Politics Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Mike Dubke, President Trump’s communications director, has resigned, ABC News has learned.

Dubke, 47, who had been tasked with helping to shape the president's message, only served at his administration post for about three months.

He resigned on May 18 but offered to stay on his post until the end of the president's first foreign trip, ABC News has learned.

Dubke is still coming into work, and his last day has not yet been set.

Previously, he had helped found Crossroads Media, a Republican media services firm.

Dubke's resignation may serve as an opportunity to revamp Trump's communications team, which has frequently come under criticism during the early months of the president's term.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A Texas lawmaker said his office received racist phone calls on Monday evening, just hours after a fight broke out on the floor of the state's House of Representatives.

Democratic Texas Rep. Cesar Blanco said the scuffle between lawmakers -- which reportedly occurred after state Rep. Matt Rinaldi, a Republican, told House Democrats that he had called immigration services on a group of Hispanic protesters -- had incited “hate and racism.”

Blanco shared audio on Twitter of what appeared to be a phone call from a Rinaldi supporter.

In the audio, a male caller says "I stand with Matt Rinaldi" before going on to make racist comments towards “illegal alien[s]” in the state.

Blanco accused Rinaldi of making “hateful and disparaging comments” towards Hispanics and immigrants during a conversation on Monday about protests over Senate Bill 4, a controversial legislation that, among other things, bans sanctuary cities.

Video of the protests and the subsequent scuffle between state lawmakers surfaced on social media later on Monday. The footage showed the legislators screaming and shoving each other. Texas House Democrats later accused Rinaldi of making violent threats towards them.

Texas Rep. Philip Cortez recalled the incident in a press conference after the scuffle.

“We were just on the floor talking about the SB4 protests, and Matt Rinaldi came up to us and made it a point to say, ‘I called (ICE) on all of them,’ ” Cortez said. “And this is completely unacceptable. We will not be intimidated. We will not be disrespected.”

Another House Democrat accused Rinaldi of threatening a fellow lawmaker.

“There was a threat made from Representative Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleagues’ heads,” state Rep. Justin Rodriguez said during the news conference. “That kind of threatening language, he needs to be called out and held accountable for.”

Rinaldi later released a statement, where he acknowledged the fight and said he was the one who was threatened.

Rinaldi said a representative "threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery and said ‘I am illegal and here to stay.’”

Rinaldi went on to allege that another Democrat Representative had “physically assaulted" him, while "other Democrats were held back by colleagues.” He said he is currently under the protection of the Department of Public Safety as a result of the incident.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Jana Birchum/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- The final day of Texas' legislative session sparked a brief moment of chaos when a protest in the public gallery of the state Capitol by opponents of the state's new anti-sanctuary cities law spilled into the House chamber.

Activists wearing red T-shirts interrupted lawmakers on the floor with cheers and chants of  "Hey hey, ho ho, SB-4 has got to go," as they protested the state's new law that allows police to ask about a person's immigration status, and requires the local government and law enforcement to comply with federal immigration laws.

The raucous protests on Monday were loud enough to delay the session and some Democratic lawmakers clapped along in support. The Texas Department of Public Safety eventually removed the protesters and confiscated banners.

According to state Rep. Ramon Romero (D-Forth Worth), he and his colleagues were then approached by state Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), who said he decided to call the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement in response to the protests.

There was a brief tussle as both Democrats and Republicans were involved in a shoving match. Rinaldi in a statement later accused Romero of assault and said state Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) "threatened [his] life on the House floor."

"I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, 'get me,' I would shoot him in self defense," he said. "I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me."

Nevarez said on Twitter in response to Rinaldi, "He's a liar and hateful man. Got no use for him. God bless him."

Lawmakers pointed fingers at each other as to who started the scuffle, but both Nevarez and Rinaldi apologized for the incident.

"Pushing and shoving and anything beyond that isn't acceptable and it shouldn't happen out there and I'm sorry it happened," Rinaldi said.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) slammed Rinaldi's decision to call ICE.

"The one positive thing about it is at the 140th day mark I think you finally hear some honesty from some members of the legislature who really do believe that Latinos should be deported from the United States, be they citizens or non-citizens alike," he said.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump offered a solemn tribute to America's soldiers during a Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery Monday, honoring those who gave their lives in war and those currently serving in defense of the country.

"Here at this hallowed shrine, we honor the noblest among us, the men and women who paid the ultimate price for victory and for freedom," said Trump. "We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced into gunfire, roared into battle, and ran into hell to face down evil. They made their sacrifice not for fame, or for money, or even for glory, but for country."

From the podium of the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater, the commander-in-chief relayed stories of those who served and urged Americans to continue with the day's theme of remembrance.

“We can never replace them. We cannot repay them. But we can always remember. And today, that is what we are doing,” Trump said.

In the speech, Trump paid tribute to Army Spc. Christopher Horton; Special Forces Capt. Andrew Byers; and Marine First Lt. Robert Kelly, the son of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, whose family members were in attendance.

“And while we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying,” Trump said to the Gold Star families.

He also made special mention of former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who sat in the audience at Monday’s ceremony, thanking him for his service in World War II.

Earlier in the morning, the president visited the cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where he placed a wreath and had a moment of silence as a bugle player performed "Taps."

Trump’s remarks at the Memorial Day ceremony was his first public appearance since returning from a nine-day foreign trip.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Andrew Theodorakis-POOL/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Last week, President Donald Trump retained attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him in all matters related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2006 presidential election.

Kasowitz has served as a representative for Trump "on a wide range of litigation matters for over 15 years," according to his law firm's website, both in Trump's businesses and during the presidential campaign.

Kasowitz co-founded the New York City law firm now known as Kasowitz Benson Torres in 1993, after earning a reputation as a hard-hitting litigator representing big tobacco. He graduated from Yale University and Cornell Law School.

His firm, formerly Kasowitz Benson Torres Friedman until partner David Friedman became Trump's pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, represents corporations and real-estate actions and touts representing the businessman-turned-president across a number of dealings.

Kasowitz Benson Torres was retained to restructure bondholder debt on Trump's casinos in 2001, sue investors over the sale of a real estate development in 2005 and pursue a defamation case over claims made in a biography of the future president in 2006, among other matters.

More recently, Kasowitz was hired by the Trump campaign to push back against sexual harassment accusations made in an October New York Times article.

"Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se," wrote Kasowitz in a letter to Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet. "It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump’s candidacy."

Despite the attorney's claim that Trump would "pursue all available actions and remedies" if the story was not retracted with an apology, the newspaper did not do so. Ultimately, Trump did not pursue legal action.

Kasowitz was successful during the campaign in keeping the record of Trump's divorce from his first wife Ivana sealed after the Times and Gannett attempted to have it released.

Trump was effusive in his praise of Kasowitz's firm in a 2004 story in American Lawyer which quoted the businessman as saying, "[they're] not good lawyers, they’re phenomenal lawyers.”

"They’re highly talented with great insight into the future," he added.

In addition to his work for the president, Kasowitz has developed a reputation for his representation of high-profile financial services firms in suits involving various issues, including bankruptcies, fraud, buyouts and restructuring.

Among Kasowitz's colleagues at his law firm is former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, whom Trump labelled as his top choice for the vacant position of FBI director two weeks ago, after the firing of James Comey.

Lieberman withdrew from consideration last week over suggestions that his appointment to lead the bureau would be improper given his position at Kasowitz Benson Torres.

"With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner," wrote Lieberman in a letter informing Trump of his decision.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CANBERRA, Australia) -- While overseas in Australia for security talks, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin is “the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS.”

“I think ISIS can do terrible things, and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith, and I worry about a whole lot of things about it,” McCain told Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview Monday.

“But it is the Russians who are trying, who tried to destroy the very fundamental of democracy and that is to change the outcome of an American election,” he said, referring to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

“So I view Vladimir Putin ... I view the Russians as the far greatest challenge that we have,” said McCain, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

When asked about the reports that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner sought to set up back-channel communications with Russia about Syria and other policy matters, McCain said, “I don't like it. I just don't.”

“I know that some administration officials are saying, 'Well, that's standard procedure,'” he elaborated. “I don't think it is standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.”

McCain’s comments come after Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly’s interview on ABC's This Week Sunday in which Kelly said it would be “both normal ... and acceptable” to have back-channel communications.

McCain was one of the few senators to reach out to Australia following Trump’s January phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in which Trump got upset over an Obama-era deal between the countries for the U.S. to accept refugees from Australia.

In a statement on Feb. 2, McCain said he called Australia's ambassador to the U.S., Joe Hockey, to “express my unwavering support for the U.S.-Australia alliance.”

McCain was warmly welcomed to the Parliament of Australia Monday in Canberra and he laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Following a bitter, partisan confirmation battle, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in on April 10 and took his seat on April 17 for his first full day as a Supreme Court justice.

Gorsuch was President Trump's pick to replace another conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in his sleep at age 79 in February 2016.

After 14 months with eight justices, the court is back to full strength.

Ahead, more about the current justices' pathways to the nation's highest court:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Roberts, 62, was appointed to the court in 2005 by President George W. Bush, who nominated him as chief justice. He took his seat Sept. 29, 2005, after a 78-22 vote in the Senate approving his nomination to become the 17th chief justice. Roberts graduated from Harvard College in 1976 and received his law degree from Harvard three years later. He served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals before being appointed to the Supreme Court. Roberts was born in Buffalo, New York, and has two children with his wife, Jane Marie Sullivan.

Anthony M. Kennedy

Kennedy, 80, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. He was confirmed in a 97-0 vote, and joined the bench Feb. 18, 1988, after the failed nomination of Robert Bork. Kennedy received degrees from Stanford University, the London School of Economics and Harvard Law School. After serving in private practice, Kennedy was a professor of constitutional law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He was a member of the California Army National Guard in 1961. Kennedy was on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals when he was nominated. He is married to Mary Davis and has three children. Kennedy was born in Sacramento, California.

Clarence Thomas

Thomas, 68, was nominated by President George H. W. Bush in 1991. He was confirmed by the Senate in a 52-48 vote after partisan and contentious hearings, in which Anita Hill, a former aide to Thomas, testified to allegations of sexual harassment. Thomas denied the allegations in the highly publicized confirmation hearings and maintains his innocence. He joined the court on Oct. 23, 1991. Thomas graduated from Holy Cross College in 1971 and received his law degree from Yale Law School. He served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals from 1990 to 1991. Prior to his judgeship, he was the assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education and chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas was born in the Pinpoint community near Savannah, Georgia. He married Virginia Lamp on May 30, 1987, and has one child by a previous marriage.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg, 84, was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court in 1993 while serving as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was confirmed in a 96-3 vote and joined the court on Aug. 10, 1993. She was a professor at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963 to 1972 and then at Columbia Law School from 1972 to 1980. Prior to her judgeship, Ginsburg worked as the ACLU’s General Counsel, where she launched the Women’s Rights Project. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University. She then attended Harvard Law School but received her degree from Columbia Law School. Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954 and has two children.

Stephen G. Breyer

Breyer, 78, was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The Senate confirmed him in a 87-9 vote and he took the bench on Aug. 3, 1994. Breyer previously served for 10 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for four years as its chief judge. He attended Stanford University and Magdalen College, Oxford, and received his law degree from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg in 1964. Breyer was an assistant special prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, a special assistant to the assistant U.S. Attorney General for antitrust, as well as chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He has three children with his wife Joanna Hare. Breyer was born in San Francisco, California.

Samuel Anthony Alito Jr.

Alito, 67, was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005. He took his seat on Jan. 31, 2006 after the Senate confirmed his nomination in a 58-42 vote, which followed Bush's withdrawal of his nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers. Alito previously served as assistant to the Solicitor General at the Department of Justice; deputy assistant Attorney General; and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. Alito received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was the editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is married to Martha-Ann and has two children. Alito was born in Trenton, New Jersey.

Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor, 62, was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in 2009. She joined the court on Aug. 8, 2009, after the Senate voted 68-31 in support of her nomination. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992 to 1998. She was then nominated by President Bill Clinton to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where she served for 11 years. Sotomayor received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her law degree from Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She was born in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Elena Kagan

Kagan, 57, was appointed as Solicitor General of the United States by President Barack Obama in 2009. A year later, the president nominated her to the Supreme Court. She took her seat on Aug. 7, 2010, after a 63-37 vote in the Senate. Kagan clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1987. She was a law professor first at the University of Chicago Law School and later at Harvard Law School after briefly practicing law in Washington, D.C. She served for four years in the Clinton administration, as associate counsel to the president and then as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy. She was also the dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009. Kagan was born in New York on April 28, 1960.

Neil Gorsuch

Gorsuch, 49, is the newest justice to join the court. The former Colorado federal appeals judge was nominated by President Donald Trump on Jan. 31 to fill the late Justice Scalia's seat on the bench. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 7. Democrats, bitter over the GOP's refusal to hold a hearing for former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, fought hard to block Gorsuch's nomination. In order to get Gorsuch confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed Senate rules to end debate on Supreme Court nominees with a simple majority of 52 votes instead of the original 60. Gorsuch was a former 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge in Denver, nominated by President George W. Bush in 2006. Gorsuch was also a law clerk for Justice Kennedy. Gorsuch received his bachelor's degree from Columbia University, graduated from Harvard Law and got his Ph.D. from Oxford. He was born in Denver and has two daughters with his wife, Marie Louise.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly came to the defense of Jared Kushner, saying it would be “normal" and "acceptable” to seek backchannel communications with Russia, but that if those communications used Russian equipment, that would be considered "somewhat compromised.”

Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser of President Trump, talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, prior to Trump's taking office, about establishing a backchannel for communications about Syria and other policy matters, sources told ABC News.

Kelly told This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that with countries such as Russia that are not allies of the U.S., any means of communication is a "good thing.”

All communications gathered through a backchannel would be “shared across the government, so it’s not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines" with any country, Kelly said.

Raddatz pressed Kelly about whether it would be OK for these backchannel communications to be conducted using Russian diplomatic facilities, as, according to the Washington Post, Kushner sought.

Kelly continued to insist that any line of communication “to a country like Russia is a good thing," but he said "using their equipment, you know, that ... would be considered to be, you know, kind of somewhat compromised."

“You consider it in terms of its reliability,” Kelly said. “You just have to assume, like in this case, that it’s constructed in a way that they’re trying to get you to do certain things.”

Raddatz also asked Kelly about U.S. agencies’ apparent leaks to the press of crime-scene photos and other information about the British investigation of the Manchester attack. Trump on Thursday ordered an investigation of the leaks, saying they "pose a grave threat to our national security."

Kelly said the leaks were “outrageous.”

He said when he called his counterpart in the U.K. to offer condolences over the attack, she "rightfully then said, ‘Thanks for that. Now, the leak.' "

When Raddatz compared these leaks to Trump's reportedly sharing Israeli intelligence with the Russians in an Oval Office meeting earlier this month, Kelly resisted making any comparison.

“It’s my understanding that the White House has pushed back and said [Trump] didn’t do that, so I’ll take him at his word,” Kelly said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Less than 12 hours after returning home from his foreign trip, President Trump was back to tweeting Sunday morning with a renewed attack on the news media.

“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” the president said in a series of tweets Sunday morning.

“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names … it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy.”

It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

The president's renewed attack on the media comes amid reports that his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner talked with the Russian ambassador in December about establishing a backchannel for communications.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Bettman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In 1987, then-businessman Donald Trump told ABC News he had “zero political aspiration.”

Thirty years later, he is president.

Trump's views on running for office clearly changed. But 128 days into his presidency and just after his first foreign trip in office, three people who have covered Trump closely say not much else about him has changed.

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz sat down with two Trump biographers, Gwenda Blair and Tim O’Brien, and ABC News National Correspondent Tom Llamas, who covered Trump throughout the campaign. Blair is the author of “The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President." O’Brien is both the executive editor of Bloomberg View and the author of “Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald.”

Blair began researching Trump in the late 1980s. Asked by Raddatz how Trump has changed since then, she said, “Not a bit.”

“He is exactly the same guy. He was totally focused on what was in his self-interest then. He is totally focused on it now,” Blair said in the interview that aired Sunday on This Week.

“He’s 70 years old,” added Llamas, “and for the better part of his adult life, he’s never had a boss. He’s always been the boss, so he’s never had to listen to anybody. … And right now, I don’t care how great a tactician, how brilliant a political scientist walks into the Oval Office, whatever they tell Donald Trump, he’s going to do what he wants.”

“He is his best spokesperson,” Llamas said. “That's maybe the only part of his presidency so far that has hurt him is that he's had messengers come out, whether it be Sean Spicer or Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The best salesman for Donald Trump is Donald Trump.”

O’Brien disagreed slightly with Llamas. “I would depart from Tom on the notion of that -- that if they let Trump be Trump, that's the best thing to do because he's a good spokesman for himself. I think he's a good source of energy on the campaign trail. That's why he got so much attention,” said O’Brien. “He's this force of nature, and he's uninhibited. He's essentially Mr. Id.”

The Trump Organization, now being managed by the president’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., has always been a family business. In a way, his presidency is similar, according to Llamas.

“I think that’s the only way he knows how to do business,” Llamas said. “I think he feels very comfortable with having a relative in there because I think he knows, at the end of the day, as loyal as some of his staffers are … blood is thicker than water.”

Raddatz noted that Trump “clearly admires” his eldest daughter, Ivanka, who has taken a formal position in her father’s administration.

“Clearly, he sees Ivanka as the heir to the Trump dynasty,” said Llamas. “I think he relies on her advice. I think he does think she’s very intelligent, very savvy, very smart.”

All three agree that President Trump will run for re-election in 2020. Llamas said he thinks Trump’s favorite part of being president is the campaigning because “it’s the closest he can be to a rock star.”

O’Brien said he thinks Trump would like to be "president for life” if he could. “I think he has no intention of going away. Reality, some investigation, the electorate -- all might intrude, but I don’t think he thinks about it that way.”

Blair agreed, saying, “He’s the most competitive guy who ever lived, and this is the biggest gold ring there is. He’s got it in his hand. Why would he let it go?”

 

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat called for a review of Jared Kushner's security clearance over questions of whether he was truthful about his contacts with Russia.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) spoke to ABC News' Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview on This Week Sunday in the wake of revelations that Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, talked to the Russian ambassador about establishing a backchannel for communications in December, before Trump took office.

“If these allegations are true and he had discussions with the Russians about establishing a backchannel and didn't reveal that, that's a real problem in terms of whether he should maintain that kind of a security clearance,” Schiff said.

"There ought to be a review of his security clearance to find out whether he was truthful, whether he was candid" about his Russia contacts, Schiff added in an apparent reference to what Kushner may have submitted in the security clearance application process. "If not, then there's no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance."

Kushner, who met with the Russian ambassador in December along with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, asked for backchannel communications to discuss Syria and other policy matters, sources told ABC News.

The Democratic National Committee is calling for Kushner's security clearance to be suspended until the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates is completed.

"The FBI's Russia investigation reached Trump's backyard, and now it's in his house," the DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson said in a statement Thursday. "Kushner's security clearance should be suspended until the FBI's findings are complete."

U.S. intelligence operatives reportedly learned about Kushner's interest in backchannel talks through communications that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had with Moscow. Raddatz said Kislyak must know "he’s being monitored all the time" and asked Schiff if it was possible the Russians wanted U.S. intelligence to hear what the Russian ambassador said about Kushner.

"Could it be a ruse" by Russia to get Americans to suspect Kushner? Raddatz asked.

Schiff responded, "Certainly in dealings with the Russians, they're very sophisticated. You always have to take into consideration that the Russians may be doing things that are designed to throw you off the track or provoke discord."

He added that it's "hard to understand" why this would be a ruse.  "Why would they want to undermine the very government that they hope to have a good relationship with?"

Schiff said he expects Kushner to be asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner talked with the Russian ambassador in December about establishing a backchannel for communications, ABC News has learned from two sources.

The sources stress that the talk between Kushner and the Russian envoy about communications was focused on the U.S. response to the crisis in Syria and other policy-related matters.

The meeting, as ABC News has previously reported, took place at Trump Tower in New York and was also attended by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who later became President Trump's short-lived national security adviser.

The Washington Post was the first to report that Kushner wanted to set up a secret backchannel to communicate with Russian officials during the transition period between the election and Trump's inauguration.

The Post report cited communications intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials as Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow.

Russia occasionally attempts to deliberately disclose misleading information when it believes it is being monitored, allowing for the possibility that the request from Kushner did not actually occur, the Post story noted.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was also present at the meeting between Kushner and Kislyak at which the ambassador "reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate," the Post reported.

This is not the first time reports of Kushner's relationships with Russians have surfaced: Kushner and Flynn met with Kislyak together in Trump Tower in December, and Kushner later met with Sergey Gorkov, who runs a bank that drew sanctions from the Obama administration after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Kislyak has been at the center of contacts between Trump administration officials and Russia. The ambassador's conversations with Flynn prior to Trump's inauguration led to Flynn's firing in February after it was revealed that Flynn misled White House officials about the nature of their discussions.

Meetings between Kislyak and Attorney General Jeff Sessions resulted in Sessions' recusal from investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election. The ambassador was also present two weeks ago when President Trump revealed classified intelligence information during an Oval Office meeting.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Family members of President Trump, including his two sons, met for hours Thursday with Republican Party officials to discuss political strategy, ABC News has learned from sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.

The president's sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric, in addition to Eric's wife, Lara, attended the meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., sources told ABC News.

The meeting was first reported by the Washington Post, who said the Trump family members were invited by the RNC and that their appearance there bothered at least two prominent Republicans over questions of whether the president's sons should be involved in high-level party discussions considering they run the Trump real estate business

The Post reported that some other people familiar with the meeting thought it was fine for Trump family members who helped with the president's election campaign to offer their views ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential race.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A campaign rally with President Trump on June 1 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been postponed “due to an unforeseen change in President Trump’s schedule,” according to the Trump campaign team.

“Stay tuned for information on a rescheduled date early next week. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused,” an email sent from the Trump campaign read. “President Trump will see you in Iowa very soon.”

Since taking office in January, Trump has held rallies in Melbourne, Florida, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His rally in Harrisburg marked his 100th day in office and was held the same evening as the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C.

The president enjoys appearing before large crowds of supporters.

“Life is a campaign,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One before his rally in Florida. “Making our country great again is a campaign."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It's been nearly seven months since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump. Now, she’s re-emerging onto the national scene to give a window into her post-election life.

New York magazine released on Friday next week's cover story, in which Clinton shares her reflections on the campaign, election night, sexism, James Comey, and slew of other topics.

Below, excerpts from the 8,000-word-plus article:

ON TRUMP’S DECISION TO FIRE FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY:
“I am less surprised than I am worried... Not that he shouldn’t have been disciplined. And certainly the Trump campaign relished everything that was done to me in July and then particularly in October.” But “having said that, I think what’s going on now is an effort to derail and bury the Russia inquiry, and I think that’s terrible for our country.”

ON LISTENING TO TRUMP’S INAUGURATION SPEECH: "It was a really painful cry to his hard-core supporters that he wasn't changing… The 'carnage' in our country? It was a very disturbing moment. I caught Michelle Obama's eye, like, What is going on here? I was sitting next to George and Laura Bush, and we have our political differences, but this was beyond any experience any of us had ever had."

ON HER FEELINGS ON ELECTION NIGHT:
“This was a crushing, devastating blow… I just thought we had to get through this with a level of dignity and integrity, and there’d be plenty of time to try to figure out what went wrong and what we could have done differently, but for that moment we just had to stick to the ritualistic process: Okay, when I was sure, I have to call Trump. I want to call Obama. And then I have to figure out what I’m gonna do the next day… I had to get through that before I could go, ‘What the hell just happened?’ and be angry and upset. And be disappointed and feel I let people down and feel everything that I felt.”

Next week's cover: Hillary Clinton, profiled by @rtraister, photographed by @lynseyaddario https://t.co/7CXHdmRizw. pic.twitter.com/4eOgR4P0xM

— NYMag PR (@nymagPR) May 26, 2017


ON THOSE WHO SAY SHE WASN’T LIKABLE ENOUGH: “Well, this is the joke… You gotta be authentic! So you go out and try to be as effective as you can in presenting yourself and demonstrating the qualifications you have for the job, but you’re always walking a line about what will find approval from the general population and what won’t. It’s trial and error.”

ON SEXISM DURING THE CAMPAIGN: “Once I moved from serving someone — a man, the president — to seeking that job on my own, I was once again vulnerable to the barrage of innuendo and negativity and attacks that come with the territory of a woman who is striving to go further.”

ON PROGRESSIVE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING: “It has to be sustained… And here is my big worry. The other side is sustained by greed and hate and power and ideology, and they never quit. They get up every day looking to take advantage and drive their agenda forward.”

ON LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM HER CAMPAIGN:
“Whoever comes next, this is not going to end. Republicans learned that if you suppress votes you win?… So take me out of the equation as a candidate. You know, I’m not running for anything. Put me into the equation as somebody who has lived the lessons that people who care about this country should probably pay attention to.”

ON MOVING FORWARD: “Forget the detractors, forget the kibitzers, forget the nasty guys and women… And figure out how we communicate with people who feel what we’ve been talking about, who know there’s something much bigger than me and my campaign. The values that 66 million people voted for are worth fighting for.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.