The Week on Planet Trump: 'Shithole' President Under Siege at Home and Not Welcome Abroad

Monday: Mueller Seeks Sit-Down with Trump 

Anticipating that special counsel Robert Mueller will ask to interview President Donald Trump, the president's legal team is discussing a range of potential options for the format, including written responses to questions in lieu of a formal sit-down, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Lawyers for Trump have been discussing with FBI investigators a possible interview by the special counsel with the president as part of the inquiry into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

The president has continued to insist publicly that he is not under investigation and has described the Justice Department investigation as a "hoax" and a conspiracy cooked up by the FBI in concert with his political opponents.

But the intelligence community has been definitive that Russia attacked the integrity of the 2016 election and sought to push the outcome in Trump's favor. While Trump said during the campaign that he was not aware of any of his aides meeting with Russians, multiple members of his own family and inner circle have since acknowledged that they did.

Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley and Hallie Jackson, NBC News

Tuesday: Immigration Meeting Descends into Confusion

President Donald Trump appeared to contradict himself multiple times in a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday -- a reflection of growing frustration from Capitol Hill about the lack of direction from the White House on the issue.

The President at times suggested he would be looking to sign everything from a stand-alone fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- set to expire in March -- to comprehensive immigration reform, often appearing to being guided by lawmakers in the room to modify his positions.

The comments came during a nearly hour-long conversation between the roughly two dozen lawmakers, the President and White House staff that the press was allowed to record -- a window into the difficult negotiations that still surround the issue of replacing DACA, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, and border security.

At the end of the session, Trump suggested that ultimately, he would sign whatever he was presented with.

Tal Kopan, CNN

Wednesday: Diplomatic Breakthrough in Korea

In a phone call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Trump once again expressed his willingness to hold talks between the U.S. and North Korea "at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances," according to a White House readout of Wednesday's call.

The conversation comes one day after the two Koreas held their first high-level talks in two years, resulting in North Korea's inclusion in the upcoming Winter Olympics. Another sign of a thaw in relations between the neighbors included an agreement to hold military talks.

During Wednesday's call, Moon "thanked President Trump for his influential leadership in making the talks possible," according to the White House.

At a weekend news conference at Camp David, Trump suggested that the recent rapprochement between the North and South was due to his own "tough stance."

When pressed if there would be prerequisites to talks (the U.S. has historically demanded the North first commit to denuclearizing), Trump evaded the question.

Amy Held, NPR

Thursday: Shithole Comments Exhibit Racist President

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper slammed President Trump for reportedly referring to Haiti and several African nations as "shithole countries" on Thursday, calling the remarks "racist."

"The president of the United States is tired of so many black people coming to this country. Tired of immigrants from Haiti and Africa being allowed in," Cooper said, reading comments from Trump as reported by The Washington Post.

"Tired of Haitians and Africans, the president went on to say he would like to bring more people from countries like Norway. Norway, whose population is overwhelmingly of Nordic descent. White people, in other words," Cooper said.

Cooper's criticism comes amid rebukes from various lawmakers from both parties, who called on the White House to issue an explanation for the president's remarks after they were reported.

Many Democrats went further, calling the remarks racist and attacking Republicans for not doing the same.

John Bowden, The Hill

Friday: ProTest Threats Cancel London Visit

U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-planned state visit to the United Kingdom has been put on hold yet again after the administration feared the President would not receive the warm welcome in London he desired, the Guardian reports.

Trump was scheduled to visit London on an official state trip next month, when he was expected to formally open a new $1 billion U.S. embassy complex in Nine Elms, southwest London. Instead, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected christen the 12-story, 518,000-square foot embassy, described as a “state of the art fortress,” as a date for Trump’s trip remains unresolved.

The state visit has been repeatedly postponed since British Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation just days after Trump’s inauguration in Jan. 2017. Since then, British MPs have dropped plans for Trump to address parliament, and political opposition in the U.K. has only grown over the first year of Trump’s administration. Trump tested the strength of the “special relationship” in Nov., retweeting unverified videos from a far-right British nationalist account and prompting London Mayor Sadiq Khan to call for the invitation to be rescinded.

Eli Meixler, Time

Saturday: Iran Nuclear Deal in Jeopardy

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that it would not agree to any changes to the nuclear deal, as President Trump has demanded, and it vowed a “serious response” to new U.S. sanctions that it said crossed a red line.

Trump is insisting on changes to the nuclear deal and U.S. law that would be difficult if not impossible to finesse. He wants Iran to allow the immediate inspection of all sites as requested by U.N. inspectors, and he demands no lapse of the “sunset” provisions imposing curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. He also wants Congress to modify U.S. law to link missile tests to nuclear weapons programs, as well as impose trigger points that would automatically snap sanctions back into place.

Russia called Trump’s remarks “extremely negative.” China said the deal now faces “complicating factors.” And the European Union said it would “assess” the implications.

But the strongest reaction came from Tehran, which agreed under the deal to curb its nuclear program and allow intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities in exchange for relief from punishing economic sanctions. Trump reluctantly extended waivers on the sanctions Friday but said it was the last time he would do so without the changes.

Carol Morello, The Washington Post

Sunday: Twitter Silence on Hawaii Scare

It has been more than 24 hours since the people of Hawaii and its visitors suffered harrowing minutes after a false alarm about an incoming ballistic missile attack left many locals and tourists terrified as they prepared for the worst. So far though, President Donald Trump has yet to comment on the apparent mistake.

At the time when so many of his fellow citizens were terrified, Trump was playing golf, and apparently stayed at the golf course in West Palm Beach during most of the incident, according to the press pool report. His entourage returned to Mar-a-Lago right as Hawaii residents were receiving confirmation that it was all a false alarm.

A few hours after the panic had subsided, Trump did take to Twitter but not to comfort Hawaiians or vow to get to the bottom of what happened. Instead, Trump thought that was the right time to attack “Fake News,” and criticize the media for promotion a “Fake Book of a mentally deranged author.”

Daniel Politi, Slate





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