The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), said on Fox News Sunday he would "counsel against" President Trump leaving the Iran nuclear deal.
By May 12, Trump must decide whether or not to reimpose sanctions against Iran. The Obama administration signed the deal with Iran in 2015, and current White House officials say it doesn't do anything about Tehran's ballistic missile program and won't keep Iran from rebuilding its nuclear program when certain provisions expire.
"I thought it was a bad deal," Thornberry said. "But the key question is, okay, what happens next if the U.S. pulls out? Does Iran kick out those inspectors so we lose the visibility we have?" Trump must work with European officials to strengthen the accord, not just walk away, he added. "The Europeans are not going to reimpose sanctions so where does that leave us and Iran?" Thornberry said. Catherine Garcia
Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California and current critic of President Trump, has a message from one Republican former host of The Apprentice to another.
"Don't touch California. If you want to drill, do it off Mar-a-Lago," he tweeted, referring to Trump's resort in Palm Beach, Florida. "Or better yet, look to the future, follow California's lead and go green and we can all breathe easier. The U.S.'s largest economy is nearly 50 percent renewable. #ProtectThePacific." Schwarzenegger wasn't finished. "Our fishing, tourism, and recreation industries employ hundreds of thousands of great people," he said in a follow-up tweet. "Our coasts are an economic gold mine. Do not put them at risk."
The Trump administration announced earlier this month it plans on allowing new offshore oil and gas drilling in almost all U.S. coastal waters. The plan took a turn not long after, when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Florida is "obviously unique" and "off the table." His announcement came just after he spoke with the state's Republican governor, Rick Scott. Catherine Garcia
In early 2017, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner was told by U.S. counterintelligence officials that businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch, a friend of Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, could be using her relationship with the pair to push Beijing's agenda, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
There is also concern that Murdoch was lobbying for a planned $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum, paid for by the Chinese government, which had a 70-foot tower the intelligence community was worried could be used for surveillance, the Journal reports. Murdoch, the ex-wife of media magnate (and Wall Street Journal owner) Rupert Murdoch, came to the U.S. from China in 1988, is a U.S. citizen, and has been friends with Kushner and Ivanka Trump for several years. Because Kushner had no previous experience in Washington, the officials wanted him to be aware of who he was dealing with at all times, especially those who might not have the same interests as the United States, people familiar with the interaction said.
Murdoch's spokesman said she "has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations" and "has absolutely no knowledge of any garden projects funded by the Chinese government." Catherine Garcia
On New Year's Day, President Trump accused Pakistan of giving the United States "nothing but lies and deceit" despite receiving billions in aid, and on Tuesday, he followed up with a similar rebuke of the Palestinian Authority.
"It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others," he tweeted. "As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel."
Trump made the controversial decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and on Tuesday he tweeted that "with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" The United States gives about $300 million in aid every year to the Palestinian Authority, and $3.1 billion annually in military aid to Israel. Catherine Garcia
Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasn't the only person on President Trump's mind Wednesday. During a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times that lasted 50 minutes, Trump brought up several people he isn't happy with, including fired FBI Director James Comey, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, plus one person he is fine with: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Mueller: Trump said that before Rosenstein appointed Mueller special counsel, overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the election, Mueller was "up here and he wanted the job" of replacing Comey. When he was named special counsel, "I said, 'What the hell is this all about?'" Trump said. "Talk about conflicts. But he was interviewing for the job. There were many other conflicts that I haven't said, but I will at some point." The Times asked Trump if Mueller's probe would cross a "red line" if it expands to look at his family's finances beyond Russia, and Trump responded: "I would say yes. I think that's a violation. Look, this is about Russia." He's really not worried, though. "I don't think we're under investigation," Trump said. "I'm not under investigation. For what? I didn't do anything wrong."
On Putin: Trump told the Times that during his second, previously undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit, they exchanged "pleasantries" for about 15 minutes and spoke "about adoptions." He called it "interesting" that adoptions were brought up, considering his son, Donald Trump Jr., claims that during a June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked attorney, that's the topic they discussed, despite emails showing the meeting was set up so Trump Jr. could receive damaging information on his father's opponent, Hillary Clinton.
On Comey: Trump said the dossier on his ties to Russia that Comey shared with him two weeks before the inauguration is "made-up junk" and "such a phony deal." The dossier, complied by a former British spy, is full of salacious details, and Trump said he believes Comey "shared it so that I would think he had it out there." When asked by the Times if he thought it was leverage, Trump responded, "Yeah, I think so. In retrospect."
On Rosenstein: When he found out after Sessions' recusal from the Russia investigation that his deputy, Rosenstein, was going to step up to handle it, he was irritated to learn Rosenstein was from Baltimore, Trump told the Times. "There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any," he said.
The United Arab Emirates is telling citizens to "refrain from wearing the national dress" while visiting the West "to ensure their safety."
The warning comes after an Emirati man was detained at gunpoint last week in Ohio after a hotel clerk decided he was suspicious, The Washington Post reports. Ahmed al-Menhali, a 41-year-old businessman who recently suffered a stroke, was in the United States for medical treatment. When he tried to check into a Fairfield Inn and Suites in the Cleveland suburb of Avon, he was wearing a white headscarf and full-length white robe. The clerk told relatives she was worried about Menhali, and they called 911. When police arrived, Menhali was outside on his phone speaking Arabic, and they held him down and arrested him. At one point, Menhali collapsed, and he was taken to the hospital.
Menhali told Al Jazeera the clerk texted to her sister that he had "pledged my allegiance to ISIS," and he is consulting with lawyers and will "decide where to go from there." Police and town officials called the incident, which was filmed by an officer's body camera, "very regrettable," and apologized to Menhali. Catherine Garcia
Following the attack that killed a 2-year-old boy at a resort earlier this week, Disney World will put up signs warning visitors of alligators.
A source told the Orlando Sentinel it's not clear where the signs will go or how many will be posted. On Tuesday, Lane Graves was attacked by an alligator on the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort; his body was found Wednesday. Guests have reported alligators in the lagoon and also at the Coronado Springs Resort, the Sentinel says, and one employee said he warned the Grand Floridian that the area should be fenced off. While there were signs up by the lagoon warning against swimming, none mentioned the presence of alligators.
All of Disney's beaches remain closed, and the company is "conducting a swift and thorough review of all of our processes and protocols," spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said. Catherine Garcia
The World Health Organization is advising millions of residents of areas where the Zika virus is spreading, as well as visitors to those areas, to consider delaying pregnancy due to birth defects tied to the disease.
Since 2007, Zika has been detected in 60 countries and territories, WHO said. The disease is usually transmitted through mosquitoes, but there is evidence it can also be transmitted via sex and it is not known how long it can be present in semen, which is why WHO says men and women of reproductive age living in affected areas should "be correctly informed and oriented to consider delaying pregnancy," The Guardian reports.
Zika has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads, as well as other severe brain defects. WHO made its recommendation because there is no known treatment to keep pregnant women with Zika from transmitting the disease to their unborn babies. The organization is also urging those visiting regions plagued by Zika to consider abstinence for at least eight weeks following their return home. Catherine Garcia