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At Rally and Without Evidence, Trump Says Democrats Back Caravan

President Donald Trump suggested without evidence Thursday that Democrats or their allies are supporting a “caravan” of Central American migrants who are traveling north aiming to enter the United States.

Addressing thousands of supporters at a campaign rally in Montana, Trump said immigration is now one of the leading issues in the 2018 midterms, and he accused Democrats of supporting the migrants because they “figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat.”

The comments mark the injection of one of Trump’s signature 2016 campaign themes back into national conversation as he looks to boost Republican turnout to maintain their congressional majorities in 2018.

Perhaps no issue was more identifiable with Trump’s last campaign than immigration, particularly his much-vaunted — and still-unfulfilled — promise to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. For Trump, those pledges are still rallying cries for his supporters, who cheered his call for construction of a wall and booed mentions of Democratic opposition to his hard-line policies.

Unfounded allegation

“A lot of money’s been passing through people to come up and try to get to the border by Election Day because they think that’s a negative for us,” Trump said. “No. 1, they’re being stopped, and No. 2, regardless, that’s our issue.”

He added: “They wanted that caravan and there are those that say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen.”

Trump appeared to be referring to an unfounded allegation promoted by ally Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. The Republican lawmaker tweeted a video Wednesday of men handing out money to people standing in line. He claimed the video showed people being paid in Honduras to join a caravan and “storm the border (at) election time.” Trump on Thursday tweeted the same video, writing, “Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?”

Correction issued

After questions about the video’s origin, Gaetz posted a correction later Thursday on Twitter, saying, “This video was provided to me by a Honduran government official. Thus, I believed it to be from Honduras.”

Neither Republican provided evidence of his claim that the people were being paid to join a caravan.

About 3,000 Hondurans are in a migrant caravan passing through Guatemala trying to reach the United States. Mexico’s government says migrants with proper documents can enter Mexico and those who don’t either have to apply for refugee status or face deportation.

On Thursday, Trump threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border if authorities there fail to stop them.

Trump criticizes Tester

Trump was in Montana to boost GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is running against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, whom the president said has been a “disaster for Montana.”

The president blames Tester for the backlash against former White House doctor Adm. Ronny Jackson, whom the president had tapped to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary. Jackson was forced to withdraw after facing ethics allegations, including claims that he “got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle” at a Secret Service going-away party. Tester had released a list of allegations against Jackson that was compiled by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

“He was attacked so viciously, so violently by Jon Tester,” Trump said. “That’s really why I’m here.”

He also criticized Tester’s opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of decades-old sexual assault. Kavanaugh denied the allegations.

Praise for body slam candidate

Trump also praised Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault last year after attacking a reporter in 2017.

“Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy,” Trump said. “He’s a great guy, tough cookie.”

Trump accused Democrats of engaging in a “heartless” campaign to sink Kavanaugh’s confirmation, saying voters will “remember” how he was treated at the polls.

“This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order, and common sense,” Trump said.

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At Rally and Without Evidence, Trump Says Democrats Back Caravan

President Donald Trump suggested without evidence Thursday that Democrats or their allies are supporting a “caravan” of Central American migrants who are traveling north aiming to enter the United States.

Addressing thousands of supporters at a campaign rally in Montana, Trump said immigration is now one of the leading issues in the 2018 midterms, and he accused Democrats of supporting the migrants because they “figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat.”

The comments mark the injection of one of Trump’s signature 2016 campaign themes back into national conversation as he looks to boost Republican turnout to maintain their congressional majorities in 2018.

Perhaps no issue was more identifiable with Trump’s last campaign than immigration, particularly his much-vaunted — and still-unfulfilled — promise to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. For Trump, those pledges are still rallying cries for his supporters, who cheered his call for construction of a wall and booed mentions of Democratic opposition to his hard-line policies.

Unfounded allegation

“A lot of money’s been passing through people to come up and try to get to the border by Election Day because they think that’s a negative for us,” Trump said. “No. 1, they’re being stopped, and No. 2, regardless, that’s our issue.”

He added: “They wanted that caravan and there are those that say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen.”

Trump appeared to be referring to an unfounded allegation promoted by ally Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. The Republican lawmaker tweeted a video Wednesday of men handing out money to people standing in line. He claimed the video showed people being paid in Honduras to join a caravan and “storm the border (at) election time.” Trump on Thursday tweeted the same video, writing, “Can you believe this, and what Democrats are allowing to be done to our Country?”

Correction issued

After questions about the video’s origin, Gaetz posted a correction later Thursday on Twitter, saying, “This video was provided to me by a Honduran government official. Thus, I believed it to be from Honduras.”

Neither Republican provided evidence of his claim that the people were being paid to join a caravan.

About 3,000 Hondurans are in a migrant caravan passing through Guatemala trying to reach the United States. Mexico’s government says migrants with proper documents can enter Mexico and those who don’t either have to apply for refugee status or face deportation.

On Thursday, Trump threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border if authorities there fail to stop them.

Trump criticizes Tester

Trump was in Montana to boost GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is running against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, whom the president said has been a “disaster for Montana.”

The president blames Tester for the backlash against former White House doctor Adm. Ronny Jackson, whom the president had tapped to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary. Jackson was forced to withdraw after facing ethics allegations, including claims that he “got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle” at a Secret Service going-away party. Tester had released a list of allegations against Jackson that was compiled by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

“He was attacked so viciously, so violently by Jon Tester,” Trump said. “That’s really why I’m here.”

He also criticized Tester’s opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of decades-old sexual assault. Kavanaugh denied the allegations.

Praise for body slam candidate

Trump also praised Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault last year after attacking a reporter in 2017.

“Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy,” Trump said. “He’s a great guy, tough cookie.”

Trump accused Democrats of engaging in a “heartless” campaign to sink Kavanaugh’s confirmation, saying voters will “remember” how he was treated at the polls.

“This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order, and common sense,” Trump said.

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Two Trump Aides Tangle Over Immigration

Two of President Donald Trump’s top advisers got into a heated exchange outside the Oval Office on Thursday as passions boiled over about how to handle illegal immigration, two sources familiar with the incident said.

The altercation occurred between White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is a former homeland security secretary, and Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, the sources said.

One source described the argument as a “tense exchange” but said that it had blown over, and that it involved the job performance of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a former deputy to Kelly. Another source said it was “not a big deal.”

Trump, asked about the incident, told reporters: “That, I have not heard about.”

A senior White House official said later that Nielsen and Bolton had a nice conversation in Bolton’s office after the exchange and agreed the goal was to protect borders.

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Nielsen was close to resigning after being criticized by Trump at a Cabinet meeting for what he said was her failure to secure U.S. borders.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis.”

Trump threatened on Thursday to deploy the military and close the southern U.S. border as Hondurans and Salvadorans joined thousands of migrants in Guatemala hoping to travel north.

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!’ Trump said in a tweet.

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Two Trump Aides Tangle Over Immigration

Two of President Donald Trump’s top advisers got into a heated exchange outside the Oval Office on Thursday as passions boiled over about how to handle illegal immigration, two sources familiar with the incident said.

The altercation occurred between White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is a former homeland security secretary, and Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, the sources said.

One source described the argument as a “tense exchange” but said that it had blown over, and that it involved the job performance of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a former deputy to Kelly. Another source said it was “not a big deal.”

Trump, asked about the incident, told reporters: “That, I have not heard about.”

A senior White House official said later that Nielsen and Bolton had a nice conversation in Bolton’s office after the exchange and agreed the goal was to protect borders.

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Nielsen was close to resigning after being criticized by Trump at a Cabinet meeting for what he said was her failure to secure U.S. borders.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another. However, we are furious at the failure of congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis.”

Trump threatened on Thursday to deploy the military and close the southern U.S. border as Hondurans and Salvadorans joined thousands of migrants in Guatemala hoping to travel north.

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!’ Trump said in a tweet.

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Russian Firms Test Non-Dollar Deals to Sidestep US Sanctions

Several major Russian companies are exploring ways to do deals abroad without using dollars, spurred on by a U.S. threat to broaden sanctions that have impeded access of some Russian firms to the international banking system.

The Kremlin has been pushing companies to conduct more deals using other currencies to reduce reliance on the dollar.

Russian Alrosa, the world’s biggest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms, said it had completed a pilot deal with a Chinese client using yuan in the summer and another non-dollar transaction with an Indian client.

Other companies working on similar transactions include energy firm Surgutneftegaz, agricultural company Rusagro and miner Norilsk Nickel.

Russia’s central bank said this week the amount of non-dollar dealings was growing, with the share of rouble settlements in the Russia-China and Russia-India goods trade now between 10 and 20 percent.

The share was higher in the service industry, it added.

But there are limits to how much business can be shifted.

Major companies still rely heavily on dollar deals and most of Russia’s foreign earnings come from oil sales priced in dollars.

In addition, foreign banks with major U.S. activities may still be wary of business with any entity under U.S. sanctions even if transactions are not in dollars, bankers say.

The United States and its allies imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Washington said in August more measures could follow, after accusing Moscow of using a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain.

The new steps, which could be announced in November, may target dollar dealings, U.S. lawmakers have said.

Speed helps

One challenge facing companies dealing in the rouble is the Russian currency’s volatility. Between April 6 and 11, after Washington imposed sanctions on Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and some of his companies, the rouble lost almost 13 percent of its value against the dollar.

Alrosa said it avoided the fluctuation risk by completing the Chinese deal in a day. U.S. dollar deals tend to take longer due to associated compliance checks required.

“An increase in the speed of operations is an advantage in such an operation,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Alrosa did not give a value for its China and India deals but said the Chinese buyer had bought a lot at its auction of diamonds of 10.8 carats or larger in Hong Kong. Alrosa data indicates that its lots are on average worth about $100,000.

Alrosa said the banker for its Chinese deal was Shanghai office of VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank. An industry source, asking not to be named, said Russia’s biggest bank lender Sberbank worked on the Indian deal.

VTB and Sberbank declined to comment.

The Chinese client settled its purchase in yuan, which VTB converted into roubles and transferred to Alrosa.

“We carried out the transaction itself in one day, in several hours,” Alrosa said, adding that on this occasion the currency move was in the client’s favor.

No currency hedging was required because of the speed of the deal, the company said, but the client had to open an account in VTB’s branch in Shanghai to complete the transaction.

Alrosa said it was also considering settlement for future deals in Hong Kong dollars, adding that other Chinese clients had shown interest in non-dollar transactions.

Non-dollar limits

But there are limits on how much of Alrosa’s business can switch to other currencies. China accounts for just 4 percent of its sales, while India accounts for 17 percent.

Among initiatives by other Russian firms, Surgutneftegaz has been pushing buyers to agree to pay for oil in euros instead of dollars, Reuters reported in September.

Russian farming conglomerate Rusagro told Reuters that some of its trading operations were in yuan and said this would increase with the expansion of business with China.

Russian nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel said it was discussing the option of rouble payments with foreign customers which have rouble revenue, although it said it had not secured deals under those terms.

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Russian Firms Test Non-Dollar Deals to Sidestep US Sanctions

Several major Russian companies are exploring ways to do deals abroad without using dollars, spurred on by a U.S. threat to broaden sanctions that have impeded access of some Russian firms to the international banking system.

The Kremlin has been pushing companies to conduct more deals using other currencies to reduce reliance on the dollar.

Russian Alrosa, the world’s biggest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms, said it had completed a pilot deal with a Chinese client using yuan in the summer and another non-dollar transaction with an Indian client.

Other companies working on similar transactions include energy firm Surgutneftegaz, agricultural company Rusagro and miner Norilsk Nickel.

Russia’s central bank said this week the amount of non-dollar dealings was growing, with the share of rouble settlements in the Russia-China and Russia-India goods trade now between 10 and 20 percent.

The share was higher in the service industry, it added.

But there are limits to how much business can be shifted.

Major companies still rely heavily on dollar deals and most of Russia’s foreign earnings come from oil sales priced in dollars.

In addition, foreign banks with major U.S. activities may still be wary of business with any entity under U.S. sanctions even if transactions are not in dollars, bankers say.

The United States and its allies imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Washington said in August more measures could follow, after accusing Moscow of using a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain.

The new steps, which could be announced in November, may target dollar dealings, U.S. lawmakers have said.

Speed helps

One challenge facing companies dealing in the rouble is the Russian currency’s volatility. Between April 6 and 11, after Washington imposed sanctions on Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and some of his companies, the rouble lost almost 13 percent of its value against the dollar.

Alrosa said it avoided the fluctuation risk by completing the Chinese deal in a day. U.S. dollar deals tend to take longer due to associated compliance checks required.

“An increase in the speed of operations is an advantage in such an operation,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Alrosa did not give a value for its China and India deals but said the Chinese buyer had bought a lot at its auction of diamonds of 10.8 carats or larger in Hong Kong. Alrosa data indicates that its lots are on average worth about $100,000.

Alrosa said the banker for its Chinese deal was Shanghai office of VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank. An industry source, asking not to be named, said Russia’s biggest bank lender Sberbank worked on the Indian deal.

VTB and Sberbank declined to comment.

The Chinese client settled its purchase in yuan, which VTB converted into roubles and transferred to Alrosa.

“We carried out the transaction itself in one day, in several hours,” Alrosa said, adding that on this occasion the currency move was in the client’s favor.

No currency hedging was required because of the speed of the deal, the company said, but the client had to open an account in VTB’s branch in Shanghai to complete the transaction.

Alrosa said it was also considering settlement for future deals in Hong Kong dollars, adding that other Chinese clients had shown interest in non-dollar transactions.

Non-dollar limits

But there are limits on how much of Alrosa’s business can switch to other currencies. China accounts for just 4 percent of its sales, while India accounts for 17 percent.

Among initiatives by other Russian firms, Surgutneftegaz has been pushing buyers to agree to pay for oil in euros instead of dollars, Reuters reported in September.

Russian farming conglomerate Rusagro told Reuters that some of its trading operations were in yuan and said this would increase with the expansion of business with China.

Russian nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel said it was discussing the option of rouble payments with foreign customers which have rouble revenue, although it said it had not secured deals under those terms.

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Warsaw Taxis Hold Anti-Uber Go Slow

Hundreds of taxis on Thursday drove at a snail’s pace across the Polish capital Warsaw in protest at the ride-sharing app Uber and other unlicenced competitors.

Other cab drivers gathered in front of the justice ministry to call for legislation to regulate the industry.

Traditional cab operators argue that the Uber app and others like it represent unfair competition because their drivers can dodge the rules and restrictions that regulate professionals.

“There are 12,500 legal taxis in Warsaw and around 8,000 to 9,000 unregistered working for Uber, Taxify and a couple dozen other similar app-based operators,” said Jaroslaw Iglikowski, head of the Warsaw Taxi Drivers union.

“The app-based operators are taking around 30-35 percent of our overall business and up to 70 percent of night-time fares, especially on weekends,” he told AFP.

The protesting cab drivers claim in a petition they gave the justice minister that the country is losing more than 700 million zloty (160 million euros, $190 million) annually in unpaid taxes because of Uber and others like it.

The taxis dispersed in the early afternoon before rush hour, as the drivers had promised they would not cause traffic problems for city residents.

Uber has become one of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture-funded startups and has expanded its ride-sharing services to dozens of countries.

It does not employ drivers or own vehicles, but instead relies on private contractors using their own cars, allowing them to run their own business.

The app claims it is a service provider, connecting passengers with these freelance drivers directly and cheaply.

But critics and competitors around the globe say this allows it to flout costly regulations such as stringent licensing requirements for taxi drivers, who undergo hundreds of hours of training.

 

 

 

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Warsaw Taxis Hold Anti-Uber Go Slow

Hundreds of taxis on Thursday drove at a snail’s pace across the Polish capital Warsaw in protest at the ride-sharing app Uber and other unlicenced competitors.

Other cab drivers gathered in front of the justice ministry to call for legislation to regulate the industry.

Traditional cab operators argue that the Uber app and others like it represent unfair competition because their drivers can dodge the rules and restrictions that regulate professionals.

“There are 12,500 legal taxis in Warsaw and around 8,000 to 9,000 unregistered working for Uber, Taxify and a couple dozen other similar app-based operators,” said Jaroslaw Iglikowski, head of the Warsaw Taxi Drivers union.

“The app-based operators are taking around 30-35 percent of our overall business and up to 70 percent of night-time fares, especially on weekends,” he told AFP.

The protesting cab drivers claim in a petition they gave the justice minister that the country is losing more than 700 million zloty (160 million euros, $190 million) annually in unpaid taxes because of Uber and others like it.

The taxis dispersed in the early afternoon before rush hour, as the drivers had promised they would not cause traffic problems for city residents.

Uber has become one of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture-funded startups and has expanded its ride-sharing services to dozens of countries.

It does not employ drivers or own vehicles, but instead relies on private contractors using their own cars, allowing them to run their own business.

The app claims it is a service provider, connecting passengers with these freelance drivers directly and cheaply.

But critics and competitors around the globe say this allows it to flout costly regulations such as stringent licensing requirements for taxi drivers, who undergo hundreds of hours of training.

 

 

 

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Mnuchin Pulls US Out of Saudi Investment Conference

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has pulled out of an investment conference next week in Saudi Arabia, as Riyadh continues to face questions about its involvement in the disappearance and alleged killing of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist in Turkey.

Mnuchin made the announcement Thursday on Twitter, following numerous Western corporate chiefs who have dropped out of the three-day gathering that starts Tuesday in Riyadh.

As reports from Turkey have mounted alleging Saudi agents tortured, killed and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi two weeks ago inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, the chief executives announced they will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference.

Saudi Arabia has denied killing Khashoggi, a critic of the country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi wrote about Saudi Arabia in columns for The Washington Post.

Saudi Arabia says it says it will disclose the results of its investigation into his disappearance.

The investment conference is being organized by Saudi Arabia’s mammoth sovereign wealth fund and was being billed as a showcase for economic reforms advanced by Salman as he attempts to diversify the kingdom’s economy, for decades focused on its role as the world’s leading oil exporter.

The gathering had been dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” after the annual meeting of world economic leaders in Switzerland.

 

 

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said she is skipping the conference. JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and the heads of two top U.S. investment firms — BlackRock and Blackstone — have dropped out of the gathering. Top executives at the Ford auto manufacturing company and the MasterCard credit company have said the won’t be going, while the Google internet search engine company said that the head of its cloud computing business also would not be at the event.

The chiefs of European bankers BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale also rescinded acceptances to the conference.

 

 

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Mnuchin Pulls US Out of Saudi Investment Conference

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has pulled out of an investment conference next week in Saudi Arabia, as Riyadh continues to face questions about its involvement in the disappearance and alleged killing of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist in Turkey.

Mnuchin made the announcement Thursday on Twitter, following numerous Western corporate chiefs who have dropped out of the three-day gathering that starts Tuesday in Riyadh.

As reports from Turkey have mounted alleging Saudi agents tortured, killed and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi two weeks ago inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, the chief executives announced they will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference.

Saudi Arabia has denied killing Khashoggi, a critic of the country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi wrote about Saudi Arabia in columns for The Washington Post.

Saudi Arabia says it says it will disclose the results of its investigation into his disappearance.

The investment conference is being organized by Saudi Arabia’s mammoth sovereign wealth fund and was being billed as a showcase for economic reforms advanced by Salman as he attempts to diversify the kingdom’s economy, for decades focused on its role as the world’s leading oil exporter.

The gathering had been dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” after the annual meeting of world economic leaders in Switzerland.

 

 

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said she is skipping the conference. JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and the heads of two top U.S. investment firms — BlackRock and Blackstone — have dropped out of the gathering. Top executives at the Ford auto manufacturing company and the MasterCard credit company have said the won’t be going, while the Google internet search engine company said that the head of its cloud computing business also would not be at the event.

The chiefs of European bankers BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale also rescinded acceptances to the conference.

 

 

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