordable Care Act and, presumably, replacing it with a new health care system. The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Week
Trump affirms One China policy
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a “lengthy” and “very cordial” phone conversation Thursday evening, the White House said in a statement, and “President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy.” Trump had irked Beijing by speaking with Taiwan’s president on the phone soon after his election, the first direct contact between the US and Taiwanese presidents since 1979.
Trump had also said he might use the bedrock policy of officially recognizing Taiwan as part of China as a bargaining chip to wrest trade or monetary concessions out of Beijing. As a result, Xi and Trump had not spoken since Trump’s election in November, and China’s silent treatment was getting awkward. Trump rolls out the red carpet Friday for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, China’s longtime strategic rival. The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Week
Flynn reportedly discussed sanctions with Russia
Members of the Trump administration — including Vice President Mike Pence — have said Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser, never discussed US sanctions with the Russian ambassador to Washington before the inauguration. Several current and former US officials have told The Washington Post and The New York Times that this isn’t true, and Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak did privately discuss the sanctions ordered by the Obama administration in late December over Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
On Wednesday, Flynn twice told the Post conversations about sanctions never took place, but on Thursday, his spokesman told the paper Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” The officials told the Post the references to the sanctions were “explicit,” and some believed the discussions were “inappropriate and potentially illegal.” The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Week
Conway pushing Ivanka Trump brand was ‘over the line’
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway faced a barrage of criticism on Thursday after she was asked about a boycott of first daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on Fox & Friends, and urged Americans to “buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the endorsement was “a textbook violation of government ethics laws,” and wrote to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), requesting “review and potential disciplinary action.” Chaffetz said Conway’s remark was “clearly over the line” and “needs to be dealt with.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Conway had already been “counseled on that subject.” The Associated Press, The New York Times
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