By Robert A. Vella
Here’s our news supplement for this Sunday:
Trump backs-off G-7 venue
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Saturday that he would no longer hold next year’s Group of 7 meeting at his luxury golf club near Miami, a swift reversal after two days of intense criticism over awarding his family company a major diplomatic event.
The decision to host the Group of 7 at Mr. Trump’s club was first announced by Mick Mulvaney, the president’s acting chief of staff, during a news briefing on Thursday at the White House, but Mr. Trump had hinted that the resort would be a possibility for months. Democrats immediately portrayed the plan as a blatant act of self-dealing corruption, and ethics lawyers said payments from the visiting delegations could violate the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which forbids the president from accepting gifts and funding from foreign governments.
Fissures emerge in Republican solidarity
Throughout Trump’s presidency, [Senator Lindsey] Graham has been one of the president’s staunchest supporters.
However, Graham – a known defense hawk – was one of Trump’s loudest critics after the president decided to remove U.S. troops from the northeastern border of Syria last week.
At the time, Graham said the policy move could end up being the biggest mistake of Trump’s presidency if it isn’t reversed.
Several Republicans grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld.
While Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have signaled they’re eager to learn more from the impeachment investigation led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, 2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he is “across the Rubicon” and Trump should be impeached.
“I say it with great sadness,” Kasich told CNN, adding that if he were in the House, he would vote to move forward with impeachment.
Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, who broke with many of his Republican colleagues when he said he wouldn’t rule out supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump, announced he will not seek re-election next year.
The two-term Republican grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld.
Rooney, a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican under President George W. Bush, told Fox News on Saturday that he hoped some of his GOP colleagues would join him in backing the impeachment inquiry.
A judge in the US state of Florida on Friday partially blocked a law requiring felons pay their fines before registering to vote, a decision with potential ramifications for next year’s presidential election.
While the decision applies only to the 17 ex-convicts who filed the lawsuit, it also creates a path to registration for other ex-convicts who want to vote but are prevented from doing so by their debts.
“The State of Florida cannot deny restoration of a felon’s right to vote solely because the felon does not have the financial resources necessary to pay restitution,” federal judge Robert Hinkle wrote in his ruling.
HUD’s chief financial officer, Irv Dennis, and David Woll, the department’s principal deputy assistant secretary for community planning and development, made the admission Thursday before a House Appropriations subcommittee.
The two told bewildered lawmakers that the agency missed the congressionally mandated deadline to issue a notice that would have kicked off a monthslong process to help Puerto Rico get billions in federal housing funds Congress allocated after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.
Woll admitted that HUD had “no statutory authority” to miss such a deadline.
Woll and Dennis, in defending why HUD felt compelled to delay the distribution of funds, echoed previous talking points from HUD Secretary Ben Carson, President Donald Trump and other members of his administration in citing “alleged corruption” and “fiscal irregularities” as well as “Puerto Rico’s capacity to manage these funds.”
(Reuters) – Boeing Co’s board of directors and top executives from its airplanes division and supply chain were due to meet on Sunday in San Antonio, Texas, two days after the U.S. planemaker was plunged into a fresh crisis over its banned 737 MAX jet.
The meeting comes as pressure mounts on the world’s largest planemaker not only from investigations into the 737 MAX following two deadly crashes, but also from the financial burden caused by the jet’s safety ban and continued high production.
Several industry sources said there was speculation inside the company of significant job cuts as Boeing, unable to deliver 737 MAX planes to customers, continues to drain cash.
LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a stinging defeat on Saturday as Parliament rebuffed his campaign to take Britain out of the European Union by the end of the month and forced him to seek an extension that he had vowed never to pursue.
The turbulent events left Mr. Johnson’s agreement in limbo and threw British politics once again into chaos, with any number of outcomes possible: a no-deal exit from the European Union, a second referendum on whether to leave at all, or a general election that could shift the balance in Parliament. The only sure result was continuing frustration and confusion among the British public.
Late on Saturday night, Mr. Johnson formally applied to the European Union, in an unsigned letter, for another extension of Britain’s departure, something he said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than do.