President Donald Trump opened his Wednesday White House coronavirus briefing by telling reporters that the United States will ask the United Nations to restore the Iranian sanctions previously suspended by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“Today I’m directing the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to notify the U.N. Security Council that the United States intends to restore all the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran,” the president stated. “It’s a snapback. Not uncommon.”
Trump added that the JCPOA, commonly referred to as the Iranian Nuclear Deal, was “a product of the Obama—Biden foreign policy failure. A failure like few people have seen in terms of the amount of money we paid for absolutely nothing and a short-term deal.”
The president claimed that if he wins reelection, “within the first month Iran will come to us and they are going to be asking for a deal so quickly because they are doing very poorly.”
“My administration will not allow this Iran nuclear situation to go on,” he continued. “They will never have a nuclear weapon, Iran will never have. Mark it down, mark it down. Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.”
Israeli officials reportedly told Axios earlier in the day that U.S. officials had notified them of Trump’s snapback intentions.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly stated Wednesday that he would “soon” petition the UN to restore sanctions on Iran.
Trump’s announcement comes just two days after reports surfaced involving alleged bounties paid by Iran to Taliban-backed fighters for at least six deadly attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump traveled to Texas Wednesday and signed four permits expanding the states’ oil transportation infrastructure.
The president called the permits a “bold action to support energy jobs” and “a giant victory for the workers of this state” during a speech ahead of the signing at Double Eagle Energy in Midland.
“You have been after that one for many years. I said what do I know about it? If you want to do it, it is okay with me,” Trump continued. “And we are doing it. So that has been a long time in the making.”
The president noted that two of the permits would allow Texas crude to be exported to Mexico
Trump also announced during the ceremony that the administration had extended export authorizations for American liquified natural gas through 2050, a rule previously proposed by his Department of Energy back in February.
Trump’s speech comes just one day after Morning Consult found that former Vice President Joe Biden had overtaken the president in Texas 2020 election polls.
The data — released early Tuesday morning — showed Biden leading Trump by two points in the Lone Star State. Trump previously held a seven-point lead over Biden in Morning Consult’s May poll. The survey includes responses from 2,685 likely and registered voters reached between July 17-26 and has a margin of error of 1.9%.
According to the White House, the Trump administration has overseen America becoming the number one oil producer in the world. American oil exports hit all-time highs in 2019, making the country a net exporter for the first time in nearly 70 years.
Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell will swear in Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe to serve as President Donald Trump’s permanent DNI on Tuesday.
Though he led the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for just three months, U.S. intelligence officials told the Daily Caller that Grenell prioritized dozens of initiatives that restructured the intelligence community and, in Trump’s own words, gave him an opportunity to “break the deep state.”
Grenell — a Trump loyalist dating back to the 2016 campaign — was so effective in his interim position that the president referred to him as a “superstar.” (RELATED: Senior Intel Officials Criticize Adam Schiff’s Letter To Director Richard Grenell, Pressing Him Over ODNI Personnel Changes)
“He had guts, he had courage to do what he did,” Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday. “When you look at what Richard Grenell has done in eight weeks, these people didn’t do anything for two and a half years.”
What follows is a comprehensive list of “unclassified” actions Grenell undertook while overseeing ODNI, as explained to the Daily Caller by senior intelligence officials intimately familiar with his work within the administration.
“Deep State” Downsizing And Restructuring Of ODNI
From his first day in office, Grenell prioritized “cleaning house” at ODNI to both eliminate leaks from within the IC and reduce interagency overlap in order to refocus ODNI resources on Trump’s priorities. He saved an estimated $19 million through the elimination and consolidation of government and contractor resources.
— Created a Compartmentation Task Force, responsible for protecting the country’s sensitive intelligence
— Appointed Neil Wiley, a career intelligence professional with over 35 years of experience, to serve as ODNI’s Principal Executive
Russia Investigation And Mike Flynn
As noted by Trump, Grenell made more information public regarding the Russia investigations in three months than ODNI did in the two and a half years before the president tapped him to head the office. He also rewrote certain IC procedures to protect citizens from future abuses of power by the government.
In addition to vacating his DNI role, Grenell announced over the weekend he will step down as the United States Ambassador to Germany, a position he served in for two years. During his time at the State Department, he successfully pressured Germany to commit to upping its annual NATO defense funding, called for a full ban of Hezbollah, and blocked the transfer of more than $300 million from German banks to Iran following Trump’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Neither Grenell nor the White House immediately responded to inquiries from the Daily Caller regarding Grenell taking a different position within the administration.
Dr. Anthony Fauci now says that a potential second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall or winter is no longer an “inevitability.”
Fauci, one of the top medical experts on the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Wednesday that he feels “better and better” about the government’s capability of containing the virus as states reopen.
“We often talk about the possibility of a second wave, or of an outbreak when you’re reopening. We don’t have to accept that as an inevitability,” he explained. “When people start thinking about the fall, I want people to really appreciate that it could happen, but it is not inevitable.” (RELATED: Dr. Birx Says ‘It’s Difficult To Tell’ How Government Would Handle Potential Coronavirus Second Wave)
“If we do the kinds of things that we’re putting in place now, to have the workforce, the system, and the will to do the kinds of things that are the clear and effective identification, isolation and contact tracing, we can prevent this second wave that we’re talking about.”
Fauci previously said he fully “anticipated” a coronavirus rebound in the fall but thought the government would be better equipped to handle it.
President Donald Trump stated Thursday that he won’t deal with a potential second wave by closing the country.
“We’re not going to close the country,” he told reporters at a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan. “We’re going to put out the fires. There could be, whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out, but we’re not closing our country.”
The White House is taking necessary steps that would give President Donald Trump options to hold China “accountable” for allowing coronavirus to spread around the globe, senior administration officials say.
Senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner told Fox News Wednesday morning that though Trump is “obviously focused on the [United States’] response” to the pandemic, White House officials are actively investigating whether or not China and the World Health Organization hid information on the virus.
“He has asked the team to look into, very carefully what happened, how this got here,” Kushner stated. “He will take whatever actions are necessary to make sure that the people who caused the problems are held accountable for it.”
A senior White House official confirmed to Daily Caller the directive outlined by Kushner but did not elaborate on the details.
Daily Caller first reported in March that Trump’s top White House and civilian advisers had been briefed on a bi-partisan, civil lawsuit filed by a Berman Law Group in Florida seeking financial compensation from the Communist Party of China.
“The administration is taking the necessary steps to get to the bottom of China/CCP’s failure to properly contain the virus and the intentional suppression of information allowing for the proliferation of the virus worldwide,” Berman spokesman Jeremy Alters told Daily Caller Wednesday. “This investigation will expose what we have been saying from the beginning when we at Berman Law Group were first to file a class action lawsuit vs China/CCP — and we fully support the efforts.”
“China/CCP knew of the tragic dangers of the virus, the propensity for human to human spread, the omnipresent and relentless nature of the virus. We have said that the lawsuit will bring forth the truth, and unity in doing so makes the effort that much more powerful.”
Kushner and other top aides, including White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, have recently ramped up rhetoric blaming China’s actions for the current pandemic.
On Monday, Navarro accused China of sending the United States faulty coronavirus antibody tests and vacuuming up the lion’s share of the global personal protective equipment supply.
He went on to tell Fox News’ Sean Hannity that China’s actions led to four coronavirus “kills,” which in addition to its PPE hoarding included “spawning” the coronavirus, covering up the initial severity of the pandemic, and allowing Chinese citizens to travel internationally.
A Wednesday report from NBC additionally claimed that the White House has tasked the National Security Council and intelligence agencies with specifically investigating China and the WHO’s efforts to obscure information about the early days of the outbreak. Both NSC and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined Daily Caller’s request for comment on the investigations.
Still, one of the president’s most trusted out-of-government advisers told Daily Caller that the administration’s recent statements are only “smoke.”
“He will do nothing,” the adviser stated. “It’s all performance art.”
Trump has a history of issuing both praise and criticism of China and President Xi Jinping. During the first month of social distancing, he frequently referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” yet he benched the term after speaking with Xi in late March. His recent comments on China have stopped far short of those made by other heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who echoed calls from Germany’s Bild Newspaper for China to pay hundreds of billions in coronavirus reparations.
The White House is prioritizing employer liability protections in the next piece of coronavirus stimulus legislation, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now signaling he has an ace up his sleeve toward achieving that end.
McConnell said Wednesday that he is now “open to discussing” the idea of providing more direct aid to states in the package, as requested by numerous state governors and Democratic leadership, as long as the legislation also includes the aforementioned employer protections.
McConnell previously said he saw “no good reason” to include direct state funding in any coronavirus stimulus, yet aides to the Senate Majority Leader explained to Daily Caller his latest statement is not a flip.
The Kentucky Republican was not previously prioritizing state funding, they clarified, yet he is now willing to cut a deal to placate Democrats’ stated nonstarter for Phase 4: a proposed $500 billion in funding for the states hit hardest by coronavirus.
A second GOP source added that though he didn’t like the idea of bailing out states, the action is necessary to “avoid a lawsuit pandemic as the economy begins to re-open.”
Special Assistant to the president Judd Deere stressed to Daily Caller Wednesday that any aid directed toward states should not be viewed as “bailing out anyone.”
“As President Trump has said,” he continued, “We are going to continue to take bold, aggressive action to help those most impacted by this unforeseen enemy so that we emerge from this challenge stronger and with a prosperous and growing economy.”
The president himself has also stated the need to protect employers in critical industries.
On Tuesday, he signed an executive order through the Defense Production Act that would keep all meat packing facilities open to safeguard the nation’s food supply chain.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday that “some of it can be done through executive order or regulatory changes,” like Trump’s Tuesday order on meat processing plants. Still, other senior White House aides maintained to Daily Caller that a full blanket of employer protections is realistically only attainable through Phase 4.
President Donald Trump’s forthcoming guidelines on “Opening Up America Again” put a focus on state governors and have the blessing of the coronavirus task force’s top medical experts.
White House officials told Daily Caller that Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield are all in a consensus that the plan, which heavily takes into account regional public health concerns, is the proper path to move forward for the country.
The guidance is primarily focused on revitalizing the economy and addresses multiple different industries that have struggled under social distancing, including restaurants and bars. Large public gatherings will eventually be approved in a phased and layered way.
The officials explained that the guidance is extremely granular and will be issued all the way down to the county level. The White House acknowledged that some governors have already extended their current shelter in place orders but added that others could be ready to open their states ahead of Trump’s previous target date of May 1.
One official in particular thanked the American public for strictly adhering to Trump’s social distancing guidelines, noting that those efforts not only dramatically limited the number of national coronavirus deaths, but also are allowing for the phased-in reopening of the country.
Documents distributed by the White House during the president’s conference call with state governors show the plan will be split into 3 separate phases, with specific guidelines for “individuals,” “employers,” and “specific types of employers” in each phase.
All three phases stress Americans still practice good hygiene, wear face masks in public, protect vulnerable populations. Employers are also tasked with strictly monitoring the wellbeing of their workforce through various medical practices and the distribution of personal protective equipment as applicable.
Trump will expand on the new plans at a Thursday evening press conference at the White House. He has publicly stated his desire to reopen the country and the economy over the past week.
“All of American society is engaged and mobilized in the war against the invisible enemy,” he told reporters gathered in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday. “It is clear that our strategy is working, and very strongly working.”
“The data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress.”
Vince Coglianese contributed to this report.
This is a developing story and will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
White House officials are refuting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s claim that cutting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) is “illegal.”
Officials in the Office of Management and Budget explained to the Daily Caller that WHO’s funding was approved by Congress as part of a larger lump sum statutorily allocated for “international organizations.” The White House has discretion over which organizations to send that money to, with past decisions resulting in the budgeting WHO received.
An official explained that the funding allocation is broken down into two groups: assessed dues and voluntary contributions made at the agency level. WHO’s assessed dues, according to OMB, can be immediately halted because a treaty doesn’t exist that legally binds the United States to WHO. Meanwhile, voluntary funds will be reassigned to different world health organizations. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly already directing State Department employees to identify new organizations to receive the voluntary funds originally destined for WHO.
“If you pay a contractor to build you a house and the roof falls in, you don’t keep paying them, you find a new contractor,” a senior administration official said in a statement on the issue to the Daily Caller. “WHO clearly failed to do its job, and continues to make serious mistakes that puts our nation’s safety and security at risk, including allowing the reopening of wet markets. It shouldn’t be controversial for the U.S. to want to partner with international organizations that will actually protect international health.”
“Watching the Democrats rush to defend the World Health Organization, which uncritically took China at its word that COVID19 wasn’t a threat or contagious among humans, is really something,” Rachel Bovard, Senior Director of Policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, remarked to the Daily Caller. “This is an organization which failed spectacularly at its primary mission. At the very least, a review of US taxpayer contributions — which makeup the largest amount of money the WHO receives from any country — is more than warranted.”
Trump announced Tuesday that the United States would halt funding for the WHO, saying the group had contributed to China’s misinformation on the coronavirus.
“We can only be successful in defeating this global pandemic through a coordinated international response with respect for science and data,” she said in a statement. “This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged.”
Many Republicans have accused the WHO of covering up the virus, resulting in deaths countries across the globe.
Congressional lawmakers have also been continuing to push for information from the WHO. Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter Thursday to the WHO, asking them to detail their relationship with China in regards to the coronavirus pandemic. (Pelosi Says Trump’s Decision To Cut Off Funding For WHO Is ‘Illegal’ — Vows It Will Be ‘Swiftly Challenged’
Ranking Member Jim Jordan maintains that “The World Health Organization should be ashamed that they relied on Chinese propaganda when deciding how to combat the coronavirus crisis. President Trump is right to question the WHO’s role in global health going forward.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus reacted Wednesday afternoon to Trump’s announcement on Twitter, and while he expressed disappointment to the decision, he did not echo Pelosi’s claims.
“The [United States] has been a longstanding & generous friend to WHO & we hope it will continue to be so,” he wrote. “We regret the decision of [Trump] to order a halt in funding.”
“Together, we can improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” he continued.
The 🇺🇸 has been a longstanding & generous friend to @WHO & we hope it will continue to be so. We regret the decision of @realDonaldTrump to order a halt in funding to WHO. Together, we can improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. #COVID19
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff declined to say Tuesday whether or not he supports impeaching President Donald Trump and his subsequent removal from office by the Senate.
Schiff, taking questions from reporters on the Intelligence Committee’s just-submitted report on the Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry, told CNN’s Manu Raju that he is “going to reserve any kind of a public judgment on that until I have a chance to consult with my colleagues, with our leadership and I think this really needs to be a decision that we all make as a body.”
“I’m going to continue to reserve judgment, but as you can tell, I am gravely concerned that if we merely accept this that we invite not only further corruption of our elections by this president, but we also invite it of the next president,” he continued. “I’m keenly aware of the significance of the precedent we set in whatever direction we move. I’m also very strongly guided by the fact that one of the seminal moments in this scheme took place the day after Bob Mueller testified, the day after Donald Trump thought that the last investigation was over, he began the next significant step in a new course of misconduct.”
Schiff also failed to give a direct answer when asked if the case for impeachment “would be stronger” if given more time to conduct further investigations.
“I think what we have produced in remarkable short order is so overwhelming that it ought to be presented to the Judiciary Committee now without any further delay,” he stated. “If we do uncover additional evidence, and we learn more every day, we will feel free to file supplemental reports to the Judiciary Committee.”
“I think there’s grave risk to the country with waiting until we have every last fact when we know enough about his misconduct to make a responsible judgment about whether we think that he is compatible with the office of the presidency.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released an accompanying report on the impeachment inquiry Tuesday, in which they called the proceedings “an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system.”
Independent voters are not nearly as concerned with impeaching President Donald Trump as politicians and media elites are, according to data collected by Politico and analyzed by Vanity Fair.
After the first two weeks of public impeachment hearings, 62 percent of surveyed independents claimed the issue is “more important to politicians than it is to me” while 61 percent answered the same way when asked about the media. Conversely, only 22 percent and 23 percent answered the respective questions in the negative.
Furthermore – when asked to rank 11 issues as top priorities – impeachment placed last among independents, with just 27 percent ranking it as the top priority. For comparison, 74 percent selected the deficit, 72 percent selected healthcare, and 70 percent selected infrastructure spending as the top priority.
Vanity Fair’s data marks a drastic shift on the issue. In October, polling from Gallup found that 53 percent of independents supported removing Trump from office while 44 percent opposed. A separate Morning Consult poll conducted in November – prior to the public impeachment hearings – found that 49 percent of independents supported and 34 percent opposed Trump’s removal.
According to Gallup, independents make up 38 percent of the electorate in early November, a greater electorate than both Republicans and Democrats, which recorded 30 and 31 percent respectively.