White House, Democrats not budging on border wall funding » With another partial government shutdown potentially just two weeks away, President Trump and Democratic leaders are no closer to a compromise.
The White House maintains any long-term funding deal must have money for a border wall. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said once again on Thursday…
PELOSI: There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.
The president fired back saying Pelosi isn’t serious about finding common ground and is just “playing games.” And he said so far, Democrats on a bipartisan committee have not proposed any funding for a border wall.
TRUMP: I don’t expect much coming out of the committee because I keep hearing the words we’ll give you what you want, but we’re not going to give you a wall. And the problem is, if they don’t give us a wall it doesn’t work.
Lawmakers and the White House must agree on a funding bill by February 15th. That’s when the current temporary funding bill expires. Without a deal, the government will partially shut down once again.
U.S and Chinese negotiators wrap up trade talks » As lawmakers haggled on Capitol Hill Thursday, U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up two days of trade talks.
Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the two sides made “substantial progress” as they race to resolve differences ahead of a March 1st deadline. That’s when U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods are scheduled to increase from 10 to 25 percent.
President Trump struck an optimistic tone late Thursday, saying “we’re going to have a great trade deal.” He emphasized that China will be increasing soybean purchases in the U.S.
But that came just hours after he cast doubt on the prospects.
TRUMP: Can you get it down on paper by March 1st, I don’t know. I can say on March 1st, the tariff on China goes to 25 percent, and that’s a big tariff.
The Trump administration wants to cut America’s trade deficit with China. The U.S. is also airing its concerns over Chinese trade practices. Among them, forcing companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
Jury orders Sen. Rand Paul’s attacker to pay up » A jury in Kentucky on Thursday ordered the man who attacked Senator Rand Paul in 2017 to pay him more than a half-million dollars in damages and medical expenses.
Rene Boucher assaulted the Republican lawmaker while he was mowing his lawn. Paul suffered several broken ribs and other injuries. Boucher claims the attack was not politically motivated, but rather, driven by anger over Paul stacking brush near Boucher’s property line.
Senator Paul said Thursday that people can hold different views whether it’s on politics, religion, or day to day matters, but…
PAUL: We’ve got to resolve these things peacefully. That’s a mark of America and our civilization is not resolving things violently. So I think the message from the jury at least was that we’re just not going to tolerate violence in our community.
Paul had testified during the three-day trial that he feared for his life as he struggled to breathe during and after the attack.
The jury awarded Paul a total of $580,000. Boucher’s attorney said his client plans to appeal that decision.
U.S. poised to officially withdraw from arms treaty » The Trump administration is poised to announce as early as today that it is withdrawing from a nuclear arms treaty with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty—or INF for short—has been a centerpiece of superpower arms control since the Cold War. But while Moscow denies it, the U.S. and European leaders say Russia violated the pact for years.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday…
STOLTENBERG: Russia has deployed a new type of missile in violation of the treaty. This missile, the SSC8 is nuclear-capable, hard to detect, and able to reach European cities.
The INF banned ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 310 and 3,100 miles.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in December that Washington would give Moscow 60 days to return to compliance before it gave formal notice of withdrawal. That deadline expires tomorrow, and U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control Andrea Thompson said the treaty can’t be one-sided.
THOMPSON: If you don’t abide by that standard and the other parties allow it to manifest, you’ve now set a new standard, and that undermines all of our arms control regimes.
U.S. officials also have expressed worry that China is not a party to the 1987 treaty, allowing Beijing to gain a military advantage in Asia.
U.S. airstrike hits extremist camp in Somalia » The Pentagon said Thursday that a U.S. airstrike killed 24 al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. The airstrike hit an extremist camp north of the capital, Mogadishu.
Since last January, the U.S. has carried out nearly 60 airstrikes in the Horn of Africa region against the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab fighters.
The terror group claimed responsibility for last month’s attack on a hotel complex in the capital of neighboring Kenya. It killed 21 people.