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The Obamas face the paid-speaking circuit — and all the questions that come with it - Washington Post

(The Washington Post)

ORLANDO — When Barack and Michelle Obama left the White House, they both spoke longingly of a break from life in the public eye. But following a months-long vacation, they have started to tap into the lucrative paid-speaking circuit that has enriched so many other former presidents and first ladies — with the potential to quickly net millions of dollars.

On Thursday, both made their first appearances as speakers-for-hire.

“Hi, everybody, it’s good to get out of the house,” said Michelle Obama, visibly relaxed, as she sat for a wide-ranging — but free of partisan politics — question-and-answer session before the American Institute of Architecture’s annual conference. Her husband, meanwhile, joined historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in New York for a closed-door address to employees of the A&E cable network.

It was not divulged how much they were paid for these...


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The latest bad economic news isn't Trump's fault, but he has made it his problem - Washington Post


The economy grew slowly last quarter, according to a report published Friday, the first official estimate of growth under President Trump. (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Trump came into office promising to make the economy great again — or at least make it grow at rates the United States hasn't enjoyed for decades.

On Friday, he got a taste of just how far he has to go.

The country's gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, grew by a paltry 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, slower than the quarter before it and far from what Trump said he would and could deliver for the American people. During the campaign, he cited figures as high as 6 percent.

Now, that anemic quarter isn't Trump's fault — there's little if anything any president can do in his opening months that would have an instant effect on GDP growth — and it's not even as bad as it sounds.

Despite the...


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Read more: The latest bad economic news isn't Trump's fault, but he has made it his problem - Washington Post

US military launches investigation into deaths of Army Rangers, citing potential friendly fire - Washington Post

An Army Apache helicopter flies over Afghanistan. (Photo by Capt. John Giaquinto/Army)

The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the deaths of two elite Army Rangers in Afghanistan early Thursday, saying they may have been killed by friendly fire during a three-hour battle with Islamic State militants.

Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, died during a large nighttime raid in Nangarhar province, the Pentagon said Friday. They were members of the Army’s 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, a Special Operations force that specializes in raids.

U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said in a statement Friday that the operation began about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and included two platoons of Rangers and a similar number of Afghan commandos. They came under fire from “multiple directions and well-prepared fighting positions” within minutes of their...


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No Food, No Water, No Luxury Tents: The $12000-Per-Ticket Disaster That Was the Short-Lived Fyre Festival - E! Online

It was supposed to be the Coachella of the Bahamas. It was supposed to be a VIP experience. It was supposed to be a long weekend filled with lounging on the beach, occasionally interrupted with A-list run-ins and topline musical acts.

Instead it was, as one Twitter user described, "Rich Kids of Instagram" meets Lord of the Flies. Instead it was Millennial Armageddon. 

This weekend was the inaugural Fyre Festival, a days-long event created by rapper Ja Rule and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland, which was billed as a "cultural moment created from a blend of music, art and food." The idea was to gather millennials who like the finer things in life to the Islands of Exumas, where they would basically have a fabulous vacation and giant concert all-in-one. Stars like Emily Ratjakowski and Bella Hadid had been brought on to promote the event in the early stages. 

Tickets cost anywhere...


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Read more: No Food, No Water, No Luxury Tents: The $12000-Per-Ticket Disaster That Was the Short-Lived Fyre...

U.S. seeks tough N. Korea action, but China shows no inclination - Chicago Tribune

The United States and China offered starkly different strategies Friday for addressing North Korea's escalating nuclear threat as President Donald Trump's top diplomat demanded full enforcement of economic sanctions on Pyongyang and urged new penalties. Stepping back from suggestions of U.S. military action, he even offered aid to North Korea if it ends its nuclear weapons program.

The range of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's suggestions, which over a span of 24 hours also included restarting negotiations, reflected America's failure to halt North Korea's nuclear advances despite decades of U.S.-led sanctions, military threats and stop-and-go rounds of diplomatic engagement. As the North approaches the capability to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, the Trump administration feels it is running out of time.

Chairing a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security...


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Read more: U.S. seeks tough N. Korea action, but China shows no inclination - Chicago Tribune

Trump Tells NRA Convention, 'I Am Going to Come Through for You' - New York Times

“Remember, they said there is no path to 270,” he said, referring to the number of electoral votes a candidate needs to win the presidency. “There is no route — there is no route to 270. We ended up with 306, so they were right.”

Continue reading the main story

He brashly predicted that he would have no problem dispatching any rival during a 2020 re-election campaign, suggesting at one point that Democrats might nominate Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. He referred to her as he did during the campaign, derisively calling her Pocahontas, a reference to claims she once made about being part Native American.

“It may be Pocahontas, remember that,” he said, prompting laughter in the cavernous room. “She is not big for the N.R.A., that I can tell you.”

Before the president’s arrival, attendees watched hours of videos assailing former President Barack Obama, Democrats and...


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Read more: Trump Tells NRA Convention, 'I Am Going to Come Through for You' - New York Times

Trump's tweets aren't rocketing quite like they used to - Washington Post

By Jonathan Lemire and Maureen Linke | AP

WASHINGTON — His “FAKE NEWS” tweets don’t rocket like they once did. His exclamation points (!) don’t excite quite the same old way.

Donald Trump’s 140-character volleys helped define the first 100 days of his presidency. But the traction on his medium of choice has slipped a bit as his tone and button-pushing tendencies have cooled.

The number of people engaging with Trump on Twitter — through likes, retweets, quotes and replies — has gradually declined, according to an Associated Press analysis of his feed and the users who read, react and propel his words throughout the Twittersphere.

The analysis, conducted in partnership with the media analytics nonprofit Cortico, found other clear trends:

Men are more likely than women to retweet Trump. Left-leaning users are more likely than...


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Read more: Trump's tweets aren't rocketing quite like they used to - Washington Post

Warren, Sanders unhappy by Wall Street-paid Obama speech - Washington Post

(The Washington Post)

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are not happy about reports that former President Barack Obama will be paid $400,000 to speak at a September health care conference put on by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

Warren said Thursday on SiriusXM’s “Alter Family Politics” program that she is concerned about the overall influence of money in politics.

Sanders, a fierce Wall Street critic, told “CBS This Morning” he finds it unfortunate that Obama took on the engagement at a time when “people are frustrated with the power of Wall Street and big-money interests.”

Sanders’ distrust of politicians receiving what he considers exorbitant paychecks for speaking to major investment banks is well known. He relentlessly criticized former rival Hillary Clinton for her speeches to...


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Read more: Warren, Sanders unhappy by Wall Street-paid Obama speech - Washington Post

Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown - Washington Post

By Erica Werner and Alan Fram | AP

WASHINGTON — Congress took the easy way out to keep the government open on the eve of Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, passing a weeklong stop-gap spending bill Friday that amounted to more of a defeat for the president than a victory.

Lawmakers cleared the measure easily with just hours to spare before the shutdown deadline at midnight. But with Trump marking his presidency’s milestone Saturday, he did not wring any major legislation out of Congress, despite a renewed White House push to revive the House GOP’s health care bill in time for a vote that could give him bragging rights.

House leaders are still short of votes for the revised health bill, though they could bring it to the floor next week if they find the support they need. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the plan was to...


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Read more: Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown - Washington Post

Tillerson says China asked North Korea to stop nuclear tests - Washington Post

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.

“We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang,” Tillerson said on Fox News Channel. “They confirmed to us that they had requested the regime conduct no further nuclear test.”

Tillerson said China also told the U.S. that it had informed North Korea “that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own.”

Earlier Thursday, the senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific said the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he’s ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban missile crisis decades ago.

“It’s real,” Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said during testimony before the Senate...


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Read more: Tillerson says China asked North Korea to stop nuclear tests - Washington Post

House will not vote on Affordable Care Act rewrite, smoothing way for government to stay open - Washington Post

Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday.

A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday.

The failure of Republicans to unite behind the new health-care measure was a blow to White House officials, who were eager to see a vote ahead of President Trump’s 100-day mark. Congressional leaders were more focused this week on securing a spending agreement, according to multiple people involved in the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because...


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Browns draft Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku in Round 1 - ESPN

3:02 AM ET

The Cleveland Browns selected defensive end Myles Garrett of Texas A&M with the first overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night, then added two more first-round picks via a pair of trades.

One of them was used on Michigan star Jabrill Peppers, whom coach Hue Jackson later said would be given a chance to play offense.

Jackson called Garrett "as good as I've seen in a while" when he described the Browns' first overall pick since 2000. Cleveland sees Garrett as a key part of an emerging defense for a team that has not been to the playoffs since the 2002 season.

NFL DraftRds. 2-3: Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN App
Rds. 4-7: Saturday, noon, ESPN/ESPN App

Draftcast: Follow the picks live »
NFL draft home page »

• Round 1 pick-by-pick | Picks by team
• Pros, cons for every pick | Fantasy
• Prop bet tracker | Trade tracker
Kiper: Top 25 players available
McShay: Top 25 players available
•...


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Read more: Browns draft Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku in Round 1 - ESPN

Ann Coulter a no-show at raucous but peaceful Berkeley rally - Washington Post

BERKELEY, Calif. — Ann Coulter did not turn up in Berkeley where hundreds held a raucous but largely peaceful demonstration in her absence and lamented what they called the latest blow to free speech in the home of America’s free speech movement.

The conservative pundit’s canceled appearance at the University of California, Berkeley drew hundreds of her supporters to a downtown park Thursday, many of them dressed in flak jackets, ballistic helmets adorned with pro-Donald Trump stickers and other protective gear in anticipation of violence.

But there were no major confrontations between Coulter’s supporters and opponents, largely because of a significant police presence and the fact that members of an extremist left-wing group did not show up to provoke clashes.

Coulter had publicly floated the idea of making a controversial visit to Berkeley despite the cancellation, but did not...


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Today in Trump: April 28, 2017 - CBS News

President Trump delivers remarks at the American Center for Mobility for American Manufactured Vehicles in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, March 15, 2017. 

Reuters

Today's Latest News on Trump Administration

Schedule

It's day 99 in the Trump presidency. Federal funding runs out at midnight. Congress must either extend funding

Trump signs executive order 10:30 a.m.; He speaks at the NRA conference in Atlanta this afternoon, and then addresses a fundraiser for Karen Handel, who's running for the congressional seat vacated by Mr. Trump's HHS secretary, Tom Price. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chairs the U.N's ministerial sessions on North Korea.

Recent Trump Administration News: 

Dems threaten to oppose short-term spending bill if health care vote happens this week

House Democrats are threatening to oppose a short-term spending bill if their Republican counterparts decide to hold...


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Read more: Today in Trump: April 28, 2017 - CBS News

Lawyer calls to investigate Arkansas execution after inmate convulsed before dying - Fox News

The lawyer for the Arkansas death row inmate who was killed by lethal injection on Thursday has called on an investigation into the execution after it was reported that his client lurched and convulsed after he was administered the fatal drugs.

Kenneth Williams became the fourth convicted killer executed in Arkansas in eight days as the state sought to carry out as many lethal injections as possible before one of its drugs expires Sunday.

An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution said that about three minutes in, Williams' body jerked 15 times in quick succession -- lurching violently against the leather restraint across his chest -- then the rate slowed for a final five movements.

Williams' attorneys released a statement calling witness accounts "horrifying" and demanding an investigation into what they called the "problematic execution."

J.R. Davis, a spokesman for...


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Read more: Lawyer calls to investigate Arkansas execution after inmate convulsed before dying - Fox News

Trump to Tell NRA in Person: Thank You - New York Times

Mr. Trump has also already made some modest moves in support of gun rights. He signed legislation that reversed an Obama-era rule that would have required the Social Security Administration to provide information about mentally ill people for background checks on gun purchases.

But Mr. Trump’s appeal to gun rights groups is as much a contrast with President Barack Obama, who repeatedly sought to increase restrictions on guns, with little success.

Gun control organizations accuse Mr. Trump of supporting what they call the “extremist” agenda of the N.R.A. In a statement on Thursday, two of those groups — Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action — vowed to oppose efforts by the gun group to “allow more guns for anyone, anywhere, no questions asked.”

Continue reading the main story

Those gun control groups are planning a rally for Saturday in Atlanta to demonstrate their...


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Read more: Trump to Tell NRA in Person: Thank You - New York Times

100 days into Trump presidency, Americans are united on this: They're divided - USA TODAY

President Trump arrives for a "Make America Great Again" rally at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., on March 20, 2017.(Photo: Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

After 100 days of the Trump administration, one of the few things on which Americans are united is that they are still divided.

Jonathan Pommerville of Detroit, a self-employed irrigation system installer, identifies with no party and didn’t even vote in the last election. But the 39-year-old knows this much: “Seems like we keep drifting apart.”

The USA TODAY Network spent time with 18 Americans around the nation and across the political spectrum to gauge their feelings on Donald Trump’s first months in office. Although they agreed on little — not on Obamacare or relations with Russia or The Wall — there’s virtual unanimity that political division has only worsened since the president took office.

Logan...


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Read more: 100 days into Trump presidency, Americans are united on this: They're divided - USA TODAY

An Arkansas Community Looks for an Execution to End Its Ache - New York Times

The death chamber in nearby Varner is Arkansas’s ultimate clearinghouse for capital cases, the site of all of the state’s executions in the modern era of the American death penalty. The area is one of the country’s sparsely populated death chamber locales, places of peculiar notoriety whose very names can be statewide shorthand for capital punishment and hard prison time: Angola, La.; Parchman, Miss.; Raiford, Fla.

Photo
Mr. Williams was executed on Thursday night. Credit Arkansas Department of Correction, via Associated Press

But it is exceptionally rare for any such place to hold an execution for a crime committed in the area. And no case connected to Arkansas’s recent spate of executions, when the state intended to put eight inmates to death over less than two weeks, was more locally...


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Read more: An Arkansas Community Looks for an Execution to End Its Ache - New York Times

Top Pentagon watchdog launches investigation into money that Michael Flynn received from foreign groups - Washington Post

The Pentagon's inspector general launched an investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn over payments he accepted from foreign governments. The revelation came on April 27, when House Democrats released a letter sent from Defense Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine to the House Oversight Committee. (Reuters)

The Pentagon’s top watchdog has launched an investigation into money that former national security adviser and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn received from foreign groups and whether he failed to obtain proper approval to do so, lawmakers and defense officials said Thursday.

The Pentagon has in the past advised retiring officers that because they can be recalled to military service, they are subject to the Constitution’s rarely enforced emoluments clause, which prohibits top officials from receiving payments or favors from foreign governments.

On Thursday, Rep. Elijah...


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The White House can't seem to perform simple arithmetic - Washington Post

You would think that the Trump administration, with so many émigrés from the business world, could at least perform simple arithmetic. Judging by the president’s looney-tunes tax plan, you would be wrong.

As usual for President Trump, he has offered few details. But the outlines of his proposal, released Wednesday, are nothing short of hallucinatory. Next door to the White House, in the Treasury Department, there are actual economists who take seriously the responsibility of safeguarding the world’s biggest national economy. They must be deeply embarrassed at now having to pretend that two plus two equals seven.

In his desperate quest to do something yooge, Trump proposes massive tax cuts for businesses and individuals, especially the wealthy. The impact, according to experts, would be to make federal budget deficits soar, adding as much as $4 trillion to the national debt over the...


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Read more: The White House can't seem to perform simple arithmetic - Washington Post

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