Trump Accuses Justice Dept. of Being Part of 'Deep State'

President Trump arrives back at the White House Monday evening following an 11-day Florida visit, and foreign policy is on his mind.

(Published Monday, Jan. 1, 2018)

President Donald Trump accused the Justice Department Tuesday of being part of the "deep state" and urged prosecution against a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

He also claimed that U.S. sanctions on North Korea were having a "big impact" and that he was responsible for preventing commercial aviation deaths in 2017.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Senator Jeff Flake's speech on the senate floor was made due to low poll numbers than an actual sincere criticism of President Trump. Sanders also talked about Steve Bannon's lawyer relaying information from the House Intelligence committee's questions to his client directly back to the White House, saying it is "standard procedure."

(Published Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018)

And having himself set in motion an end to protections for people brought to the United States as children and living illegally, Trump blasted Democrats for "doing nothing" to protect the "Dreamers," as they are commonly known.

Trump's latest tweets pressed familiar arguments for the president, who is set to begin his first full year in office with the victory of tax legislation but the Russia investigation still hanging over his administration.

"Crooked Hillary Clinton's top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents," Trump tweeted in an apparent reference to a report by the conservative Daily Caller.

"Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others," he added.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., criticized President Donald Trump on the Senate floor on Wednesday, calling Trump's fake news claims "despotic language."

(Published Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018)

As he remains shadowed by the special counsel's Russia investigation, Trump has seized on recent revelations of anti-Trump behavior by some FBI officials, including some who once worked on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, to claim bias against him.

The president's reference Tuesday to "Deep State Justice Dept" suggests that federal law enforcement is part of an entrenched bureaucracy that Trump and his supporters say didn't want him to be elected and is actively working to undermine his presidency.

Trump's reference to sailors likely referred to a Navy sailor convicted of taking photos of classified areas inside a submarine.

Trump's blast at the Justice Department came after he returned to the White House from a holiday getaway to face legislative challenges, midterm elections and global threats. He issued confrontational tweets targeting Iran, which in recent days has been rocked by anti-government protests, and Pakistan.

President Donald Trump's overall health "is excellent" and he did "exceedingly well" on cognitive screening. That's according to his White House physician, Navy doctor Ronny Jackson.

"In summary the president's overall health is excellent. His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good," Jackson said.

(Published Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018)

"The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their 'pockets.' The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!"

Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Tuesday the U.S. is calling for U.N. Security Council and Human Rights Council emergency sessions on Iran.

On Monday, Trump slammed Pakistan for "lies & deceit," saying it had played U.S. leaders for "fools" by not doing enough to control militants.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump said.

President Trump is alleged to have made inflammatory remarks about countries in Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador.

(Published Friday, Jan. 12, 2018)

Pakistan fired back Tuesday, calling his New Year's Day tweet "completely incomprehensible."

The government summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain but stopped short of demands by protesting Islamic groups to expel the envoy.

Pakistani officials, including Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, said the country would make clear "the difference between facts and fiction."

It was not immediately clear what prompted Trump to comment on Pakistan. The U.S. has long accused Pakistan of allowing militants to operate relatively freely in its border regions to carry out operations in neighboring Afghanistan. The U.S. said in August that it would hold up $255 million in military assistance for Pakistan until it cracks down on extremists threatening Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on Jan. 12, 2018, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

(Published Friday, Jan. 12, 2018)

Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday the U.S. should be aware that his country's nuclear forces are now a reality, not a future threat. To that, Trump said only: "We'll see."

In a morning tweet, Trump said the U.S.-led campaign of sanctions and other pressure were beginning to have a "big impact" on North Korea. He referred to the recent, dramatic escape of at least two North Korean soldiers across the heavily militarized border into South Korea. He also alluded to Kim's comments Monday that he was willing to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics, which will be hosted by South Korea next month.

"Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not - we will see!" Trump said, using his derisive moniker for the young North Korean leader.

In response to Kim's overture, South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks on Jan. 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin forcefully rejected President Donald Trump’s denial that he used the word “s--thole” to describe African nations and also disparaged Haitians.

(Published Friday, Jan. 12, 2018)

At home, Trump is hoping for more legislative achievements after his success on cutting taxes. He plans to host Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin at Camp David next weekend to map out the 2018 legislative agenda.

Republicans are eager to make progress before attention shifts to the November midterm elections. The GOP wants to hold the House and Senate, but must contend with Trump's historic unpopularity and some recent Democratic wins, including the pickup of a Senate seat in deeply Republican Alabama.

And, in a new development Tuesday afternoon, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch announced he has decided to leave the Senate rather than run for re-election this year.

Trump had been encouraging the 83-year-old senator to seek an eighth term. But Hatch announced Tuesday that he will retire when his term ends early next year.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin introduced new tax withholding guidelines from the IRS during a press conference at the White House on Jan. 11, 2018. Employers will be expected to use new withholding tax rates by Feb. 15.

(Published Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018)

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has the "greatest and deepest respect" for Hatch and is particularly thankful for his leadership on the recently enacted tax bill.

Hatch's decision would appear to clear the way for former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the seat.

Sanders declined to say whether Trump would be open to supporting Romney, saying she has yet to discuss that with the president.

The White House has said Trump will come forward with his long-awaited infrastructure plan in January. Trump has also said he wants to overhaul welfare and recently predicted Democrats and Republicans will "eventually come together" to develop a new health care plan.

Ryan has talked about overhauling Medicaid and Medicare and other safety-net programs, but McConnell has signaled an unwillingness to go that route unless there's Democratic support for any changes. Republicans will have just a 51-49 Senate majority — well shy of the 60 votes needed to pass most bills — giving leverage to Democrats.

Congress also has to deal with a backlog from 2017, including agreeing on a spending bill by Jan. 19 to avert a partial government shutdown. There's also providing additional aid to hurricane victims, lifting the debt ceiling, extending a children's health insurance program and extending protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last year but delayed its end for six months to allow Congress to act. The Obama-era program protects from deportation tens of thousands of young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Trump is demanding funding for a border wall and an end to family based immigration programs as part of an agreement on DACA. But Democrats and a few Republicans have suggested they may not vote for government funding that doesn't include DACA protections.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that "DACA activists and Hispanics will go hard against Dems, will start "falling in love" with Republicans and their President! We are about RESULTS."