Live Updates: China Calls On Trump And North Korea To Show Restraint

This is the first full week of President Trump's August vacation. Here's everything that's going on in DC and at his golf course in New Jersey.

Here's what happening:

  • Amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, President Donald Trump warned Friday that the US is "locked and loaded" with a military response prepared should Pyongyang "act unwisely."
  • It's been a week of tough talk from both Trump and North Korea, which each threatening one another with apocalyptic rhetoric: Pyongyang has said it may attack Guam, while Trump has promised "fire and fury."
  • Meanwhile, Trump has been repeatedly attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Twitter, blaming him for the failure to repeal Obamacare and telling him to "get back to work."
  • Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Trump hinted McConnell's leadership should be questioned if he can't repeal Obamacare, as well as pass a tax system overhaul and infrastructure bill.
  • Trump — who is on a 17-day vacation or working vacation, depending on who you're talking to — appears to be spending his days watching cable news and tweeting about it. He's staying at his New Jersey golf club while the White House undergoes major renovations.
  • It was there that he announced Thursday that he would declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, despite his own health secretary saying two days before that such a move was not necessary.
  • Meanwhile, the Russia probe continues. On Wednesday it was revealed that the FBI, back in July, had conducted a pre-dawn raid on the home of Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.


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Chinese President Xi Jinping asks Trump for more restraint during phone call

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged President Donald Trump to employ restraint regarding North Korea in a phone call between the two leaders.

The request comes after a week of escalated rhetoric between the United States and North Korea.

"At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula," Xi said in a statement, CNN reported.

The foreign ministry spokesperson also released a statement on Friday similar in tone.

"At present, the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains highly complex and sensitive," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a release. "The Chinese side hopes all relevant parties to speak and act with caution and do more things that are conducive to deescalating the tense situation and enhancing mutual trust among parties, rather than relapse into the old path of showing assertiveness and escalating tensions."

The White House's readout of the Friday call said the leaders "agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior" and "reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

—Lissandra Villa

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Trump calls Guam governor, tells him "we are with you 1000%"

Facebook: video.php

President Trump called Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo on Friday night, telling him "we are with you 1000%" amid threats of a missile attack from North Korea.

Calvo posted a video of the phone call on Facebook, providing a rare glimpse of a private conversation between the president and a US territory leader.

"I have never felt more safe or more confident with you at the helm," Calvo told Trump.

"Well, we're going to do a great job here, don't worry about a thing," Trump replied. "They should have had me eight years ago," he continued in an apparent jab at former President Barack Obama.

The call came hours after a reporter asked Trump at his New Jersey golf club if he had spoken to the governor after days of threats from Pyongyang.

"I have to say Eddie, you've become extremely famous," Trump said during the call. "All over the world they're talking about Guam and they're talking about you. And your tourism, I can say this, your tourism is going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you."

Trump said North Korea's threats against Guam was "a big story in the news" and Guam "looks like a beautiful place."

"This is between you and I," Trump told Calvo, "but you don't talk like they talk, you can't do that, and you can't do that with people like us," an apparent reference to heated rhetoric from North Korean officials to the United States.

Calvo invited Trump to visit Guam, telling him to "come on over and visit."

"You know what, that could happen," Trump replied. "It looks so beautiful to me."

— Jon Passantino

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Trump says military options are possibility for Venezuela

President Trump on Friday said he wasn’t ruling out military options for Venezuela, whose leader is facing US sanctions amid an economic crisis and political protests among its people.

“We have many options for Venezuela. I'm not ruling out military options,” Trump told reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey. "This is our neighbor. We're all over the world, and we have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.”

Asked if it would be a US-led military operation, Trump said he wasn't going to elaborate but that a “military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”

In July, the US imposed sanctions after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro held a controversial vote to rewrite the constitution, further isolating the politically embattled country.

The sanctions froze Maduro’s assets in the US and prohibits Americans from dealing with him.

At the same time, Venezuelans are struggling to get their hands on basics, such as medicine or food for a single daily meal. The government has postponed free elections indefinitely, jailed political opponents, and violently repressed regular protests in which nearly 100 people have died.

Trump was also asked if a he was willing to go to war with North Korea, which has been the subject of the president's ire and fiery rhetoric for days.

“I think you know the answer to that,” Trump said.

Asked if he supported regime change in both North Korea and Venezuela, the president said "they're very different places so I don't want to comment."

"I support peace. I support safety. And I support having to get very tough if we have to protect the American people and also to protect our allies," he said.

For more on the Venezuela comments, go here.

—Adolfo Flores

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Trump declares North Korea dictator will "regret it fast" if he attacks

President Trump on Friday said he hopes leaders in North Korea "fully understand the gravity" of his declaration that the US military is "locked and loaded" if threats between the two countries continue.

"If he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast," Trump said as he took a break from his vacation in New Jersey to discuss jobs and the escalating North Korea situation.

During the press briefing, a reporter asked the president to explain his "locked and loaded" tweet from Friday morning.

"I think it's pretty obvious," Trump said. "And I hope that they are going to fully understand the gravity of what I said, and what I said is what I mean. So, hopefully they'll understand...exactly what I said and the meaning of those words. Those words are very, very easy to understand."

When asked about other diplomatic channels to end the current turmoil with North Korea, Trump said that he was taking the issue on because other presidents "didn't want to."

"I have no choice but to take it on, and I'm taking it on, and we'll either be very, very successful, quickly, or we're going to be very, very successful in a different way quickly," the president said.

Trump also argued that the criticism he was getting over his aggressive stance on North Korea was unfair.

"My critics are only saying that because it's me. If somebody else uttered the exact words, they'd say, what a great statement, what a wonderful statement," he said.

– Amber Jamieson

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Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for more aggressive approach to North Korea

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, used Twitter on Friday to call for an aggressive approach toward North Korea.

“In my view, giving the leader of North Korea the ability to strike the United States with a nuclear-tipped ICBM - is simply unacceptable,” Graham said in a series of tweets.

“We capitulated in the past to evil people and have always lived to regret it.”

@realDonaldTrump Nobody is in their right mind believes North Korea is now going to stop until somebody makes Kim Jong Un stop. (4)

Graham said Trump “inherited” the North Korea situation and pointed out presidents from both parties have struggled with Pyongyang.

"Nobody is in their right mind believes North Korea is now going to stop until somebody makes Kim Jong Un stop," Graham tweeted.

Republicans in Congress, away from Washington for recess, have been largely silent on the matter.

—Lissandra Villa

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Merkel on North Korea conflict: 'I do not see a military solution'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Friday that an "escalation of rhetoric" between North Korean and the United States was unhelpful.

"I do not see a military solution to this conflict," said Merkel at a press conference in Berlin on Friday, shortly after President Trump tweeted that the US is "locked and loaded".

Instead she said that working with the UN Security Council with affected member countries — specifically the United States, China, South Korea and Japan — would be the key to handling the possibility of conflict from North Korea.

[Watch] Angela Merkel on US-#NorthKorea conflict: "escalation of rhetoric is the wrong answer"…

Merkel also noted that Germany would be "intensively involved with the potential solutions that we see" but would not be involved in any military action.

"But escalation of rhetoric I hold as the wrong answer," she added.

– Amber Jamieson

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Trump tweets that military solutions are "locked and loaded," should North Korea act unwisely

Still theoretically on vacation in New Jersey, as tensions between the US and North Korea have risen this week, President Trump tweeted Friday that military solutions are now "fully in place" and "locked and loaded," should North Korea "act unwisely."

Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

The president's bellicose language has contrasted with that of the State Department over the past several days, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stating that the American people should "sleep well at night" and that "there is no imminent threat" from North Korea.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, however, also talked tough Wednesday, stating that North Korea should "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

-- Cora Lewis

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Here are 8 things President Trump actually told reporters on Thursday

While still on vacation at his private golf club in Bedminster on Thursday, President Trump gave not one, but two, rare press conferences, during which he addressed a range of pressing issues, most notably tensions with North Korea and Russia.

From thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling hundreds of American diplomatic staff, to insisting he was doing the US military "a great favor" in banning transgender people from serving, Trump's unscripted responses were...a lot.

We broke them down for you here.

—Salvador Hernandez

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Trump suggests McConnell resign if he can't push through agenda

President Trump on Thursday suggested Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell step down if he can't successfully push through the White House's agenda.

Speaking to reporters while vacationing at his golf club in New Jersey, Trump was asked whether the Kentucky Republican should resign. Trump responded by saying he'd first like to see what the Senate gets done, "then you can ask me that question."

Trump specifically called out Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pass tax reform, and approve a new infrastructure package.

"If he doesn’t get repeal-and-replace done, and if he doesn’t get taxes done — meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done — infrastructure — if he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question," Trump said.

Read more here.

—Brianna Sacks

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Trump says he'll declare opioid crisis a national emergency two days after his Health and Human Services secretary said it probably wasn't needed

President Trump on Thursday called the opioid epidemic a "national emergency," just two days after his Health and Human Services secretary said there were no immediate plans to declare an official emergency.

“We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had," Trump said at a press briefing at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. “But this is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest."

He appeared to contradict statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Tuesday.

"The president certainly believes that we will treat it as an emergency, and it is an emergency," Price said. But he added that the epidemic can be addressed "without the declaration of an emergency, although all things are on the table for the president."

In a report earlier this month, a bipartisan White House Opioid Commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, strongly urged the president to officially declare the proliferation of opioid drug use in the US a national emergency.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump said on Thursday. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”

— Talal Ansari

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Trump warns North Korea of "things they never thought possible"

President Trump, speaking outside his New Jersey golf club while on a working vacation, said Thursday his earlier promise of "fire and fury" against North Korea "maybe wasn't tough enough."

"If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous," Trump said while addressing reporters Thursday. "They should be nervous. Things will happen to thing like they never thought possible."

The president pushed back on a question of whether the administration is sending the American public mixed messages about situation with North Korea.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Wednesday echoed Trump's strong language, saying North Korea needs to "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

Read more here.

—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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Trump's lawyer has challenged the legality of the pre-dawn raid on Manafort

John Dowd, a top lawyer for President Trump, has accused investigators of committing a “gross abuse of the judicial process” for the sake of “shock value," in raiding the home of Paul Manafort, former presidential campaign manager for Donald Trump, to collect evidence for use in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the election. Dowd said the tactics are more typically seen "in Russia, not America."

Fox News originally reported the comments, and Dowd confirmed the accuracy of the report on the email to BuzzFeed News.

Dowd further argued, in an email reportedly sent to the Wall Street Journal and obtained by Fox News, that the necessity of the search warrant was misrepresented to the Court. “Failures by Special Counsel to exhaust less intrusive methods is a fatal flaw in the warrant process," he wrote, which could call for a motion to repress the fruits of the search.

Dowd told BuzzFeed News his firm has taken no legal action to challenge the special counsel's use of any evidence obtained at this time.

Manafort's spokesperson, who confirmed that the search warrant had been executed, had no comment.

-- Cora Lewis

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Trump takes McConnell to task on healthcare in tweets

Still on so-called vacation in New Jersey, Trump tweeted Thursday criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yet again over the Senate's failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying, "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done."

Earlier this week, speaking to an audience in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell had said the president "had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process," since he has "not been in this line of work before." In response, Trump tweeted, "I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"

Fox's Sean Hannity picked up the tiff Wednesday night, likely prompting the Thursday morning follow-up tweet.

The conflict comes less than two weeks after the Senate failed to repeal the health care law, a major defeat for McConnell, who had trumpeted the Republican effort since 2010.

Later in the day, Trump added to the laundry list of tasks he would like the legislator to carry out, tacking on "Tax Reform & Cuts" and "a great Infrastructure Bill."

Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!

"Mitch, get back to work," he tweeted. "You can do it!"

-- Cora Lewis

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East Asia is seriously freaked out about Trump and North Korea

Talk of fire and fury is nothing new for South Korea — that is, from its belligerent neighbor to the north. Pyongyang’s state media promises to envelop Seoul in a sea of fire on a regular basis.

But it’s different when that style of rhetoric comes from a US president.

“They’re used to this from North Korea, they’re not used to it from the Americans,” said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey who focuses on North Korea and nonproliferation issues. “These off-the-cuff remarks are very unusual and counter to the mission of [US] diplomats and military who support South Korea.”

Americans have already begun joking about the possibility of nuclear war with Pyongyang — but in east Asia, where massive cities are in striking range of North Korean missiles, Trump’s threats are no laughing matter. Of course, the US is not threatening South Korean cities, unlike Pyongyang — but any conflict with North Korea would be devastating for South Korea and Japan, which are within striking range of North Korea’s medium-range missiles.

Read more here.

—Megha Rajagopalan

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The president went golfing a day after threatening North Korea with "fire and fury"

President Donald Trump went golfing on Wednesday at his New Jersey golf club — just a day after promising to bring "fire and fury" to North Korea. One of his golfing partners, Mike Fazio, shared an Instagram of him and Trump on the green.

Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters had told reporters that Trump "has no public events scheduled for today" and she would not reveal what the president was doing.

"She declined to say whether he is golfing and said she may get back to the pool with a statement on North Korea’s threats to Guam," the pool report said.

Fazio wrote in the caption of his picture with Trump that he had a "fantastic day golfing with #45," and called it "an exciting match which came down to the 18th hole."

The post has since been taken down.

Fazio founded an employment agency in New York, according to his Linkedin.

Fazio went on to thank Richard Levine for setting up "such an awesome day." Levine is one of Trump's regular golf partners, and donated to Trump's foundation, according to Bloomberg. In 2012 and 2013, Levine gave $20,000, saying it was a thank you for for free flights on Trump’s private planes.

Fazio shared another picture of the golf outing to his Facebook wall that featured Richard Levine standing next to Trump and a fourth person identified as Ron Cohen. This was captioned "Great day with the boys."

It was not the first time Fazio has golfed with the president, as he shared a picture in July, 2016, which is captioned "Golfing with the next President of the United States today," and is tagged at the Trump National Golf Club in Maryland.

While Barack Obama was president, Trump criticized him for playing golf when there was so many "problems and difficulties facing the US."

Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter

— Michelle Broder Van Dyke

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The FBI conducted a raid on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's home in July

FBI agents conducted a pre-dawn raid last month at the home of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former presidential campaign manager, his spokesperson confirmed.

"FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort's residences. Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well," the spokesperson said.

The search signals a ramping up of tactics used by special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the election.

The agents had a warrant to search and seize relevant materials from Manafort's residence in Alexandria, Virginia, according to the Washington Post. ABC News also confirmed the news Wednesday.

The raid reportedly took place after Manafort met with staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Russian interference into the election.

— Cora Lewis

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This is why European diplomats think Donald Trump is dangerous

LONDON – Even before the latest escalation of nuclear threats between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un’s North Korea, senior diplomats and officials from America’s European allies have been warning that the US president’s approach to world affairs is extremely dangerous – pointing to his apparent ignorance of other countries’ history, his unfiltered use of social media and the lack of a strong, experienced team around him.

In interviews with BuzzFeed News, six top European government officials who’ve had firsthand dealings on the international stage with Trump and his administration describe a president regarded even by allies as erratic and limited, and whose perceived shortcomings are compounded by the ongoing chaos beneath him in the White House.

The officials, all speaking on condition of anonymity, voiced similar and consistent concerns, in particular over his unprecedented use of Twitter, which they said demonstrated the lack of normal government controls at the top of the administration.

“Trump could send a tweet in the middle of the night pissing off Kim Jong-un,” one seasoned diplomat told BuzzFeed News. “And the next morning we wake up to a world on the brink of war.”

Read the full story here.

–Alberto Nardelli

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President Trump tweets about the US's nuclear arsenal, says "hopefully we won't have to use this power"

My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before....

...Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!

–Jessica Simeone

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Secretary of State Tillerson says there is "no imminent threat" from North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he thinks "Americans should sleep well at night, and have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days," during a surprise visit to Guam Wednesday morning, adding that he does not believe there is "any imminent threat" from North Korea.

The secretary's comments followed a statement from the president Tuesday in which he promised "fire and fury like the world has never seen," should North Korea continue to issue threats towards the United States.

"The global community has expressed its view that North Korea really needs to stand down this program... In response to that, North Korea's rhetoric has ratcheted up," Tillerson said. "I think what the president was doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un will understand. I think the president wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the US has an unconditional ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies."

Read the full story here.

–Cora Lewis

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Trump says the best way to prevent opioid addiction is to not take drugs in the first place

President Donald Trump promised to "win" the battle against the nation's dire opioid epidemic by working with law enforcement and securing the border to have a "drug-free society."

Speaking while on vacation at his New Jersey golf club, Trump said the burgeoning prescription drug crisis is "a problem, the likes of which we have never seen," and cautioned that no American is safe from addiction.

"This epidemic threatens all -- young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural communities. Everybody is threatened," he said. "Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States."

He then offered some advice on how to prevent youth from going down "this deadly path" toward addiction and overdose: don't take drugs in the first place.

"If they don't start, they won't have a problem. If they do start, it's awfully tough to get off," the president explained. "So if we can keep them from going on and maybe by talking to youth and telling them: No good, really bad for you in every way. But if they don't start, it will never be a problem."

Trump also said that he is going to be "very, very tough" on the southern border wall, where he says the drugs come from and that he is talking to China, "where certain forms of man-made drugs come in and it' is bad."

Although he established the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, he has yet to follow its "urgent recommendation" to declare the crisis a national emergency,

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks," the commission reported.

Health experts are also urging the president to take a stronger stance, noting that the declaration would free up funds and resources to help more people to get treatment.

"Clearly we are in the middle of an epidemic, we need to take a dramatic step like this," Mark Covall, president of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, told BuzzFeed News. "It would be a signal to the medical community...everyone wants something done."

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also addressed the crisis on Tuesday, explaining that the country is "on the losing side of this war" and the president will treat it as an emergency.

But when asked if Trump would follow his commission's advice and officially declare it as such, Price replied that the crisis can be "addressed without the declaration of a national emergency."

"But all things are on the table," he added.

—Brianna Sacks

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Trump threatens North Korea with "fire and fury"

President Donald Trump issued a colorful threat to North Korea on Tuesday, saying the country would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued threatening the United States.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," said Trump, who is on vacation this week and spoke from his New Jersey golf course. "They have been very threatening beyond a normal statement."

Trump made the remarks hours after a Washington Post report cited an assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency concluding Pyongyang had miniaturized a nuclear warhead that could be delivered by its missiles.

Read more here.

—Megha Rajagopalan

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Trump, who hates leaks, retweeted a story about North Korea based on anonymous sources leaking classified information

The president retweeted a Fox News story on Tuesday morning that relies on anonymous US officials giving away classified information about North Korea – effectively verifying the information.

The Fox story is about US spy agencies detecting two anti-ship missiles being loaded onto a boat by North Korea in recent days. It attributes the information to "US officials with knowledge of the latest intelligence in the region" and quotes "one official who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information."

But while Trump regularly derides leaks and the use of anonymous sources — specifically when the information is critical of him — he gave this story the presidential retweet.

"When the president disseminates classified info about US spy satellite capabilities based on anonymous sources" tweeted Peter Alexander from NBC News. "Old enough to remember when US sent a man to prison for leaking a story like this. Now it gets an RT from POTUS," wrote Josh Gernstein, a Politico reporter covering the White House.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, appeared on Fox and Friends just before 8 am on Tuesday. The hosts asked her about the article Trump retweeted, and Haley immediately said she was unable to speak about it because the information was classified.

Nikki Haley says she can't talk about the story Donald Trump retweeted this morning: "I can't talk about anything t…

Steve Doocy: Ambassador, on the front page of right now there is a story that apparently the Intel community has picked up anti-ship cruise missiles were being loaded on to a patrol boat or patrol boats in north Korea. What can you tell us about that? Haley: I can't. Doocy: Why? Haley: I can't talk about anything that's classified. And if that's in the newspaper that's a shame. Doocy: You have no reason to believe that's not accurate though? Haley: I have no reason to comment on it. Ainsley Earhardt: That shouldn't be in the newspaper? Is that another leak I guess? Haley: It's one of those things. I don't know what's going on. I will tell you it's incredibly dangerous when things get out into the press like that. You are not only just getting a scoop on something, you are playing with people's lives. And this has got to stop. Whatever the leaks are coming from, if somebody thinks they are getting power or fame from it, all you are doing is putting Americans in danger.

– Amber Jamieson

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Trump apparently made up the 21 Club story when he compared its renovation to the war in Afghanistan

Last month, Trump reportedly compared the misguided renovation of an elite New York restaurant to his top generals' failing strategy in the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

The only thing is that story was completely made up, Club 21's former owner and former CEO told Page Six.

According to the president, the club shut its doors and hired an expensive consultant to plan its renovation. But after a year without business, Trump said the consultant's only suggestion was that it needed a larger kitchen. He compared "that lousy advice" to why the US is "not winning" the 16-year war, NBC News reported.

Club 21 was renovated in 1987 and it did get a new kitchen, but the process only took six months and they did not hire a pricey consultant, former CEO Ken Aretsky said.

"I got a great kick out of reading about Trump’s comparison of our renovation to the war in Afghanistan, but everything he said is wrong," Artesky said.

Asked Why Trump, who is a regular at 21 and celebrated his election victory there, made up the story, former owner Marshall Cogan has no idea.

“I have no idea what was in his head. I never have," Cogan said. “I think [Trump] has a psychological problem that only a therapist can define for you. I can’t.”

—Brianna Sacks

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Vacationing Trump attacks senator's Vietnam record

So what's a vacationing president to do when he's all cooped up inside? What we all do on rainy days, of course: Tweet attacks at political opponents, such as Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal had appeared on CNN Monday morning to discuss Russian meddling in last year's election. He called it "purposeful and relentless," and said there was "potential collusion by the Trump campaign and then obstruction of justice."

Trump continues to refer to the meddling allegations as a "hoax," despite multiple investigations, the conclusion of the US intelligence community that Moscow did interfere, and the revelation that members of the president's inner circle met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the campaign.

Trump's barrage of anti-Blumenthal tweets began soon after the CNN appearance, and zeroed in on the Connecticut senator's military record during Vietnam, suggesting Blumenthal "take a nice long vacation in Vietnam."

Trump, however, received multiple deferments to avoid the war.

Read more here.

—Jim Dalrymple II

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Kayleigh McEnany is now the Republican party's spokesperson — and there's still tweets pushing the fake birther conspiracy theory up on her Twitter profile

Conservative commentator Kayleigh McEnany has left her position at CNN, and is now the spokesperson for the Republican National Committee and is giving positive news updates about President Donald Trump for his official Facebook page.

The "Real News" segment on Trump's Facebook debuted last week, featuring the president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. In the first video, she promised a weekly update on the president's accomplishments.

On Sunday, McEnany said she was speaking from Trump Tower and again offered a run-down of positive stories about the president, peppered with messages about Trump's priorities.

"President Trump also honored veterans as a whole with yet another [Veterans Administration] reform package that will enable millions of veterans to receive better access to care," McEnany said in Sunday's video. "President Trump is dedicated to honoring these men and women who fought valiantly for this country and ensuring they receive the care they deserve."

"I'm Kayleigh McEnany, and that's the real news," she signed off.

Read more here.

We are delighted to announce our new spokesperson- @kayleighmcenany. Welcome to the team!

McEnany's Twitter profile still included tweets spreading the debunked, fake conspiracy birther theory about President Obama.

How I Met Your Brother -- Never mind, forgot he's still in that hut in Kenya. #ObamaTVShows

—Claudia Koerner

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North Korea promised a "thousand-fold" revenge against the US

North Korea's government said it would retaliate a "thousand-fold" against the United States for its spearheading hefty sanctions against the nation.

The United Nations security council this weekend unanimously approved sanctions worth more than $1 billion on the isolated nation, a punishment for testing rockets that increasingly seem to be able to reach US mainland. The approval was seen as a victory for the Trump administration.

The Korean Central News Agency, which is run by the government, said the sanctions were a "violent infringement of its sovereignty" and a "heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle" North Korea.

"We will make the U.S. pay by a thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country," the statement said.

—Tom Namako

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Trump attacked Sen. Blumenthal and — of course — reporting that he didn't like on Monday morning

The president — who is on vacation as the White House is being renovated — spent Monday morning watching cable news, according to his latest tweets.

(Over the weekend, Trump, apparently angry that his 17 days on his New Jersey golf course are being called a vacation, tweeted he has been taking lots of “meetings and calls.")

The president specifically attacked one of his favorite targets, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the senate judiciary committee who had just appeared on CNN, calling Russian influence on the election “purposeful and relentless."

"It involved propaganda and hacking into our voting machines or at least an attempt to do it, and potential collusion by the Trump campaign and then obstruction of justice,” he said. “That [grand jury] investigation must be pursued."

In response, the president tweeted, “Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!” He added, "Never in U.S.history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal."

The president was referring to a 2010 New York Times story that found the senator sometimes spoke misleadingly about his military service, implying he had served in Vietnam or overseas when he did not. At the time, Blumenthal said that he had misspoken about his service at at least one event and may have misspoken on other occasions. “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said.

Senator Blumenthal responded in a tweet Monday, stating, "Mr. President: Your bullying hasn't worked before and it won't work now. No one is above the law."

President Trump also announced his intent to visit New York next week, which will be his first trip since a rally at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum he held in May, and defended the size of his base, which he said is “far bigger & stronger than ever before” despite new polling numbers, which he dubbed “#Fake News.”

The president was likely responding to a New York Times article over the weekend about a 2020 presidential election campaign forming around Vice President Mike Pence. On Sunday, Pence denounced the article and said he was not positioning himself for a presidential run.

—Cora Lewis

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