News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
From The Hill
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reportedly used colorful cards with simple explanations to discuss trade policies during his Wednesday meeting with President Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Juncker relied on more than a dozen of the cards while explaining trade topics to Trump, including automotive trade, ahead of their Rose Garden announcement to hold formal trade talks.
“We knew this wasn’t an academic seminar. It had to be very simple,” a senior European Union official told The Journal.
The ultra-competitive White House press corps is displaying something rare and refreshing: Solidarity.
Journalists reacted with dismay when the Trump administration barred CNN’s Kaitlan Collins from attending a presidential event in the Rose Garden.
Two White House officials, Bill Shine and Sarah Sanders, told Collins that she asked “inappropriate” questions during Trump’s meeting with European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.
So the ban was retaliatory in nature. And it was deeply concerning to many reporters, even among CNN’s rivals.
From The Hill
President Trump departed the White House on Thursday for a trip to Iowa and Illinois without facing the news media, citing bad weather despite clear skies in the nation’s capital.
The president typically reaches Air Force One by taking a helicopter from the White House to Joint Base Andrews, a setting that allows the media to shout questions while he walks across the South Lawn. Trump often stops to take those questions.
But White House aides informed the press corps Trump would motorcade to Andrews due to “bad weather,” a setting that makes the president unavailable to take questions.
The motorcade is used when weather conditions make it unsafe for the president to fly on the Marine One helicopter. But it was 77 degrees and partly cloudy at the time of Trump’s departure at 9:21 a.m., according to AccuWeather.
From The Hill
Two California lawmakers are pushing a bipartisan bill that would prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
House Armed Services Committee member Jimmy Panetta (D) on Thursday introduced the No NATO Withdrawal Act — cosponsored by Republican Rep. Steve Knight — to “reassert Congressional support” for the alliance.
“The NATO alliance is a pillar of international peace, stability, and security, and serves as a deterrent against aggression and destabilization,” Panetta said in a statement.
“In the face of Russia’s threats and attacks on American and allied interests, Congress must take a stand and solidify our commitment to our allies.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he should have brought up presumption of innocence earlier this week when he spoke to a group of conservative high schoolers chanting “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton.
Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, caught flak on Tuesday after he uttered the phrase during remarks promoting free speech and conservative principles at conservative group Turning Point USA’s high school leadership summit in Washington.
“Lock her up,” Sessions said, chuckling at the brief interruption from the audience as the chant then grew louder. “I heard that a long time over the last campaign.”
Sessions, speaking at a press conference in Boston on Thursday, said that he should have advised the students to presume individuals are innocent until proven guilty.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Thursday there was “not a lot learned” in the multiple hours of testimony from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo because Pompeo was more interested in pleasing his boss, President Donald Trump, than enlightening the senators.
“Unfortunately, the environment that is created by the administration causes folks to have to know that always the President is going to watch everything that takes place and if there’s an ounce of daylight shown between them and him, they begin to be marginalized and over time, terminated, right?” Corker said on Capitol Hill. “So, Pompeo knows that. He’s a smart guy and so his audience yesterday was not the committee. It was Trump. That was very apparent.”
Corker, who is retiring from the Senate, is a vocal critic of Trump but has also worked with the administration on several issues.
From The Hill
Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller knows President Trump‘s tweets are a “treasure trove” for his probe into whether the president obstructed justice.
“Mueller knows that those tweets are a treasure trove and a window into Trump’s thinking,” Napolitano said on Fox News’s “Outnumbered.”
Napalitano added that if any of Trump’s tweets are interpreted as containing threats or rewards, then it could be viewed as witness tampering.
“Did the president send messages to people of threats, or rewards, via his tweets? People who he knew or expected would be interviewed by Bob Mueller?” Napolitano said. “And if he did, was he engaging in witness tampering?”
Rural voters helped President Donald Trump win Iowa in 2016. And despite rising concerns about the economic impact of several rounds of tariffs, they’ve been willing to endure the ill effects of his trade policies, trusting he’ll ultimately deliver.
But the president’s sudden announcement this week that he’ll give $12 billion in subsidies to farmers is setting off a new wave of anxiety — a deep sense of apprehension over Trump’s unpredictability on trade and questions over whether the White House has any plan at all.
“I think the hope was that the tough talk, even with some of our allies, would translate into real results on trade,” Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Heley Lehman said of Trump winning over rural voters in Iowa in 2016. “And instead, there really hasn’t been a plan. I don’t think that farmers feel like there’s a plan to get out from where they are now. I think that there’s a lot of people who feel like they’re floating out here at the whim of the tariffs and the trade talk, not knowing what direction we’re going to go.”
From The Hill
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs on Wednesday night said he supports the White House’s decision to ban a CNN reporter from a press event for asking President Trump questions earlier that day.
His comments came shortly after Fox News President Jay Wallace said his network stands in “strong solidarity” with CNN.
“My question is, who the hell are you?” Dobbs said after reading CNN’s statement about the ban. “The president does insist on respect.”