President Trump: Maybe my ‘fire and fury’ threats against North Korea weren’t tough enough

 

 President Trump doubled down on his threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea on Thursday, pushing back against criticism that his aggressive rhetoric might backfire and inflame tensions.

“Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said of his previous statement.

“It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries,” Trump said, “So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough. And we’re backed 100 percent by our military, we’re back by everybody and we’re backed by many other leaders.”

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President Trump and his properties have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations and money laundering.

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To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a  review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.

The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.

Among them:

• A member of the firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York is a twice-convicted felon who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man and later scouted for Trump investments in Russia.

•  An investor in the SoHo project was accused by Belgian authorities in 2011 in a $55 million money-laundering scheme.

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President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back at least 10 major Obama environmental regulations

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President Trump’s executive order on American energy independence is a sweeping repudiation of Obama-era environmental initiatives, substituting a strategy of combating climate change through international cooperation for an America-first energy policy.

Trump proclaimed the order as “start of a new era in American energy and production and job creation” that would “restore economic freedom and allow our companies and our workers to thrive, compete, and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time.”

Trump spoke at a signing ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday on a stage with a dozen coal miners. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” he said. “I made them this promise. We will put our miners back to work.”

Trump’s order attempts to roll back Obama-era policies on power plant emissions limits, coal mining on federal lands, and regulations on fracking and methane. Because most of those rules were finalized under Obama, the Trump would have to start from the beginning on a rulemaking process to dismantle those regulations.

The most significant of those regulations is the Clean Power Plan, which put emissions limits on new and existing coal power plants. “Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers, and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry,” Trump said.

Even further, the order also takes aim at the entire framework of climate change action under the previous administration. Under Obama, federal agencies were required to plan for and mitigate the future effects of climate change, treat it as a national security issue, and attempt to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by 40%. With one executive order, Trump revoked four separate executive orders and presidential memoranda Obama signed over the last four years.

Trump’s action also takes away the Obama “secret weapon” in energy regulations, known as the “social cost of carbon.” By changing the way that future side effects of carbon emissions are accounted for, the Obama administration was able to use a cost-benefit analysis to justify many of its environmental regulations. Trump’s order restores the previous policy, which discounts those future costs in relation to the present-day benefits of energy.

Environmental activists deplored the order. Annie Leonard of Greenpeace USA said it showed Trump is “just a fossil fuel industry stooge with a presidential pen.”

But she also cast the executive order as a temporary setback. “Thankfully, for all his bluster, the best Trump can do is delay America’s inevitable transition to clean energy, but he can’t stop it,” she said.

White House officials said Trump’s action “will look back and it will look forward,” providing the framework for a new Trump-era energy framework that will emphasize more production and more jobs.

And despite relaxing environmental standards, the White House argues that its energy policies can be good for the environment in the long term. “The president strongly believes that protecting the environment and promoting our economy are not mutually exclusive goals,” press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. “This executive order will help to ensure that we have clean air and clean water without sacrificing economic growth and job creation.”

The order will ask all federal agencies to identify obstacles to domestic energy production, with a report back to the White House for future action. By reducing the federal role in regulation, Trump said the order is “returning power to the states, where that power belongs.”

Former vice president Al Gore called the order “a misguided step away from a sustainable, carbon-free future for ourselves and generations to come.”

“No one man or group can stop the encouraging and escalating momentum we are experiencing in the fight to protect our planet,” Gore said.

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