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5 takeaways through the May-Trump talks

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WASHINGTON – This was the instant Theresa May came in person when using the great American bear.

Donald Trump was courteous, calm and funny while he held his first press conference which has a world leader since becoming president – pulling faces, joking with reporters and repeatedly praising a “most special relationship” using the U.K., ticking a similar diplomatic box every U.S. leader feels compelled to tick.

He looked pleased as May announced the Queen had invited him to Britain later this holiday season. The happy couple had already bonded with a bust of Winston Churchill, returned for the Oval Office after an eight-year sojourn inside less photographed corridors of the White House.

And nevertheless president was defiantly, unmistakably himself. I thought this was no watered down Trump, tamed through the necessary office.

When May reaffirmed Britain’s resolve forpersistance to sanctions on Russia, Trump would not. When May announced the U.S. president was “100 percent” committed to NATO,?Trump muttered “true” but anything.

On torture, he repeated his view so it worked. On Brexit, he said it had been “fantastic” that Britain was finally “free and independent.” The U.K. pm smiled at all the right moments, and will also be satisfied with Trump’s warm words for Britain, however, this was uncomfortable stuff.

It is, however, her new reality. Over 48 hours inside the U.S., the U.K. prime minister has indelibly tied her fortunes to individuals of the new man within the White House.

    Here are five takeaways within the opening scene of this strangest of political romances.

    1) Trump are not to be tamed

    If May?stumbled on Washington interested in reassurances on key diplomatic differences,?Trump’s press conference performance must be chalked up as a loss.

    May were able to extract one concession – on NATO – but only just. There was no commitment on trade, notably warm words for Russia and praise for torture. In Britain’s eyes: Poor quality.

    In her opening remarks, May pulled something like a diplomatic fast one, shoehorning in Trump’s private reassurance about his persistence to the NATO military alliance. They needed to try this perhaps says more about Trump’s real feelings around the issue.

    When pressed by U.S. reporters about his thoughts about Russia, Trump was defiant. “If you can possess a great relationship with Russia and China sufficient reason for all countries I’m all for that. Whenever we can, that would be an optimistic.”

    He went further. If relations between Washington additionally, the Kremlin are as nice as those relating to the U.S. and U.K. that could be great, he stated.

    British prime ministers?aren’t familiar with hearing that. An exclusive relationship isn’t so special if people have one.

    2) Quiet menace

    “That was selection for any question? There goes that relationship!”

    This was Trump’s reaction to a humdinger of your question with the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, who pointed out his controversial opinion of Muslims, abortion and torture weren’t exactly popular some parts of the U.K.

    Trump’s response was funny – but more so, perhaps, given that it contained some truth.

    Downing Street clearly believes Trump responds well to praise and carefully choreographed every element of this week’s day at the U.S. accordingly.

    May decided of her option to hail his “stunning” election victory, declaring her delight at having the capability to congratulate him personally.

    But for the upcoming 4 years it’s clear you can find will be many treading on diplomatic eggshells.

    Trump was clear in her view that America has been ripped off and hubby would be the strong leader it must stand up for itself again, whether Britain wants it or you cannot.

    3) A vassal state?

    As May attained the White House, driven past?a procession of yankee flags and greeted by way of the president over the steps of your West Wing, it had become?just like a regional governor okay Rome to greet the?new emperor.

    French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron reports May’s tour within the U.S. exposes Britain’s status like a “vassal” state of your U.S. empire.

    But May is not a pushover and was going to make it known, contradicting obama on Russian sanctions and insisting could not are put off by confrontation. The U.K. prime minister’s visit wasn’t any Washington sideshow either. The vast East Room in the White House was filled with U.S. and British reporters, camera crews and TV anchors.

    But the eye was clearly not really on?what May was required to say, so how this most unpredictable of politicians would definitely behave – and just what he was going to do about Mexico, Putin and China.

    The U.K. may get its special relationship with Trump, nonetheless it remains unclear whether it will possess affect his wider behavior.

    4) Symbolism matters

    As each leaders walked from the East Room press conference over the White House colonnade into the West Wing for supper, Trump took the British prime minister by hand, patting it slightly.

    The president is not likely to try out that with Vladimir Putin.

    May looked untroubled yet it’s unlikely to be the picture she would like beamed time for Britain. She wanted warm but businesslike. That was not it. Despite the fact that image,?the talks transpired well when using the British press:?”Trump blesses Britain,” said changes. “Love-in in the White House” was the Daily Mail’s first page headline.

    The personal chemistry between the two leaders is vital. Nevertheless the relationship between their top teams is practically as esential for a functional, day-to-day level.

    At the press conference every one of the main players were in the room.

    Steve Bannon, the president’s ideological inspiration, started in smiling and shaking hands wonderful May’s top team, including ambassador Kim Darroch, whom he seemed to know well.

    Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager throughout his run for president, was second row back. Sean Spicer barked instructions before the two leaders emerged.

    The night before, May held a drinks reception along at the British ambassador’s residence, giving her a chance to speak privately mostly of Trump’s key cabinet appointments including Pentagon chief James “Mad Dog” Mattis and Wilbur Ross – a man who, as Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary, can help negotiate the U.K.-U.S. trade deal on which May has placed a lot credit.

    The two teams were also present on the White House talks Friday and for lunch together with the two leaders afterwards (they had blue cheese salad, beef shortribs with potato puree and winter vegetables and also a salted caramel creme br?lee).

    5) Mayism takes shape

    From ribs in Washington with one strongman leader to coffee in Ankara with another.

    Direct from talks with president Trump while in the White House, May jets overnight to Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.

    What either man does domestically appears of little interest to May. On the flight over to the U.S. May was asked what she’d because of represent Britain’s Muslim community in talks with Trump. Her reply involved anything that she could do on their behalf in your house. Pressed on whether she’d a responsibility to represent British muslims, she shot back which she what food was in Washington to represent the many Britain.

    To May, it will be the national interest at the very least. Human rights can wait.

    In her speech to Republican leaders in Philadelphia Thursday she declared get rid of liberal interventionism. On Friday she declared Mexico’s failures of Trump a subject for Mexico and Trump and none of her business. On Saturday could begin deepening the connection with Erdo?an in spite of his increasingly authoritarian turn.

    In a world of strong men, turmoil, Brexit and Trump, Britain’s second female prime minister is prepared to work with whoever looks gonna make the U.K. more secure, from both terror and economic shocks.

    This article have been updated to clarify Donald Trump’s solution to Theresa May’s NATO comments.

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    Cummings hospitalized as wife suspends campaign for governor

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    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is currently hospitalized after a task to drain an infection, three sources told POLITICO, the most up-to-date setback inside of a string of medical issues which have plagued the longtime lawmaker since a year ago.

    Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a Democratic policy consultant, suspended her gubernatorial bid in Maryland on Friday, shortly before news surfaced that her husband is at the hospital.

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    Soon after POLITICO first reported his hospitalization, Cummings\’ office released an argument saying his health problems were associated with a bacterial infection in the knee.

    "Doctors drained the infection in the minor procedure today. He\’s resting comfortably and expects the full recovery," his office said Friday.

    Cummings was hospitalized and sidelined for a lot of months not too long ago due to heart issues.

    In a press release announcing wants to suspend her campaign, Rockeymoore Cummings cited personal issues but wouldn\’t elaborate.

    \”Making an attractive and direct contribution towards state of Maryland also to our nation was my greatest motivating factor for getting into the public arena. Unfortunately, caused by personal considerations, We\’re suspending my bid for governor of Maryland,\” she said within an email to supporters.

    Multiple sources said Rockeymoore Cummings\’ decision to leave out the race was linked to her husband\’s health concerns. Democratic aides said Cummings was moving slowly ahead of the Christmas break.

    Cummings, 66, was hospitalized last May after what his office described back then as a \”minimally invasive\” heart valve replacement. He was scheduled to revisit work after that but ended up missing many months a result of a post-op infection that kept him clear of Capitol Hill until September.

    Upon his return, Cummings was noticeably slimmer and said he\’d have got to sustain a stricter diet and acquire more sleep. But he brushed aside any notion that he or she wasn\’t competent to fully perform his job.

    Cummings has represented his hometown Baltimore inside your home since 1996. He or she is well-liked and revered among all parties, even while he\’s sparred with Republicans over contentious issues for the reason that top Democrat over the House Oversight Committee.

    Rockeymoore Cummings was one among nine Democrats vying to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. She was endorsed by EMILY\’s List after she jumped within the race in October. But Rep. Cummings was the gubernatorial candidate\’s biggest single surrogate both publicly plus regards to fundraising. The congressman was listed as being a headliner a great upcoming fundraiser for Rockeymoore Cummings on Sunday.

    Despite the support with the prominent Democratic congressman, Rockeymoore Cummings wasn\’t the irrefutable front-runner however. At the beginning of polling of your Democratic primary, she trailed candidates including former NAACP President Ben Jealous and Prince George\’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

    Despite a considerable primary as well as general Democratic lean of Maryland, Democrats aren\’t as optimistic about unseating Hogan as they are about beating incumbent Republicans in states like Illinois, Boise state broncos, or Maine. That\’s largely because Hogan is popular: An October poll by Morning Consult listed him for the reason that governor while using the second-highest approval near your vicinity, behind only Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

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    GOP senators recommend FBI probe of Trump 'dossier' author Steele

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    Two Republican senators have recommended which the FBI pursue a criminal investigation against Christopher Steele – this writer of the disputed Trump-Russia dossier – for the purpose they described as evidence that they made false statements to federal investigators.

    "I cannot take lightly generating a referral for criminal investigation. But, because would with any credible proof a criminal offense unearthed while in our investigations, I\’m obliged to secure that information along on the Justice Department for appropriate review,\” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said in the joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

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    The senators did not provide public evidence to substantiate their request, nevertheless they noted they sent a "classified memorandum" to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray containing the foundation within their request.

    The request isn\’t going to measure the validity of your Steele dossier, nor can it constitute a criminal allegation. "The referral is made for further investigation only," according to the statement.

    Even so, Democrats quickly responded in anger.

    "I wasn\’t consulted concerning this referral nor were all of my Democratic colleagues," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the highest Democrat on Grassley\’s committee. "I do believe this referral is unfortunate since it\’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what medicine committee\’s main concern: determining whether there is collusion regarding the Trump campaign and Russia to steer the election and whether there were subsequent obstruction of justice."

    One congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the choice by Grassley and Graham to mention Steele towards Justice Department raises an obvious anomaly.

    "These are speaking about DOJ a justice based upon documents DOJ gave them and according to witness testimony into the DOJ," the aide said.

    Steele, an old British intelligence officer, was commissioned in 2016 by research firm Fusion GPS to research President Donald Trump\’s ties to Russia. The dossier he produced, which Trump has derided as fiction, describes a lot of illicit connections between Trump, his business and also the Kremlin.

    Republicans have persistently questioned how the FBI handled the dossier after receiving it in the 2016 campaign, including whether or not it formed the foundation of your surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign associate and whether the FBI independently verified any kind of Steele\’s information.

    Republicans in addition sounded the alarm over reports that Fusion was paid by the Clinton campaign for Steele\’s research, suggesting that Steele\’s work was the merchandise of your partisan smear effort.

    The two senators claim in their letter to obtain seen proof "potential violations" by Steele on the law prohibiting false statements to government officials. These potential violations, they assert, occurred "regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier."

    Their letter was copied to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the highest Democrat to the Judiciary Committee, and Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the most notable lawmakers for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top part lawmakers on the House Intelligence ommittee.

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    DOJ clash with Trump allies hits Ryan's doorstep

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    The two sources told POLITICO there was an endeavor by Ryan and DOJ leaders to reduce the temperature newest hostilities between the Justice Department and Trump allies in Congress. That group of House Republicans has railed against the department\’s leadership amid partisan questions its handling with the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia. Nunes had even threatened contempt citations against DOJ and FBI leaders should they failed to comply with his request.

    Still, this probably is not the end of it for Ryan. There are signs that Wednesday\’s agreement won\’t placate the GOP lawmakers most hostile toward the Justice Department. And therefore the speaker will probably be in the heart of ongoing run-ins between some of his hard-line members as well as DOJ as they quite simply fight over the definition of typically closely guarded documents – from surveillance warrants to evidence connected with ongoing investigations.

    Indeed, Ryan\’s attempt to help broker a truce suggests he\’ll be a central figure in resolving disputes that Democrats and several Republicans fear could erode public confidence inside justice system.

    On Thursday morning, just hours after the tentative détente, Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) requested Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be replaced unless he exerts with additional control in the FBI and produces documents Congress have been requesting.

    "It\’s time for Sessions to get started managing from a spirit of transparency to give doing this improper behavior to light and stop further violations," they wrote within a op-ed within the Washington Examiner.

    Though Ryan hasn\’t waded publicly into these fights, multiple GOP lawmakers repeat the speaker\’s attitude may be consistent: He firmly believes during the House\’s authority to conduct oversight with the Department of Justice and FBI.

    "Is know for Representatives carries a constitutional duty to workout oversight from the executive branch," said the spokeswoman, AshLee Strong. "The speaker always expects the administration to observe the House\’s oversight requests, and then he will support his chairmen when they get them to be."

    Rosenstein and Wray "wasted a visit to the Capitol," said one Republican lawmaker near the speaker. "Once Paul assures himself that this request is legitimate and there\’s grounds for it, he always backs the chairperson who requires it."

    Democrats have declared that the GOP attacks to the Justice Department – and Special Counsel Robert Mueller for example – really are a cynical try to protect Trump as investigations of his campaign\’s ties to Russia encroached upon his group of friends. The document requests and claims of bias, they\’ve argued, are aimed towards delegitimizing your research.

    Republican lawmakers themselves are divided about precisely how harsh an approach to take toward the FBI and Justice Department. But in interviews, some House lawmakers say Ryan has come across a unifying theme throughout the conference: transparency.

    "Paul Ryan can be an institutionalist," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who\’s been being among the most aggressive critics of Justice Department leaders\’ handling of the Trump-Russia probe. "I really believe he shares our frustration using the loss of responsiveness."

    "Perhaps we have seen several different camps regarding how aggressive people must be … but those camps are typical coming together with one singular focus, which will come down on the medial side of needing more documents, more transparency," added another GOP lawmaker who requested anonymity to characterize conversations with colleagues.

    "I do believe there was clearly lots of division earlier, even so the more the GOP members uncover … greater careers aligning of investigative strategies and tactics," the lawmaker said.

    Ryan states little publicly over the matter since October, as he chided DOJ due to its refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators demanding more info about how exactly the FBI handled its Trump-Russia investigation.

    "As soon as the executive branch, in this situation, the FBI as well as DOJ are stonewalling or foot-dragging, making it harder for us to accomplish our obligation of conducting oversight about the executive branch," he vented within an interview with Reuters back then.

    Since then, some Trump loyalists inside the house have ratcheted up their complaints. First, they took concentrate on Mueller, who was simply tapped by Rosenstein in May to oversee the Trump-Russia investigation after the president fired FBI Director James Comey. Mueller\’s team, they complained, included officials who had donated to Democrats, they can said raised the specter of bias.

    That group of Republicans close with Trump – including Gaetz, Jordan, Meadows and Ron DeSantis – also pounced on reports that Mueller had removed a highly regarded agent from his team in July after learning of a few texting criticizing Trump that he had provided for a colleague.

    At once, even more traditional Republicans over the intelligence, judiciary and oversight panels also began more quietly question the FBI\’s tactics inside the Russia probe, though failed to allege bias or corruption necessarily. Recently, POLITICO also reported that Nunes and various Republicans about the House intelligence committee ended up perfecting a probe they assert could spotlight wrongdoing by top officials inside FBI.

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