Wed, July 19, 2017: Trump halts U.S. program supplying and training Syrian rebels

President Donald Trump has decided to halt the CIA’s years-long covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the regime of the nation’s president Bashar al-Assad. Russia had long pushed the United States to end the program.

The phasing out of the secret program was reported by The Washington Post on Wednesday. Officials told the newspaper that ending the operation reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia.

The program was a key component begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to relinquish power. But even its supporters have questioned its usefulness since Moscow sent forces in Syria two years later. Continue reading “Wed, July 19, 2017: Trump halts U.S. program supplying and training Syrian rebels”

Wed, July 19, 2017: Trump delivers remarks at Made in America Roundtable

State Dining Room

3:49 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, who’s going to make the first presentation? I want to buy something. (Laughter.) But only if it’s made in America, right? (Applause.) I want to thank you all.

And Michael was a supporter of ours right from the beginning, which I really appreciate. It’s good to see you here. It’s fantastic. And I actually bought a couple of pillows, and they’re very good. I have to tell you, they’re great. I’ve slept so much better ever since. (Laughter.) So, thank you very much, Michael. Continue reading “Wed, July 19, 2017: Trump delivers remarks at Made in America Roundtable”

Wed, July 19, 2017: Trump urges Republicans to continue negotiations for healthcare bill

President Trump ordered senators back to the negotiating table on Wednesday for a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, just one day after angrily accepting the measure’s demise and vowing to allow President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement to crater.

Mr. Trump, staring down a high-profile defeat on an issue that has confounded him and defied Republican consensus, told the party’s senators they must not leave Washington without acting on a measure to roll back Mr. Obama’s health law and replace it with something better. Simply repealing the bill without an alternative would increase the number of people without health insurance by 17 million in 2018, a figure that would jump to 32 million in 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

At a White House lunch, Mr. Trump warned the senators that any who stood in the way would be telling voters that they backed the current, “failed” program.

“I intend to keep my promise, and I know you will, too,” Mr. Trump told them, trying to resurrect a measure that appeared dead on Monday night, after a third and fourth Republican senator declared their opposition. That death was followed on Tuesday by an 11th-hour effort to force a vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, but that, too, failed when three Republican senators came out against it.

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