Developments Wednesday concerning President Donald Trump include his visit with Pope Francis, and his desire to “pursue peace,” the agenda for Thurday’s NATO summit in Brussels, congressional subpoenas for his former national security adviser, and the Congressional Budget Office releasing its estimates on the cost of his health care plan:
Trump ‘Determined to Pursue Peace’ After Talks with Pope — President Donald Trump says he is “more determined than ever to pursue peace in our world” following wide-ranging talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday. The White House says the two sides discussed “how religious communities can combat human suffering” in places such as Syria, Libya and Islamic State controlled territory.
Roman Catholics Hope Vatican Visit Will Signal Trump-Pope Reset — U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit Wednesday to Rome brought parts of the center of the ancient city to a grinding halt. Views about President Trump on the streets were decidedly mixed. As Pope Francis welcomed the U.S. leader to the Vatican for their first-ever face-to-face encounter, Eva, a devout Catholic from Boston visiting Rome and the Holy See, expressed relief that the meeting had even taken place. “I think it was fabulous that the pope decided to meet with Trump,” she said.
Israelis Elated, Palestinians Disappointed by Trump Visit — In a country where symbolism is so important, President Donald Trump made a number of important gestures during his visit to the Holy Land this week, leaving Israelis elated and Palestinians disappointed.
Trump: Terrorism ‘No. 1’ Issue Ahead of NATO Meeting — Ahead of meetings this week with NATO leaders, President Donald Trump has called terrorism the “number one” problem currently facing the world, and said we are “making tremendous progress” in the fight against terror. Trump, meeting Wednesday with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, said the U.S. and NATO will work on “various problems,” but Trump pointed to the suicide bombing Monday in Britain and noted that terrorism is at the top of the list.
WATCH: VOA’s Luis Ramirez on the NATO summit
Europe’s Leaders Hope for Change at NATO Summit — NATO leaders are going to Brussels for a summit meeting on Thursday expecting to agree on key principles. With Monday’s attack in Britain overshadowing the meeting, there will be quick consensus on the need to keep fighting terrorism both at home and abroad, in places like Afghanistan. How to do it is a different question.
Trump’s Trip Provides Respite from Russia Controversy — President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East and Europe allowed him to escape the political turmoil in Washington for a time, but bad poll numbers seem to follow him no matter where he goes. A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 54 percent of those surveyed thought Trump was abusing the powers of his office. Forty-three percent disagreed. Trump’s public approval rating stood at 37 percent, with 55 percent disapproving.
Senate Panel Redoubles Effort to Acquire Flynn Records — While newly-appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller gets to work investigating Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election and any coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign, the Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing a probe of its own. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is squarely in the committee’s sights.
US Congressional Panels Issuing New Subpoenas to Ex-Trump National Security Adviser — U.S. congressional panels are issuing new subpoenas to Michael Flynn, in an effort to force him to turn over documents and testify about his brief tenure as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser.
Report: 23 Million Would Lose Health Insurance Under GOP Bill — An estimated 23 million Americans will lose health insurance over a 10-year period under the Republican health care bill aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says. The CBO released its analysis of the House-passed bill on Wednesday, giving the public an estimate of the impact the measure would have on health coverage, premiums and the nation’s budget. It says more consumers would have pared down coverage and many more would face higher deductibles under the bill, which was narrowly approved 217-213 on May 4.
Treasury Chief to Congress: Raise Debt Limit Before August — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers on Wednesday that they should vote to increase the government’s borrowing authority — and avert a disastrous economic default — before their August recess. Within hours, the conservative House Freedom Caucus said it would oppose such a vote unless certain conditions are met.
S. Korean President Wants to Help Trump Make Deal with North — Newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in is intent on reopening inter-Korean channels of dialogue and engagement, despite Pyongyang’s continued missile tests and U.S. calls for increased sanctions.
Israel Alters Intelligence Sharing with US — Israel says it has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the United States after President Donald Trump disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats earlier this month that had come from Israel, even though Tel Aviv had not assented to his handing it to another country.
Britain Irritated by US Intel Leaks — Britain is criticizing U.S. intelligence officials for leaking information to journalists after a suicide attack Monday in Manchester. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she had lodged a complaint with the United States after details about the Manchester attack were published by U.S. media outlets before being released by British authorities.
US FBI Director Search: Back to Drawing Board for Trump Team? — A week after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was close to picking a new FBI director to replace the one he fired, the White House has decided to renew its search, CNN reported Wednesday. The Republican president said last Thursday that he was “very close” to selecting a new head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to replace James Comey, and that former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman was among the top candidates.
Report: Russians Looked to Sway Trump Through Advisers — Senior Russian intelligence and political officials discussed how to influence Donald Trump through his advisers, according to information gathered by American spies last summer, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Citing three current and former U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence, the newspaper said the conversations focused on Paul Manafort, then the Trump presidential campaign chairman, and Michael Flynn, a retired general who was then advising Trump.
On Syrian Border, Haley Confronts Civil War’s Reality — President Donald Trump’s U.N. envoy set foot Wednesday in the no-man’s-land between Syria and Turkey, witnessing the precarious transfer of aid supplies into a seemingly interminable conflict. That reality is far removed from America’s years-old hope for President Bashar Assad to leave power and speedily end the civil war.
Treasury Chief Says US Reviewing Iran’s Aircraft Licenses — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that his department is reviewing licenses for Boeing Co and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran, telling lawmakers he will increase sanctions pressure on Iran, Syria and North Korea.