26 мая, 00:00

Дональд Трамп и Джаред Кушнер у папы римского

Встреча президента Трампа с папой римским носила символический характер. И хотя длилась встреча всего 30 минут, она должна была подтвердить единство стратегических целей Вашингтона и Ватикана, их согласие в ключевых вопросах мировой политики. Если в строящемся новом мировом порядке Вашингтон «отвечает» за финансово-экономическую и военно-политическую глобализацию, то Ватикан выполняет духовную миссию – не только даёт...

25 мая, 23:29

GOP threatens to subpoena Education Dept. official who quit

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee on Thursday threatened to subpoena the head of the Education Department’s student financial aid office who resigned this week after a clash with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. James Runcie resigned on Tuesday night after defying DeVos’ directive to testify before the oversight panel about erroneous payments in the student loan and Pell grant programs. In an internal memo about his resignation as chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid, Runcie alluded to a range of simmering management issues at the department. “The issuing of a subpoena is still an open item,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House oversight subcommittee holding Thursday’s hearing told reporters. “It’s important that we hear from Mr. Runcie and at least get some of his perspective on some of these issues.”Meadows opened the hearing by saying that Runcie’s refusal to testify was a “slap in the face” to taxpayers, who he said paid Runcie more than $430,000 in bonuses since 2010. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) “still has questions that Mr. Runcie needs to answer,” said his spokeswoman, MJ Henshaw. “Hopefully that’s done voluntarily. If not, we will explore the option of a subpoena.”Jay Hurt, the chief financial officer of the department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, testified in place of Runcie on Thursday. GOP lawmakers pressed Hurt about the increase in the agency’s erroneous student loan and Pell grant payments, which both rose last year. The Education Department estimated that improper payments for student loans in fiscal year 2016 were $3.86 billion, up from $1.28 billion the previous year. Improper payments in the Pell grant program increased from $562 million to $2.21 billion over the same time period, according to the department. None of those met the department’s target benchmark for such figures. Hurt said that the increase was due in part to a change in how the department calculated improper payments. He also warned that next year’s improper payment rate will again increase because of a months-long suspension of an online tool that helps borrowers avoid mistakes by automatically inputting their tax information. The agency’s Inspector General, Kathleen Tighe, testified that while the revised calculations were “more realistic,” the department still needs to “intensify its efforts to identify and address internal controls and oversight to address the root causes” of improper payments. GOP lawmakers on the panel said they were concerned that Runcie and Hurt continued to receive bonuses even as the improper payment rates for student aid programs increased in recent years. Runcie’s resignation memo suggests that political appointees at the department had been micromanaging his office, which he said had been stretched too thin. He said in an email to POLITICO that he resigned because of differences at the department between “operational leaders” like himself and political appointees. But Meadows blasted that assertion on Thursday. He said that Runcie “may be upset that the secretary is micromanaging” but “anybody looking over your shoulder when you’re losing $3.6 billion might be considered micromanaging. I call it proper oversight.”Republicans on the committee also said that Runcie’s resignation on Tuesday night came after they had already threatened to subpoena him and gave him 20 days to respond to a request to appear at the hearing. Meadows said he had previously been frustrated with attempts to get Runcie to testify before the committee. “He has shown a willingness to not testify before Congress in the past. I’m not saying that that’s where it is today,” Meadows said. “I want to take him at his word that perhaps he had a personal conflict, but we were willing to accommodate. And what we found was is that he chose to resign instead of coming before Congress.” Democrats on the panel, meanwhile, steered clear of the Runcie resignation. They instead criticized DeVos’ proposal to overhaul student loan servicing and slammed the department for not doing enough to guard against student debt relief scams. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said earlier this week that they’re concerned that Runcie’s resignation appeared to come after political interference from DeVos. Warren called on Congress “to get to the bottom of what’s going on here.”

25 мая, 23:02

FBI won’t provide Comey memos to Congress yet

The FBI on Thursday declined a congressional request for explosive memos by former Director James Comey detailing his interactions with President Donald Trump.The House Oversight Committee and other congressional panels requested the memos earlier this month after The New York Times reported that Comey wrote in one that Trump had asked him to shut down the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump denied the allegation.In a letter to Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the FBI’s assistant director for congressional affairs, Gregory Brower, said the bureau can’t provide the memo until it consults with Robert Mueller, the new special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s election meddling.In light of Mueller’s appointment “and other considerations,” Brower wrote, “we are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated.” Brower pledged to update the Oversight panel “as soon as possible.”Chaffetz responded to Brower’s letter on Thursday by restating his demand for the memos and setting a new deadline of June 8.“Congress and the American public have a right and a duty to examine this issue independently of the special counsel’s investigation,” Chaffetz said. “I trust and hope you understand this and make the right decision – to produce these documents to the committee immediately and on a voluntary basis.”

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25 мая, 22:49

7 tremendous Trump moments

The U.S. president’s visit to the ‘hellhole.’

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25 мая, 22:35

Senate Republicans start their version of Obamacare repeal

Senate Republicans have started writing their Obamacare repeal bill — even though few decisions have been made about how to resolve the biggest policy disagreements.Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi, whose committee oversees the budget process that the GOP is using to fast-track the repeal effort through the Senate, told POLITICO he’s starting to draft the legislation.Reconciliation “is a Budget [Committee] function, but I’ve got a lot of help,” Enzi said.The Wyoming Republican declined to reveal any specifics, saying that he wants to encourage collaboration. He’s working with Senate Republican leadership and the Finance and HELP committees, which oversee health policy.The House passed its repeal bill earlier this month. The CBO on Wednesday projected it would result in 23 million more uninsured Americans over a decade and would cut the deficit by $119 billion.Enzi said that enough decisions have been made “in some areas” of policy to start writing the bill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been careful to prevent leaks, but major fault lines on policy still exist among GOP lawmakers. Those include how aggressively to control Medicaid spending, when to begin rolling back Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which Obamacare provisions to eliminate and how to control premiums or address coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.Enzi also declined to discuss a timetable. But when asked if he’d have something to show colleagues after the Memorial Day week recess, he responded, “I hope so.”“I’m not putting any deadlines on any of this because you have to work through a lot of people on these things,” Enzi said.Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said leadership has spent significant time gathering a variety of opinions and that it is time to write a bill.“Leadership is going to spend this recess trying to develop a product [so] that we will have a base of a Senate bill, based on all these discussions, based on what the House did, based on the CBO score,” Johnson said. “I’m happy to let the leadership craft a bill so that we can use that as the next step. When we come back, hopefully we have something to look at and we’ll continue the debate.”

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25 мая, 22:16

Роль Германии в европейской политике безопасности и обороны

В 2013 году ещё тогдашний министр иностранных дел ФРГ Вестервелле в своей речи на Берлинском Форуме коснулся темы увеличения роли Германии в рамках солидарности со своими европейскими партнерами.

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25 мая, 21:46

Приложение зависло

У нас, да и не только у нас одна из основных проблем – то, что я назвал «недоделанностью, потому что недодуманностью». Застреваем на тёпленькой середине, не решаясь назвать вещи своими именами или извлечь следствия из уже сказанного. Тормозим на следующем шаге. Что делает предыдущий бессмысленным. Вот захватили Крым. Ну и что дальше? Ничего. Вот приехал Путин приложиться к ларцу с костью святого. И что дальше? Ничего. А у всего живого есть продолжение. И у святого оно должно быть. Но в окружении царя нет того, кто его надоумил бы, приложившись, дальше совершить какой-нибудь христианский поступок. В царстве-то его, и он это отлично знает, много нелепого и напрасного зверства. Ну так взял бы, да символически уменьшил объем. Недавно наши «православные чекисты» дали 22 года лишения свободы генералу Денису Сугробову, который виноват по большому счету только в том, что проиграл в аппаратной схватке другим носителям погон. Офицер проиграл офицеру (при всей условности применения этого понятия к тайным и явным полицейским). И победитель – его на зону, на 22. Так это и не по-офицерски, и не по-христиански, если что. С кем ни говорил после вынесения приговора, все кривились от такой мерзости. Хороший был бы жест – взять и помиловать бедолагу. Жест и офицерский, и христианский )) Наказан он уже, раздавлен. Отсидел часть срока. Незачем его добивать. Не на пользу православному царству столько злобы. Можно было бы и брата Навального выпустить. Тоже приличнее его освободить, чем держать заложником. Катастрофы сразу не случится, если ничего подобного не делать. Святой сильнее не рассердится. Поживём как есть, с проникновением в суть согласно диалогу:– Ты православный? – Конечно, православный – я за православие кому угодно горло перегрызу (пасть порву, моргала выдавлю). Но если у царя дела не ладятся и не везет ему последнее время, вероятно, стоило бы поинтересоваться у духовника, может чего не так? Мне, впрочем, трудно судить со стороны.

25 мая, 21:37

U.S. airlines bracing for ‘imminent’ laptop ban expansion, sources say

U.S. airlines and some related businesses are making preparations for an imminent decision by the Trump administration to expand the airborne laptop ban to flights from Europe and possibly other regions, maybe as soon as Thursday, several sources told POLITICO.One U.S. airline source said his company is "preparing like they're about to" roll it out. "We haven't gotten firm confirmation but by all accounts. It looks like we think they’re going to do it" within the next week — but probably sooner rather than later, he said."I just know that based on our assessment of what [DHS] told us, we're preparing for it to happen," he said. Another airline industry source said an announcement probably won't come Thursday, as DHS is "still doing stakeholder meetings today. FAA is still engaging in the process as well. Expectation is that nothing would go into effect until" President Donald Trump returns from his overseas trip this weekend.DHS has held several briefings in recent weeks with U.S. lawmakers, EU officials and industry groups on the possible ban, which would prohibit laptops, tablets and other larger electronics from riding in the cabins of planes flying toward the United States. It imposed similar restrictions earlier this year on U.S.-bound flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports, amid fears that terrorist groups are becoming more skilled in hiding bombs inside electronic devices that screening technology can't currently detect.If a decision comes in the next day or so, it's sure to roil relations with European counterparts, many of whom are already miffed at what they say has been a unilateral approach by DHS — especially since, as one European diplomat said, DHS "said they would wait some time to be complete about the safety risk" during technical meetings this week. Another European diplomat said the agency had "agreed to follow up on a meeting next week on safety issues.”During a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, DHS Secretary John Kelly reiterated that he's not yet made a final decision about whether to expand the ban. But he noted it's still on the table as DHS monitors "a number of very, very sophisticated advanced threats."Andrew Hanna contributed to this report.

25 мая, 21:35

Appeals court keeps block on revised Trump travel ban

Richmond-based 4th Circuit splits, 10-3, in largely party-line vote

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25 мая, 21:31

Hatch says Romney won't run for his Senate seat

Sen. Orrin Hatch hasn't made a final decision about whether he'll run for reelection, but he's adamant about one thing: Mitt Romney is not running for his Senate seat.On Wednesday the website UtahPolicy floated the likelihood that the 83-year old Utah Republican would retire and Romney would run to replace him. That prompted pushback from the GOP's most senior senator, who is also in the line of presidential succession."I've talked to Mitt Romney. He's not going to run for this seat. I would be glad for him if he would," Hatch told reporters.Asked if Romney is not running because Hatch will run for an eighth term, Hatch responded: "No. I've chatted with Mitt, and he's not going to run for the Senate."Hatch has been raising money, suggesting he may run again. Whatever he decides, the Senate Finance Committee chairman likely won't make a move until the GOP sorts out its big-ticket items of health care and tax reform. The longtime senator would lose some of his influence over those policies if he were to announce retirement now.