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White House Dismisses Reports of Bounties, but Is Silent on Russia

First President Trump denied knowing about it. Then he called it a possible “hoax.” Next, the White House attacked the news media. And now an unnamed intelligence official is to blame.The one thing Mr. Trump and his top officials have not done is to address the substance of intelligence reports that Russia paid bounties to Taliban-affiliated fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, or what they might do in response.Nor has the White House — amid the denials, qualifications and accusations — publicly discussed what…

Trump’s New Russia Problem: Unread Intelligence and Missing Strategy

The intelligence finding that Russia was most likely paying a bounty for the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan has evoked a strange silence from President Trump and his top national security officials on the question of what to do about the Kremlin’s wave of aggression.Mr. Trump insists he never saw the intelligence, though it was part of the President’s Daily Brief just days before a peace deal was signed with the Taliban in February.The White House says it was not even appropriate for him to be briefed because the…

Top U.S. Air Force officer praises Boeing CEO for fixes to aerial tanker

Boeing's KC-46 tanker for the U.S. Air Force.BoeingWASHINGTON — The nation's highest-ranking Air Force officer praised Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun for quickly working with the Department of Defense to fix the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker, which the defense contractor promised would be the backbone of U.S. airpower. "I'm far more confident today in the performance and the behavior of Boeing on the KC-46 than I ever been in my entire time here and I give the new CEO, a lot of credit for being a man of his word," Air Force…

Trump says ‘masks are good,’ but doubts national mandate is needed as coronavirus cases rise

President Donald Trump looks on during a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan.Leah Millis | ReutersPresident Donald Trump said Wednesday that he's "all for masks," but doesn't think the U.S. needs a national mandate for people to wear them during the coronavirus pandemic."I don't know if you need mandatory," Trump said when asked in a Fox Business Network interview if he would support a national order for people to wear masks in public."You have many places in the country where people stay very long distance," Trump…

House passes extension of coronavirus small business loan deadline

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 18, 2020.Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe House passed a bill Wednesday to extend the deadline to apply for forgivable small business aid through a key coronavirus relief program. The legislation, which the Senate already approved, extends the deadline to request Paycheck Protection Program loans to Aug. 8 from June 30. The measure, passed in a unanimous vote, heads to President…

Abortion Rises as a Pivotal Issue for At-Risk Senate Republicans

It did not take Sara Gideon long to leverage Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on abortion in her race against Senator Susan Collins.When Ms. Collins, a Maine Republican, cast a decisive vote to confirm Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018, she did so on the premise that he would uphold precedent to preserve abortion rights. But on Monday, Justice Kavanaugh dissented from a decision that did that, arguing that the court should have ruled differently than it did in a nearly identical case four years ago.“Do you…

The Supreme Court Stopped Anti-Abortion Momentum. For Now.

For anti-abortion activists, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling against a Louisiana law delivered a stinging and surprising setback. But perhaps not for long.The anti-abortion movement has a long pipeline of new cases that, if taken up by the Supreme Court, could present a more direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established federal protection for abortion. As of June, there were at least 16 abortion cases before United States appeals courts, the last step before the Supreme Court, according to lawyers at…

Louisiana Abortion Law Struck Down by Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic, dashing the hopes of conservatives who were counting on President Trump’s appointments to lead the court to sustain restrictions on abortion rights and, eventually, to overrule Roe v. Wade.Instead, conservatives suffered a setback, and from an unlikely source. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. added his crucial fifth vote to those of the court’s four-member liberal wing, saying that respect for…

Democrats slam Trump after White House briefing for suggesting reports of Russian bounties are a ‘hoax’

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to reporters next to U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as House Democrats respond to a White House briefing on reports Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. troops during a news conference following the briefing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2020.Jonathan Ernst | ReutersHouse Democrats came out of a closed-door White House briefing Tuesday taking swings at President Donald Trump's response to reports that Russia paid…

Pence donors, allies helped finance vice president’s legal defense fund for Mueller probe

Vice President Mike Pence listens during a briefing n the Oval Office of the White House on May, 28, 2020.Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty ImagesMany of Vice President Mike Pence's longtime donors and allies in the business world helped back a legal fund intended to help the Indiana Republican defend himself during special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.The fund, established by his former chief of staff, Jim Atterholt, spent just under $480,000 in 2019 on legal counsel for Pence, according to the vice president's…