After Steve Bannon announced his tell-all book, President Donald Trump’s lawyers have written to his former strategist, saying he has violated a non-disclosure agreement.
The cease-and-desist notice accuses Steve Bannon of defaming President Trump in speaking to author Michael Wolff.
Michael Wolff’s forthcoming tell-all book describes Donald Trump as being unprepared for the president job.
The 64-year-old writer is a former columnist for New York magazine and Vanity Fair. He also wrote a biography of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
His book is reportedly based on more than 200 interviews.
President Trump responded by saying Steve Bannon had “lost his mind” after losing his White House position.
The president’s lawyers said Steve Bannon had broken his employment agreement by speaking to Michael Wolff about Donald Trump and his family, “disclosing confidential information” and “making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company”, the letter said.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House makes many explosive claims, including that Steve Bannon thought a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians was “treasonous”. The Trump team was shocked and horrified by his election win and Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, was in tears on election night. Donald Trump was angry that A-list stars had snubbed his inauguration and the new president “found the White House to be vexing and even a little scary”. The book also claims that Ivanka Trump had a plan with her husband, Jared Kushner, that she would be “the first woman president”. Ivanka Trump mocked her dad’s “comb-over” hairstyle and “often described the mechanics behind it to friends”.
The book also alleges that former UK PM Tony Blair told Donald Trump during a meeting in February 2017 that the British intelligence services may have been spying on him and his campaign, according to a report in The Times.
The Times says Tony Blair was hoping to get a job advising Donald Trump on the Middle East.
A spokesperson for Tony Blair told The Times that the allegations were a “total fabrication: and said the former prime minister had not suggested himself as Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy.
In March 2017, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer told journalists UK intelligence services could have been involved in an alleged spying operation on Trump Tower in New York. GCHQ said the allegation was “nonsense”.
According to New York magazine, which first published the extracts from Michael Wolff’s book, the author was able to take advantage of the Trump administration’s political inexperience to gain an unusual amount of insight.
“There were no ground rules placed on his access, and he was required to make no promises about how he would report on what he witnessed,” it says.
Michael Wolff said he was able to take up “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” following the president’s inauguration.
In a statement on January 3, President Trump said: “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency.
“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
“Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party,” the president continued.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders described the book as “filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House”.
“Participating in a book that can only be described as a trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy.”
Steve Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, was considered a key player in the Trump White House and helped shape Donald Trump’s “America First” campaign message before he left his post in August.
In April, President Trump had declined to affirm that Steve Bannon still had his support, removing him from his elevated role on the crucial National Security Council.
He then appeared to downplay Steve Bannon’s role, declaring in a New York Post interview: “I’m my own strategist.”
After leaving the White House, Steve Bannon returned to his role as the head of the right-wing Breitbart News website, where he said he planned to help the Trump administration as a “wingman outside”.
Donald Trump reportedly spoke to Steve Bannon as recently as December 13, the day of the special Senate election in Alabama that saw the defeat of Republican Roy Moore, whom Bannon supported.
Lawyers for the federal government had argued in the sanctuary cities case that only funding related to law enforcement would be withheld.
However, Judge William Orrick said any doubt about the scope of the “vague” order was erased by public comments made by President Trump, such as those calling the measure a “weapon” to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his immigration policies.
Judge William Orrick accused the Trump administration of a “schizophrenic approach” to the order.
The 49-page court ruling added that the plaintiffs challenging President Trump’s order are likely to succeed in proving the order unconstitutional.
The judge wrote: “Federal funding… cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”
However, Judge William Orrick’s ruling allowed the justice department to follow through with threats made to nine cities last week to cut specific program grants if they do not adequately co-operate with federal immigration officers.
In a press release last week, the department accused sanctuary cities of “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime”.
There are several sanctuary cities across the US, including Donald Trump’s home of New York.
New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio praised April 25 ruling, saying President Trump went beyond his authority to cut funding to cities that “don’t share his illogical and unconstitutional desire to scapegoat immigrants”.
President Donald Trump is seeking a tax on goods imported from Mexico and use the revenue to build a border wall, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said.
Donald Trump’s plan was announced just after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a visit to Washington, amid a row sparked by the question of who will pay for the wall.
On January 25, the president signed an executive order to create a wall on the US southern border with Mexico.
Making Mexico pay for it was one of Donald Trump’s key election campaign pledges.
However, President Enrique Pena Nieto has always insisted that will not happen and on January 26 he pulled out of next week’s White House meeting.
Hours later, Sean Spicer told reporters that President Trump had discussed the funding proposal with lawmakers, and that they are considering making it part of a tax reform package the US Congress is planning.
Image source Flickr
Sean Spicer said that a 20% tax could generate approximately $10 billion in tax revenue per year.
He said aboard Air Force One: “Right now our country’s policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous.”
He added that the tax will “easily pay for the wall”.
The plan is still being finalized, Sean Spicer explained, saying that the tax could ultimately be as low as 5%.
The rift between the neighbors and trade partners has deepened just days into Donald Trump’s presidency.
After President Pena Nieto pulled out of the summit, Donald Trump said the meeting would have been “fruitless” if Mexico didn’t treat the US “with respect” and pay for the wall.
Earlier the Mexican leader said he “lamented” the plans for the barrier.
In a TV address, Enrique Pena Nieto told the nation: “I’ve said time and again: Mexico won’t pay for any wall.”
A number of Democrats have called for Donald Trump’s naming of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a top adviser to be reviewed over concerns of nepotism and conflict of interest.
The group wants the Justice Department and Office of Government Ethics to scrutinize “legal issues” related to the appointment of Jared Kushner.
His lawyer says the post does not breach anti-nepotism laws.
Jared Kushner, 36, is married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
The millionaire will step down as boss of his family’s real estate business and publisher of the New York Observer newspaper in order to comply with ethics laws, his lawyer Jamie Gorelick said.
Jared Kushner will also divest “substantial assets”, she said.
Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th US president on January 20.
Several of his cabinet picks have business interests that will be scrutinized at confirmation hearings taking place this week.
Donald Trump’s selection for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, is the first to face Senate confirmation hearings on January 10. He was turned down for a federal judgeship in 1986 because of alleged racist remarks.
Unlike cabinet positions, advisers are considered part of White House staff and do not require approval from Congress.
Jared Kushner is a vastly wealthy property developer and publisher who played an influential role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and has been included in key meetings with foreign leaders during the transition period.
Image source Wikimedia
An Orthodox Jew whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors, Jared Kushner was raised in Livingston, New Jersey, and went on to study sociology at Harvard.
His father, also a property mogul, was jailed for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering in 2005 by Chris Christie – then the US attorney for New Jersey.
Jared Kushner is said to have played a key role in the ousting of Chris Christie, by then New Jersey governor, from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team last year.
In his new role, Jared Kushner will initially focus on trade policy and the Middle East, according to officials from the transition team.
On January 8, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon met UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
The nepotism rule, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, prevents public officials from promoting a relative “to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control”.
It is thought to have been prompted by JFK’s appointment of brother Robert to the post of attorney general in 1960.
The law would stop a president from giving a cabinet job to a relative – but it is unclear whether it applies to positions in the White House team.
Those that say it does not point to President Bill Clinton’s appointment of First Lady Hillary Clinton as chair of his health care reforms package in 1993.
In their letter, the Democratic lawmakers, all members of the House Judiciary Committee, argue that a “strong case” can be made that the 1967 federal anti-nepotism statute applies to staff working in the White House, a position rejected by Donald Trump’s team.
They also raise questions about how, even with significant divestment, Jared Kushner could completely avoid conflicts of interest in his White House role.
Concerns have been raised about his relationships with foreign investors.
The New York Times reported on January 7 that Jared Kushner met the head of an insurance group with links to the Chinese government over development plans for his skyscraper, 666 Fifth Avenue, just days after Donald Trump won the presidential election. His spokeswoman, quoted by the paper, said the timing of the meeting was a coincidence and he had already decided to sell his stake in the building.
As his appointment as special adviser was announced, Jared Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said he was committed to complying with federal ethics laws and had consulted with the Office of Government Ethics about what steps to take.
She added that he would not be paid for the advisory role.
Jared Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, will step down from executive roles at the Trump Organization as well as her own fashion brands.
However, she will not be taking an official role in her father’s government – for now at least – and instead will focus on raising her children.
Reports said last week that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and their children would be moving into a $5.5 million home in Washington DC’s wealthy Kalorama neighborhood – at least for some time.
The Obama family is due to be moving to the same area after leaving the White House.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump announced in November that his wife, Melania, would be staying in New York – at least initially – after his inauguration to allow their youngest son, Barron, to finish the school year.
The White House has reacted to Donald Trump’s claim of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, saying that there is no evidence to support the allegations.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations that millions of people had cast illegal votes.
The president-elect also alleged voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, states which Hillary Clinton won.
Josh Earnest deferred to Donald Trump’s team for further comment.
Image source Flickr
“What I can say, as an objective fact, is that there has been no evidence produced to substantiate a claim like that,” the press secretary told reporters at a White House briefing.
Donald Trump, who won the all-important Electoral College count, aired his grievances with the election result in a tweet on November 27.
“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” he wrote.
Donald Trump’s Twitter outburst comes after Hillary Clinton’s camp said it would support a vote recount in Wisconsin initiated by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Jill Stein also notified the elections board in Michigan, where Donald Trump’s 16 electoral votes were certified on November 28, that it would seek a statewide recount of the presidential election results.
Her campaign moved to do the same in Pennsylvania.
Donald Trump won by two-tenths of a percentage point out of nearly 4.8 million votes, making it the closest presidential race in Michigan in more than 75 years.
He is the first Republican presidential nominee to win Michigan since 1988.
Jill Stein’s recount effort was driven by the #recount2016 social media campaign, which has raised over $6.3 million.
During her entire presidential run, Jill Stein’s campaign only raised $3.5 million.
Results would need to be overturned in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to alter the outcome of the November 8 election – something analysts say is highly unlikely.
President-elect Donald Trump meets President Barack Obama at the White House for what could prove to be awkward transition talks.
Donald Trump has questioned Barack Obama’s US citizenship and vowed to dismantle his legacy.
During the campaign President Obama called Donald Trump “uniquely unqualified”, but now says he is “rooting” for him after his shock defeat of Hillary Clinton.
Thousands have taken to the streets of major cities denouncing Donald Trump.
Donald Trump flew from New York on his private jet and landed at Reagan National Airport, just outside the nation’s capital.
The two men are expected to appear together for the cameras in the Oval Office after a behind-closed-doors meeting.
Donald Trump is being accompanied by his wife, Melania, who will have a meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama.
On November 9, Barack Obama – who campaigned against Donald Trump – urged all Americans to accept the result of the presidential election.
“We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” the president said.
The defeated Hillary Clinton also told supporters Donald Trump had to be given a “chance to lead”.
Despite their calls, protesters gathered in several cities across the country on November 9. Many chanted: “Not my president.”
In his victory speech, Donald Trump vowed to “bind the wounds of division”, after an acrimonious election contest, and to be “president for all Americans”.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest has insisted President Obama is sincere about ensuring a smooth handover when he meets Donald Trump, although he added: “I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy meeting.”
With the Republicans holding a majority in both chambers of the Congress Donald Trump has an easier path to pass his laws and scrap key Obama initiatives like his healthcare reforms.
Donald Trump has outlined what he would do in his first 100 days at the White House.
With 17 days until Election Day, much of the recent focus has been on controversies linked to his campaign.
In a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, The Republican nominee sought to highlight changes he would introduce.
Among them were restrictions on lobbyists and a renegotiation on trade and climate change deals.
Image source Wikipedia
Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine appeared at events on October 22 in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in the race for the White House.
Donald Trump’s advisers indicated before his speech that the measures announced would serve as the focus for the remaining two weeks of his campaign.
The speech was one of the most detailed by Donald Trump during his candidacy, and also touched on matters of security, economy and trade.
He said the country was facing a “fork in the road” over its future.
While some polls have shown he has eaten into Hillary Clinton’s lead over the past week, after the third presidential debate, she is still leading him in a number of the key swing states.
Before his speech, Donald Trump again attacked leading media outlets and suggested they were biased against him.
The billionaire vowed to break up media conglomerates, saying he would scrap the rumored purchase of the Time Warner company, the owner of CNN, by AT&T. However, those comments were made outside of his main speech, and it was not clear if they were being put forward as policy.
Donald Trump also said he would sue every woman who has accused him of assault or inappropriate behavior as soon as his presidential campaign was over.
Ten women have come forward to accuse Donald Trump of inappropriate behavior, in the weeks after a video emerged of him boasting of groping women and kissing them.
“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” he told the audience in Gettysburg.
Donald Trump said the media was fabricating stories to make him “look as bad and dangerous as possible”.
Secret Service has launched an investigation after Donald Trump’s ex-butler, Anthony Senecal, called for the death of President Barack Obama.
In a Facebook post, Anthony Senecal wrote that Barack Obama “should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term”.
Anthony Senecal worked for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, for nearly 30 years.
However, the Trump campaign quickly disavowed Anthony Senecal’s remarks, saying: “He is not employed by Mr. Trump, and hasn’t been since June of 2009.”
Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks added in a statement: “We strongly condemn these horrible comments from Mr. Senecal.”
Anthony Senecal’s post, which was not public, was first reported by Mother Jones, but he later confirmed its authenticity to several news organizations.
On May 12, Anthony Senecal, 84, told CNN that President Barack Obama should be “hung” outside the White House. He also called the White House the “White Mosque”.
The New York Times profiled Anthony Senecal in March, saying despite retiring in 2009 he has stayed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as “a kind of unofficial historian”.
According to the publication, Anthony Senecal “understands Mr. Trump’s sleeping patterns and how he likes his steak (“It would rock on the plate, it was so well done”), and how Mr. Trump insists – despite the hair salon on the premises – on doing his own hair”.
According to the White House, President Barack Obama has called for the US to prepare to accept “at least” 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.
That number is significantly higher than the 1,500 Syrians that have been permitted to re-settle in the US since the start of the conflict.
The 10,000 figure is still much lower than the 340,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Europe this year.
Since the beginning of the conflict the US has given $4 billion in aid.
The increase in accepting refugees displays a “significant scaling up” of US commitment to accept people from conflict zones and help provide for their needs,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Photo Getty Images
Congress would have to make a “significant financial commitment” in order to allow for additional 10,000 refugees to the US, Josh Earnest said.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered four million Syrians as refugees, and it has asked governments around the world to resettle 130,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.
In May, 14 Senators penned a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to allow 65,000 Syrian refugees to settle inside the US.
Humanitarian aid money remains the most effective way to fight the problem for the US, Josh Earnest said, and it is “not feasible” for millions of Syrians to come to the country.
Asked at a press briefing why the US was not accepting as many refugees as the UK, as a larger country, Josh Earnest said the US wants to meet the “most urgent, immediate needs” of migrants like basic medical care, food, water and shelter.
The security screening migrants must go through when arriving in the US can take 12 to 18 months, and the “safety and security of the US homeland” comes first, he said.
There have been concerns expressed that terrorists could exploit the refugee system to enter the country and carry out an attack, but experts say that fear is overblown.
Two senior Secret Service agents are being under investigation after a car crash at the White House.
The collision happened during the evening on March 4, Secret Service said.
According to the Washington Post, the agents drove the car into a security barricade after a night of drinking and partying.
The crash is the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents involving the agency charged with protecting President Barack Obama.
Photo AFP/Getty Images
The Washington Post has identified the agents as Mark Connolly, deputy in charge of the president’s security detail, and George Ogilvie, a senior supervisor in the agency’s Washington office.
They had been attending a party at a nearby bar before the incident occurred, the Post reported.
Witnesses reportedly saw the officers in a car with illuminated emergency lights and said they had shown their badges in an attempt to get through a secured section of the White House complex.
The car ran through security tape and hit temporary barricades that had been set up while security services investigated a suspicious package.
Over the past several months, several of the agency’s top officials have been forced to step down following multiple security lapses. A man from Texas was able to scale a fence and run into the White House while brandishing a knife before being detained.
The Secret Service is charged with protecting the president, vice-president, their families and other officials.
President Barack Obama emailed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but was unaware of how her personal email address was set up, the White House said on March 9.
Josh Earnest told reporters that Barack Obama emailed to Hillary Clinton’s private address and did not know how the secretary of State planned to comply with the Federal Records Act with regards to private emails about official State Department business.
“The president did email with Secretary Clinton,” Earnest said, who said the number of emails was not large.
“The president did, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office exchange emails with his secretary of state,” the White House press secretary said.
Barack Obama emailed to Hillary Clinton’s private address (Photo AP)
All exchanges between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were maintained by the White House under the Presidential Records Act, Josh Earnest said.
The comments come amid a budding controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address hosted on a home server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat. The email controversy has cast a shadow over her all-but-certain presidential bid and provoked questions about tensions between her and the Obama administration.
The State Department did not initially retain records of Hillary Clinton’s personal emails.
Hillary Clinton’s team recently selected and turned over 55,000 pages of emails in response to a State Department request.
Barack Obama told CBS News on March 8 that he learned of Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email address for official business “the same time everybody else learned about it through news reports”.
Prince Charles and Camilla are to meet President Barack Obama during a four-day tour of the US.
The White House said President Barack Obama will host the royal couple in the Oval Office on March 19.
Charles and Camilla will be in the US from March 17 to March 20 to “promote the UK’s partnership with the United States”, Clarence House said.
They will also mark the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary during their trip.
Other parts of their tour will include a tour of Mount Vernon – home of America’s first president, George Washington – and a visit to Louisville, Kentucky, home city of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
While in Washington DC, the Prince of Wales will mark the Magna Carta’s anniversary during a visit to the National Archives.
Prince Charles will view the Charters of Freedom documents and the 1297 version of the Magna Carta, which is embodied in the American Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
He will also receive an award for “exceptional leadership in conservation” from the International Conservation Caucus Foundation.
Also in Washington DC, the prince and duchess will visit the Armed Forces Retirement Home, set in the same grounds as the Lincoln Cottage, where it is believed Abraham Lincoln wrote the last draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who has regularly raised awareness about rape victims, will carry out several solo engagements, including visiting the District of Columbia’s assault response team.
This is a coalition of 12 public and private community agencies which works to prevent assault and help victims of such crimes.
Camilla will visit a food literacy project for young people at a local farm while in Louisville, which will be where the couple ends their trip.
Prince Charles visited the Oval Office in 2011 to discuss energy and environmental issues with President Barack Obama.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Sarah Palin said that she is “seriously interested” in running for the White House in 2016.
When asked to clarify her thinking about a possible presidential bid, the former Alaska governor said: “You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested.”
Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, said she stood by comments she made on January 22 in Las Vegas to ABC News, where she first expressed enthusiasm about potentially competing for the Republican presidential nomination.
On January 23, Sarah Palin told the Post: “I am. As I said yesterday, I’m really interested in the opportunity to serve at some point.”
However, Sarah Palin said that she is not yet ramping up a national political operation. Instead, she said, she is contemplating her political future and does not feel rushed to make a final decision.
Sarah Palin previously mulled a presidential run ahead of the 2012 election cycle, but declined to enter the contest. During the run-up to the GOP primaries, her supporters built an expansive political network in Iowa on her behalf, in case she jumped in.
The White House security report has found that an intruder armed with a knife managed to dodge guards and enter the building because of poor communication and a series of lapses.
Omar Gonzalez jumped over the fence in September, ran past guards and was only stopped deep inside the building.
An official US inquiry says Secret Service agents – including one with an attack dog – did not react on time or in the right manner.
The Secret Service chief, Julia Pierson, resigned, partly as a result of this breach.
She stepped down after details emerged of this incident, and of previous breaches in the security surrounding the president.
The latest findings about the September incident are part of a broader inquiry into the lapses, led by the Department of Homeland Security.
According to The New York Times, an executive summary of the inquiry released on Thursday night said the blame for the breach lay with “performance, organization and technical” failures.
Several lapses were highlighted in the report, pointing to a lack of training, bad staffing decisions and failures in communication.
The report described in detail how agents had missed a series of opportunities to stop Omar Gonzalez – on the evening of the intrusion as well in the run-up to it.
Omar Gonzalez scaled the fence at a point where a spike was missing, the report said.
Many officers at a gate on Pennsylvania Avenue did not have a clear view of him because of a construction project.
An officer with an attack dog on the White House driveway was using his mobile phone at the time, and did not hear warnings on his radio earpiece, or on another radio, which had been stashed away in a locker.
Two officers who were pursuing Omar Gonzalez did not expect him to pass through thick bushes, which he did.
Doors into the White House that officers had assumed were locked turned out to be open. Some officers also hesitated to follow Omar Gonzalez because they did not know the layout of the building, the report said.
Once inside the building, the report said Omar Gonzalez was able to push past a female officer, who was smaller than him and who had accidently reached for her torch instead of a metal baton.
He was eventually tackled in the East Room, a long, ornately-decorated chamber used for presidential addresses and formal receptions.
Early on in the intrusion, warnings were not relayed properly to agents inside the White House building because alarm systems and radios failed to function as intended.
The report also cited failings in the run-up to the intrusion, as the former soldier’s suspicious behavior had attracted the attention of the authorities several times.
Omar Gonzalez was stopped in Virginia in July. Then, officers found two powerful rifles, four handguns and other firearms and ammunition in his vehicle along with a map marking the White House.
President Barack Obama and his family were not at the White House when the intrusion happened, having departed about 10 minutes earlier by helicopter.
Omar Gonzalez has been indicted on charges including unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Turkey’s new presidential palace costs about $615 million – nearly twice the previous estimate, officials say.
The controversial 1,000-room palace known as Ak Saray (White Palace) was built on a forested hilltop on the edge of the capital Ankara, on more than 1.6 million sq ft of land.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the palace on August 30 after becoming president.
His AK Party has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade.
The palace is bigger than the White House in Washington, the Kremlin in Moscow and even the Palace of Versailles near Paris.
Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, quoted by Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, said most of the 1.37 billion Turkish lira ($615 million) cost had been paid, but another $135 million had been budgeted for it in 2015.
The palace has sumptuous marble corridors and atriums, as well as high-tech systems to prevent electronic eavesdropping.
The controversial 1,000-room palace known as Ak Saray was built on a forested hilltop on the edge of Ankara, on more than 1.6 million sq ft of land (photo EPA)
Environmentalists accuse Recep Tayyip Erdogan of spending public money on lavish construction projects to the detriment of green areas. Activists defending Istanbul’s Gezi Park clashed with police in June 2013.
Hurriyet says the palace project was controversial because hundreds of trees were cut down to make space for it, in what had been a forest reserve bequeathed to the nation by modern Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The finance minister also said $185m would be spent on a new Airbus A330-200 presidential jet.
A presidential aide, Fahri Kasirga, said other presidential properties would be renovated next year, notably the Huber Palace in Istanbul and a guest house in Marmaris, on the Aegean coast.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has moved out of the more modest Cankaya Palace in Ankara, which will now be used by PM Ahmet Davutoglu.
The White House unclassified Executive Office of the President network was attacked, according to the Washington Post.
Authorities are reported to be investigating the breach, which was reported to officials by an ally of the US, sources said.
White House officials believe the attack was state-sponsored but are not saying what – if any – data was taken.
In a statement to the AFP news agency, the White House said “some elements of the unclassified network” had been affected.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post: “In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network.
“Any such activity is something we take very seriously. In this case, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity.
“Certainly, a variety of actors find our networks to be attractive targets and seek access to sensitive information. We are still assessing the activity of concern.”
The source said the attack was consistent with a state-sponsored effort and Russia is thought by the US government to be one of the most likely threats.
The White House unclassified Executive Office of the President network was attacked
“On a regular basis, there are bad actors out there who are attempting to achieve intrusions into our system,” a second White House official told the Washington Post.
“This is a constant battle for the government and our sensitive government computer systems, so it’s always a concern for us that individuals are trying to compromise systems and get access to our networks.”
The Washington Post quoted its sources as saying that the attack was discovered two-to-three weeks ago. Some White House staff were reportedly told to change their passwords and there was some disruption to network services.
In a statement given to AFP, a White House official said the Executive Office of the President received daily alerts concerning numerous possible cyber threats.
In the course of addressing the breach, some White House users were temporarily disconnected from the network.
“Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks,” the official said.
The NSA, FBI and Security Service were reportedly investigating.
The US – Israel’s closest ally – has said the shelling of a UN shelter in Gaza is “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible”.
In its strongest criticism yet of Israel’s offensive in the Palestinian territory, the US urged Israel to do more to protect civilian life.
A quarter of Gaza’s population has been displaced by the fighting, the UN says.
Israel says its operation in Gaza is designed to defend its population from attacks by Palestinian militants.
It blames the Hamas militant group for most of the civilian deaths in Gaza, saying its fighters deliberately operate from civilian areas.
The Israeli army has now “neutralized” 70-80% of Hamas’ offensive tunnel network into Israel.
In its strongest criticism yet of Israel’s offensive in the Palestinian territory, the US urged Israel to do more to protect civilian life
Israel says it will not stop its operation in Gaza until all the tunnels – which militants use to infiltrate Israeli territory – have been destroyed.
Since Israel began its offensive in Gaza on July 8, 1,422 Palestinians have been killed and 8,265 injured, most of them civilians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
This means more Palestinians have now been killed than during Operation Cast Lead – the last time Israel launched a ground invasion in Gaza – in 2008-2009.
Fifty-eight Israelis have been killed in total – 56 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died.
“There is a difference in approach between what Hamas is perpetrating on the Israeli people and what Israel is doing to defend their country,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
“But the shelling of a UN facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible, and it is clear that we need our allies in Israel to do more to live up to high standards that they have set for themselves.”
He was referring to an incident on Wednesday, when at least 16 people were killed when shellfire hit a UN-run school designated as a civilian shelter in the Jabaliya district of Gaza City.
Josh Earnest said there was little doubt that the shells were fired by the Israeli military.
The UN has also condemned the continuing violence.
“The reality of Gaza today is that no place is safe,” UN humanitarian chief Baroness Valerie Amos told the Security Council.