Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- Gordon Sondland, President Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, reportedly kept top officials in the Trump administration updated on efforts to persuade Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Biden ahead of Trump’s much-publicized July call with the country’s president. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Sondland updated officials, including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, via email on the results of his efforts, which have become the center of House’s impeachment inquiry.
- Jennifer Williams, Special adviser to Vice President Pence, who was listening in on the July 25 phone call, told House impeachment investigators that Trump’s request that Ukraine open a Biden probe was “unusual and inappropriate.”
- Trump claims that a China Phase 1 trade deal is very close. The Chinese keep insisting that a deal is far away.
- In September, President Trump said he was moving to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes as vaping among young people continued to rise. But two months later, under pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters, Mr. Trump has resisted moving forward with any action on vaping, while saying he still wants to study the issue.
- In reply to Speaker Pelosi’s call for the President to testify in the impeachment hearings, Trump Tweeted : “Nervous Nancy Pelosi…suggested on Sunday’s DEFACE THE NATION I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt. She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”
- The House of Representatives is now investigating whether President Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller in written answers he provided in the Russia investigation, the House’s general counsel said in federal court Monday.
- Reversing decades of US policy on West Bank, the Trump administration will stop treating Israel’s West Bank settlements as a violation of international law, a step that may doom peace efforts with Palestinians.
- The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a ruling that requires an accounting firm to turn over President Donald Trump’s taxes taxes to Congress. Trump has refused to show his tax returns since announcing his run for president in 2015, although those documents are customarily made public by presidential candidates. The president has asked the Supreme Court to keep his tax returns shielded from congressional investigators and prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
- Staff members for Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D -Oregon), the chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, met with an IRS whistleblower earlier this month regarding the whistleblower’s allegations that at least one political appointee at the Treasury Department may have tried to interfere with an audit of President Trump or Vice President Pence, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, a sign that lawmakers are moving to investigate the complaint lodged by a senior staffer at the Internal Revenue Service.
- Mina Chang, a high-ranking State Department staffer who inflated her resume, has resigned from her position. Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, was accused of overstating her academic credentials.
- Congressional aides working on the impeachment inquiry announce that David Holmes, the man who overheard the Sondland/Trump phone call, will testify alongside Fiona Hill on Thursday.
- U.S. State Department officials were informed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was feeling pressure from the Trump administration to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden even before the July phone call that has led to impeachment hearings in Washington, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press. In early May, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, including then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, were told Zelenskiy was seeking advice on how to navigate the difficult position he was in.
- According to a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Amazon will pay nothing in federal income taxes for the second year in a row. Thanks to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Amazon’s federal tax responsibility is 21% (down from 35% in previous years). But with the help of tax breaks, according to corporate filings, Amazon won’t be paying any taxes despite posting more than $11.2 billion in profits in 2018.