Trump was reportedly furious when he learned the U.S. was expelling more Russian diplomats than France
President Trump is slowly moving away from his uncharacteristic docility toward Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, but in private and on Twitter, he continues to hold out hope for a better relationship — a tension that has occasionally escalated into anger, The Washington Post reports. When Trump's aides briefed him in March on the plan to expel 60 Russian diplomats to protest a Russian nerve attack in Britain, he reportedly told them the U.S. will "match" the number of diplomats expelled by America's European allies. "We're not taking the lead. We're matching."
When Trump learned that France and Germany were only expelling four Russian officials each, "Trump erupted," the Post reports:
The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia. His briefers tried to reassure him that the sum total of European expulsions was roughly the same as the U.S. number. "I don't care about the total!" the administration official recalled Trump screaming. ... Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. "There were curse words," the official said, "a lot of curse words." [The Washington Post]
Trump was initially reluctant to believe the intelligence that Russia was responsible for the attack, "a fact that some aides attributed to his contrarian personality and tendency to look for deeper conspiracies," the Post said. "To persuade him, his advisers warned that he would get hammered in the press if he was out of step with U.S. allies," and one senior White House official told the Post that Trump asked British Prime Minister on the phone, "Why are you asking me to do this?"
"The United States essentially has three Russia policies," Angela Stent, a professor at Georgetown University, told the Post: "The president's, the executive branch's, and Congress'." Peter Weber
Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to a Texas hospital Sunday morning with an infection, his office announced Monday.
Bush is at Houston Methodist Hospital, and is responding to treatments for an infection that spread to his blood. His office said he "appears to be recovering," and promised to issue updates as necessary. Bush, whose wife, Barbara, died last week at age 92, was at her funeral on Saturday. Catherine Garcia
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on Monday 10-9 in favor of Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, becoming the next secretary of state.
After saying he would oppose Pompeo's nomination, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced right before the vote that he had changed his mind, following a conversation with President Trump. The full Senate will vote later this week. Catherine Garcia
The temperature reached near 70 degrees in Washington, D.C., on Monday, so Sen. Rand Paul broke out his flip-flops.
The Kentucky Republican had long maintained his opposition to Mike Pompeo, President Trump's nominee for secretary of state, stating repeatedly that he intended to vote against Pompeo because of his hawkish instincts. During Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, Paul pressed Pompeo over whether Trump's use of military force in Syria without congressional approval was constitutionally sound, and said that Pompeo's view of the war in Afghanistan is at odds with Trump's desire to withdraw from the country.
But on Monday, Paul said that after speaking to Trump and Pompeo, he had "received assurances" that Pompeo does not in fact want to prolong America's presence in Afghanistan. Trump "believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan," Paul wrote on Twitter, and on Monday he "received confirmation that [Pompeo] agrees" with Trump.
For that reason, Paul announced that he would vote to confirm Pompeo after all. With Paul's support, plus the backing of three moderate Senate Democrats, Pompeo seems poised for confirmation by the full Senate later this week.
President Trump said one thing, but his flight records said another.
Trump reportedly told former FBI Director James Comey twice that he never stayed the night in Moscow, Russia, when visiting in 2013 for a Miss Universe pageant. But flight records reviewed by Bloomberg, combined with social media posts, appear to indicate that Trump indeed spent a full weekend with business associates and pageant developers in the Russian capital.
The findings contradict Trump's main alibi denying the veracity of a dossier that alleges salacious details about his interactions with prostitutes in Moscow. Even though Trump told Comey on two separate occasions that the dossier "couldn't be true" because of how little time he spent in Moscow on that trip, Bloomberg reports that Trump flew to Russia in a private jet owned by his business partner, rather than on his own jet, making his timeline a bit muddier.
Trump fired Comey last year, and aspects of his explanation regarding the trip to Moscow are detailed in Comey's recently released memoir, A Higher Loyalty. The dossier, compiled by a British ex-spy, remains unverified, though Comey has said some aspects of it were "corroborated by other intelligence."
Social media posts, such as a Facebook photo posted by a Russian restaurant, show that Trump was in Moscow the night before the pageant began. He partied with the pageant's host on a Friday night before spending Saturday touring Moscow and attending the pageant. Trump's own tweets show that he spent more than a full day in the city before flying back to New York early Sunday morning. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza
Nine people were killed and 16 injured Monday afternoon when a man drove a van down a Toronto sidewalk, authorities said. The driver of the vehicle is in custody, though authorities have yet to identify a motive.
The incident occurred down a busy stretch of Yonge Street in Toronto's North York neighborhood. Toronto Deputy Police Chief Peter Yuen told reporters that authorities would be on the scene for "days," and that the investigation would be "complex."
An eyewitness told BBC News that she saw a white car plow through pedestrians. "So many people [were] shouting, 'Stop the car,' but he didn't," the woman said. "He just [kept] moving." Kimberly Alters
This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more details become available.
Something stinks in the far reaches of our solar system.
A study published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday suggests that the clouds that form the upper atmosphere of Uranus are largely composed of hydrogen sulfide gas — the same compound found in rotting eggs that produces their signature odor.
Scientists have speculated about whether Uranus' clouds contained hydrogen sulfide or ammonia, which is found in Jupiter's and Saturn's atmospheres, Space reported. But until now, there has been no concrete proof; Jupiter and Saturn, meanwhile, are much closer to Earth, and thus much easier to observe. The "lucky break" that allowed researchers to finally observe the miniscule gas particles in Uranus' atmosphere was the Gemini telescope in Hawaii, said Leigh Fletcher, one of the co-authors of the study.
Based on what they've discovered about Uranus, scientists now theorize that Neptune's atmosphere may contain hydrogen sulfide as well — which may make humans reluctant visitors to the far-off planets. But Patrick Irwin, the study's lead author, says the rotten egg smell would be the least of anyone's concerns: "Suffocation and exposure in the atmosphere" would be a much bigger problem to worry about, he quipped.
Nashville police have confirmed that the 29-year-old man suspected of opening fire in a local Waffle House over the weekend has been taken into custody. Travis Reinking, of Illinois, opened fire early Sunday morning in the restaurant, killing four people and injuring four others. He fled the scene nude after being disarmed by another Waffle House patron, James Shaw Jr., and had been the subject of an intense manhunt.
Reinking was arrested last July by the Secret Service on charges that he was in a restricted area outside the White House, and had four of his guns seized, including the AR-15 rifle police said he used in Sunday's shooting. Jeva Lange