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On inauguration day, President Donald Trump’s office is cleaned out, swept of signs that he and his staff had ever been there, ready for the Biden team to move in.

The cleaning out of White House’s West Wing offices, and the transition between presidents, is part of a tradition that dates back centuries. It’s a process that has not always been imbued with warmth.

Another impeached president, Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, snubbed Republican Ulysses S Grant in 1869 and skipped the inauguration. Ulysses Grant, who had backed Andrew Johnson’s removal from office, was hardly surprised.

Today, however, the transition stands out for its acrimony. The process usually starts straight after the election, but it started weeks late after President Trump refused to accept the result. And the president has said he will not attend the inauguration. Most likely, Donald Trump will instead travel to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Even in the best of times, the logistics of a transition are daunting, involving the transfer of knowledge and employees on a massive scale.

About 4,000 political appointees hired by the Trump administration who will lose their job and be replaced by individuals hired by Joe Biden.

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During an average transition, between 150,000-300,000 people apply for these jobs, according to the Center for Presidential Transition, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington. About 1,100 of the positions also require Senate confirmation. Filling all of these positions takes months, even years.

Four years of policy papers, briefing books and artefacts relating to the president’s work will be carted off to the National Archives where they will be kept secret for 12 years, unless the president himself decides that portions may be released early.

Furniture in the White House, such as the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, most of the artwork, china and other objects, belong to the government and will remain on the premises.

Other items, like photos of the president that hang in the hallway, will be taken down as the White House is transformed for its new occupants.

The Trumps’ personal belongings, such as clothes, jewellery, and other items will be moved to their new residence, most likely at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

This year, the place will be deep cleaned.

President Trump, as well as dozens of others at the White House, were infected with the coronavirus over the past several months, and the six-floor building, with its 132 rooms, will be thoroughly scrubbed down. Everything from handrails to elevator buttons to restroom fixtures will be wiped and sanitized, according to a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration, the federal agency that oversees the housekeeping effort.

Incoming first families usually do some redecoration. Within days of arriving at the White House, Donald Trump had chosen a portrait of populist president Andrew Jackson for the Oval Office. He also replaced the drapes, couches and a rug in the office with ones that were gold-colored. On inauguration day, VP Mike Pence and his wife will also make way for Kamala Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will be settling into their official residence, a 19th Century residence on the Naval Observatory grounds, a couple of miles from the White House.

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A letter containing ricin poison that was addressed to President Donald Trump has been intercepted before it reached the White House, officials told media.

It was discovered at a screening facility for White House mail earlier this week, the officials said.

They said a substance found inside the envelope was identified as ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans.

The Trump administration is yet to comment on the reports.

The FBI and the Secret Service are investigating where the package came from and whether others have been sent through the US postal system.

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI told CNN in a statement on September 19.

Shannon Richardson posted ricin letter to Barack Obama and Michael Bloomberg

Ricin letter sent to Barack Obama at White House

Ricin letter posted to Senator Roger Wicker intercepted at US Capitol

One official told the New York Times that investigators believe the package was sent from Canada. Reports say the presence of ricin was identified after two tests.

Ricin is produced by processing castor beans. It is a lethal substance that, if swallowed, inhaled or injected, can cause nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and ultimately organ failure.

No known antidote exists for ricin. According to the CDC, if a person is exposed to ricin, death can take place within 36 to 72 hours, depending on the dose received.

The CDC said ricin – which has been used in terror plots – can be manufactured into a weapon in the form of a powder, mist or pellet.

The White House and other federal buildings have been the target of ricin packages in the past.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sending letters dusted with ricin to former President Barack Obama and other officials.

In 2018, a former Navy veteran was charged with sending toxic letters to the Pentagon and White House.


Dr. Anthony Fauci has described recent efforts by the Trump administration to discredit him as “bizarre” and “nonsense”.

In an interview with The Atlantic,  the infectious disease expert said: “Ultimately, it hurts the president to do that.”

“It doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them.”

On July 12, a White House official shared a list detailing past apparent erroneous comments by Dr. Fauci.

However, on July 14, President Donald Trump insisted he had a “good relationship” with him.

“We’re all in the same team including Dr. Fauci,” the president said.

“We want to get rid of this mess that China sent us, so everybody’s working on the same line and we’re doing very well.”

The White House statement attacking Dr. Fauci criticized him for what it said was conflicting advice on face coverings and remarks on Covid-19’s severity.

Responding to the criticism, the expert told The Atlantic that targeting him was “completely wrong”.

“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that,” Dr. Fauci said.

“I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them,” he added.

Image source: Wikipedia

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Dr. Fauci was also criticized by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s top trade adviser, in an opinion piece for USA Today in which he said the disease expert had been “wrong about everything I have interacted with him on”.

However, the White House distanced itself from Peter Navarro’s remarks, with communications chief Alyssa Farah tweeting that the article “didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes” and was “the opinion of Peter alone”.

Asked about Peter Navarro’s piece as he departed the White House for Atlanta, President Trump said he should not have written it.

“Well he made a statement representing himself. He shouldn’t be doing that,” the president said.

In his interview with The Atlantic, Dr. Fauci said he was not thinking of resigning over the attacks on him.

“I think the problem is too important for me to get into those kinds of thoughts and discussions. I just want to do my job. I’m really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I’m going to keep doing it,” he said.

Dr. Fauci has also told Reuters that he believes the US will successfully develop a vaccine against the coronavirus by the end of the year.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has reported more than 3.4 million cases of coronavirus, and more than 136,000 deaths nationwide.

Rob Porter, one of President Donald Trump’s top aides, has resigned amid abuse claims from his two ex-wives.

The White House staff secretary said “these outrageous allegations are simply false” as he announced he would step down.

The accusations were first reported in the Daily Mail and include accounts of physical and emotional abuse.

The White House would not comment on a report that Rob Porter, 40, failed to receive security clearance.

His ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, both recounted stories of Rob Porter’s alleged misconduct.

Colbie Holderness, the first wife and a government analyst, said the White House aide had been verbally and physically abusive.

She said Rob Porter had kicked her on their 2003 honeymoon in the Canary Islands.

Colbie Holderness also alleged he punched her in the face while they were on holiday a couple of years later in Florence, Italy.

She supplied a photo of herself with a black eye to the media.

The second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, a motivational speaker, told the Daily Mail she was married to Rob Porter from 2009 to 2013.

She wrote about her experiences in a blog post entitled Why I Stayed.

Jennifer Willoughby said she filed a protective order against him in June 2010 after he allegedly punched the glass of the door at their Alexandria, Virginia, home.

She told the Washington Post on February 7: “He has never faced repercussions that forced him to confront his issues.

“I care about him and want what’s best for him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean him keeping his job because he needs to face these underlying issues.”

Rob Porter rejected the allegations in a statement read by the White House press secretary on February 7.

“I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he said.

“I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a co-ordinated smear campaign.”

Image source Wikimedia

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According to the Daily Mail, RobPorter did not receive security clearance for his White House job after the FBI interviewed his ex-wives during background checks.

However, the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to be drawn on that issue.

She told reporters: “Background checks involve a complex investigation run by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“As has always been our policy, we do not comment on security clearances. Rob Porter has been effective in his role as Staff Secretary.

“The President and Chief of Staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.”

Rob Porter attended Harvard with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

His White House role involved working with the president and his chief of staff John Kelly.

Before Rob Porter resigned, John Kelly told the Daily Mail the staff secretary was “a man of true integrity and honor”.

According to the reports, Rob Porter has recently been romantically linked with White House communications director Hope Hicks.


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.

Image source Flickr

Steve Bannon Fired as White House Chief Strategist

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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.

First Lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump’s 11-year-old son Barron have moved into the White House – five months after the president took office.

Melania and Barron Trump had stayed behind in New York so the president’s son could finish the school year.

The decision was seen as strange by some, as Melania Trump was the first presidential spouse in recent years not to relocate to the capital immediately.

Her predecessor, Michelle Obama, even moved to Washington early to get her daughters settled in their new school.

Image source Wikimedia

However, it seems Melania Trump is delighted by the move, tweeting a picture looking out across the White House lawn, marking the occasion.

The move will also no doubt be welcomed by New Yorkers, who have footed a hefty security bill keeping Melania and Barron Trump safe in Trump Tower.

Their presence in New York has also been known to create a fair few traffic problems. The New York Post warned of a potential “traffic apocalypse” if they did not make the move.

Meanwhile, President Trump – who did not acknowledge the move on his personal Twitter account – has turned his attention to eldest daughter Ivanka’s appearance on Fox and Friends on June 12.

It is not known what Ivanka Trump will be discussing.

A ruling that blocks President Donald Trump’s order barring funding for cities that shelter illegal immigrants has been labeled as “bananas” by the White House.

A San Francisco judge has placed January’s executive order in limbo, but the White House is vowing to appeal.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County sued in February.

The Trump administration has warned so-called sanctuary cities they could lose federal funds if they do not co-operate with federal immigration officials.

On April 25, Judge William Orrick issued a temporary injunction against the presidential order as the case continues in the courts.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said, in reference to the San Francisco-based appeals court, which conservatives often accuse of liberalism: “It’s the 9th Circuit going bananas.”

Image source Wikipedia

President Trump’s measure cast doubt on the transfer of some $1.2 billion for San Francisco and $1.7 billion to Santa Clara County, home to many Silicon Valley communities.

It is another legal defeat for Donald Trump in his efforts to curb immigration – his plan to curtail travel from seven Muslim-majority nations was twice blocked in federal courts.

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

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.Donald Trump criticized by Barack Obama

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

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.”

Photo Facebook

Photo Facebook

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

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.


The Obama administration has hired its first openly transgender full-time member of staff, White House officials have confirmed.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan started working as an outreach and recruitment director for presidential staff on August 18.

Her commitment to transgender rights reflects “the values of this administration,” a senior White House official said.

Photo LinkedIn

Photo LinkedIn

“Raffi Freedman-Gurspan demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan previously worked as a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NTCE).

Her appointment to the White House has been hailed as an important step by key members of the LGBT community.

In the same time, the Department of Defense is reviewing its ban on transgender men and women from serving in the military, and the White House has said it welcomes that move.

Further tests are being conducted on an envelope posted to the White House which may contain cyanide, the Secret Service says.

Tests at a post screening facility were found to have traces of the poison.

The Secret Service, which is responsible for President Barack Obama’s security, said an investigation was under way.

Initial tests on March 16 were negative but more tests on March 17 returned a “presumptive positive” for cyanide.Cyanide letter posted to White House

“The sample was transported to another facility to confirm the results,” Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said in a statement.

He added there would be no further comment.

There were no injuries or exposure concerns for the screening facility employee who first opened the letter, a law enforcement official told CNN.

The discovery was first disclosed by The Intercept, which obtained an internal law enforcement document.

On March 17, the Secret Service director Joseph Clancy was questioned by a congressional committee about a series of recent security lapses.

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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

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.

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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)

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”.

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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.Prince Charles and Camilla to meet Barack Obama

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.


The White House has added a new room to the visitor route on February 10, and first lady Michelle Obama greeted tourists as they arrived.

The Old Family Dining Room has been opened to the public for the first time, the White House has announced.

The room was recently refurbished and will be a showcase for 20th century art and design.

The Old Family Dining Room is a smaller dining room situated next to the State Dining Room on the first floor.

Photo White House

Photo White House

The room was created by President John Quincy Adams in 1825 as a place for the first family to eat meals.

Visitors on a tour of the White House on Tuesday, February 10, were left stunned by a surprise appearance from Michelle Obama and former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager.

Former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager was present to interview Michelle Obama for the Today show.

At least once a year, Michelle Obama surprises visitors as they take the White House tour.

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Secret Service staff recovered a small drone from the grounds of the White House, US media report.

A spokesman for President Barack Obama confirmed that a “device” had been discovered but said it posed no immediate danger.

Barack Obama and the First Lady are currently on a visit to India.

The Secret Service, which is tasked with the president’s security, has been criticized for recent lapses, leading to a leadership reorganization.

In September a man armed with a knife scaled the White House perimeter fence and gained access to the building.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Days earlier an armed private security guard had been allowed to ride in the same lift as the president.

Although President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were in New Delhi when the device was found, their children are believed to be in Washington DC, according to the New York Times.

At a press briefing in India, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “I don’t have any reason to think at this point that the first family is in any danger.”

Although he did not specify what kind of “device” had been found, US media reports described it as a small drone.

Many such drones are available commercially or used as toys, unlike the larger versions used in a military capacity.

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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.Sarah Palin 2016

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.

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The cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment that forced the cancellation of The Interview movie release is being seen as a serious national security matter, the White House says.

A White House spokesman said the US believed the hacking was the work of a “sophisticated actor” – but refused to confirm if North Korea was responsible.

Sony Pictures withdrew The Interview, a new comedy film about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after threats from hackers.

Hackers have already released sensitive information stored on Sony computers.

They later issued a warning to members of the public planning to see The Interview.

Referring to the 9/11 terror attacks, they said “the world will be full of fear” if the film was screened.Sony Pictures hack attack seen as US security issue

Many cinemas scrapped plans to show the film, and Sony then cancelled the release of the film altogether – moves criticized in Hollywood as an attack on the freedom of expression.

At a White House briefing on December 18, spokesman Josh Earnest said US officials had held daily discussions about the Sony cyber attack and were considering an “appropriate response”.

However, he refused to comment on who was responsible, saying he did not wish to pre-empt an investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI.

The Interview, made by Sony Pictures, features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists who are granted an audience with Kim Jong-un.

The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him.

The Interview was due to have been released over Christmas.

In November, a cyber attack crippled computers at Sony and led to upcoming films and workers’ personal data being leaked online.

The hackers also released salary details and social security numbers for thousands of Sony employees – including celebrities.

Earlier this month, North Korea denied hacking into Sony’s computers – but praised the attack itself as a “righteous deed”.

An article on North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency, quoting the country’s top military body, said suggestions that Pyongyang was behind the attack were “wild rumor”.

However, it warned the US that “there are a great number of supporters and sympathizers” of North Korea “all over the world” who may have carried out the attack.

In the article, Sony Pictures was accused of “abetting a terrorist act” and “hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership” of North Korea by producing the movie.

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Prince William will meet President Barack Obama at the Oval Office on December 8, the White House has announced.

The meeting is part of a three-day trip to the US east coast with Kate Middleton, including Prince William’s first visit to Washington.

The Duke of Cambridge is expected to give a speech at the World Bank on combating illegal wildlife trafficking.

Barack Obama has welcomed the prince’s work against what he called “a devastating environmental problem”.

The White House press secretary said the issue was also a “national security threat”.Prince William and Kate Middleton to visit US

Speaking about Prince William’s trip to America, he added that it “underscores the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom”.

In February, Prince Charles and Prince William attended an international conference held in London where a declaration was signed on fighting the illegal trade in wildlife.

While Prince William attends events in Washington, Kate Middleton will join Chirlane McCray – writer and wife of New York mayor Bill De Blasio – on a visit to a local child development centre.

Prince William previously met President Barack Obama when he travelled to London for a state visit in 2011.

The royals will also attend events in support of organizations including their Royal Foundation, which supports the welfare of service personnel and young people.

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagements include promoting sustainable conservation, young people’s mental health and supporting disadvantaged young people.

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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.

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