President Donald Trump on Friday said he is planning changes to H1-B visas, which are issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants so they can work in specialty occupations, that would create simplicity, certainty and a possibility that the workers could become U.S. citizens.
"H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.," Trump said in an early morning tweet.
Moscow demands US explain charges against Russian Trump Tower lawyer
Russia on Friday demanded an explanation from the United States about charges brought against a Russian lawyer who attended a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower who was this week charged in a separate case.Natalia Veselnitskaya, who represented Russian defendants in a money laundering case settled in 2017, has been charged with obstructing justice in that case for submitting a declaration that she falsely represented came from the Russian government independently, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday.Speaking at a weekly news conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it had become a habit in the United States to open criminal against Russians based on vague claims.
Canada working to put pressure on Trump over metals tariffs: PM
Canada is working with politicians and businesses in the United States to pressure President Donald Trump to scrap tariffs on its steel and aluminum, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.Trump imposed the measures last May, citing national security. Canada condemned the move and initially suggested it would not ink a new continental trade pact with the United States and Mexico unless the sanctions were lifted.Trudeau, who did end up signing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement last November, said the government was trying to change Trump's mind as the United States prepared to start the ratification of the pact."We have already been working with members of Congress, with governors, with business interests who are being affected negatively by these tariffs ... to put pressure on the President that in the process of ratification, they (the United States) should remove those steel and aluminum tariffs," he said.Trudeau made his remarks during a televised question-and-answer session with an audience in Regina in the western province of Saskatchewan.Asked why he had signed the USMCA with the tariffs still in place, Trudeau said securing the deal "at a time of unpredictability and protectionism in the United States was a massive priority for all Canadians".Canada sends 75 percent of all its goods exports to the United States.Trudeau and Trump discussed the tariffs on Monday but no talks on lifting the sanctions are planned, a Canadian source familiar with the matter said.U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said on Wednesday the measures would have to be lifted in order to get agricultural interests to support congressional approval for the USMCA. As US shutdown nears record length, Trump weighs declaring emergency
As US shutdown nears record length, Trump weighs declaring emergency
President Donald Trump, facing the prospect within days of the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, was considering declaring a national emergency that would likely escalate a policy dispute with Democrats over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall into a court test of presidential power.To escape a political trap of his own making, Trump suggested strongly on Thursday that he might declare an emergency so that he can bypass Congress to get funding for his wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 election campaign.He originally pledged Mexico would pay for the wall, which he says is needed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. But the Mexican government has refused. Trump is now demanding that Congress provide $5.7 billion in U.S. taxpayer funding for the wall.That is opposed by Democrats in Congress, who call the wall an ineffective, outdated answer to a complex problem. The standoff has left a quarter of the federal government closed down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees staying home on furlough or working for no pay and set to miss their paychecks.The partial federal government shutdown entered its 21st day on Friday. It will become the longest shutdown ever on Saturday.With no Capitol Hill compromise in sight, Trump publicly ruminated on Thursday during a trip to the Texas border about declaring an emergency.A close Trump confidant judged the time for such a step had come. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement: "It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier. I hope it works."The Wall Street Journal, NBC and the Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that the White House had asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look into diverting money from its budget toward the wall and to explore how fast construction could begin under an emergency declaration. Reuters could not immediately verify the accuracy of the reports.US aims to establish Middle East Strategic Alliance: PompeoBOXED INCritics of the national emergency strategy have said it may be illegal. In any case, it was almost certain to trigger an immediate court challenge from Democrats, including an accusation of trying to circumvent Congress' power over the national purse strings.That would push the wall impasse into the courts, allowing the government to be fully reopened while the judges weigh the case, which could take months."After the emergency announcement, the path toward construction via executive order may be as unclear as a storm at midnight. But it will at least allow the president to move out of the corner he’s boxed himself into," said Charles Gabriel, analyst at strategy firm Capital Alpha Partners.Partial government funding expired on Dec. 22, leaving departments ranging from Justice, Agriculture and Treasury to Commerce and Homeland Security without money to operate programs and pay their workers.An emergency declaration would come with risks. Even some of Trump's fellow Republicans in Congress have signaled worries about such an action. Given that the Constitution gives Congress the power to set spending priorities and appropriate money, they worry about a tough legal fight and an unwise precedent.'CROSSING THE RUBICON'"If Trump crosses this Rubicon, what would prevent a Democratic president from declaring a 'national emergency' on Day 1 of their administration on climate change and/or healthcare?" Chris Krueger, an analyst at strategy firm Cowen Washington Research Group, asked in a commentary note.Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who has had good relations with Trump, said declaring a national emergency would be "wrong, but I think that's his only way out."Manchin predicted that if Trump made the declaration, Congress would immediately move to pass bills funding the various agencies, knowing that the president would then be able to sign them into law.While some Republican senators have begun clamoring for an end to the shutdown, party leaders toeing Trump's line this week have ignored passage in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives of funding bills for government agencies. The House was expected to pass more such bills on Friday.
Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to testify before House committee
U.S. President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify early next month before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee."In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by [committee] Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th," Cohen said Thursday in a statement."I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events that transpired," he added.It is unclear when Cummings extended the invitation to Cohen, but Cummings said Cohen voluntarily chose to testify before the committee.The chairman thanked Cohen in a statement for his upcoming appearance, stressing the committee has "no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations", referring to an ongoing probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, with whom the committee is consulting ahead of the hearing.Cohen has cooperated with Mueller's team as it investigates Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.Cohen was sentenced last month to three years behind bars after earlier pleading guilty to several crimes, including lying to Congress about a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while working for the president's organization in 2016 and making hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money payments to two women -- an adult film actress and a Playboy model -- who allege lurid affairs with Trump in the runup to the November polls.Cohen has been ordered to report to prison on March 6 to serve his prison term.The lawyer maintains the payments to the two women who allege affairs with Trump -- Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal -- were done at the president's direction.Cohen said in court filings he acknowledged they were made "for the principal purpose of influencing the election" -- referring to the 2016 White House race -- in violation of campaign finance laws.Prosecutors in the case said that in arranging the payments, Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction" of Trump, whom they referred to as Individual 1.Trump has frequently criticized Cohen, using mob-like rhetoric to describe him as a "rat" for his cooperation with Mueller.Cummings sent letters to the White House and the Trump Organization earlier this week to renew requests from September seeking information on the payments made to Daniels and McDougal.The White House and Trump Organization have until Jan. 22 to hand over the materials.US lawmakers demand accountability for killing of Saudi journalist