Trump tweets “money is beginning to pour in” to NATO

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that NATO alliance allies are already stepping up their contributions to the organisation, two days after the president scolded members for not spending enough on defence.

“Many NATO countries have agreed to step up payments considerably, as they should. Money is beginning to pour in -NATO will be much stronger,” Trump tweeted from Sicily where he is attending a Group of Seven meeting.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Top Republican recorded suggesting that Putin pays Trump

House majority leader Kevin McCarthy.

House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. Photograph: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

In a 2016 conversation with fellow members of House leadership, majority leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.

In an exchange first reported by the Washington Post, McCarthy said: “There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump…[laughter]…swear to God.”

According to the transcript, speaker Paul Ryan immediately responded: “This is an off the record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”

On Wednesday night, Ryan’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in a statement to the Guardian: “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians.”

He added: “What’s more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.”

Both Buck and a spokesman for McCarthy initially denied the remarks; the Washington Post listened to and verified an audio recording of the conversation. McCarthy’s spokesman did not respond to the Guardian for a request for comment. However, he tweeted: “This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.”

Trump’s ties to Russia have been the subject of bipartisan concern and, on Wednesday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate those as well as Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

The conversation came shortly after both McCarthy and Ryan had been briefed by the Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, about Russian attempts to undermine democratic institutions in eastern Europe, and a day after it was reported that Russia had successfully hacked the DNC.

At the time, Ryan had still not endorsed Trump but McCarthy had already signed up to become a Trump delegate to the RNC and formally endorsed the real estate developer’s campaign.

At least some Democrats raised concerns about the statement. California congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the House intelligence committee, said the remark raised questions about whether the majority leader has additional information on the “relationship the president had with president Putin”.

“If it was said they had their own concerns and so far they have done nothing to address concerns about the president’s ties to Russia,” Swalwell told reporters. “So I just want to know, were these concerns based on separate information that the majority leader had or had been told?”

Rohrabacher, who has a history of expressing support for the Putin regime and has been described as “Putin’s favorite congressman”, told the Guardian Wednesday night that McCarthy reassured him it was a joke.

He said that the majority leader approached him on the floor during votes on Wednesday evening to ensure that he knew that the remark was intended as a joke.

“Kevin didn’t mean any harm, I’m sure,” said Rohrabacher told reporters.

“You have to be very careful when you’re using humor,” Rohrabacher said, recalling a joke he made during a hearing.

“I remember I was trying to make fun of the scientist who claimed that cow farts make global warming,” Rohrabacher said. “And so at a hearing I said, ‘Oh do you think maybe the dinosaurs disappeared because of dinosaur flatulence?’”

To this day, he said environmentalists still fault him for believing “that dinosaur flatulence killed the dinosaurs”.

[“source-ndtv”]

Trump slams Yates hearing: ‘Nothing but old news’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

 

President Donald Trump said allegations of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia are “a total hoax.” | AP Photo

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted his first reaction to testimony from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, dismissing her comments as “nothing but old news” and asking “when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Trump also said allegations of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia are “a total hoax.”

The series of tweets came as Yates Senate testimony, along with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, dominated cable coverage and the days news in Washington.

“The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” the president tweeted after Yates and Clapper testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism earlier Monday on the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“[Former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump,” Trump added.

Clapper reaffirmed during his testimony that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, while Yates declined to comment on the subject, citing concerns that she’d reveal classified information.

“Sally Yates made the fake media extremely unhappy today — she said nothing but old news!” Trump said.

Yates told the Senate panel Monday that while serving as acting attorney general she had informed the Trump White House in January of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contact with Russian operatives.

She added that Flynn being compromised could’ve made him susceptible to blackmail by the Russians.

Her testimony served as her first public comments on the controversy since Flynn resigned from his post in February.

[“Source-politico”]

 

AFT President: Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump Are Dismantling Public Education

devos-trump
Donald Trump in Washington, DC, on April 25, 2017 (L); Betsy DeVos in Washington, DC, on Jan. 17, 2017.  Olivier Douliery—Getty Images (L); Bill Clark—Getty Images
Donald Trump may say teachers are important, but he spent his first 100 days undermining the schools most educators work in —America’s public schools.

One of President Trump’s first acts was to appoint the most anti-public education person ever to lead the Department of Education. Betsy DeVos has called public schools a “dead end” and bankrolled a private school voucher measure in Michigan that the public defeated by a two-to-one ratio. When that failed, she spent millions electing legislators who then did her bidding slashing public school budgets and spreading unaccountable for-profit charters across the state. The result? Nearly half of Michigan’s charter schools rank in the bottom of U.S. schools, and Michigan dropped from 28th to 41st in reading and from 27th to 42nd in math compared with other states.

Now DeVos is spreading this agenda across the country with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s blessing. They’ve proposed a budget that takes a meat cleaver to public education and programs that work for kids and families. After-school and summer programs — gone. Funding for community schools that provide social, emotional, health and academic programs to kids — gone. Investments to keep class sizes low and provide teachers with the training and support they need to improve their craft — gone. Their budget cuts financial aid for low-income college students grappling with student debt at the same time the Trump administration is making it easier for private loan servicers to prey on students and families.

The Trump/DeVos budget funnels more than $1 billion to new voucher and market strategies even though study after study concludes those strategies have hurt kids. Recent studies of voucher programs in Ohio and Washington, D.C., show students in these programs did worse than those in traditional public schools. Further, private voucher schools take money away from neighborhood public schools, lack the same accountability that public schools have, fail to protect kids from discrimination, and increase segregation.

It’s dangerous in education when the facts don’t matter to people. But it doesn’t stop there. Schools must be safe and welcoming places for all children, and that’s a belief shared both by parents who send their kids to voucher schools and those who send their kids to public schools. But Trump and DeVos have acted to undermine the rights of kids who look or feel different, and to cut funding for school health and safety programs.

What Trump and DeVos are doing stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan consensus we reached in 2015 when Congress passed a new education law that shifted the focus from testing back to teaching, pushed decision-making back to states and communities, and continued to invest funds in the schools that need it the most. It offered an opportunity to focus on what we know works best for kids and schools—promoting children’s well-being, engaging in powerful learning, building teacher capacity, and fostering cultures of collaboration.

The Trump/DeVos agenda not only jeopardizes that work, their view that education is a commodity as opposed to a public good threatens the foundation of our democracy and our responsibility to provide opportunity to all of America’s young people.

Americans have a deep connection to and belief in public education. I see it every day as I crisscross the nation talking to parents, teachers, students and community members about what they want for their public schools. And it transcends politics. It’s one of the reasons we saw such a massive grass-roots response to the DeVos nomination from every part of the country.

A recent poll by Harvard and Politico showed that while parents want good public school choices to meet the individual needs of their kids, they do not want those choices pit against one another or used to drain money from other public schools. In other words, the DeVos/Trump agenda is wildly out of step with what Americans want for their kids.

It’s what I saw when I took DeVos to visit public schools in Van Wert, Ohio, last month. This is an area that voted more than 70 percent for Trump, but people there love and invest in their public schools — from a strong early childhood program, to robust robotics and other strategies that engage kids in powerful learning, to a community school that helps the kids most at risk of dropping out stay on a path to graduation. It’s what I saw at the Community Health Academy of the Heights in New York City where the school provides a full-service community health clinic, in-school social workers, a food pantry, parent resource center, and other services for parents and kids. And it’s what I saw this week at Rock Island Elementary School in Broward County, Fla., where kids participate in robotics programs after school, where there is a library in every classroom and a guided reading room where kids can build their literacy skills. The great things happening in these schools are all funded by federal dollars and threatened by the Trump/DeVos budget.

Many of those who voted for Trump did so because they believed he would keep his promise to stand up for working people and create jobs. They didn’t vote to dismantle public education and with it the promise and potential it offers their children. Now, the person who ran on jobs and the economy seems intent on crushing one of the most important institutions we have to meet the demands of a changing economy, enable opportunity and propel our nation forward. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from Trump’s first 100 days.

[“Source-time”]