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Published: Thursday, June 28, 2018 @ 7:57 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2018 @ 7:54 AM
MT. PLEASANT, Wis. — President Donald Trump highlighted his economic policies Thursday at the groundbreaking for a massive $10 billion Foxconn factory complex that may bring thousands of jobs to Wisconsin, a state he barely carried in the 2016 presidential election. At the same time, Trump kept up his running feud with an iconic American company based in the state.
"America is open for business more than it has ever been open for business. Made in the USA: It's all happening and it's happening very, very quickly," Trump thundered after visiting the future Foxconn factory in Wisconsin. "Today we're seeing the results of the pro-America agenda. America First, Make America Great Again. Greatest phrase ever used in politics, I suspect."
Trump's celebration came against a backdrop of less-rosy economic news: Harley-Davidson recently announced it is moving some motorcycle production overseas to avoid European Union tariffs that are a product of Trump's escalating trade dispute with long-standing U.S. allies.
The president was irked by the Milwaukee-based company's announcement this week and tweeted about it for three days, writing that any shift in production "will be the beginning of the end" for the American manufacturer and even threatening retaliatory taxes.
Trump diverted from his upbeat message Thursday to work in a message to the motorcycle manufacturer.
"Harley-Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the U.S. Build them in the USA. Don't get cute with us. Don't get cute," Trump said. "I spent a lot of time with them. Build them in the USA. Your customers won't be happy if you don't."
Earlier, in a local television interview, Trump said he was "disappointed" in the iconic motorcycle manufacturer.
Trump highlighted Foxconn's investment in the U.S. as statistics show an overall decline in the purchase or construction of factories and facilities in America by foreign companies.
Such investment fell 40 percent last year after hitting record levels in 2015 and 2016, according to U.S. government data analyzed by the Organization for International Investment. The organization represents large overseas companies such as Toyota, Nestle and Sony. Foreign investment remained weak in the first three months of 2018.
Trump's speech — as his speeches often do — meandered from topic to topic, including riffs about his responsibility to pick a new Supreme Court justice, his close relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and talk that his 2020 campaign hats will bear the slogan "Keep America Great!" and perhaps be colored green, "representing cash," instead of 2016's trademark red.
He also boasted that he was the first Republican to capture Wisconsin since 1952. In fact, the GOP had since won the state with Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower.
Trump's presence in Wisconsin was the subject of protests both in Milwaukee, where he spent a rare weeknight away from the White House, and in Mount Pleasant.
Chants of "Hey, hey, ho, ho. Donald Trump has got to go" were heard near the Pfister Hotel, where Trump overnighted and attended a pair of closed-door campaign events before heading to the groundbreaking and tour of an existing Foxconn facility. Republican Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were among those joining the president at the fundraisers and Foxconn event.
About 50 people walked from a downtown park to the roped-off hotel, hoping Trump heard their calls to reunite migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the president hobnobbed with supporters, his wife, Melania, was making her second trip in a week to the southern border to visit detention centers housing migrant children.
Trump, for his part, defended his decision to put tariffs on steel and aluminum and showcased his business-friendly agenda.
"I'm pleased to report that Foxconn intends to build 100 percent of the factory with beautiful American concrete and beautiful American steel, made right here," Trump said.
Foxconn is the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer and assembles Apple iPhones and other products for tech companies. Based in Taiwan, it chose Wisconsin after being prodded by Trump and others, including Ryan, whose district will include the plant.
The project could employ up to 13,000 people, though opponents say it is costing Wisconsin taxpayers too much.
The ceremonial groundbreaking was supposed to be evidence that a manufacturing revival fueled by Trump's "America First" policy is well underway. But Harley-Davidson's announcement, spurred by the trans-Atlantic tariff fight, sent a conflicting message.
Trump carried Wisconsin by less than 1 point — just under 23,000 votes — in 2016. He's underwater in popularity now, with 44 percent of respondents in last week's Marquette University Law School poll approving of the job he's doing, while 50 percent disapproved.
Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Chris Rugaber and Jill Colvin in Washington, Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee and Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 1:31 PM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 1:31 PM
— Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he hopes the U.S. and Russia will re-engage in arms control talks following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
“What I hope they get out of this summit is an agreement to sit down and continue arms control discussions,” Kasich said Monday morning on CNN before the Trump-Putin summit. “It is in all of our interests, the world’s interest, for the two powers who control 90 percent of the nuclear weapons to sit down and re-engage in arms control.”
At a press conference Monday, Putin said he Trump agreed to continue detailed discussions on arms control issues.
Putin said Russia and the U.S. should discuss a possible extension of the 2010 New START nuclear arms reduction treaty and the implementation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. He added that Russia would like to also discuss U.S. missile defense plans and the weaponization of space.
Kasich also said he is concerned the stability of the Western order is “fraying” under Trump’s “wrecking ball diplomacy.” Following Trump’s comments to CBS News over the weekend that he viewed the European Union as a foe, Kasich said Trump’s attitude toward the U.S.’s traditional allies bothers him.
“If you read the papers over the weekend, many of these European leaders are getting fed up, and they really are beginning to wonder if they can trust and rely on us,” Kasich said.
More local coverage:
The Associated Press contributed reporting from Helsinki.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 12:40 PM
After several hours of talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Finland, President Donald Trump on Monday called the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections a ‘disaster,’ as he seemingly rejected the findings of his own intelligence organizations, accepting the word of Putin that Russia did not meddle in the last campaign for President, and making the case that the investigation had undermined relations between the two countries.
“President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Mr. Trump told reporters at a joint news conference. “I will say this – I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
“President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial,” Mr. Trump added, as the President wrapped up the news conference by attacking FBI official Peter Strzok, and declaring the probe of Special Counsel Robert Mueller “a giant witch hunt.”
“It’s ridiculous – it’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe,” the President said. “There was no collusion with the campaign.”
Asked directly about Russian interference, the President instead talked about the missing emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the computer server that Russians allegedly hacked at the Democratic National Committee, and ex-House IT aide Imran Awan.
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 12:51 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 12:51 PM
— Ohio’s national parks could get more than $100 million in additional funding for much needed renovations if a proposal introduced in the U.S. Senate in June is eventually signed into law by President Donald Trump.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s Restore Our Parks Act would alleviate a $12-billion backlog of deferred maintenance at areas overseen by the National Park Service. The billions in repair jobs that have been put off because of a lack of funding includes parks in every state, according to a listing of deferred maintenance.
It makes sense to try to address park maintenance now before it worsens and in turn costs taxpayers even more to repair, Portman told this news organization.
“I have had a long time concern about this,” Portman said. “I just never thought it was fair to let the infrastructure around these parks deteriorate like they are.”
The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park at 16 S. Williams St., would get more than $1.8 million if the proposal becomes law, according to Portman’s office. Repairs to the building that houses The Wright Cycle Co. is one of the “highest priorities” on the National Park Service’s list of deferred maintenance, meaning it would almost certainly get funding if some form of the bill becomes law, Portman.
As introduced, the bill would cover the park’s entire deferred maintenance needs as of September 2017, according to documents from the National Park Service.
“Just in general terms, deferred maintenance covers HVAC systems, sidewalk repairs, roofing repairs,” said Kendell Thompson, new superintendent for Dayton’s historical park. “It’s stuff that just needs to be done as a part of a regular maintenance program. As projects are prioritized some will get funded and some will not.”
The William Howard Taft National Historic site in Cincinnati would get more than $2 million from Portman’s bill and the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe, 75 minutes from Dayton, would receive more than $2.1 million from Portman’s bill.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island would receive the most funding at $47.7 million. The 352-foot monument was established to commemorate the people who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Ohio Cuyahoga Valley National Park would receive more than $45.8 million, the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument could get $1.9 million, the First Ladies National Historic Site may get $1.1 million and the James A. Garfield National Historic Site may be given nearly $719,000, according to Portman’s office.
Though there are still several legislative hoops for Portman’s parks bill to jump through, but the senator said he’s “hopeful” it’ll become law as it currently has the support of Democrats, Republicans and the White House.
“I’m really interested in getting funding for those kind of purposes,” Portman said. “With the exception to the Department of Defense, the parks have the most assets and a lot of them are falling apart.”
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Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 5:44 PM
As President Donald Trump flew to Helsinki, Finland for his Monday meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Democrats in Congress demanded that Mr. Trump scrap the summit, pointing to last week’s federal indictments of a dozen Russian Intelligence officers as part of the sweeping investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election.
“Donald Trump must press Putin hard on the issue of election interference,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer on Sunday, as Democrats made clear they want tough words from the President on the Russia investigation relayed directly to the Putin.
The President’s schedule said Messrs. Trump and Putin would meet one-on-one for 90 minutes, to be followed by a working lunch with top aides.
Schumer said during those meetings, the President should formally request that Russia extradite the 12 Russian Intelligence officers indicted last Friday by a federal grand jury, on charges that they hacked computers in the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee , in a bid to influence the 2016 election.
The Senate’s top Democrat communicated those demands in a Sunday phone conversation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was accompanying the President to the Putin summit.
“If President Trump insists on meeting with Putin, I can’t stop him,” said Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA). “But I will insist he confront Putin at every turn for his interference in our democracy.”
On the eve of his meeting with Putin, the President wasn’t taking shots at the Russian leader, but rather, the U.S. press corps, Democrats, and the Russia investigation in general.
“Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people,” the President tweeted on Sunday, as he prepared to leave his golf retreat in Scotland for the flight to Finland.
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump brushed off the highly detailed indictments leveled against Russian Intelligence, blaming the success of cyber attack on the Obama Administration.
“Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?” the President tweeted.
Lawmakers in Congress were not only focused on the issue of election interference, but also expressing concern about what Mr. Trump might do with regards to other issues, as Democrats also publicly urged the President not to relax economic sanctions placed on Russia, after its moves to annex Crimea, and amid ongoing Russian-sponsored military action inside eastern Ukraine.
While GOP lawmakers say they want a better relationship with Moscow, they have publicly cautioned the President to be careful in negotiations with the Russian leader.
“Putin is tough, he’s smart, he’s ruthless,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). “He’s probably going to want to get a lot, and give nothing.”
“President Trump is doing the right thing,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Sunday about the meeting with Putin, though the Kentucky Republican made clear that, “Russia shouldn’t meddle in our elections.”
“Putin is an autocrat, he’s a thug,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” as he urged the President to realize who he’s dealing with.
In recent days, the President has given no indication that he will bring up the issue of election interference in 2016 by Russia, as Mr. Trump continues to deride the investigation of possible ties between Russian actions and his campaign as a ‘witch hunt’ and a ‘hoax.’
But last Friday’s indictments painted the most complete picture yet of just how active Russian Intelligence was in hacking emails and documents from Democrats, spreading those materials to Wikileaks via the fake persona “Guccifer 2.0” – who claimed to be Romanian.
When a company hired by the DNC publicly blamed Russian Intelligence for hacking efforts in June of 2016, prosecutors said the Russians simply lied.
“In response, the Conspirators created the online persona Guccifer 2.0 and falsely claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker to undermine the allegations of Russian responsibility for the intrusion.”
Among the highlights of the latest indictment by the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller:
+ Extremely detailed allegations against a dozen GRU (Russian Intelligence) agents for hacking into the DNC and DCCC.
+ The indictment says a candidate for Congress is 2016 contacted Guccifer 2.0 – which was really Russian Intelligence – and received ‘stolen documents’ about their election opponent.
+ Details about contacts between “Organization 1” – which is clearly Wikileaks – and Russian Intelligence, about leaking emails from John Podesta and other documents from inside the DNC and DCCC. The only response from Wikileaks has been this video:
+ Russian Intelligence not only targeted state election boards and websites, but also county election websites, in at least
three states. Also, more than 100 spear phishing emails were sent to groups involved in elections in “numerous Florida counties.”
+ Russian Intelligence also obtained “analytics” developed by the Hillary Clinton campaign, by hacking into the company that ran its ‘cloud’ resources. It wasn’t clear from the indictment what was done with that inside campaign information.
You can read the latest Special Counsel indictments at this link.