Friday, July 26, 2019


Office of the Press Secretary


Oval Office


3:48 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much for being here.  We appreciate it.

I'm thrilled to be with a very important man in Guatemala, the Minister Enrique Degenhart.  And we are doing a very important signing.  It's a historic asylum, or safe third, agreement between our two countries.  A very important event.

We've long been working with Guatemala, and now we can do it the right way.  It's going to be terrific for them and terrific for the United States.

This landmark agreement will put the coyotes and the smugglers out of business.  These are bad people.  These are very, very bad, sick, deranged people who make a lot of money off other people's miseries.  It's going to provide safety for legitimate asylum-seekers, and stop asylum fraud and abuses system.

This is also transformative in the step it will take, and the many, many steps it will take for security and safety.  For Guatemala, it signifies the incredible bright future for their country.  This agreement will usher in a new era of investment and growth for their nation, and sets the stage for cooperation between our countries and expanding access to the H-2A visa, which is your agricultural workers and farm workers.

We're going to have them coming into our country in a easier fashion than even before.  It's very important for our business, for our farms, for our ranches.  And we are going to make that a very, very much easier, less cumbersome program.  And further bilateral investment will take place.

But the H-2A is really going to be streamlined.  And all of those workers that come in, we want them to continue to come in.  As you know, we have a very low rate of unemployment -- record-setting.  We're at about 3.5, maybe 3.6.  I hear it's going down -- probably will -- because the country is doing tremendous business.  Had another record stock market.

Today, we're sending a clear message to human smugglers and traffickers that your day is over.  And we're investing in the future of Guatemala, the safety of migrants and their families.  We'll protect the rights of those with legitimate claims, and we'll end the widespread abuse of the system and the crippling crisis on our border.

I want to thank Mexico.  As you know, Enrique, the Mexican government, the President of Mexico, has now 21,000 troops on our double borders -- on their border.  By you, they have about 6,000.  And then, on our southern border, they have -- getting close to 20,000 by itself.  It's going to probably be about 26,000 people total -- soldiers.  And very good ones.  It's had a tremendous impact.  Really an incredible impact.

So, Kevin, if you look at what's happened over the last short period of time, it's really been great.  Now, if the Democrats would sign something, it would be a lot easier.  But we have to do it around the Democrats because they refuse to want to close up the border.  They want open borders.  That means smugglers, it means hijackers, it means drugs, it means crime.  It's frankly, a disgrace.

But with Guatemala and with Mexico, and with other countries that will be signing safe third agreements very shortly, we're doing really well.

I want to thank -- if I might, Enrique -- the President of Guatemala, President Morales.  Please give him my regards.

MINISTER DEGENHART:  Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  He's a terrific guy.  We like him very much.  And we've worked together really, really well.

So if you two gentlemen would sit down, Kevin and Enrique, and you'll sign.  I'll stand right behind you.  This way, I'll confirm it.

     (The safe third country agreement is signed.)

     THE PRESIDENT:  That's a very big thing.  It's a very important signature.  Never been done before.  Thank you very much, Enrique.

     MINISTER DEGENHART:  Mr. President, thank you very much.  Thank you.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all very much.

     Q    What was the breakthrough that led to this?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Look, we've been dealing for many years, I would say, with Guatemala and with other countries.  And we are now at a point where we are -- we just get along.  And they're doing what we've asked them to do.  And I think it's going to be a great thing for Guatemala.  They don't want these problems either.  So we were able to get this done, and we got it done fairly quickly.  But this is after many, many years.

     Mexico also is working along with us very nicely.  I mean, tremendously, actually.  You'll see a chart where the numbers are really through the -- through the floor, I should say, because they're going down.

     Kevin, maybe you want to speak to the numbers, how well we're doing in terms of apprehensions.

     ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  Absolutely, Mr. President.  Since the agreement was signed with Mexico that you energized and drove, we've had 28 percent reduction in June, and we're headed toward another 22 percent reduction in July in crossings.  So 43 percent overall thanks to the effort on the government of Mexico's side and the implementation of our Migrant Protection Protocols border-wide.

     THE PRESIDENT:  And the fact that they do have, really, a big slowdown coming in from Guatemala at the border, because we have, again, 6,000 Mexican troops at the border of Guatemala.  So that helps.  But this will really help.  This is something that's going to be rather incredible.  So the numbers are going down.

     We -- we could really do this in a much easier fashion if we had cooperation from the Democrats.  We have absolutely no cooperation.  Nobody can understand them.  Most of these people, five years ago, they all wanted a wall.

And we're building a lot of wall right now.  A lot of it.  We've ripped down old wall and we've ripped down wall that didn’t even exist which was -- it had bad footings, bad foundations.  It was -- there used to be a wall there; there wasn't.  It was gobbled up by the people that crossed.  And we're building beautiful, new wall.  A lot of it.  And it's getting built rapidly.

     So a lot of things are happening.  But this is a very -- this is a very big day.


     Q    Mr. President, the big focus of the Democrats today was to say that they are going to continue and expand your investigations.  They're looking through the grand jury testimony behind the Mueller report.  They want to try to enforce the subpoena against Don McGahn.  What do you say?

     THE PRESIDENT:  I think it's a disgrace what the Democrats are doing.  It's so sad to see what their -- how they're impeding all of the good things that we're doing.  Like, as an example, today it's the border.  We're strengthening up our border with a great country.  And we have other great countries that are going to be signing on also.

And we're doing this all because the Democrats won't give us what we need.  So simple: Get rid of the loopholes; work on asylum.  It would take a very short period of time.  They won't do it.  All they want to do is impede.  They want to investigate.  They want to go fishing.

And I watch Bob Mueller, and they have nothing.  There's no collusion, there's no obstruction.  They have nothing.  It's a disgrace.

We want to find out what happened with the last Democrat President.  Let's look into Obama the way they've looked at me.  From day one, they've looked into everything that we've done.  They could look into the book deal that President Obama made.  Let's subpoena all of his records.  Let's subpoena all of the records having to do with Hillary Clinton and all of the nonsense that went on with Clinton and her foundation and everything else.  We could do that all day long.

     Frankly, the Republicans were gentlemen and women.  When we had the majority in the House, they didn't do subpoenas all day long.  They didn't do what they -- what these people have done.

What they're doing is a disgrace.  So destructive to our country.  And I think that's why we're going to take back the House.  That's why we're easily going to hold the presidency and we're going to continue to hold the Senate.

And you know, people don't say it, but we picked up two seats in the Senate.  We went from 51 to 53 in the '18 election.  Nobody says it.  They talk about the House.  And I didn't get to campaign very much for the House.  I couldn't because we were campaigning for the Senate.  We almost picked up five seats.  You know that very well.

     So it's a disgrace that they're doing it.  They're doing it for political reasons.  And most of them, many of them, are admitting that.  It's politics.  And frankly, it's a very sad thing for our country.


     Q    What's your thinking now about sanctions on Turkey?  You had that meeting with the Republican senators the other night.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we're looking at the whole Turkey situation.  You know, they've ordered 125 F-35 fighter jets.  Billions and billions of dollars.  They've paid some of it.  The planes are being made.  They're easily sold to other nations because they're the greatest fighter jet in the world.  And we have a backlog of orders.

But it's a tough situation.  They're getting the S-400 and the -- our statutes, and everything else.  As you do that, you just can't order this equipment.  And generally speaking, you can’t order equipment, period.

I don’t blame Turkey because there are a lot of circumstances and a lot of -- a lot of problems that occurred during the Obama administration.  This dates back to the Obama administration, which was a disaster, okay?

Yes, John.

Q    May I come back to Guatemala, sir?


Q    Earlier this week, it looked like things were not going in the right direction.  You were even threatening tariffs against Guatemala.  What turned around in the last couple of days?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think I'd ask maybe Kevin and Enrique to answer.  The relationship has been very good.

ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  We stayed at the table.  We've been working on it throughout.  Enrique has demonstrated a tremendous commitment, the Minister of Government for Guatemala, helping lead the region to take responsibility for migration flows, to work together with the United States on how we can take the power away from the criminal organizations that are exploiting these vulnerable migrants.  And we just stayed -- we stayed with it and got over the line.

MINISTER DEGENHART:  And I would say that Guatemala is definitely clear on the responsibility that it has.  We are clear that we have to make changes.  And the way to do it is working together with our best ally.  That's what we're showing here today, and we are definitely committed to continue doing and improving what we have.

Q    Your court said that this was not possible to do.  How did you get around that?

MR. DEGENHART:  No, they didn’t say that.

Q    Well, I thought that -- it looked like the courts were saying that you could not sign an asylum agreement with the United States.

MINISTER DEGENHART:  So what the court said, which is a provisional injunction, was basically define the process that had to be followed.  As Secretary McAleenan mentioned a little while ago, define how to do that procedure and we are going to implement it.

Q    Can you explain how this will work?  If someone leaves Guatemala and --


Q    -- walks through Mexico into the U.S., what happens?  Are they turned around and (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  A lot of good things happen.  Go ahead, Kevin.

ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  So this is a return to the appropriate approach under international law to protecting asylum seekers at the earliest possible point in their journey.

If you have a Honduran family or an El Salvadorian national, instead of having them pay a smuggler, come all the way to our border to seek asylum -- when they arrive in Guatemala, they're in a country that has a fair proceeding for assessing asylum claims, and that's where they should make that claim; not returns at understanding under international law.

Q    Make a claim to stay in Guatemala or claim to the U.S.?

ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  They can make a protection claim, if they would like, in Guatemala.  So if they arrive in the U.S. not having availed themselves of that opportunity, they'll be returned to Guatemala.

Q    And that's a claim to stay in Guatemala at that point?

ACTING SECRETARY MCALEENAN:  It's a claim for protection under international law for asylum.

THE PRESIDENT:  Which we've never had before and which is something that's so good -- good for everybody, but it's so good.

Q    Are tariffs off the table now, sir?

Q    Are you going to sign a border agreement soon?  And who with?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we have a great agreement with Mexico, but we're going to probably do some additional work on it because we can't get anything from the Democrats.  Dealing with Mexico is really -- what Mexico is doing for us at the border is far greater than what the Democrats have done.

You know, the amazing thing about the Democrats: It was all fine, everything was great, four or five years ago, before I was President.  And now they think we're going to win, so they're doing everything they can -- with the impeachment nonsense, where you had no obstruction, you had no collusion.

You know, obstruction is sort of interesting.  They've interviewed 500 people.  They've interviewed lawyers.  They're interviewed everybody that they wanted to interview; people that have -- I could have kept back by using presidential privilege.  I could've kept back everybody.  They didn’t have to interview anybody.

I gave them a total -- and they say "obstruction."  These people are clowns.  The Democrats are clowns.  They're being laughed at all over the world.  And I watched this morning -- I watched Nancy Pelosi trying to get through that, with the performance that Robert Mueller put on, where -- I don’t think he ever read the agreement or the document.  And the document said, "No collusion."  They don’t even talk about that.  So there was no crime.  They said, "Well, there was no crime but he obstructed."  How do you obstruct if there's no crime?  But, actually, it was worse than that because it was a phony crime that they put on.  The crime was what they put on.

But I watched Mueller -- for two and a half years, we've watched this.  And that's the best they have, and it's a disgrace.  And the world is laughing at them.  And unfortunately, it's so bad for our country.  It's bad in our relationships with other countries, including Russia.  There's no reason we shouldn’t get along with Russia.  There's no reason we shouldn’t get along with other countries.

And one of the things that's nice about Guatemala is we've never had a better relationship.  Right now, they've agreed to do something that's very good for the United States.  And we're going to work with them also.  We're going to be -- it's going to be a partnership.  And it's happening with Mexico too.  We never had any kind of cooperation with Mexico ever, until this President, frankly, and my presidency, where you have maybe 21,000 -- could be 26,000 -- soldiers.

And it's still good for Mexico because they're killing -- they're getting rid of the cartels, which everybody knows they've been running big portions of Mexico -- and the coyotes and all of these terrible people.  Mexico has done a great job for their people.  The President has done a great job for his people.  And President Morales has done a great job by doing this, because now he has a friend in the United States instead of an enemy of the United States.

Yes, John.

Q    Mr. President, are you going to slap tariffs on French wine?

THE PRESIDENT:  I might.  I might.  So, France put on a tax on our companies.  You know that.  And -- wrong.  Wrong thing to do.  They should not have done it.  So I may do that.  I may -- I've always liked American wines better than French wines, even though I don't drink wine.  (Laughter.)  I just like the way they look, okay?  But American wines are great.  American wines are great.  And they didn’t do the right thing, when they start taxing our companies.  We tax our companies; they don’t tax our companies.

So France did that.  I told him -- I said, "Don’t do it, because if you do it, I'm going to tax your wine" -- tariff, or tax -- call it whatever you want.  So, yeah, we're working on that right now.

Q    You were critical of Macron's decision to do this.  How is that relationship between you and Macron?

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  I just spoke to him.

     Q    You used to be very close.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I just spoke to him.  I have a good relationship with President Macron.  But they shouldn’t have done this.  They're used to taking advantage of the United States, but not with me as President.

Look, I look at deals that were done with other Presidents and this country, and it's a disgrace that our country has allowed this to happen -- where China, for years and years and years was making from $300 billion to $507 billion a year, okay?  Now we're taking in billions of dollars from China, and it's all turning around.

Whether a deal is made -- you know, they're going next week; they have more meetings.  Meeting after meeting.  I don’t think, personally, China would sign a deal if I had a 2 percent chance of losing the election.  I think China would probably say, "Let's wait.  Let's wait.  Maybe Trump will lose and we can deal with another dope or another stiff," like the people that allowed these deals to happen, this horrible thing to happen to our country.  Because what's happened to our country -- the money that China has taken out of the United States has rebuilt China.  And I don’t blame China.  I blame the United States for allowing that to happen.

So if I'm President Xi, or if I'm, frankly, Iran -- and Iran wants to make a deal; I can tell you that right now.  But if I'm Iran, I'll probably say, "Man, if I can hold out, I'm going to wait for Sleepy Joe Biden instead of Trump, because Sleepy Joe, we can make any deal we want with him.  He doesn’t know what's happening."

So, what else?

Q    Back to the tariffs on French wine.  When?

THE PRESIDENT:  We'll be announcing it sometime fairly soon.  We'll see what happens.  But they put a tax on.  We said, "Don't do it.  We tax our companies.  You don’t tax our companies."  And we'll be announcing something.  It might be on wine; it might be on something else.  But we'll be -- it's called "reciprocal."  It's a reciprocal tax.  And we'll be announcing that fairly soon, John.

It makes sense, John.  Do you agree with that?  You're a man -- you're a man that enjoys wine.  You just won't enjoy French wine anymore.

Go ahead, Steve.

     Q    I would agree that American wines are very, very good.

THE PRESIDENT:  They are great.

Q    I think Mnuchin and Lighthizer are going to Shanghai next week for those trade talks.  Are --

THE PRESIDENT:  They will be going.

Q    You don't sound optimistic that they're going to come out with a deal.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I'm never -- look, look, look: I think that China will probably say, "Let's wait.  It's 14, 15 months until the election.  Let's see if one these people that give the United States away, let's see if one of them could possibly get elected."  And I'll tell you what: When I win, like almost immediately, they're all going to sign deals, and they're going to be phenomenal deals for the country.

     But -- so I don’t know that they’re going to -- I don’t know if they’re going to make a deal.  Maybe they will; maybe they don’t.  I don’t care, because we’re taking in tens of billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs.  And the farmers are happy because I gave them $16 billion out of the tariffs and had tremendous -- you know, much more than that left over, as you know.  Tremendous amount of money left over, like by three times.  And we haven’t even taxed China yet, compared to what I could do.  So we have tens of billions of dollars rolling in from China.  We never had 10 cents coming in.

     And again, I don’t blame President Xi.  I blame our past leaders for allowing it to happen for so many years with the World Trade Organization.  China was totally flat-lined.  And when the World Trade Organization came about and China joined the World Trade, they became a rocket ship, because, you know, it’s a very unfair situation that took place at the World Trade Organization, as are many of them.

     So they’re going to go and we’ll talk.  We’ll see.  I don’t personally care that much because we’re getting billions and billions.  Remember this: The people aren’t paying for it.  Everyone says people pay for it.  China has devalued the currency, and they’re putting money in -- they’re pumping money into their society, into their country, like you wouldn’t believe.  You call it "quantitative easing."  With us, we have a Fed that does quantitative tightening and they raise interest rates.

     So we have a normalized rate.  President Obama had no rates and he had no tightening.  And we still have a much better economy than in his wildest dreams.

So -- and there is something okay about that, but we -- look, the Fed acted too soon.  I turned out to be right.  They acted too soon and too violently.  We’ve had nine increases, I believe -- you’ll check that -- but I believe it’s nine increases.  A couple of under -- a couple under her and a lot under Powell.  I’m not a fan.

Okay, what else?

Q    The U.S. dollar, sir.  The U.S. dollar.  It is too high?  Too low?  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, the dollar is very strong.  The country is very strong.  The dollar is a -- it’s a beautiful thing in one way, but it makes it harder to compete.  And despite that -- but we have a very powerful dollar.  So that’s the good news.

Despite that, we’re doing really well.  The country is doing well.  It’s really become, more than ever before, the currency of choice.  You know, you have the euro that tried to cut in.  Well, the euro is now not doing so well.  Europe is not doing so well.  China is not doing very well.  You look at other countries -- we’re the hottest economic country in the world.  There’s nobody close.  Even Guatemala wants to do business with us now.  So, we’re happy.  Right?

MINISTER DEGENHART:  Yes, sir.  Thank you, sir.

Q    On the dollar valuation, why did you not consider a proposal that was floated on Tuesday here in the Oval Office to devalue it?

THE PRESIDENT:  I could do that in two seconds if I wanted.

Q    But why did you not want to entertain it then?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I wouldn’t say I’m not going to do something, but I’m -- you know, look, having a strong dollar -- there’s a reason that it sounds so good.  And having a strong dollar is having a strong dollar.

We have an amazing country.  We have a very strong country.  That’s why our country has a strong currency.  Other countries have a currency that's down the tubes.  It’s a currency that’s weak.  China’s currency is very low.  You look at other countries -- look at the euro; the euro is so low.  I mean, Germany is paying almost no interest.  We’re paying 2.1 percent.  We’re paying a lot of interest.  That’s because we have a strong currency.

It’s a very complicated formula for some people.  It’s not complicated for me.  The Federal Reserve raised the rates too fast and too soon, and they shouldn’t have done quantitative tightening, which they did.  If they didn’t do that, we would be at 4.5 percent instead of 2.1.  Everybody is so thrilled with 2.1.  We could have had it much more, except for the Federal Reserve.  And we could have been five- to ten thousand points higher in the Dow.

Now, I don’t want to sound too upset about it because we just broke the all-time record in the history of our country on the Dow.  But we could have been higher, right?  Could have been a contender.  Could have been higher, as Marlon would say.  Marlon Brando.  The great Marlon Brando.

Yes, Steve.

Q    Are you okay with North Korea firing off these short-range missiles?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you said it: They’re short-range missiles.  And my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim.  And we’ll see what happens.  But they are short-range missiles, and many people have those missiles.

Q    You don’t sound too spun up about it.

THE PRESIDENT:  Nope.  Not at all.

Q    They're describing those short-range as a warning, and "short-range" is short-range for the United States but not short-range for our allies, right?  South Korea, Japan.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, he didn’t say -- he didn’t say a warning to the United States, I can tell you that.  He didn’t say a warning to the United States.  But they have their disputes.  The two of them have their disputes.  They’ve had them for a long time.  But he didn’t say that.  But they are short-range missiles and very standard missiles.

Q    Mr. President, have you spoken with Boris Johnson yet?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  Very good question.  

Q    And what did you have to say?

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s the best question you’ve ever asked.

Q    I asked it the other day, and you said, “no.”

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you know why your timing is good?  Because I spoke to him about -- how long have you been here?  Sixteen minutes.  I spoke to him 17 minutes ago.  I hung up the phone as you were coming in.

And he’s a good guy.  He’s a friend of mine.  I think we’re going to have a great relationship.  And Boris is going to be a great Prime Minister.  I predict he will be a great Prime Minister.  He has what it takes.  They needed him for a long time.  UK needed him for a long time.  And --

Q    Would you -- would you invite him here?

THE PRESIDENT:  -- let’s see what happens.  Yeah, he’ll - he and I will spend a lot of -- we just spent a lot of time when I was with the Queen in one of the great, most beautiful couple of days that I’ve ever experienced.  She’s a tremendous woman.  Incredible woman.  We get along very well.

So, Boris and I just spoke.  I congratulated him.  And he’s all set to go.  He’s going to be -- I think he’ll do a great job.

We’re working already on a trade agreement.  And I think it will be a very substantial trade agreement.  You know, we can do with the UK -- we can do three to four times.  We were actually impeded by their relationship with the European Union.  We were very much impeded on trade.  And I think we can do three to four, five times what we’re doing.

We don’t do the kind of trade we could do with what some people say is Great Britain, and some people remember a word you don’t hear too much is the word, "England," which is a piece of it.

But with the UK, we could do much, much more trade.  And we expect to do that, okay?

Q    Apple.  You just warned Apple about tariff.  So --


Q    Yeah, Apple.  And they’re saying they don’t have skilled labor in the U.S.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I want Apple to build their plants in the United States.  I don’t want them to build them in China.  So when I heard they were going to build in China, I said, “No, it’s okay.  You can build in China, but when you send your product into the United States, we’re going to tariff you.”  But we’ll work it out.

A man I have a lot of liking for and respect is Tim Cook.  And we’ll work it out.  I think they’re going to announce that they’re going to build a plant in Texas.  And if they do that, I’m starting to get very happy.  Okay?

Q    Mr. President, do you expect to get some more agreements, like the one signed today, with Honduras and El Salvador?  And are you working on doing that?

THE PRESIDENT:  I do.  I do.  I do indeed.

Q    Will you get them soon?

THE PRESIDENT:  Pretty soon.  I mean, we get quick agreements.

So I just want to end up by saying that Guatemala has been really a pleasure to deal with, and we’re going to have a great relationship for many years to come.

And I’d like you, please, extend my warmest regards to the people of Guatemala.

MINISTER DEGENHART:  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody. 

Q    When are you planning your working vacation in Bedminster?


Q    Are you planning a working vacation in Bedminster this year?

THE PRESIDENT:  By the way, Bedminster is not a vacation.  I don’t go to --

Q    That’s why I said, “working.”

THE PRESIDENT:  -- Manhattan because when I go to Manhattan, I -- you know, I stay at Trump Tower and I have to close up the whole city of Manhattan.  So I go to Bedminster, which is a beautiful place, but it’s never a vacation.  It’s working, mostly.

Q    Are you planning a trip to Bedminster over an extended period of time in August?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I hope not because I like working.  I’d rather be right here.  You know, but probably over a short period of time.

A lot of times you go and they do a lot of work in the White House.  For instance, the Obama administration worked out a brand-new air conditioning system for the West Wing and it was so good before they did the system.  Now that they did the system, it’s freezing or hot in here.

Q    Can I rephrase my question?


Q    Will you be spending an extended period of time working in Bedminster during the month of August?

THE PRESIDENT:  Not extended, but for a short period of time.  You know, meaning like less than a week.

But again, I don’t -- I do that, just officially -- just to put that on record -- I do that because when I go into Trump Tower, they close up 10 blocks around the building.  And it’s Manhattan, New York City.  It’s a big -- I don’t want to inconvenience people.  I don’t get any credit for that, but that’s okay.

Whereas Bedminster, everybody -- you know, it works out very easily.  It’s a much easier -- it’s a much easier thing.  It’s a great place.  But I would love to go to Manhattan.  I just don’t like seeing the city closed up.

I’ve had to suffer -- living in Manhattan, I’ve had to suffer gravely as Presidents would come in and come out.  And the entire city would be shut down.  So I guess I understand it better than most, right?  Thank you.

Q    You got the G7 summit coming up after that.

THE PRESIDENT:  We have the G7 coming up.  Yes.  We look forward to it.  It will be in France.

Q    Any other stops planned?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t know.  This was a stop which -- this is a stop that we didn’t have planned, right here in the Oval Office -- (laughter) -- with Guatemala.

And again, thank you very much, Enrique.  Thank you everybody.

Q    Would you put tariffs on wine before the G7, or would you wait to negotiate with Macron?

THE PRESIDENT:  Maybe before.

Q    Maybe before?

THE PRESIDENT:  Maybe before.

                                       END                 4:17 P.M. EDT 

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, 2019 - A Proclamation By The President of the United States of America

Office of the Press Secretary

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, 2019

- - - - - - -

By The President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

     In 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement ended more than 3 years of brutal fighting against communist expansionism and tyranny on the Korean Peninsula.  On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the brave patriots who secured freedom and democracy in the Republic of Korea, and we pay tribute to the more than 23,600 Americans who were killed in action and the more than 103,000 who were wounded in that conflict.

     The dedication stone at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., bears the inscription:  "Our Nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."  The memorial includes an honor roll of Americans killed in action and those missing in action, and its unique design features statues of a patrol crossing a Korean rice paddy.  These figures represent the heroes of our Armed Forces who valiantly served in the Land of the Morning Calm and fought on battlefields such as Inchon, the Pusan Perimeter, and the Chosin Reservoir.  Today, this hauntingly beautiful memorial stands as an enduring reminder of what it costs to defend and preserve the democratic principles we hold dear.

     Our ironclad alliance with the Republic of Korea was cemented when the first American troops arrived on its soil to fight for liberty and human dignity.  More than six decades after the ceasefire on the Korean Peninsula, the Republic of Korea is flourishing as a prosperous and peace-loving democracy.  Since the signing of the armistice at Panmunjom, the United States has worked with the Republic of Korea to preserve peace through strength.  Our military, together with our allies, stands vigilant, strong, and "ready to fight tonight" on the ground, in the air, and at sea.  The phrase "katchi kapshida" -- "we go together" -- is on the lips of every service member in Korea, representing generations of Koreans and Americans united by shared sacrifice and a willingness to uphold the cause of freedom no matter the cost.

     Last month, when I walked across the military demarcation line that runs through the Demilitarized Zone, it was the first time a sitting United States President has ever entered into the territory of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  I hope these steps will spur progress in the ongoing effort to achieve the complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea, establish a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and continue the recovery and repatriation of remains of fallen American soldiers.

     Today, we honor our Korean War veterans for service rendered to both the United States and the Republic of Korea, and we remember their families who supported them throughout.  Sometimes called "The Forgotten War," we will always remember the immeasurable cost incurred by those who fought on the Korean Peninsula.  The bravery, tenacity, and selflessness of our veterans liberated the oppressed, brought peace and prosperity to a freedom-loving people, and helped forge our unshakable bonds with the Republic of Korea.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 27, 2019, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War Veterans.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

                              DONALD J. TRUMP



Office of the Press Secretary


Via Teleconference

4:00 P.M. EDT

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for joining us.  And for those that tried to join us earlier, we apologize, there was a technical glitch on the line.  We're thankful you were able to get through this time.

     This will be a briefing, on background, by senior administration officials on an executive order blocking property and suspending entry of certain persons contributing to the situation in Mali.

     We have two senior administration officials joining us today.  For your informational purposes, they are from the NSC [senior administration official].  And from the State Department, we have [senior administration official].  I'll ask each of them to give a few opening remarks and then we'll turn to Q&A.

     [Senior administration official], will you kick us off?
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, sure.  Thanks.  We're really happy to have this call again and have another opportunity to engage with everyone that's on the line.

     As most of you are probably aware, the security situation in Mali continues to deteriorate.  Extremist groups are thriving, exploiting ethnic tensions, and expanding their networks well outside Mali's borders.

     The U.N. peacekeeping mission has faced more violence and danger than any other mission in U.N. history, and we commend the difficult work these peacekeepers and their partners operating in the region undertake.

     While this crisis deepens, the signatory parties to the 2015 Peace Accord, both the government and the armed groups, have made distressingly little headway in implementing key components of the accord that could move the country to a broader peace and tackle many of the grievances that push Malian citizens toward violence.

     With the mandate for MINUSMA now renewed for another year through June 30, 2020, the President has signed an executive order to freeze assets and suspend travel of individuals or entities that seek to obstruct the peace process or otherwise undermine the peace, security, or stability of Mali.

     The United States will continue to work with its partners and the UN’s Mali Sanctions Committee to identify those individuals that seek to capitalize on instability or maintain the status quo rather than work towards peace, and make them subject to the full effect of these sanctions.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  With that, we'll turn to [senior administration official] for a few remarks.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Great.  Thank you.  And thank you, everyone, for joining us this afternoon on a Friday in summer.

     This is an important action the President is taking today, and so I'd like to talk a little bit about what the executive order actually does.

So what it does: It authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to target both individuals and entities that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Mali, as well as those that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Mali.

And it also authorizes the targeting of individuals and entities who obstruct or delay the implementation of the 25 [2015] Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, as well as those who continue to attack domestic and international peacekeeping forces in Mali.

Also, the executive order that the President signs today further authorizes the targeting of those who obstruct access to humanitarian assistance; commit acts that constitute human rights abuse; engage in corruption; recruit children for armed groups or traffic in persons, narcotics, or arms.

Now, anyone sanctioned under this executive order can no longer access the United States financial system, and all property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States, or that are within the possession or control of any United States person, are blocked.

It also further authorizes sanctions on anyone who provides material support to, or goods or services in support of, persons whose property and interests in property are blocked under this order.

So, I'll stop there and look forward to your questions.

Q    Thanks for doing this.  Chris Sheridan from Al Jazeera English.  Why is this being signed today?  Is there something that triggered this in particular?  An event or something that prompted the President to take this action?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I could take that.  This is [senior administration official] at the NSC.  This was something that we had in the works for quite some time.  This is just -- we had actually hoped to actually put this out closer to the renewal of the MINUSMA mandate, but it was just a matter of working it through the system.

Q    Hi.  This is Bill Faries with Bloomberg.  Are any people or entities being named later today or expected to come soon?  Or is this basically kind of a warning that people should be on notice?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hi.  It's the latter.  There's no individuals or entities that are being announced today.  What we're doing is putting those individuals and entities undermining the peace, security, or stability of Mali on notice.  They'll not be allowed to operate with impunity.  The international community is watching and will not hesitate to impose costs if this activity persists.

But, per our standard practice, we do not comment on prospective sanctions actions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay.  With no additional questions, I would just like to iterate that the content of this call is being embargoed until the release of the executive order.

And to reiterate again, this is a background call attributed to senior administration officials.  And thank you, everyone, for participating and listening in.

                                  END                4:07 P.M. EDT


Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Mali Executive Order

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Mali Executive Order


Today, President Donald J. Trump took action to combat the worsening situation in Mali.  Despite the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation, terrorist activities have expanded into southern and central Mali.  Malign activities such as drug trafficking, hostage taking, attacks against civilians, and attacks against United Nations (UN) Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) personnel have intensified and made this the most dangerous UN Peacekeeping mission in the world.  Despite the urgent need to address the underlying causes of the conflict, insufficient action has been taken and little progress has been made.  Instead, the conflicting parties have taken steps to perpetuate the status quo.

With his action today, President Trump has provided the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, the authorities to sanction individuals who are responsible for or complicit in actions that exacerbate the deteriorating situation in Mali.  This includes those who threaten the peace and undermine Mali’s democratic processes or otherwise obstruct implementation of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation.  By taking this action, President Trump is ensuring all tools of national power are employed to promote resolution of the conflict in Mali and to hold accountable those persons who have committed acts of violence or engaged in other crimes that have prolonged the conflict, causing the Malian people undue suffering. 

President Donald J. Trump Announces Presidential Delegation to Tunis, Tunisia, to Attend the Funeral of His Excellency Beji Caid Essebsi, President of the Republic of Tunisia

Office of the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump Announces Presidential Delegation to Tunis, Tunisia, to Attend the Funeral of His Excellency Beji Caid Essebsi, President of the Republic of Tunisia 

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced a Presidential Delegation to Tunis, Tunisia, to attend the funeral of His Excellency Beji Caid Essebsi, President of the Republic of Tunisia on July 27, 2019.

Mr. T. Ulrich Brechb├╝hl, Counselor of the United States Department of State, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

The Honorable Donald A. Blome, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Tunisia

United States Air Force Lt. Gen. James C. Vechery, Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations, United States Africa Command


Office of the Press Secretary


- - - - - - -


     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (22 U.S.C. 287c) (UNPA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in view of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2374 of September 5, 2017, and UNSCR 2432 of August 30, 2018,

     I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the situation in Mali, including repeated violations of ceasefire arrangements made pursuant to the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali; the expansion of terrorist activities into southern and central Mali; the intensification of drug trafficking and trafficking in persons, human rights abuses, and hostage-taking; and the intensification of attacks against civilians, the Malian defense and security forces, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilizations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and international security presences, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.  I hereby order:

     Section 1.  (a)  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

          (i)    to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, any of the following in or in relation to Mali:

               (A)  actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Mali;

               (B)  actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Mali;

               (C)  a hostile act in violation of, or an act that obstructs, including by prolonged delay, or threatens the implementation of, the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali;

               (D)  planning, directing, sponsoring, or conducting attacks against local, regional, or state institutions, the Malian defense and security  forces, any international security presences, MINUSMA peacekeepers, other United Nations or associated personnel, or any other peacekeeping operations;

               (E)  obstructing the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian assistance;

               (F)  planning, directing, or committing an act that violates international humanitarian law or that constitutes a serious human rights abuse or violation, including an act involving the targeting of civilians through the commission of an act of violence, abduction or enforced disappearance, forced displacement, or an attack on a school, hospital, religious site, or location where civilians are seeking refuge;

               (G)  the use or recruitment of children by armed groups or armed forces in the context of the armed conflict in Mali;

               (H)  the illicit production or trafficking of narcotics or their precursors originating or transiting through Mali;

               (I)  trafficking in persons, smuggling migrants, or trafficking or smuggling arms or illicitly acquired cultural property; or

               (J)  any transaction or series of transactions involving bribery or other corruption, such as the misappropriation of Malian public assets or expropriation of private assets for personal gain or political purposes;

          (ii)   to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

          (iii)  to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

     (b)  The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order.

     Sec. 2.  The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except where the Secretary of State determines that the person's entry is in the national interest of the United States, including when the Secretary so determines based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person's entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives.  Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).

     Sec. 3.  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the types of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

     Sec. 4.  The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:

     (a)  the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and

     (b)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

     Sec. 5.  (a)  Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

     (b)  Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

     Sec. 6.  For the purposes of this order:

     (a)  the term "person" means an individual or entity;

     (b)  the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

     (c)  the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

     Sec. 7.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

     Sec. 8.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including promulgating rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA and the UNPA as may be necessary to implement this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury.  All agencies of the United States Government shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

     Sec. 9.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 40l(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 164l(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).

     Sec. 10.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

          (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

          (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

                              DONALD J. TRUMP

    July 26, 2019.


Memorandum on Reforming Developing-Country Status in the World Trade Organization

Office of the Press Secretary

 July 26, 2019



SUBJECT:       Reforming Developing-Country Status in the
               World Trade Organization

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby directed as follows:

     Section 1.  Policy.  The World Trade Organization (WTO) was created to spur economic growth and raise standards of living by establishing international trade rules premised on principles of transparency, openness, and predictability.  Although economic tides have risen worldwide since the WTO's inception in 1995, the WTO continues to rest on an outdated dichotomy between developed and developing countries that has allowed some WTO Members to gain unfair advantages in the international trade arena.  Nearly two-thirds of WTO Members have been able to avail themselves of special treatment and to take on weaker commitments under the WTO framework by designating themselves as developing countries.  While some developing-country designations are proper, many are patently unsupportable in light of current economic circumstances.  For example, 7 out of the 10 wealthiest economies in the world as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita on a purchasing-power parity basis -- Brunei, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Macao, Qatar, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates -- currently claim developing-country status.  Mexico, South Korea, and Turkey -- members of both the G20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- also claim this status.

     When the wealthiest economies claim developing-country status, they harm not only other developed economies but also economies that truly require special and differential treatment.  Such disregard for adherence to WTO rules, including the likely disregard of any future rules, cannot continue to go unchecked.

     China most dramatically illustrates the point.  Since joining the WTO in 2001, China has continued to insist that it is a developing country and thus has the right to avail itself of flexibilities under any new WTO rules.  The United States has never accepted China's claim to developing-country status, and virtually every current economic indicator belies China's claim.  After years of explosive growth, China has the second largest Gross Domestic Product in the world, behind only the United States.  China accounts for nearly 13 percent of total global exports of goods, while its global share of such exports jumped five-fold between 1995 and 2017.  It has been the largest global exporter of goods each year since 2009.  Further, China's preeminent status in exports is not limited to goods from low-wage manufacturing sectors.  China currently ranks first in the world for exports of high-technology products, with such exports alone increasing by 3,800 percent between 1995 and 2016.

     Other economic figures tell a similar story.  Valued at nearly $1.5 trillion, China's outbound foreign direct investment (FDI) exceeds that of 32 of 36 OECD countries, while its inbound FDI of nearly $2.9 trillion exceeds all but one OECD country.  China is home to 120 of the world's 500 largest companies, and its defense expenditures and total number of satellites in space are second only to those of the United States.

     Notwithstanding these facts and other evidence of economic vibrancy, China and too many other countries have continued to style themselves as developing countries, allowing them to enjoy the benefits that come with that status and seek weaker commitments than those made by other WTO Members.  These countries claim entitlement to longer timeframes for the imposition of safeguards, generous transition periods, softer tariff cuts, procedural advantages for WTO disputes, and the ability to avail themselves of certain export subsidies -- all at the expense of other WTO Members.  These countries have also consistently sought weaker commitments than other WTO Members in ongoing negotiations, which has significantly stymied progress.  Moreover, many of the world's most advanced economies have used developing-country status as an excuse not to comply with the most basic notification requirements under WTO rules, depriving United States traders of vital trade data.  The status quo cannot continue.

     The WTO is in desperate need of reform, without which the WTO will be unable to address the needs of workers and businesses or the challenges posed by the modern global economy.  The United States is also pressing for critical reforms in other multilateral international organizations to help ensure that those organizations recognize the economic development of their members and can work within their mandates to address important challenges.  The need to reform international economic institutions is not just a challenge for the United States but for all countries that participate in the global marketplace.

     With respect to the WTO, there is no hope of progress in resolving this challenge until the world's most advanced economies are prepared to take on the full commitments associated with WTO membership.  To help ensure that those countries live up to their commitments, it shall be the policy of the United States to make trade more free, fair, and reciprocal by devoting all necessary resources toward changing the WTO approach to developing-country status such that advanced economies can no longer avail themselves of unwarranted benefits despite abundant evidence of economic strength.

     Sec. 2.  Changing the WTO Approach to Flexibilities Associated with Developing-Country Status.  (a)  To advance the policy set forth in section 1 of this memorandum, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, use all available means to secure changes at the WTO that would prevent self-declared developing countries from availing themselves of flexibilities in WTO rules and negotiations that are not justified by appropriate economic and other indicators.  Where appropriate and consistent with law, the USTR shall pursue this action in cooperation with other like-minded WTO Members.

     (b)  Within 60 days of the date of this memorandum, the USTR shall update the President on his progress under subsection (a) of this section.

     Sec. 3.  Ending Unfair Trade Benefits.  (a)  If, within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, the USTR determines that substantial progress has not been made toward achieving the changes described in section 2 of this memorandum, the USTR shall, as appropriate and to the extent consistent with law:

          (i)   no longer treat as a developing country for the purposes of the WTO any WTO Member that in the USTR's judgment is improperly declaring itself a developing country and inappropriately seeking the benefit of flexibilities in WTO rules and negotiations; and

          (ii)  where relevant, not support any such country's membership in the OECD.

(b)  Before taking any action under subsection (a) of this section, the USTR shall:

          (i)    consult with the Trade Policy Committee established under section 242 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. 1872);

          (ii)   consult with the National Security Council and the National Economic Council as to the advisability of interagency coordination through the process described in National Security Presidential Memorandum-4 of April 4, 2017 (Organization of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Subcommittees), or any successor document; and

          (iii)  consider the WTO Member's involvement in global trade, membership in key economic decision-making groups, placement within relative economic and other indicators, and any other factors the USTR deems appropriate.

     (c)  The USTR shall publish on its website a list of all self-declared developing countries that the USTR believes are inappropriately seeking the benefit of developing-country flexibilities in WTO rules and negotiations.

     Sec. 4.  Publication.  The USTR is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

                              DONALD J. TRUMP


West Wing Reads What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

West Wing Reads

What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

“Special counsel Robert Mueller testified before two House committees Wednesday, and his performance requires us to look at his investigation and report in a new light,” Kimberly Strassel writes in The Wall Street Journal.

“We’ve been told it was solely about Russian electoral interference and obstruction of justice. It’s now clear it was equally about protecting the actual miscreants behind the Russia-collusion hoax. The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess.”

What were those origins? “Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe . . . The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.”

Click here to read more.
Nine times during Wednesday’s hearing, Robert Mueller answered that something was not in his “purview” to investigate. And each time, it was “in response to questions about the origin story of the FBI counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes. “Americans need to know how and why a U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agency came to spy on a presidential campaign . . . The good news is that [Attorney General] Barr does seem determined to find the truth.”
“Johnny Brummit, an Orlando teen raised by his grandmother and, at times, the juvenile-justice system, took a microphone at the White House on Thursday afternoon to tell President Donald Trump and a room full of administration officials about how a nonprofit job-training program has changed his life,” Kate Santich reports for the Orlando Sentinel. “Brummit’s remarks were part of a one-year anniversary celebration of the Pledge to America’s Workers, a Trump administration initiative to encourage companies to provide education and training for workers of all ages.”
“Owing much to President Donald Trump’s stewardship, the U.S. economy is about the strongest it has ever been,” writes John Mitchell, CEO of global trade association IPC, for Morning Consult. “What more could a president do with such strong economic performance? The answer by the Trump administration has been to revitalize the private sector’s commitment to the American worker.”

More: Fox News Poll: Trump approval up, voter ratings on economy best in decades
To maintain the integrity of America’s food stamp program, the Trump Administration is fixing “a loophole that has ballooned the pool of SNAP recipients in some states, to include millionaires who could receive assistance when they clearly don’t need it,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue writes in Fox News. “The American people expect their government to be fair, efficient, and to have integrity – just as they do in their own homes, businesses, and communities. That is why we are changing the rules.”