Washington Roundup: Comey Memo, Intel Revelations, Erdogan Meeting

Developments on Tuesday concerning President Donald Trump, reports the president pushed former FBI Director James Comey to end the probe into fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump’s upcoming travels to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican; and Trump’s visit with the Turkish president:

White House Denies Reports That Trump Asked Comey to End Flynn Probe — The White House was in crisis mode yet again Tuesday after reports emerged claiming that President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into Trump’s ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia.

Trump Signals Shift in Middle East Strategy With Symbolic First Stop in Saudi Arabia — U.S. President Donald Trump is about to embark on his first foreign trip, a nine day journey that takes him to the seats of the world’s three great Abrahamic (monotheistic) religions and signals a 180-degree shift from his predecessor’s approach toward the Middle East.

Schumer to White House: Provide Transcript of Trump’s Russia Meeting — The U.S. Senate’s top Democrat called on the White House on Tuesday to provide a transcript of President Donald Trump’s meeting last week with Russian officials, in which the president himself has acknowledged sharing sensitive intelligence.

White House: Trump’s Intel Revelations to Russians ‘Wholly Appropriate’ — U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday said information about terrorism and threats to international aviation that President Donald Trump shared with Russian diplomats last week was “wholly appropriate” and did not compromise U.S. intelligence sources.

Trump’s Expansion of Global Gag Rule Affects Health Funding — The Trump administration says it will expand a rule that pulls funding from public health agencies who provide or even discuss abortions. The global gag rule, which Trump reinstated via executive order earlier in his term, bans any U.S. aid to international organizations that support the practice of abortion. This new policy could disrupt hundreds of clinics in Africa and around the world that fight AIDS and malaria.

Haley Urges Nations to Unite Against North Korea Nuclear Ambitions — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations told countries Tuesday that they must join the effort to prevent North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon, warning they could face sanctions themselves if they help the rogue state achieve nuclearization.

WATCH: Demonstration at Turkish Embassy in Washington turns violent

Trump, Erdogan Avoid Discord Over Kurds in White House Talks — After meetings Tuesday at the White House, President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, praised the strength of the two countries’ relations, while at the same time sidestepping their differences over strategies for confronting Islamic State extremists in northern Syria.

US-China Trade Deal Brings Mixed Reaction — The new U.S.-China trade deal, which includes 10 initial agreements on agricultural trade, financial services, investment and energy, is drawing mixed reviews. The agreement is being panned by some as a poor deal for the United States that does not address fundamental issues concerning the Chinese market. But others say the agreement represents incremental progress.

Deportations of Africans Rise, But Still Fall Below Other Immigrant Groups — With the deportation of 67 people last week, the U.S. has now removed about 326 Somali nationals since January, more than the total for all of 2016. This makes it the third year in a row that the number of Somalis removed from the U.S. has increased, stoking fears of raids, detentions and deportations.

Pennsylvania Farmers Fear Labor Shortage Amid Immigration Fears — The streets of tiny York Springs, Pennsylvania, are often empty these days. “Before it was different; it was more relaxed. People would go out and walk around,” a former fruit picker, who called himself Arturo, lamented in Spanish. “Today … people are in hiding.” Many residents attribute the climate of fear in York Springs to the election of President Donald Trump, who has vowed to take a tough stance toward illegal immigration.

Mexico Expects NAFTA Talks by Late August, Its Economy Minister Says — Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Tuesday that he expected U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to tell Congress early next week of plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a move that would produce talks by late August.

Trump Taps Callista Gingrich to be Ambassador to Vatican — The Trump administration has approached the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, days before President Donald Trump embarks on his first foreign trip.

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