Trump Invites Rodrigo Duterte To The White House

President Trump on Saturday invited the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House, embracing an authoritarian leader who is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and who crudely disparaged Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Mr. Trump had a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte,” according to a statement issued by the White House late Saturday. It said that the two leaders “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”

In fact, Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of several thousand people suspected of using or selling narcotics, as well as others who may have had no involvement with drugs. Human rights groups and many Western governments have condemned Mr. Duterte for the bloody campaign.

A spokesman for Mr. Duterte, Ernesto Abella, confirmed the White House invitation, saying that Mr. Trump had expressed “his understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the Philippine president, especially on the matter” of drugs.

Mr. Trump’s embrace of the Philippine leader comes a week after Mr. Trump called to congratulate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for his triumph in a disputed referendum that cemented his autocratic rule. He has likewise lavishly praised President Xi Jinping of China in recent days for his cooperation in pressuring North Korea, overlooking the fact that Mr. Xi, too, has shown an increasingly repressive streak in his country.

Mr. Trump has talked warmly of the Egyptian leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who seized power in a military coup. And he vowed during the presidential campaign to reset relations with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

White House suggested that Mr. Trump was eager to mend relations. The president’s invitation, it said, was aimed at discussing “the importance of the United States-Philippine alliance, which is now headed in a very positive direction.”


Trump in tweets: ‘New healthcare plan is on its way’

President Donald Trump isn’t giving up on a new plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In Sunday morning tweets, Trump said a new health care plan is on its way, adding: “Obamacare is dead.”

“You can’t compare anything to ObamaCare because ObamaCare is dead. Dems want billions to go to Insurance Companies to bail out donors….New…healthcare plan is on its way. Will have much lower premiums & deductibles while at the same time taking care of pre-existing conditions,” the president wrote.

Congress has yet to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, something Trump promised during the campaign that he would do on day one. Saturday marked his 100th day in office.

Last week, Trump tried to push for a vote on a new plan, which got a blessing from the House Freedom Caucus, but is still short votes from other GOP members. Republicans control the House, but don’t seem to have enough votes in their own caucus to pass a particular plan.


As Trump Stepped Off The Plane in Pennsylvania, He Looked Out and Saw This (Video Inside)

President Trump is holding a rally right now in Pennsylvania to celebrate his 100th day in office. He is holding the rally on the same night as the “White House Correspondent’s Dinner,” so the the media isn’t covering the rally. Because of this, most people thought it would be a small turnout for Trump.

He was greeted by cheering American soldiers, along with thousands of supporters who began lining up at 5:30 AM. That’s more than 12 hours before the event. And at the front of that line, is a 10 year old boy reading Trump’s book, “The Art of The Deal”… THIS IS WONDERFUL!!


Former Indian Diplomat Says 100 Days Of Trump Administration Show Positive Trend For Indo-US Ties

Former Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said the Indo–US relationship during this period has broadly proceeded along expected lines.

The first hundred days of the Trump administration have shown a positive trend for the Indo-US relationship and the upward trajectory of ties was expected to continue with bipartisan support for it, a former top Indian diplomat has said. On the eve of US President Donald Trump completing 100 days in office, former Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said the Indo–US relationship during this period has broadly proceeded along expected lines.

“As the engagement of the past hundred days has shown, India is clearly seen as an important interlocutor, with some convergence of interest, and potential for an even stronger mutually beneficial partnership,” he told PTI. Starting in the last phase of the Bush administration and almost all but two years of the Obama administration, Singh was a key player in driving the Indo-US relationship in the last one decade.

During the campaign, President Trump had talked positively about India and expressed support for consolidating the Indo-US relationship further. Trump has spoken several times on phone with Prime Minister Modi, Singh said. India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar have had consultations with senior US officials during their visits this year, he noted.

US National Security Adviser Lt Gen H R McMaster recently visited India and also called on the Prime Minister. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met with US Treasury and Commerce Secretaries earlier this month in Washington, Singh said, referring to the high-level bilateral visits.

“We can expect the positive trajectory to continue since there is now bipartisan support in the US for the relationship,” Singh said. At the same time, he said acknowledged that there will “no doubt” be some areas of concern.

“The eventual US decision on H-1B visas will have consequences for our technology workers and companies. Reduction in US tax rates, if realised, could draw capital into the US and away from other countries,” he warned. “Large US deficit, on account of tax reduction and infrastructure spending, could raise interest rates globally, which would also have consequences for India,” the former Indian diplomat said.

Reacting to a question on Trump’s foreign policy in the first 100 days of his administration, Singh, who retired from the foreign service late last year, said 100 days is perhaps too short, and certainly an artificial, 24/7 news cycle driven timeline, to assess the enduring and defining parameters of the foreign policy of any new administration.

“This initial phase is also usually marked by tension between the compulsions of proposals made during the campaign aimed at rousing the base and getting out the vote, and the constraints subsequently imposed by limits of power and realisation of larger consequences,” he said.

These hundred days have thus seen the fulfilment of some campaign promises, reversals on others, and several critical issues still being evaluated, Singh noted. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20 and completes hundred days in office today.


Trump: Flynn ‘was approved by the Obama administration’

President Donald Trump on Friday shifted blame for the vetting of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn onto the Obama administration.

Trump, during an interview on Fox News, stressed that Flynn “was approved by the Obama administration at the highest level” for his prior stint in federal government, years before working in the Trump White House. The retired lieutenant general served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama until 2014.

“When he came into our administration, for a short period of time – he came in – he was already approved by the Obama administration, and he had years left on that approval,” Trump added.

Flynn resigned from his national security post in the Trump administration in February amid growing scrutiny over his ties to foreign agents. In recent weeks, revelations of Flynn’s lobbying work for the Turkish government and his paid speeches in Moscow, which went undisclosed in his clearance renewal application in 2016, have drawn the ire of US officials. Lawmakers have charged that Flynn’s omission likely violated the law.

The president, who already said he felt “bad” for Flynn following his ouster, said he remained sympathetic to his plight.

“I do feel badly for him,” Trump said. “He served the country. He was a general.”

The president likewise criticized those questioning why Flynn didn’t receive more thorough vetting from the Trump administration for not leveling the same questions at the Obama administration.

“Now, if somebody’s approved at the absolute highest level by the Obama or a previous administration, I mean, does anybody ever ask about them?” he asked.

Trump, who has frequently returned to the campaign controversies of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton since taking office, additionally asked why Clinton’s campaign aides did not face a similar line of questioning as Flynn.

“Does anybody ask about why Bill Clinton was paid a fortune to make speeches in Russia? Does anybody ever ask about Podesta having a company with his brother in Russia?” he said.


Trump Walked Up Behind This Marine And Did Did Something No One Would Have Expected

President Donald Trump and Melania met with President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada at the White House on Thursday.

He welcomed the two Argentine guests and Trump then did the unexpected. Watch the magic happen at the 1:50 mark.

Trump leaned into hug Melania and then patted the marine on the back.

The Trump administration has now postponed Barack Obama lifting a 16-year ban on imports of Argentine lemons.

Trump reacted: “We’re going to be great friends, better than ever before.”


Trump: ‘We may terminate’ US-South Korea trade agreement

President Trump threatened to terminate the US trade agreement with South Korea in an interview Thursday night, declaring that the five-year-old accord with a key ally was “a horrible deal” that has left America ­“destroyed.”

Trump sharply criticized the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as Korus, the latest version of which was ratified in 2011.

“It’s a horrible deal. It was a Hillary Clinton disaster, a deal that should’ve never been made,” Trump said, referring to the then-secretary of state who became the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. “It’s a one-way street.”

South Korea is the United States’ sixth-largest goods trade partner, and the US goods trade deficit with Korea was $27.7 billion last year, according to the Office of the US Trade ­ Representative.

Next week marks an anniversary for Korus and triggers a review period to potentially renegotiate or ratify a new version of the agreement.

“We’ve told them that we’ll either terminate or negotiate,” Trump said. “We may terminate.”

The president said that the process of termination of Korus is simpler than with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“With NAFTA, we terminate tomorrow; if we did, it ends in six months,” he said. “With the ­Korean deal, we terminate and it’s over.”

Trump added: “I will do that unless we make a fair deal. We’re getting destroyed in Korea.”

South Korea’s Trade Ministry said Friday that it has no plans to renegotiate the agreement, the Associated Press reported.

The country’s vice trade minister said South Korea was not notified of any trade renegotiation.

On his trip to Asia last week, Vice President Pence said to an audience of business leaders in Seoul that the United States was looking to “reform” the Korus agreement because US businesses “face too many barriers to entry, which tilts the playing field against American workers and American growth.”

Trump’s threat to South Korea comes after he withdrew the United States from the ­Trans-Pacific Partnership pact. The Trump administration additionally is pushing to renegotiate trade relationships with Japan, another important ally.

During a visit last week to Tokyo to open an economic dialogue with the Japanese, Pence stated: “We seek trade that is free. We seek trade that is fair.”


President Donald Trump Visits VA And Signs Executive Order

Secretary Shulkin makes key announcements to reduce red tape, fraud and improve Veteran services.

Today, President Donald Trump visited VA to thank Veterans for their service, and VA employees for their work helping Veterans.

While at VA, the president signed an executive order entitled, “Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, made three new key announcements at the VA’s Central Office.

The executive order is focused on improving “accountability and whistleblower protection” at VA by creating an office dedicated to that purpose and the position of special assistant to the secretary who will report directly to the secretary and serve as executive director of the office.

The new executive director “will report directly to me as secretary so that we can identify barriers that are preventing us from removing employees and people that we have identified that should no longer be working at VA,” said Shulkin. “We want make sure that we have employees who work hard and are committed to the mission of serving our Veterans.”

The VA will establish the office and appoint the executive director within 45 days of the signing of the executive order.

The executive director will advise and assist the secretary in using all available authorities to discipline or terminate any VA manager or employee who has violated the public’s trust and failed to carry out his or her duties on behalf of Veterans. The executive director will likewise assist the secretary in recruiting, rewarding, and retaining high-performing employees.

At the signing ceremony for the executive order, Shulkin likewise announced three new key initiatives at the Department.

VA partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services

Effective today, VA is entering a partnership agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services that will permit the assignment of medical professionals from the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to provide direct patient care to Veterans in VA hospitals and clinics in underserved communities.

“My priority has been to improve access to care for our nation’s heroes,” said Shulkin. “By partnering with our colleagues at HHS, we will enhance the availability of clinical care in those areas most in need.”

The initial agreement enables up to 20 officers from the Commissioned Corps to treat Veterans in VA facilities that are most in need of staffing support. The agreement also allows up to 10 more officers to help support coordination for veterans receiving non-VA community care.

New fraud, waste and abuse taskforce

The secretary announced a major new initiative to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Effective today, this initiative has the potential to save tens of millions of taxpayer dollars currently at risk, for fraud, waste and abuse that can be redirected to better serve Veterans.

The initiative will include bringing in the leading thinkers from the private sector and other government organizations in an advisory committee to identify and leverage cutting-edge fraud detection tools and; and coordinate all fraud, waste and abuse detection and reporting activities across the department through a single office.

The department has identified potential savings in the area of improper payments to health care providers, major contracts, contracts for pharmaceuticals, and the delivery of benefits to Veterans.

“Restoring the trust of Veterans and improving system-wide accountability are among my top priorities. It’s essential to ensure that all our employees and the companies that we do business with are being good stewards of the resources available to care for our Veterans,” said Shulkin.

Removing red tape at state-owned Veteran nursing homes

Effective today, VA is amending guidelines to permit state-owned Veteran nursing homes to follow state guidelines in the construction design of their facilities – removing red tape, while increasing access to services for Veterans.

Up to now, to qualify for federal grant funding for Veteran nursing homes in their state, Governors and state officials have had to follow federal construction design guidelines. With today’s announcement by the secretary, that is no longer the case and governors are freed up to follow their own state guidelines in the construction design of these facilities while still qualifying for the same level of federal grant funding as before.

In announcing the move, Shulkin noted that state design guidelines already are sufficient to the task of providing safe conditions for our Veterans and the department recognizes the need to move rapidly to reduce unnecessary barriers to providing much needed services to our Veterans.


Everyone Is Turning Their Head At Shocking Thing Trump Did In The Wee Hours Of The Night

President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada both agreed last night to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to the White House. Trump said on Thursday that he was willing to “terminate” the trade agreement if they couldn’t make a “fair deal.”

“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation,” Trump said on Wednesday. “It is an honor to deal with both [Mexican] President [Enrique] Peña Nieto and [Canadian] Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”

The White House just added that Trump will not “agree not to terminate NAFTA at this time” and instead Trump, Mexico and China will “proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation” of NAFTA.

Trump is delivering on everything that he guaranteed. He is going to FIX the trade deals. He just got both countries to agree to negotiate with him.

Trump is about to fix NAFTA.


Trump Tax Plan Could Save Him Millions Under Guise Of Helping Small Businesses

The structure of the Trump organization makes it a prime potential beneficiary – one estimate says the tax plan will save Donald Trump $65m a year in taxes.

A tax plan released by the White House on Wednesday could deliver many millions of dollars annually in tax savings to Donald Trump personally under the guise of helping small businesses, multiple tax experts have told the Guardian.

Trump would not be alone among the super-rich to benefit from the plan, analysts said, although the structure of the Trump organization, an agglomeration of hundreds of owner-operated entities, made it a prime potential beneficiary.

The shrouded way of the Trump association, which the president has not stripped from, and the absence of Trump’s own assessment forms to work with, made it hard to bind how much the president and his family could remain to pick up from the duty code changes proposed on Wednesday, examiners said.

Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, referred the Guardian to a paper in which he wrote that, “conservatively…the Trump plan would give the 400 highest-income households a tax break of about $9m each” per year.

Dean Baker, co-founder of the nonpartisan Center for Economic and Policy Research, estimated loosely – given the dearth of information about Trump’s income, assets and tax strategy – that “the Trump tax plan will save Donald Trump $65m a year in taxes”.

The mechanism by which Trump would claim those savings would be irrelevant for most small business owners, analysts said, despite the White House billing the tax plan as “helping the low- and middle-income families who have been left behind by this economy”.

“We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive and we’re going to cut taxes for the American people, especially low- and middle-income families,” Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, said in rolling out the plan on Wednesday.

“This is a classic kind of shell game; this is done all the time in political circles,” Baker said. “The reality is it does very little for small businesses – in most cases it does nothing for them, because they’re already paying taxes at a lower rate. So this is a way of cutting taxes for the very wealthy but hiding it as helping small businesses.”

Trump’s plan, which would have to be adopted by Congress to take effect, far from a given, would introduce a new tax rate of 15% for owner-operated businesses known as pass-throughs, which are called that because, for tax purposes, income is “passed through” from the business balance sheet to individual owners and taxed like personal income.

Earners in the top income bracket face a 39.6% hit under current law. Trump’s plan would permit the wealthy business owner who re-categorized personal income as business income to access the lower 15% rate.

Such owners potentially include the president himself. The Trump Organization last year comprised approximately 500 separate pass-through entities, in each case with Trump as the sole or principal owner, according to a statement released by his lawyers during the presidential campaign. Businesses typically run as pass-throughs include hedge-funds and other investment firms, medical and legal practices, lobbying firms and real estate enterprises.

Small businesses are pass-throughs, as well, however small businesses are not positioned, the way the Trump Organization would be, to score a huge tax break because most owners aren’t top earners and already pay taxes at lower rates.

“The small business is the poster child,” Marr said. “The same with the estate tax; they hold up a farmer when no farmers are affected. Because a farmer’s sympathetic and the Walton family’s not.”

“The [media] coverage ignores, though, that most small businesses are small. You have a graduated rate structure. So if you don’t make much money, you don’t pay a high rate.”

“Seventy percent of entities with pass-through income already pay 15%. So this doesn’t affect them. It only affects those who are at the higher rates. And that money, again, is very concentrated at the top.”

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has estimated that changes in the way pass-through owners would pay taxes under Trump’s plan would cost the government $1.5tn over 10 years.

Scott Greenberg, a policy analyst at the conservative Tax Foundation, explained the rationale behind the administration’s assertion on Wednesday that the new lower business tax in Trump’s plan was aimed at stimulating economic growth.

“The motivation behind such proposals I think comes from, number one, a desire to lower taxes on businesses generally, recognizing that investment is potentially particularly sensitive to taxes, which might provide a rationale for lowering taxes specifically on business investments,” Greenberg said.

He said that anti-abuse rules in Trump’s tax code, if it is passed by Congress, could stop some business owners from aggressively re-categorizing their income to achieve a lower tax rate.

“Certainly businesses are required to pay their owners reasonable compensation,” Greenberg said. “So if some of your income from a business is compensation for your labor services provided, under current law you are required to report that as wages and salaries rather than as business income. However, this standard hasn’t always proven robust. There’s some evidence that wealthy individuals will use the pass-through business form to re-categorize income already from wages and salaries to business income.”