North Korea has fired what appears to be a ballistic missile early Monday, South Korea’s military said, according to Yonhap.
President Trump is reportedly considering a major shakeup to his White House staff and bringing back top campaign strategists over his frustrations by what he sees as his team’s inability to contain the crisis involving alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Lawyers and public relations experts are being recruited, the Associated Press reported Sunday, as new revelations surface about Moscow’s interference and possible improper dealings with the Trump campaign and associates.
The disclosures dogged Trump during his first trip abroad since taking office and threaten to overwhelm and stall the agenda for his young presidency.
The latest reports have taken aim at Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner. Kushner is alleged to have spoken with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. about setting up a back-channel communications network with Moscow during the presidential transition.
Trump did not come out directly and defend Kushner, but decried what he called the “fake news media” in a series of tweets earlier Sunday.
He focused heavily on leaks — both those coming out of the White House and an intelligence leak blamed on Americans about this week’s deadly bombing at a concert in England.
The back channel was meant to connect Michael Flynn, who later became Trump’s first national security adviser, with Russian military leaders, the AP reported.
Flynn was fired in February, officials saying he misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he and the ambassador had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia in a phone call.
While overseas, Trump’s longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, joined a still-forming legal team to help the president shoulder the intensifying investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election and his associates’ potential involvement.
More attorneys with deep experience in Washington investigations are expected to be added, along with crisis communication experts, to help the White House in the weeks ahead.
“They need to quarantine this stuff and put the investigations in a separate communications operation,” said Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel for President Bill Clinton.
Trump believed he was facing more of a communications problem than a legal one, despite the intensifying inquiries, one person familiar with his thinking told the AP.
As he mulls changes, Trump has entertained bringing his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, formally back into the fold.
Both Lewandowski and Bossie discussed the prospect with the president before his trip, according to one person told of the conversations.
As a possible shakeup looms, Trump has other issues to deal with on the home front.
Aside from the Russia investigation, the president still has to make an official decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement all the while defend his budget plan and hope his health care bill garners support in the Senate.
Trump also has to decide soon on a Pentagon recommendation to add more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, as well as boosting reinforcement for the beleaguered Afghan military.
While taxes have taken a back seat in recent weeks, Trump tweeted Sunday: “The massive TAX CUTS/REFORM that I have submitted is moving along in the process very well, actually ahead of schedule. Big benefits to all!”
Donald Trump has come out in support of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, following reports the aide tried to set up a secret communication line with Moscow.
In a statement given to the New York Times, Mr Trump praised the “great job” Mr Kushner is doing.
But he did not directly address allegations made against the man married to his eldest daughter, Ivanka.
It has been claimed Mr Kushner discussed setting up a backchannel with the Russian ambassador in December.
The New York Times and Washington Post said he wanted to use Russian facilities to avoid U.S. interception of discussions with Moscow.
He is reported to have done so before Mr Trump assumed the presidency, so would have been a private citizen at the time.
The allegations came after Mr Kushner was said to be under scrutiny as part of the FBI inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Reports in the U.S. say investigators believe he has relevant information, but is not necessarily suspected of a crime.
Mr Trump – who is said to have met with attorneys at the White House on Sunday – did not falter in his support for Mr Kushner, who has taken a role as a senior White House aide.
“Jared is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him,” he said in the statement to the New York Times.
“He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”
Mr Trump’s comments came after senior administration officials had moved to play down the allegations, without addressing whether or not they were true.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told ABC News on Sunday it was “normal” and “acceptable” to establish back channels with foreign powers.
“Any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organisations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing and, again, it comes back to whatever the communication is, comes back into the government and shared across the government.”
Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s National Security Advisor HR McMaster said, generally speaking, “we have back-channel communication with a number of countries”.
Mr Trump had earlier taken to Twitter to vent his frustrations with the “fake news media”.
“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” he wrote.
“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!”
No fewer than 26 people have died after unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt, the country’s media reports.
A Coptic activist said the bus and an accompanying car were attacked as they drove along an unpaved road towards the St Samuel monastery, around 140 miles south of Cairo.
The attackers arrived in three pick-up trucks and opened fire on the bus in the Minya province, injuring 25 others.
Men, women and children are among the dead and injured, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mugahed told TV al-Masriya, adding that some of the injured are in critical condition.
"They used automatic weapons," Essam el-Bedawi, Minya governor, told state media.
Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.
Coptic Christians have faced numerous attacks in Egypt, with the latest a twin bomb attack on Palm Sunday, last month. ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings which killed 49 people and aimed at a vulnerable religious minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.
Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt's population of 91 million. They base their theology on the teachings of the apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt.
It is still not clear who was responsible for the shooting, however, all fingers will be pointed to Islamic State militants who have carried out similar attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt.
In a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump, a U.S. Appeals Court refused on Thursday to reinstate his temporary travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations, delivering another blow to the White House in a legal battle likely headed to the Supreme Court.
The Federal High Court on Thursday sentenced a prominent Ethiopian opposition politician to six years and six months for accusing the government of using disproportionate force against demonstrators.
British police have stopped sharing information on the suicide bombing in Manchester with the United States, the BBC reported on Thursday, because of fears that leaks to the U.S. media could hinder a hunt for a possible bomb-maker still at large.
Africa’s third-biggest oil producer, Equatorial Guinea, has been accepted as a new member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a source close to the country’s oil minister told a Reuters on Thursday.