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Trump eases firing of federal workers, cracks down on unions
President Donald Trump on Friday signed three executive orders designed to make it easier to fire federal government workers and to crack down on the unions that represent them, drawing immediate criticism from a group representing federal employees. Administration officials said the orders would give government agencies greater ability to remove employees with poor performance, get better deals in union contracts and require federal employees with union responsibilities to spend less time on union work.
Here Are the Biggest Stories in American Politics This Week
President Trump on Thursday sent a letter to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, pulling out of a highly anticipated summit meeting next month and accusing the North Koreans of bad faith. The next day, he said that his administration was back in touch with North Korea, and that the meeting may be rescheduled.
Banks Tried to Curb Gun Sales. Now Republicans Are Out to Stop Them.
Now, Republican lawmakers are pressing regulators to stop banks from doing so, over concerns they are veering too far into social activism. Guns are creating a rare rift between Republicans and the financial industry, which has been among the party's biggest contributors. He is also working to get Republican colleagues to join him in writing legislation to stop banks from discriminating against gun buyers. Major banks have taken a series of steps this year to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
U.S. judge declines to dismiss ex-Trump aide's false statement charges
President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort lost a bid on Friday to have certain criminal charges filed against him by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller dismissed. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over Manafort's case in US District Court for the District of Columbia, said in a ruling that she will not dismiss charges against Manafort related to false statements concerning whether he was required to register as a foreign agent for the then pro-Russia Ukrainian government.
U.S. will add 15,000 visas for seasonal non-farm workers: DHS
The Trump administration will make available an additional 15,000 H-2B visas, meant for temporary non-agricultural workers, for this fiscal year, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement on Friday. The US government had already issued 66,000 such visas this year, but businesses had complained that they had not received enough visas to operate, particularly during the busy summer tourist season, and were on the verge of shutting down.
EPA spends 30 percent more on Pruitt's security, cites death threats
Pruitt, who environmental groups have accused of lax enforcement and cozy ties with industry, requested 24-hour protection beginning on his first day in office. Administrator Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him and to provide transparency EPA will post the costs of his security detail and pro-actively release these numbers on a quarterly basis, EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in an emailed statement.
3 False Claims From Trump's Naval Academy Speech
Technically, Mr Trump did not repeal the defense sequester, which refers to limits placed on military spending enacted in 2011. Congress effectively erased mandated caps in February, but that doesn't mean that the military received no money at all before then. In addition to limits on domestic spending, limits were placed on the Pentagon's base budget, but not its wartime spending. In February, the cap was blown off entirely, when Mr Trump signed a budget deal that raised it by $165 billion over two years.
U.S. proposes scrapping program aimed at attracting foreign entrepreneurs
The Trump administration moved on Friday to end a program that aimed to attract foreign entrepreneurs to the United States, saying the Obama-era effort did not adequately protect American workers and was an inappropriate use of government authority. The program would have allowed foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States for up to five years to manage and grow start-up businesses.
Trial for ex-Trump aide Manafort pushed back to July 24
A trial date for US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for alleged financial crimes been postponed to July 24 in the Eastern District of Virginia District Court, according to a court filing on Friday. The judge said the cause of the postponement from July 10 was owing to a family member's medical procedure. Manafort also faces charges in a Washington, DC, court of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent.
Trump lawyer met Russian oligarch shortly before inauguration: source
A Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin met Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen at the Trump Tower in New York City less than two weeks before Trump's inauguration as president, a source familiar with the meeting said on Friday. The paper quoted Andrew Intrater, an American who attended the meeting and manages investments for Vekselberg. The source, who asked for anonymity as private conversations were being discussed, confirmed the New York Times' account to Reuters by telephone.
Trump Administration Tells Congress It Has a Deal to Revive ZTE
The Trump administration has told lawmakers it has reached a deal that would keep the Chinese telecom firm ZTE alive, a person familiar with the matter said. The move could allow trade negotiations with China to move forward, but would probably provoke an intense backlash in Congress. The administration has been eager to reach a deal on ZTE in exchange for trade concessions from China, including purchases of agriculture and energy products.
Trump Distorts Democrats' Positions on North Korea and MS-13
Democrats have neither cheered on Mr Trump's withdrawal from a summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, nor defended the violent gang MS-13. Many Democrats called the collapse of talks unsurprising, but unfortunate. They criticized Mr Trump for a lack of strategy, but urged the administration to continue its efforts.
At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen and Oligarch Discussed Russian Relations
The men also arranged to see one another at the inauguration, the second of their three meetings, Mr Intrater said. Image The disclosure of the meeting sheds additional light on the intersection between Mr Trump's inner-circle and Russians with ties to the Kremlin. During the campaign, Mr Cohen was pursuing a deal to build a Trump high-rise in Moscow, which did not come to fruition. Lawyers for Mr Vekselberg and Mr Cohen did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. ambassador skips encounter with sanctioned Russian tycoon
US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr pulled out of an event on Friday that would have required him to be in the same room as Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian metals tycoon subject to US sanctions. Vekselberg was on the panel of speakers at the session on Friday along with US and Russian business executives, but the ambassador was not there.
Democrat running for Iowa governor quits after sex allegations
A Democratic candidate among front-runners in the race for Iowa governor dropped out on Thursday after accusations of sexual misconduct by three women. State Senator Nate Boulton, 38, was among six Democrats vying for the gubernatorial nomination in a June 5 primary. The winner will face Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and a Libertarian candidate in November. I want to thank all my supporters for their hard work this past year, Boulton said on Twitter.

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