Review Category : Politics

Poll finds 66 percent of Americans under 30 disapprove of President Trump

Ida Mae Astute/ABC(WASHINGTON) — Two in three Americans under 30 years old disapprove of President Trump’s job performance so far, and roughly half say they believe his border wall, travel ban and health care legislation would make the country worse, according to a new poll from Harvard University.

Only 32 percent of surveyed Americans ages 18 to 29 years old say they approve of Trump’s time as president so far. A majority disapprove of him on most major issues, from the economy (59 percent) to health care (66 percent) to race relations (70 percent). They also disapprove of Trump on climate change (68 percent) and handling ISIS (64 percent).

Half of Americans under 30 polled say building a border wall with Mexico will make America worse — twice as many as the 23 percent who say it will make America better.

Pluralities of Americans under 30 say two other items on Trump’s agenda would make America worse: Health care legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare (45 percent) and a ban on new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries (48 percent).

An ABC News/Washington Post poll last week found that 42 percent of Americans asked approved of Trump, while 53 percent disapproved.

The Harvard poll, from the university’s Institute of Politics, was conducted from March 10 to 24.

Both parties in Congress are unpopular among young Americans. A majority surveyed, 54 percent, say they disapprove of Democrats in Congress, and the Republican majority is even more unpopular, garnering a 69 percent disapproval rating.

Very few Americans under 30 who were surveyed say they approve of Trump’s tweets. Only 11 percent say they think Trump’s use of Twitter is “mostly appropriate,” versus 68 percent who say it’s “mostly inappropriate.”

The survey signals major distrust for large institutions to do the right thing “often.” Only 24 percent say they trust the president to do so. Likewise, only 20 percent trust Congress, 16 percent trust the media, and 12 percent trust Wall Street. Slightly more trust the U.S. military, the Supreme Court and the United Nations: 50 percent, 46 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

The Harvard University Institute of Politics Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes Toward Politics and Public Service examines beliefs of Americans ages 18 to 29. The organization polled 2,654 respondents. The margin of error is +/– 2.7 percent.

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Mike Flynn may have violated law over Russia payments, House investigators say

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — House Oversight Committee leaders said Tuesday that newly provided classified documents show that President Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, may have broken the law when he failed to seek U.S. government permission or to disclose his acceptance of payments from a media organization considered to be an arm of the Russian government.

Republican chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah and the panel’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland spoke to reporters after reviewing classified documents from the Defense Intelligence Agency in a secure area of the Capitol’s basement.

“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else, and it appears as if he did take that money,” Chaffetz said of Flynn. “It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law,” the Republican representative added.

Cummings said someone convicted of such a violation could face a punishment that included “fines and five years imprisonment.”

The Oversight Committee has been investigating whether Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, properly disclosed foreign payments he received for work overseas, including a speech in late 2015 to Russia’s state-owned TV network Russia Today for which he which he received over $33,000.

Flynn directed the federal Defense Intelligence Agency until he was pushed out by the Obama administration, and at the time of the RT speech he continued to hold a top-level security clearance.

A spokesman for Flynn told ABC News at the time that the money from the RT appearance was from his speakers bureau, and that Flynn reported the contacts to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

In March, Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Cummings requested documents from the Pentagon, White House, FBI and Director of National Intelligence regarding Flynn’s contacts with foreign nationals and any funds he received from foreign sources.

Trump fired Flynn early in his term as national security adviser for allegedly misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials.

Flynn was paid nearly $60,000 in 2015 by three Russian firms affiliated with the Kremlin, including RT, according to documents released by Democrats on the Oversight Committee.

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Former President George HW Bush remains hospitalized after pneumonia

Al Bello/Getty Images(HOUSTON) — Former President George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized this week after he was diagnosed with pneumonia earlier this month.

Bush, 92, is currently being held for “a few more days of observation,” according to his spokesman Jim McGrath.

“President George H.W. Bush continues to be in good spirits and is resting comfortably at Houston Methodist Hospital,” McGrath said in a statement yesterday. The former president is expected to be released by the end of the week.

This marks the third hospital stay for Bush this year. In January, he was hospitalized for 12 days after contracting pneumonia. He recovered enough to toss the coin for the Super Bowl held in Houston, Texas, Feb. 5. However, the former president was again hospitalized after the event, for yet-to-be-named reasons, which was not disclosed at the time.

Last week, Bush’s staff announced he had been hospitalized again “for observation due to a persistent cough that prevented him from getting proper rest. It was subsequently determined he had a mild case of pneumonia, which was treated and has been resolved.”

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Foreign policy moments that mattered in Trump’s first 100 days

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Just shy of his 100th day in office, President Donald Trump — the first U.S. president with no political, military, or foreign policy experience — has shaken up the globe, surprising allies with his demands, adversaries with his military action, and maybe even himself with his new power.

During his short time in office, Trump has had to make decisions about life and death, war and peace, and military and diplomacy, as his administration exerts itself on the world stage. Here are the top foreign policy moments of his first 100 days.

Surprise strikes on Syria

The “America First” president shocked the world with his muscular response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Just days after the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad reportedly bombed the town Khan Sheikhoun with sarin gas, Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk strikes on the air base where Assad’s planes are said to have taken off.

“I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly,” he said at a Rose Garden press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Critics on the left and right were surprised that the businessman who had decried years of wasteful spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was ready to play the world’s policeman. But allies, from the UK to Israel, applauded the response, even as Russia and Iran blasted the U.S. for the attack on their ally Assad.

The administration has left the door open to more strikes against Assad for further violations of international laws and norms — although it has faced some confusion on its views of Assad’s future and its priorities in Syria.

High-stakes diplomacy with China

If Syria was the moment of crisis for Trump, China has been the steady challenge.

Candidate Trump bashed China constantly, citing the country as a source of America’s problems, often with graphic language. They were manipulating their currency, stealing American jobs, beating the U.S. on trade, even raping the American economy.

But now that he’s in office, Trump has taken a more nuanced tone, culminating in a two-day summit at his private club Mar-a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He agreed to abide by the one-China policy, to not label China a currency manipulator, and so far, to not slap them with the sort of tariff that critics said would start a trade war.

Instead, Trump appears to be using that tough economic talk as leverage to get China to help with North Korea. Since the summit, Trump and Xi have spoken twice by phone, and China may be pressuring its ally and neighbor North Korea a bit more.

This is an important space to watch, though, as the stakes in North Korea rise or the domestic politics in China change.

Boiling tensions with North Korea

Key to that is what happens next in North Korea, where every day the rhetoric seems to heat up. North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental United States for years, but it just could happen under Trump’s watch.

On a critical trip to Japan, South Korea, and China, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that all options are on the table and that the time for “strategic patience” is over. And the President said the U.S. would send a strike group and a nuclear submarine to the area, although it took some time before the USS Carl Vinson and company actually headed toward those waters.

Now, the world anxiously awaits what that means if North Korea successfully tests an intercontinental ballistic missile or another nuclear bomb. If Trump strikes preemptively, will it mean all-out war on the Korean peninsula, as strongman Kim Jong-un has promised?

So far, the administration is pursuing diplomatic and economic options in the face of those fiery words and after the Kim regime detained a third American citizen. The pressure on China to do more is working, they say, and this week both Trump and Tillerson will speak to the United Nations Security Council, to push full implementation of existing UN sanctions.

But even then, it’s unclear how far China is willing to go on North Korea, since it fears destabilizing or toppling the regime. Trump and Kim’s next moves are treading on a fine line here, as the world holds its breath.

The Russian question

For months now, the Trump administration has been dogged by questions about ties between his advisers and the Russian government. Those questions still loom, as the FBI and two Congressional committees investigate.

It’s created a dilemma for the real estate magnate who promised to “get along” with Russia and work on what he saw as common issues, including terrorism. Complicating that campaign promise are the politics of working with the country that reportedly hacked his political opponent to favor him and the reality on the ground in places like Syria, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has labeled as terrorists and even targeted American-backed rebels.

That tension came to a head with Tillerson’s big visit to Moscow, meeting with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Initially announced at the same time that the State Department said Tillerson would skip a NATO summit, critics were quick to pounce that the Trump administration was insulting European allies in favor of Russia.

At those meetings, Tillerson and Lavrov commented that U.S.-Russian relations were at their lowest point yet. They tried to paper over major differences on Syria and promised to take steps to work together down the line — although no tangible changes have been announced so far.

Accelerating the fight against terrorism

The most apparent change in U.S. foreign policy may be what Trump has done to the military, pushing for a more robust, muscular presence to take on terror groups around the world.

The administration granted new capabilities to commanders in Yemen and Somalia, allowing them to conduct more airstrikes without individual White House approval. They returned strike authority to battlefield commanders in Iraq and Syria. And the military dropped the world’s largest, non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS cave complex in Afghanistan.

But the increased activity has created more risks, too. Early into his administration, a controversial raid in Yemen killed several civilians and a U.S. Navy SEAL. U.S. airstrikes in Mosul, Iraq, and Al Jinah, Syria, may have killed hundreds of civilians. The military is still investigating those claim but it did reveal that it accidentally bombed a U.S.-backed Syrian rebel position, killing 18 allied fighters.

In its fight against terror, the Trump administration has also targeted what it sees as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism — Iran. While it reviews its Iran policy writ large, especially whether it will abide by the nuclear agreement, it has blasted Iran for its support for terrorists in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq; for harassing U.S. ships in international waters in the Persian Gulf; and for its missile tests and its continued pursuit of a nuclear bomb, according to Tillerson. That review should conclude in mid-July.

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Trump opens the door to delaying funding of border wall

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Trump signaled to a gathering of conservative media reporters on Monday that he may be open to delaying the funding of his proposed border wall.

The president said — according to tweets from conservative media at the gathering Monday evening — that his administration could get the funding for the wall this week or they could come back to it in September.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) quickly seized on the remarks in an off-camera response Monday evening saying it’s good for the country that the president is taking the wall off the table in the funding negotiations.

“It’s good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations. Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues,” Schumer said in a statement.

Democrats in Congress have vowed to block the passage of a last-minute appropriations bill if it includes funding for the wall.

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State Department deletes blog post critics said promoted Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The State Department is facing criticism for a blog post that details the history of Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Florida estate.

The post titled “Mar-a-Lago: The Winter White House” was originally published on April 4 by ShareAmerica, a blog run by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, which works to create content that promotes America with embassies and consulates around the world.

The State Department denied that it was promoting Trump’s private club, saying in a statement, “The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the president has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”

The post, which was also featured on the website for U.S. Embassy in the U.K., portrays Mar-a-Lago as a “dreams-come-true” story for the property’s original builder, socialite and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Post, who willed the estate to the U.S. government upon her death in 1973, wanted her property to one day be used “as a winter White House for the U.S. president to entertain visiting foreign dignitaries,” according to the blog post.

However, the blog post outlines that her plan didn’t work as Presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter never used the property, and it was eventually sold back to the Post Foundation in 1981 due to its expensive maintenance cost.

In 1985, Trump purchased the property and 10 years later introduced it to the public as the Mar-a-Lago Club.

Since Trump became commander-in-chief, the blog post says, Post’s presidential dreams have come true with Trump regularly working out of the house and using the club in February to host Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie.

When news of the blog post made its way to Twitter Monday, several politicians took to social media to express their concerns over the use of taxpayer dollars and the promotion of Trump’s personal property.

As the WH plans deep cuts to hunger programs and foreign aid, so nice to see taxpayer money being used responsibly…to promote Mar-a-Lago.

— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) April 24, 2017

Yes, I am curious @StateDept. Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President’s private country club?

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 24, 2017

A few minutes later, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, posted a link to the post saying, “Here is the full post in its kleptocratic glory.”

Richard Painter, who was the chief White House ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, tweeted a link to the post with the caption, “Use of public office for private gain pure and simple.”

Use of public office for private gain pure and simple

— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) April 24, 2017

Former President Barack Obama’s chief ethics attorney, Norm Eisen, also commented on the issue when asked about what could be done.

you can sue to shut down trump’s exploitation of government $$$ and benefits for his personal gain–and we have!

— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) April 24, 2017

A White House official said the White House was not aware of the Mar-a-Lago post and found out about its existence through the media.

The post remains on the website for the U.S. Embassy in the U.K., but has been deleted from ShareAmerica’s website and replaced with the State Department’s statement.

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From A+ to F, voters grade President Trump as he nears 100 days in office YORK) — With President Donald Trump nearing 100 days in office — and 96 percent of voters who picked him in November saying they’d do it again today — ABC News’ David Muir traveled to counties in three battleground states to see how residents would grade the commander-in-chief.

Muir, the anchor of “World News Tonight,” spoke with voters in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin; just 77,000 votes in those three states decided the election. Muir went to counties where the difference in the vote between Trump and Hillary Clinton was 1 percent or less.

In Michigan’s Saginaw County, just two hours north of Detroit, the difference in votes was just 1 percent between the two candidates.

Marianne Bird, who voted for Trump in November, said that she’d give the president a B-minus and that she wanted to see compromise in Washington, D.C.

“I think he can’t do everything on his own,” said Bird, a teacher who also works the register at Fuzzy’s Diner in Saginaw. “The stonewalling isn’t helping somebody like me. It might help people on the East Coast and the West Coast, but it’s not helping people in the middle — and I think it’s the people in the middle that voted Trump in.”

The election is over, she said.

“They have to do something about health care. You have to do something about jobs. … At least, give the guy a chance. That doesn’t mean you forget but we have to forgive and we have to move on,” Bird said.

Poitiea Price, a Marine veteran, and fiancee Tranica McClendon, however, said they’d both give Trump a D-minus.

“We don’t hear anything from him. … He’s not really answering the questions,” Price said.

“You talk about draining the swamp? And you can just look at this guy’s Cabinet and tell that he loves the swamp. He loves it,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, Clinton took the county by only 532 votes.

Frank Roggeman, a Vietnam veteran who voted for Trump, said he was a little disappointed in the current administration.

“They couldn’t get the health care bill through. And he’s having all kinds of problems with the Democrats so it’s a little disappointing. I don’t blame him,” he said.

He said that Trump was trying to keep the promises he’d made to voters during his campaign but that it’d be a “rocky road” if he was unable to do so.

“He hasn’t built … the wall yet. I know he’s working on that and he’s going back to the health care again and tax reform. So I mean he’s trying but I don’t know whether he has the political capital to get it done,” Roggeman said.

And Debbie Strangio, a Navy veteran, said she’d give Trump an F.

“If I could give a lower grade, I would,” she told Muir. “I think he’s every embarrassing when he talks to foreign leaders. He doesn’t sound like he has a vocabulary more than a third-grader.”

Trump’s foreign policy moves and his vocal impasse with North Korea concerned Strangio, a garden nursery manager.

“He’s never made it a secret that he would use nuclear bombs and that scares me. I personally think by the time it’s done we’re going to be in a World War III,” she said.

Retired construction worker Rich Buda, also a Marine, said he’d give Trump an A-plus.

“He told us what he’s going to do and he’s been doing it,” Buda told Muir.

Back in the Midwest, in Wisconsin’s Sauk County, the vote was also razor thin. Trump won by a mere 109 votes.

At a park in Bonnaroo, the county’s largest city, Marlene Buchanan, a grandmother, said she worried about her disabled son and her country.

“I am very uncomfortable with Donald Trump,” said Buchanan, a Clinton supporter. “He has done some things that I don’t agree with and he has also placed people in positions who I feel are definitely not qualified for the roles that they have in his administration.”

Buchanan said she’d give the president an F.

But Eric Grunewald, a Trump supporter, said that in his opinion, the president had sort of “hit home” with gun rights and other issues.

“If I had to give the Trump administration a grade, it would probably be a B, B-plus but it’s still too early to tell,” Grunewald said. “Compared to the Obama administration, I think he’s willing to make harsher decisions and do things that the Obama administration was afraid to do.”

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer defends Trump’s ‘significant’ work in 100 days

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the president’s record less than a week before the benchmark of the administration’s first 100 days in office.

“When you look at the totality of what we’ve accomplished … it is unbelievable what he has been able to do,” Spicer said at Monday’s press briefing.

He bristled at questions specifically asking whether the president would consider inaction or stalled action on issues that were regular parts of his campaign speeches a failure, including the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Spicer said “you can cherry pick” issues “to look and pick out two or three things” that were not completely addressed during the first 100 days but argued that it would be an inaccurate picture of the administration’s work.

“It’s easy to nitpick,” Spicer said.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the president has done a significant amount on the issues that he put forward in the campaign,” he said, citing how Trump has signed “a record number” of executive orders.

“We are very proud and the president is very proud of what he’s been able to accomplish in the first 100 days … but we also want to start talking about the next 100 days,” Spicer said.

Spicer also said that while he “can’t guarantee” a government shutdown will be avoided, he doesn’t think it’s going to happen.

“I can’t guarantee,” Spicer said of ongoing budget negotiations. “But I think that the work that [Office of Management and Budget] Director [Mick] Mulvaney and others have made in this front and negotiations have been very positive. They feel very confident that won’t happen.

“We feel very confident that the government is not going to shut down,” he said.

.@PressSec tells @jonkarl he’s “confident” there won’t be a government shutdown, but “can’t guarantee” it.

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 24, 2017

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Obama makes first post-presidential public appearance in Chicago — Former President Barack Obama offered a preview of what his “next job” might be during his first public remarks on Monday since leaving office.

“So, what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?” Obama joked at the start of a panel discussion at the University of Chicago.

While there are a number of issues he cares about, Obama said, he hopes to help inspire the younger generation to get more involved in civic engagement.

“On the back end of my presidency, now that it’s completed, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing I can do for my next job?” said Obama, who was joined by six young adults from schools in the Chicago area.

He added: “The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world.”

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Trump to sign executive orders on offshore drilling, veterans affairs

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — In the week that will mark his 100th day in office, President Trump will sign four new executive orders, including one calling for a review of offshore-drilling regulations and another directing a review of national-monument designations on federal lands.

The president also plans to to sign an order establishing an “office of accountability and whistleblower protection” at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new office will be charged with helping the Veterans Affairs secretary “discipline or terminate [Veterans Affairs] managers or employees who fail to carry out their duties in helping our veterans,” according to a White House official.

Trump is also expected Tuesday to sign an executive order creating a task force “to examine the concerns of rural America and suggest legislative and regulatory changes to address them,” the White House said.

The order on national monuments will direct the Interior Department to review prior monument designations under a more than 100-year-old law that authorizes the president to establish federal lands as national monuments.

And as part of the administration’s push to expand offshore drilling, the president on Friday is expected to sign a directive called, America First Energy Executive Order, calling for a review of offshore oil and gas locations and rules.

The four new executive orders will bring Trump’s total to 32 in his first 100 days, which the White House says is the highest number by any president since World War II.

Prior to his election, Trump criticized his predecessor’s use of executive actions as a way of going around around Congress.

“I don’t think he even tries anymore. I think he just signs executive actions,” Trump said of then-President Obama in December 2015.

Trump pointed to the U.S. government’s system of checks and balances.

“That’s the way the system is supposed to work. And then all of a sudden, I hear, ‘He tried, he can’t do it,’ and then, boom, and then another one, boom,” he said.

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