Kevin McAleenan became acting head of the department after the resignation
in April of Kirstjen Nielsen.
President Trump had often accused her of not being tough enough on
During the administration of President Barack Obama, Kevin McAleenan served
as deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In 2015, Kevin McAleenan received the highest civil service award from the
In 2018, he faced criticism in the media for carrying out President Trump’s
zero-tolerance policy that led to the controversial separation of families at
the US southern border, but he has maintained his agency’s duty is to carry out
the law, not create it.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post described Kevin McAleenan as
increasingly isolated within the Trump administration and overshadowed by
others more vocal in their support for President Trump.
In an interview, Kevin McAleenan lamented not having control over “the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time. That’s uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure”.
President Donald Trump has branded a
whistleblower allegation that he made a promise to a foreign leader – believed
to be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – as a “ridiculous
Donald Trump said his talks with leaders were always “totally
According to reports, President Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Joe
Biden and his son, Hunter – who was on a Ukrainian gas company board – in
return for more US military support.
Joe Biden is frontrunner to be the Democrat’s 2020 presidential candidate.
He wrote in a statement: “If
these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s
willingness to abuse his power and abase our country.”
Joe Biden called on President Trump to “immediately release” a
transcript of the phone call “so that the American people can judge for
In its report on the complaint by the whistleblower, the Washington Post said the intelligence
official had found President Trump’s comment to the foreign leader “so troubling”
that they went to the department’s inspector general.
The Wall Street Journal,
meanwhile, quoted sources as saying President Trump had urged President
Zelensky about eight times to work with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani on an
investigation into Joe Biden’s son, but had not offered anything in return.
On September 20, House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi said that reports of the complaint raised “grave, urgent
concerns” for US national security.
Presidents Trump and Zelensky spoke
by phone on July 25. The whistleblower’s complaint is dated August 21.
Donald Trump described the complaint
as “just another political hack job”.
Speaking alongside Australia’s
leader Scott Morrison in the White House, the president said: “It’s a ridiculous story. It’s a
partisan whistleblower. He shouldn’t even have information. I’ve had
conversations with many leaders. They’re always appropriate.”
President Trump also called for Joe Biden’s
finances to be scrutinized.
He told reporters: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed,
someone ought to look into Joe Biden’s billions of dollars and you wouldn’t
look into that because he’s a Democrat.”
On September 19, President Trump
wrote on Twitter that he knew all his phone calls to foreign leaders were
listened to by US agencies.
Ukraine says President Trump and President Zelensky will meet next week in
New York during the UN General Assembly.
Democrats are trying to get the complaint turned over to Congress, with many
details still unknown.
Earlier this month, before the whistleblower’s complaint came to light,
House Democrats launched an investigation into President Trump and Rudy
Giuliani’s interactions with Ukraine.
Three Democratic panel heads – Eliot Engel (foreign affairs), Adam Schiff
(intelligence) and Elijah Cummings (oversight) – said Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani
had attempted “to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the
president’s re-election campaign and target a possible political
They allege that President Trump and Rudy Giuliani tried to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden.
Five other nations – including France – remain committed to the deal, but
Iran has started to ratchet up its nuclear activity in response to the US
reinstating and tightening economic sanctions against them.
President Macron has taken an active role in trying to
diffuse tensions and save the accord – but Iran’s relations with the West have
strained further in recent months over a series of confrontations and oil
tanker seizures in and around the Gulf.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was himself singled out for US sanctions last month,
with US officials accusing him of implementing “the reckless agenda”
of Iran’s leader.
Reports about the circumstances of his visit on Sunday are conflicting.
French officials told reporters the foreign minister was invited in agreement
with the US delegation, but White House officials have suggested they were
taken by surprise.
They were also conflicting comments by President Macron and President Trump
during the weekend as to whether G7 leaders had agreed a joint approach to
easing tensions with Tehran.
On August 25, President Trump appeared to dismiss French mediation efforts.
He said: “We’ll do our own
outreach, but, you know, I can’t stop people from talking. If they want to
talk, they can talk.”
Leaders from the G7 – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the
US – have been attending the group’s 45th summit all weekend.
A range of topics, including the nuclear deal and Brexit, have been on the talks agenda.
President Donald Trump has accused Jewish
Americans who vote for the Democratic Party of “either a total lack of
knowledge or great disloyalty”.
The remark drew sharp criticism that President Trump had used an anti-Semitic
trope accusing Jews of dual loyalty.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America said the president was trying to
“weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism” for political gain.
The remark followed attacks by President Trump on two Muslim Democratic
He has repeatedly accused Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida
Tlaib of anti-Semitism.
Under pressure from President Trump, Israel last week blocked Ilhan Omar and
Rashida Tlaib from entering the country. The two women, who are vocal critics
of the Israeli government, had been due to visit the occupied West Bank and
Israel later agreed to let Rashida Tlaib make a “humanitarian”
visit to her grandmother in the occupied West Bank, but she declined, saying
she could not comply with the “oppressive conditions” being imposed.
Speaking to reporters on August 20,
President Trump said: “I think any
Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of
knowledge or great disloyalty.”
On August 21, the president denied
his comments were racist and told reporters: “If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish
people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”
Earlier in the day, President Trump
quoted a conservative commentator’s praise on Twitter who said “the Jewish
people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel”.
“They love him like he is the second coming of
God,” President Trump’s tweet continued.
The remark was denounced by a number
of Jewish American groups, which said it played on an anti-Semitic canard that
accuses Jews of being more devoted to Israel or their faith than to their own
The same notion of dual loyalty has
landed Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman, in hot water.
Ilhan Omar has apologized after claiming
that Israel had “hypnotized” the world. She was also rebuked by the
Democratic-controlled House of Representatives comments targeting lobbying
firms that support Israel.
Ahead of the vote, which condemned
“hateful expressions of intolerance”, Ilhan Omar pushed back by
questioning what she termed “the political influence in this country that
says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country”.
The comment sparked fresh complaints
Recent polls show that roughly 75% of Jewish Americans identify as Democrats.
Six days ago, North Korea fired two
short range missiles, one of which travelled about 425 miles and the other 268
That launch was the first since President Trump and Kim Jong-un held an
impromptu meeting in June at the demilitarized zone (DMZ), an area that divides
the two Koreas, where they agreed to restarted denuclearization talks.
North Korea has recently again voiced anger over planned military exercises
between South Korea and the US, an annual event which the allies have refused
to cancel but have scaled back significantly.
One analyst said more missile tests could be expected.
North Korea called the drills a “violation of the spirit” of the
joint statement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong-un at their first
face-to-face talks in Singapore last year.
Pyongyang had warned the exercises could affect the resumption of
On July 29, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hoped these talks
could start “very soon”, but that there were no further summits
Last year, Kim Jong-un said North Korea would stop nuclear testing and would no longer launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.
As the conversation turned to his
potential Democratic challengers in next year’s election, White House press
secretary Sarah Sanders told the journalists: “You can’t take a picture of that, sorry.”
“What was that?!” President Trump exclaims.
The interview continues as the
reporters ask about who President Trump sees as his toughest political opponent
“Uh, I don’t know. Look, I think I’ve done so much.
Could you bring the list of things, please, give me four of them,” President Trump tells an aide, who quickly presents one,
saying it was made “for today”.
According to the transcript, Donald
Trump becomes more prickly when Time
challenges an assertion by him.
The reporter reminds the president that some of his aides had
“testified under oath, under threat of prison time” that the
president had tried to influence the investigation by special counsel Robert
President Trump snaps back: “Excuse
me… Well, you can go to prison instead, because if you use, if you use the
photograph you took of the letter that I gave you confidentially.
“I didn’t give it to you to take
photographs of it – So don’t play that game with me.”
The journalist from Time responds:
“I’m sorry, Mr. President. Were you
threatening me with prison time?”
Donald Trump replies: “Well, I
told you the following. I told you, you can look at this off the record. That
doesn’t mean you take out your camera and start taking pictures of it. OK?
“So I hope you don’t have a
picture of it.
“I know you were very quick to
pull it out – even you were surprised to see that.
“You can’t do that stuff. So go
have fun with your story. Because I’m sure it will be the 28th horrible story I
have in Time magazine.”
Donald Trump has long had an interest in Time
magazine, and has previously had fake issues printed with himself on the cover
and framed at his golf resorts.
He was named person of the year in 2016.
In 2017, he claimed to have turned down an offer to be the magazine’s person
of the year again, which Time‘s
editorial staff said was untrue.
However, in 2018, Time‘s annual person of the year award was dedicated to persecuted journalists.
The Chinese government has yet to officially comment on President Trump’s
In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 3.7%, while the Shanghai
Composite plunged 5.3%.
US stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street.
On May 3, President Trump tweeted: “For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50
Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods.
These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The
10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars….”
“The Trade Deal with China
continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” he
After imposing duties on billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods
last year, the US and China have been negotiating and in recent weeks, appeared
to be close to striking a trade deal.
Last week US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described talks held in
Beijing as “productive”.
So far, the US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, having
accused China of unfair trade practices.
Beijing hit back with duties on $110 billion of American goods, blaming the
US for starting “the largest trade war in economic history”.
President Trump’s latest move will raise duties on more than 5,000 products
made by Chinese producers, ranging from chemicals to textiles and consumer
He originally imposed a 10% tariff on these goods in September that was due
to rise in January, but postponed this as negotiations advanced.
However, both US and international companies have said they are being harmed
by the trade war.
Fears about a further escalation caused a slump in world stock markets
towards the end of last year.
The IMF has warned a full-blown trade war would weaken the global economy.
The Sohae launch facility at the Tongchang-ri site has been used for
satellite launches and engine testing but never for ballistic missile launches.
This week’s satellite images, coming from several US think tanks and
testimony from the South Korean intelligence service, appear to show rapid
progress has been made in rebuilding structures on the rocket launch pad.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said North Korea could yet face
more sanctions if there is no progress on denuclearization.
A historic first meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 in Singapore produced a vaguely worded agreement on “denuclearization” but little progress.
The longest shutdown in US history
lasted 35 days and cost the country’s economy an estimated $11 billion.
Details have yet to be released but
aides familiar with the negotiations say it includes $1.375 billion in funding
for 55 miles of new fencing at the border, a small part of the more than 2,000
miles promised by President Trump.
The wall would be built in the Rio
Grande Valley, in Texas, using existing designs, such as metal slats, instead
of the concrete wall that Donald Trump had demanded.
According to recent reports, there
was also an agreement to reduce the number of beds in detention centers to
40,250 from the current 49,057.
The talks had reached an impasse earlier with Republicans strongly rejecting
Democrats’ demands for a limit to the number of undocumented migrants already
in the US who could be detained by immigration authorities.
Republican Senator Richard Shelby said on February 11: “We got an agreement on all of it.
“Our staffs are going to be
working feverishly to put all the particulars together. We believe that if this
becomes law, it’ll keep open the government.”
However, by yesterday, some of President Trump’s conservative allies had
already denounced the deal, with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity calling it a
House Freedom Caucus leader Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina said the agreement failed “to address the critical priorities outlined by Border Patrol Chiefs”.
US intelligence officials have reportedly said such an operation would have
needed the approval of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
However, Saudi officials insist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a
“rogue” team of Saudi agents not acting on the prince’s orders.
An administration statement said President Trump “maintains his
discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when
However, Democratic senators told the New
York Times President Trump was in breach of the so-called Magnitsky Act, which
requires a response within 120 days to requests from Senate committee leaders.
That deadline passed on February 8.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has written to Senate leaders describing actions
taken against individuals.
However, the documents do not indicate who was responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s
death, as demanded by the senators.
The US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials, including Saud
al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the crown prince who, it alleged, was
“part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Jamal
However, President Trump has faced criticism from senators for failing to condemn the Saudi crown prince directly.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania
Trump have made an unannounced Christmas visit at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq.
The first family traveled there “late on Christmas night” to thank
troops for “their service, their success and their sacrifice”, the
White House said.
President Trump said the US had no plans to pull out of Iraq, Reuters
The trip came days after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quit over divisions
about strategy in the region.
The US still has some 5,000 troops in Iraq to support the government in its
fight against what remains of the ISIS.
President Trump, the First Lady and National Security Adviser John Bolton
traveled on Air Force One to al-Asad airbase, west of the capital Baghdad, to
meet military personnel in the base’s restaurant.
The president spent about three hours at the base in what is his first visit
to the region.
During the visit President Trump got a standing ovation from troops as he entered
a dining hall and walked around greeting them, posing for selfies with them and
He tweeted: “.@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to visit
our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!”
The president had planned to spend Christmas at his private golf club in
Florida, but stayed behind in Washington because of the current partial
“We’re no longer the suckers,
folks,” he told American servicemen and women at the base.
“We’re respected again as a
President Trump said the US could use Iraq as a forward base if “we
wanted to do something in Syria”, Reuters news agency reports.
He defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria during the visit,
saying: “A lot of people are going
to come around to my way of thinking.
A newly discovered amphibian that buries its head in the sand has been named after President Donald Trump, apparently in response to his comments about climate change.
The Dermophis donaldtrumpi, which was discovered in Panama, was named by the head of a company that had bid $25,000 at auction for the privilege.
EnviroBuild said it wanted to raise awareness about climate change.
The company’s co-founder Aidan Bell in a statement: “[Dermophis donaldtrumpi] is particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and is therefore in danger of becoming extinct as adirect result of its namesake’s climate policies.”
The small, blind, amphibian is a type of caecilian that primarily lives underground, and Aidan Bell drew an unflattering comparison between its behavior and President Trump’s.
He wrote: “Burrowing [his] head underground helps Donald Trump when avoiding scientific consensus on anthropomorphic climate change.”
The amphibian is not the first creature to be named after Donald Trump.
In 2017, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, was discovered by biologist Vazrick Nazari in a collection of moths from the Museum of Entomology, at the University of California. Vazrick Nazari said the moth’s unique head coloring reminded him of President Trump.
Mick Mulvaney is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and takes up his new role in January.
An OMB spokeswoman told the New York Times that the remarks had been made before Mick Mulvaney had met President Trump and was “old news”.
Meghan Burris said Mick Mulvaney “both likes and respects the president, and he likes working for him”.
The White House has not responded.
Meanwhile, a 2016 Facebook post shows that Mick Mulvaney described Donald Trump as “not a very good person”, NBC reported.
Mick Mulvaney was responding to the release of a tape from 2005 in which Donald Trump made inappropriate comments about women.
He wrote in a post: “I think one thing we’ve learned about Donald Trump during this campaign is that he is not a very good person.
“What he said in the audiotape is disgusting and indefensible. My guess is that he has probably said even worse.”
However, he added: “I’ve decided that I don’t particularly like Donald Trump as a person. But I am still voting for him. And I am still asking other people to do the same. And there is one simple reason for that: Hillary Clinton.”
Mick Mulvaney replaces General John Kelly, who steps down at the end of the year.
President Trump opened the Oval Office meeting calling it a “great honor” to have Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi present, in their firstmeeting since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in theNovember mid-term elections.
The meeting soon turned contentious as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer argued that the Republican-controlled Congress could pass legislation before funding for some agencies was set to expire on December 21.
President Trump contended that it could only pass if it met his demands for more funding for his proposed borderwall along the US southern border.
He said: “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through military, through anything you want to call, I will shutdown the government.
“And I am proud to shut down the government for bordersecurity. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
His coffin had earlier left Texas to a 21-gun salute and was carried to Washington on board Air Force One – temporarily renamed Special Air Mission 41 in homage to the late president.
George H.W. Bush, who served as the 41st president between 1989 and 1993, had been receiving treatment for a form of Parkinson’s disease and had been admitted to hospital with a blood infection in April.
The public will be able to pay respects at the rotunda until December 5, when an invitation-only funeral service will take place at the National Cathedral.
President Trump will attend with the first lady but will not deliver a speech.
According to Mark Updegrove’s book The Last Republicans, which came out in 2017, George H.W. Bush voted for Donald Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton in the election and had called him a “blowhard”.
Former President George W. Bush, worried he would be the “last Republican president”, despite Donald Trump running on the party’s ticket, the book said.
A service was held in the rotunda after George H.W. Bush’s coffin arrived on December 4, with members of the military serving as pallbearers. George W. Bush was in attendance and was clearly moved by the events.
In a eulogy, House Speaker Paul Ryan said: “Here lies a great man”, adding that “no-one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life”.
Paul Ryan said George H.W. Bush was a “great leader and a good man, a gentle soul of firm resolve”.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said: “Through the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s collapse, he kept us on course. When the rule of law needed defending in the Persian Gulf, he kept us on course.”
Vice-President Mike Pence said there was a “kindness about the man that was evident to everyone who met him”.
George H.W. Bush was a decorated fighter pilot in World War II, a head of the CIA and vice-president to Ronald Reagan before being elected president in 1988.
Also making the final journey with President George H.W. Bush was his loyal labrador service dog, Sully.
At the summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, the G20 leaders agreed a joint declaration that notes divisions over trade but does not criticize protectionism.
Presidents Trump and Xi held a “highly successful meeting”, the White House said in a statement.
The White House says the US tariffs on Chinese goods will remain unchanged for 90 days, but warns: “If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.”
The US says China agreed to “purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries”.
According to the White House, both sides also pledged to “immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft”.
President Trump said earlier this year he wanted to stop the “unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China”.
According to the US, China has also signaled it will allow a tie-up between two major semiconductor manufacturers which Chinese regulators have been blocking.
The White House statement said China was “open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm-NXP deal”.
The US also says China agreed to designate Fentanyl as a controlled substance. The opioid – much of it thought to be made in China – is driving a huge rise in drug addiction in the US.
Both sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods. The US has hit $250 billion of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110 billion of US products.
President Trump had also said that if talks in Argentina were unsuccessful, he would carry out a threat to hit the remaining $267 billion of annual Chinese exports to the US with tariffs of between 10 and 25%.
Michael Cohen has admitted he lied about a Trump property deal in Russia during the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Michael Cohen said he did so out of loyalty to Donald Trump.
The president said his former right-hand man was “lying” to prosecutors in the hope of receiving a reduced sentence.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and whether Donald Trump colluded with it.
In August, Michael Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty to violating finance laws during the 2016 election by handling hush money for Donald Trump’s alleged lovers.
Appearing unexpectedly before a federal judge in Manhattan on November 30, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress.
The president’s former lawyer said at the hearing that he had submitted a false written statement about a Trump Organization plan to build a skyscraper in the Russian capital.
He said in court: “I made these misstatements to be consistent with individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to individual 1.”
Michael Cohen has previously identified “individual 1” as Donald Trump.
He was interviewed in October 2017 behind closed doors by lawmakers conducting their own investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to sway the US election two years ago.
According to the criminal complaint, Michael Cohen told the Senate and House intelligence committees that talks over the Moscow project had lasted from September 2015 until January 2016, while Donald Trump was running for the White House.
However, the document says that “as Cohen well knew”, negotiations over the Moscow project continued until June 2016.
Michael Cohen also told lawmakers he had had limited contact with Donald Trump about the project, when in fact it had been “more extensive”.
Prosecutors said Michael Cohen had tried to give a false impression that the Moscow project ended before the Republican presidential campaign properly began in 2016.
On November 29, President Poroshenko announced that Russians living in Ukraine would soon face restrictions on bank withdrawals, changing foreign currency and travelling abroad.
The incident happened on November 25, when two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug were sailing from Odessa to the port of Mariupol, in the Sea of Azov – which is shared between Russia and Ukraine.
The ships were stopped from entering the Kerch Strait and confronted by FSB border guards. After a lengthy standoff, during which the Ukrainian tug was rammed, the vessels began turning back towards Odessa, the Ukrainian government says.
The Russians opened fire, wounding at least three sailors, and seized the Ukrainian flotilla.
The Kerch Strait separates Russia from Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
However, Ukraine says Russia is deliberately blockading Mariupol and another Ukrainian port on the Sea of Azov, Berdyansk.
The 24 captured Ukrainian sailors have now been given two months in pre-trial detention by a court in Crimea.
The assessment says: “With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century – more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many US states.”
It also notes that the effects of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country, including more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events.
However, the report says that projections of future catastrophe could change if society works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and “to adapt to the changes that will occur”.
Last month, President Donald Trump accused climate change scientists of having a “political agenda”, telling Fox News he was unconvinced that humans were responsible for the earth’s rising temperatures.
After taking office, President Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which commits another 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels.
At the time, President Trump said he wanted to negotiate a new “fair” deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.
The CIA did not conclude that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump has revealed.
Jamal Khashoggi was killed on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
However, officials told media such an operation would have needed the crown prince’s approval and Saudi Arabia maintains it was a “rogue operation”.
Asked about the CIA’s reported evaluation by reporters in Florida, President Trump said: “They didn’t conclude.”
The president’s comments on November 21 came as the Saudi crown prince began a regional tour of the Middle East, starting with the United Arab Emirates – his first official trip abroad since Jamal Khashoggi was killed.
Prince Mohammed is also expected to participate in a G20 meeting of world leaders in Buenos Aires at the end of the month that will be attended by leaders from the US, Turkey and a number of European countries.
Meanwhile, France has announced that it is imposing sanctions on 18 Saudi nationals – the same individuals targeted with sanctions by the US, UK and Germany – allegedly linked to the Khashoggi murder.
Their list of individuals does not include Prince Mohammed, a spokesperson for the French ministry of foreign affairs said.
President Trump told reporters in Florida: “They have feelings certain ways. I have the report, they have not concluded, I don’t know if anyone’s going to be able to conclude the crown prince did it.”
He added: “But whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently. His father denies it, the king, vehemently.”
However, earlier this week, President Trump released a statement suggesting that Prince Mohammed “could very well” have known about the incident.
The president’s statement said: “[It] could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
He has repeatedly stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia to the US following the killing, calling Saudi Arabia a “steadfast partner” that has agreed to invest “a record amount of money” in the US.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that President Trump had confidence in the CIA following conversations with Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Khashoggi murder.
Sources quoted in the US media at the time stressed that there was no single piece of evidence linking the crown prince directly to the murder, but officials believe the killing would have required his endorsement.
Separately, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Thursday that Director Haspel told Turkish officials last month that the CIA had a recording in which the crown prince gave instructions to “silence” Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible.
When asked about the claims by reporters, President Trump said: “I don’t want to talk about it. You’ll have to ask them.”
Saudi Arabia says claims that the crown prince may have ordered the Khashoggi killing are false and maintains that he knew nothing about it.
As a prominent journalist, Jamal Khashoggi covered major stories including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of Osama Bin Laden for various Saudi news organizations.
For decades, Jamal Khashoggi was close to the Saudi royal family and also served as an adviser to the government.
However, he fell out of favor and went into self-imposed exile in the US last year. From there, Jamal Khashoggi wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post in which he criticized the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In his first column for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi said he feared being arrested in an apparent crackdown on dissent overseen by the prince since.
In his last column, Jamal Khashoggi criticized Saudi involvement in the Yemen conflict.
President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a peace conference – the Paris Peace Forum – with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
On November 10, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel visited the town of Compiègne in northern France. They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.
President Donald Trump caused controversy by canceling a trip to a cemetery for the war dead because of bad weather.
A group of around 50 activist organizations held a demonstration in Paris in protest against President Trump’s visit.
President Donald Trump has hailed a “big victory” in midterm elections after Democrats seized the House of Representatives but Republicans consolidated their grip on the Senate.
The Democratic majority in the House will be in a position to block President Trump’s legislative program.
However, control of the Senate ensures President Trump can still make key appointments.
The vote was seen as a referendum on Donald Trump, even though the president is not up for re-election till 2020.
The result confirms a historical trend for the party that is not in the White House to make gains in the mid-terms.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi promised that her party would serve as a counterweight to the White House.
Nancy Pelosi – who is set to become speaker, a position she held from 2007 to 2011 – told supporters: “Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.”
Meanwhile the Florida Senate race is heading for a recount after Republican Rick Scott got 50.21% and incumbent Bill Nelson 49.79% of the vote. A margin of less than half a percentage point automatically triggers a recount.
The Democrats gained more than the 23 seats they needed for a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.
They could now launch investigations into President Trump’s administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.
They could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
In the Senate, Democrats were facing an uphill battle because they were defending 26 races, while just nine Republican seats were up for grabs.
The Republicans are on course to increase their representation from 51 to 54 in the 100-seat Senate upper chamber.
President Trump has threatened to retaliate for any Democratic investigations with his own probes in the Senate into alleged “leaks of classified information”.
He tweeted: “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!”
President Donald Trump has urged voters to back the Republican Party on the eve of the midterm elections.
He said during a blitz of three final rallies: “Everything we have achieved is at stake tomorrow.”
The November 6 vote is being seen as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.
The president’s ability to govern in the final two years of his term will hinge upon the outcome.
Americans are going to the polls to vote on all 435 seats in the House, 35 of the 100 Senate seats and dozens of state governors.
With the control of Congress up for grabs, President Trump has ratcheted up rhetoric on divisive issues in a bid to energize his base.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama campaigned for the Democratic Party.
He tweeted: “Tomorrow’s elections might be the most important of our lifetimes. The health care of millions is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. The character of our country is on the ballot.”
The midterm elections will decide which party will control the two houses of Congress.
If Republicans maintain their hold on the Senate and the House of Representatives, they could build on their agenda and that of President Trump.
If the Democrats wrest control of one or both chambers, they could stymie or even reverse President Trump’s plans.
Pollsters suggest Democrats may win the 23 seats they need to take over the House of Representatives, and possibly 15 or so extra seats.
However, the Democrats are expected to fall short of the two seats they need to win control of the Senate.
Governors are also being chosen in 36 out of 50 states.
After months of campaigning, speculation, and billions of dollars spent on adverts, leaflets and bumper stickers, voters will have their final say on November 6.
Democratic candidates for the House of Representative have raised $649 million from individual donors, more than doubling the $312 million tally for the Republicans.
Democrats are hoping to achieve a “midterm wave” – a sweeping victory that changes the shape of the political map in the US.
Many people have already voted.
The US Elections Project, a University of Florida-based information source, said that some 34.3 million people have cast early ballots but the real number is probably higher. In 2014, were just 27.5 million.
In Texas, early voting has exceeded the entire turnout in 2014.
Thunderstorms are forecast for November 6 along the eastern coast, as well as snowstorms in the Midwest, which could affect turnout.