DC Daily: Trump administration announces Russia sanctions over election meddling

Posted at 7:48 AM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 10:48:48-04

What's happening in the political world:

Trump administration announces new Russia sanctions for election interference
-- The Trump administration announced Thursday it is enacting new sanctions on Russia for its election meddling, a month-and-a-half after missing a congressionally mandated deadline.

CNN, citing an Associated Press report, said the administration has accused Russia of an ongoing, deliberate attempt to penetrate the U.S. energy grid.

The new punishments include sanctions on the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that produced divisive political posts on American social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election. Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a financial backer to the Internet Research Agency with deep ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is also included.

Read more

Trump says he made up trade claims in meeting with Trudeau
-- President Trump boasted at a private fundraiser Wednesday of making up trade claims during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before knowing whether they were true.

"Trudeau came to see me. He's a good guy, Justin. He said, 'No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,'" Trump said during a speech to donors in Missouri, according to audio obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed to CNN by an attendee. "Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in -- 'Donald, we have no trade deficit.' He's very proud because everybody else, you know, we're getting killed."

He continued: "I said, 'Wrong, Justin, you do.' I didn't even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, 'You're wrong,'" Trump recalled, the newspaper reported. "You know why? Because we're so stupid. ... And I thought they were smart. I said, 'You're wrong, Justin.' He said, 'Nope, we have no trade deficit.' I said, 'Well, in that case, I feel differently,' I said, 'but I don't believe it.'"

The president appeared to respond to the Post’s story, tweeting Thursday morning: “We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do...they almost all do...and that’s how I know!”

Read more

President confirms CNBC contributor Kudlow will be next economic advisor
-- President Trump took to Twitter Thursday to announce that he would be bringing in CNBC’s Larry Kudlow as his next economic advisor.

The president said: “Larry Kudlow will be my Chief Economic Advisor as Director of the National Economic Council. Our Country will have many years of Great Economic & Financial Success, with low taxes, unparalleled innovation, fair trade and an ever expanding labor force leading the way! #MAGA”

Trump is hiring Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn, who resigned last week from the role after an apparent disagreement with the president over trade tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Following Cohn’s departure, Trump said: "Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again. He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”

Kudlow previously worked under the Reagan administration.

Another Trump attorney involved in Stormy Daniels case
-- New documents obtained by CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" on Wednesday suggest a deeper link than previously known between the Trump Organization and the company that Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, established in 2016 to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for silence about her alleged affair with Trump.

The documents also offer the first evidence of an individual employed by the Trump Organization -- other than Cohen -- being involved in an ongoing legal battle regarding Daniels' alleged affair with Trump.

A "demand for arbitration" document dated February 22, 2018, names Jill Martin, a top lawyer at the Trump Organization based in California, as the attorney representing "EC, LLC." "EC, LLC" is Essential Consultants, according to Daniels' lawsuit, a company that Cohen established in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Daniels.

Read more

CNN contributed to this report