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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump has directed the intelligence community to fully cooperate with Attorney General William Barr's investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election, according to a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

"The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information," according to the statement. "Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Office of Governor Jay Inslee(NEW YORK) -- The rising tide of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls calling for environmental reform now includes Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a politician who has made climate change the crux of his campaign.

Inslee unveiled his initiative, dubbed the "100% Clean Energy for America Plan," on Friday morning. The proposal's scope is sweeping -- laying out 100% clean energy standards across three sectors: electricity, new vehicles and the construction of new buildings.

The plan would meet, and even exceed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change targets for carbon reduction -- which say that carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030, reaching near-zero by 2050. The policy rollout ties together the overarching thesis of Inslee's campaign -- allying the fight against climate change with national security, health care and the economy.

"The course of inaction is the course of economic disaster," Inslee said ahead of the plan's rollout.

His aggressive proposals on climate change come as the party's progressive wing, bolstered by young voters, has continued to call for candidates to take a more aggressive approach. Democrats continue to debate the best way to combat climate change, an issue that is poised to take on a greater level of importance this cycle than any the party has held in years past.

A recent poll conducted by Harvard Institute of Politics of young people, ages 18 to 29, found a substantial 14-point increase from the same poll they conducted in 2015 in those that say they believe "government should do more to curb climate change, even at the expense of economic growth."

Experts agree.

"This is the first time in our history climate change is going to be a voting issue, and a top theme of election 2020," said Dana R. Fisher, a professor whose work centers on understanding the relationship between environmentalism and democracy, most recently studying activism and American climate politics. "There's such momentum amongst active and progressive young Americans -- they're probably the most engaged electorate right now -- because the news just keeps getting worse and worse, and the American public is listening and going to put pressure on their candidates. They're shining a light on this, and there's momentum for candidates to speak about the issue."

If elected, Inslee's proposal begins on day one of his administration. Then, spanning over 10 years, it aims by 2030 to reach 100% zero emissions from new vehicles; zero carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings; and would require 100% carbon-neutral power across the country. By 2035, it proposes completely clean, renewable and zero-emission energy nationwide.

Inslee says he will aim to make sure coal industry workers, their families and their communities don't fall through the cracks. That means as the nation transitions -- extra training for new clean energy jobs, education and assurance of opportunities in a clean energy economy.

"These folks who have worked in the coal industry are deserving of incredible respect and dignity," Inslee told ABC News. "They are people whose contributions of multiple generations have literally built the economy of the United States, people who are doing really hard work, and are deserving of our respect and what we've done in the state of Washington -- which is to make sure that as we go through this transition, that we also make sure we are caring for and embracing these communities to make sure they have a future as well."

He seeks to accomplish his plan's goals through tax incentives for using clean technologies and more renewable energy in electricity delivery, vehicle manufacturing and construction of new buildings; deploying natural resources -- wind and solar -- on public lands; implementing a new standard for clean cars; and promoting alternative fuels.

Inslee is no newcomer to such efforts. His model draws from measures he's undertaken with success in his own state, experts said.

"Gov. Inslee has been a leading advocate for transitioning America to clean, renewable energy for decades. This is not a new-found passion of his," said Mark Jacobson, a climate expert and Stanford University professor, who described Inslee's initiatives as "feasible, bold, and necessary first steps."

His plan also received praise from another governor-turned-presidential contender, California's Jerry Brown, who issued a challenge to other candidates in the race to prioritize the issue of climate change.

"I commend Governor Inslee for presenting a bold climate action plan. It is time for the other candidates to also confront global warming and the profound threat it constitutes for America, and yes, for the entire world. Time is running out." Brown said in statement provided to ABC News on Friday.

Still, Inslee's plan would require mammoth mobilization by the federal government.

Inslee's team likens the initiative to President John F. Kennedy's "Moonshot." That famous tagline came as America embarked on efforts to conquer the final frontier of space and reach the moon. It is a fitting characterization that seems to anticipate, as there was then, public disquiet about the cost and value of such radical efforts. Democrats addressing the new climate fight through eliminating coal power and retiring its plants, have in the past run the risk of alienating Rust Belt constituents.

But experts say, regardless of who's in the White House, this evolution is vital.

"Here's the take-home message, coal is dead, basically. And that's no matter who sits in the White House," Fisher told ABC News. "Coal is being phased out everywhere. At this point, people just want to deal with the fact that this transition has to happen and there are these opportunities to initiate and have new clean energy and clean technology jobs. There's no question in my mind."

In order to even begin achieving his ambitious goals and getting his message out to a wider audience, Inslee first has to accomplish another goal: meet the thresholds set forth by the Democratic National Committee to make the first primary debates, slated to be held next month in Miami. Inslee said his campaign is "approaching" the 65,000 individual donors required by the DNC to make the debate stage, but has not met that number yet.

The Washington governor is also still working to gather support for a debate solely focused on climate change, an idea that has garnered support from a few of his Democratic rivals, but something he says he has not heard back from the DNC on yet.

"I think this is really important to highlight this issue, it is the existential threat to our nation. And I welcome it frankly, for my self-interest, it will give me an opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff," Inslee told ABC News in an interview ahead of the rollout of his plan.

"Look there's a lot of candidates who have a to-do list on their refrigerator door, and somewhere on that to-do list they've written climate change … but it can't just be a to-do list. It's something that you wake up every single morning of your presidency committed to, and I'm the only candidate frankly who has demonstrated that commitment in this race."

As Democrats continue to sort out the increasingly crowded and competitive primary, several other candidates have come forward with bold plans of their own. Notable among them, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who only days earlier announced his four-pillar, $5 trillion plan to combat climate change.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has released the specifics of what he calls his "environmental justice plan," which he says would take "immediate steps" to strengthen the power of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he accuses the Trump administration of "gutting."

"Right now under this president, the number of actions that are being taken against polluters has gone dramatically down," Booker said during a campaign stop in Columbia, South Carolina last Friday.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks often of the "climate crisis" on the campaign trail, and released a plan earlier this month on protecting public lands, which would roll back many of President Donald Trump's environmental policies, halt offshore drilling on publicly owned lands and restore original boundary lines for two national monuments that were shrunk under the current administration.

Warren and a number of her Senate colleagues running for president, including Booker, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris are all either co-sponsors of or support the Green New Deal.

On his campaign website, Sanders describes climate change as the "the single greatest threat facing our planet," while Booker refers to it as an "economic and national security crisis," on his U.S. Senate website.

But even with a broad consensus among the Democrats running for president that climate change is a threat that requires a strong response, there is disagreement on the most effective way to do it.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar says that she sees the Green New Deal as "aspirational" and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has come out as publicly opposing the proposal, saying it "sets unachievable goals," despite labeling climate change as the "defining challenge of our time."

Inslee's campaign has been somewhat critical of O'Rourke's plan for its so-called "borrowed rhetoric."

"If you're going to fight this battle, you've got to be willing to fight the gas industry. I'm the candidate who hasn't voted for offshore drilling and taken a half million dollars. You have to be willing to stand up against that industry," Inslee said. "And I'm clearly the candidate who's got the gumption, who's willing to do that."

When asked about the Inslee campaign's remarks on his record, and his current climate plan, O'Rourke's campaign said they had no further comment.

"I welcome anyone who is following my lead. People will have to ask if other candidates have ever actually introduced legislation or really provided leadership because I think this does require a huge lift and requires a passionate voice. And I've been providing this for a long period of time, I'm not just a kind of latecomers to this issue," Inslee said.

John Delaney, the first Democrat to announce his candidacy back in July 2017, recently unveiled a $4 trillion plan taking aim at the fossil fuel industry by proposing a steep tax on products and services that emit carbon pollution while eliminating government subsidies for fossil fuel corporations unless they invest in a controversial technology that captures pollution out of the air and stores it.

Proposing such a bill in Congress would be a major legislative hurdle, but could create opposition within the fossil fuel industry if natural gas producers see it as a method of gaining an advantage over the coal sector, according to Barry Rabe, a professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in environmental policy.

"If I'm a natural gas producer, I'm looking at this and thinking wow," said Rabe. "There'd be a carbon price that would further crowd-out coal. Maybe I'm a net winner on this because the carbon content of natural gas is so much lower than coal."

Additionally, Delaney's proposal includes major investments in green energy programs at the Department of Energy, bolstering renewable energy tax credits, new grant programs and the establishment of the "Climate Corps" the would create programs for recent high school graduates to work on green initiatives in their communities.

"It's definitely not the most aggressive plan," said Dana R. Fisher, a professor at the University of Maryland and an expert on American climate politics. "I think this one is trying to get more centrists voters."

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Gov. Jay Inslee, 2020 Democrats weigh in with sweeping plans to combat climate change


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FrozenShutter/iStock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- President Donald Trump traveled to Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday to take part in the annual "flags in" Memorial Day ritual, a somber tradition honoring service members killed in the nation's wars.

On a hot and sunny afternoon, with first lady Melania Trump, dressed in black, at his side, the president took small American flags and pushed them into the ground in front of several headstones, including that of Frank Buckles, the last U.S. World War I veteran to pass on.

Eight active duty soldiers assisted the Trumps.

All told, soldiers from the U.S. Army's "Old Guard" -- the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment-- would carefully place American flags in front of more than 228,000 headstones on Thursday as they have done now for more than 60 years.

Each flag must be placed at the center, exactly one foot in front of the headstone.

All flags will be removed after Memorial Day, before the cemetery opens to the public.

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Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Donald Trump's lone Republican primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, ratcheted up his attacks on the president Tuesday night.

Speaking at the first in a series of Kennedy Institute events focused on the 2020 election cycle, Weld levied a number of his harshest verbal jabs yet, saying earlier this week that the president preferred an "Aryan nation."

"I celebrate that America has always been a melting pot," Weld said at the speaking event on Tuesday. "It seems he would prefer an Aryan nation."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, "Aryan Nations is a longstanding neo-Nazi group in the United States that dates back to the 1970s."

When asked to explain what specifically he meant by "Aryan nation," Weld told ABC News that he believes the president "would prefer a nation with no immigrants."

The comment, which appeared to be a step further than Weld had gone with past attacks aimed at the president, even elicited a justification from the long-shot candidate himself. "I know that sounds strong and tough but he's very interested in bloodlines and it has resonance," the former governor argued.

While Weld was reluctant to talk specifics regarding his claim that the president would "prefer an Aryan nation," he argued that his recent uptick of attacks on Trump had more to do with the direction the president is going than simply a change in strategy.

"It’s not just that I’m feeling more like going on the attack, it’s also that the president is moving to a deeper level of irresponsibility," Weld told ABC News.

President Trump does have a history of talking about "good genes" and "bloodlines." In a 2016 speech, Trump praised his uncle Dr. John Trump, a nuclear physicist who worked at MIT, for having "good genes, very good genes." And according to Business Insider, the president complimented guests on their "great bloodlines" at a 2018 black-tie business event in Oxfordshire, Britain.

Trump was also criticized early on in his presidency for saying there were "very fine people on both sides" of the clashes at the 2017 "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

However, the president has vehemently denied allegations that he's racist, and has maintained that he is the "least racist person" reporters "have ever interviewed."

The Trump campaign did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Weld also weighed in on Wednesday's extraordinary scene at the White House after the president reportedly walked out of a meeting with top Democratic leaders, calling the move "dangerous to the country."

"You know when he walked out of that meeting with [Chuck] Schumer and [Nancy] Pelosi, he essentially said he’s not going to corporate with them on anything. Well, that’s not how the constitution works," Weld told ABC News. "He is so far beyond what anything President Nixon ever did."

Weld, who hasn't been necessarily shy about taking Trump on since getting into the race earlier this year, also took a veiled swipe at the president over past allegations of mistreatment of women during his event on Tuesday.

"One of the great differences between me and Mr. Trump is that I've always treated women with respect. I'll leave it at that," the former Republican governor said.

The president has vehemently denied all the accusations made by at least 16 women.

"They are all false, they are totally invented, fiction. All 100 percent totally and completely fabricated," Trump said back in 2016.

And during the former governor's appearance at the Kennedy Institute event, Weld also made it clear he had no tug to run as a Democrat.

"No, I'm running as an 'R' all the way," Weld said when asked about a possible Libertarian run in the general election. He appeared on that party's ticket in 2016 as vice president. "I won't try to start a third party and I won't go back and run in any existing third party. I'm running as an 'R' and if that doesn't work then I'm done."

Weld is running against history in the primary, as no modern primary challenger has successfully knocked off a sitting president. And this time around, the Republican National Committee remains in lock step with the president's campaign.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Since launching his bid for the presidency in June of 2015, Donald Trump has gone to exceptional lengths to keep his personal and business financial records out of the public eye.

At a freewheeling press conference on Thursday afternoon, the president again lamented Democrats' efforts to retrieve his tax information, telling reporters, "I have great [financial] statements."

"...Bob Mueller and his group of 18 killers have gone over my taxes, they've gone over my financial statements to a level that nobody has gone over them before," Trump said.

But this week, his political opponents made substantial and noteworthy strides in dislodging some of the president’s most closely guarded secrets.

In the past three days, two federal judges have ruled in favor of congressional Democrats in their efforts to obtain documents from President Trump’s former financial institutions, and state lawmakers in New York passed legislation that would give Congress the power to access Trump’s state returns.

As Democrats consider whether to pursue impeachment proceedings, the president’s financial records could provide fodder for those in the caucus eager to move forward.

President Trump, who has vowed to fight “all the subpoenas,” and his administration have maintained a posture of blocking Congress’ overtures for testimony and documents at almost every opportunity. But as the courts begin to weigh in, Democrats could make headway in their quest to investigate the president in the coming weeks or months.

The back-to-back court rulings this week are the first such judicial rulings in the ongoing standoff between the legislative and executive branches over congressional oversight.

On Monday, a federal judge in Washington ruled in favor of the House Oversight Committee after President Trump and the Trump Organization filed suit against Democratic chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, seeking relief from his subpoena request for the president’s financial records.

The president’s lawyers called Democrats’ efforts to obtain Trump’s financial information an “all-out political war,” but U.S. Judge Amit Mehta wrote Monday that Democrats have “facially valid legislative purposes” to obtain information requested in their subpoena of Mazars USA, the president’s former accounting firm.

On Wednesday, a New York-based federal judge came to the same conclusion after the president, his children and his namesake company argued that subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One seeking Trump’s financial records lacked legislative purpose and sought a court order preventing the banks from complying.

As one of the Trump Organization’s most reliable lenders in recent years, Deutsche Bank has come under scrutiny from several investigative bodies examining the president’s personal finances, including the New York Attorney General’s office, multiple congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

The president’s lawyers have already filed an appeal in the Washington, DC, case, and are expected to do the same in New York.

With regard to the New York legislature’s bill, which Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign, it’s unclear if Democrats would exercise their newfound authority to probe Trump’s state taxes under the prospective legislation.

An aide to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., has said it wouldn’t help with his committee’s standing request from the IRS for six years’ worth of President Trump’s tax records.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has thus far rebuffed that request, which cites a 1920s-era law requiring the Treasury to hand Congress any tax information it requests, telling lawmakers on Wednesday that he expects the matter to be resolved in court.

“If the third branch of government opines on Congress’ right,” Mnuchin said, “then we would obviously supply the documents.”

Beyond the president’s financial records, Democrats in Congress have made progress this week on another front: access to a less-redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report and some of the investigation’s underlying evidence.

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee struck a deal with the Justice Department to view some of that underlying evidence on a rolling basis, beginning as early as this week.

The mounting probes reached a fever pitch on Wednesday when Trump convened an impromptu Rose Garden press conference, during which he lashed out at Democrats and ordered them to “get these phony investigations over with.”

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s press conference a “stunt” and a “temper tantrum” meant to deflect attention away from the court decisions.

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Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While the Trump administration has discontinued its policy that resulted in thousands of migrant families split up at the border, U.S. officials continue to grapple with a crush of family crossings every month and dozens of children who the government says must be separated for health and safety concerns.

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan told Congress Thursday that one to three separations occur every day when the care of the child is at risk. He described these cases as “extraordinarily rare” given the large numbers of families and children that have crossed the border in recent months.

“It’s a very rare situation and it’s got defined criteria that we've, by policy, mandated for our personnel in the field,” McAleenan said.

McAleenan cited Trump’s executive order that ended family separations and set guidance for keeping families together. Similar decisions about removing children from risky family situations were made during the Bush and Obama administrations.

The DHS chief acknowledged to senators the challenge of ensuring consistency in the process across immigration enforcement agencies.

“I think there's an opportunity with our civil rights and civil liberties office to look across our department and see if we can ensure that we're doing it consistently for (Customs and Border Protection) and ICE, for instance, and that we're taking all steps to consider the care of the child, the mental concerns the child might have in that scenario and explain it effectively,” McAleenan said in testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Throughout the hearing, McAleenan was pressed on the maintenance of Border Patrol stations that have been overwhelmed with migrant families and children crossing the border in record numbers.

When pressed by Senator Gary Peters, the acting secretary acknowledged that not every child in CBP custody has access to a pediatrician, but are instead screened by health professionals when they’re taken into custody.

Homeland Security officials currently transport an average of 65 people a day to local hospitals for treatment and care. When the number of crossings began ramping up earlier this year and McAleenan was serving as the CBP head, he instituted new medical procedures.

There have been six known cases of migrants dying after being apprehended by authorities along the border in the past year. U.S. officials have warned of the life-threatening conditions migrants face when attempting to enter the country between authorized entry points.

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Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Julian Assange was charged Thursday in an 18-count superseding indictment for his role in orchestrating the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures, described by the U.S. government as "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States."

According to the Justice Department, the new charges from a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia allege that "Assange's actions risked serious harm to United States national security to the benefit of our adversaries."

Reacting to the indictment Thursday, Assange's attorney in Washington Barry Pollack said Assange was being charged "for encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information."

"The fig leaf that this is merely about alleged computer hacking has been removed," Pollack said. "These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have taken by the U.S. government."

According to the DOJ announcement, Assange faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each charge with the exception of one charge related to conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Assange was previously indicted in April on a single-count conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge for his role in Chelsea Manning’s disclosure of classified materials made public by WikiLeaks in 2010, which the government has called "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States."

Legal experts at the time said that indictment could be a placeholder in lieu of more extensive charges that could be pursued at a later date. It was also interpreted as the government attempting to dodge potential First Amendment issues by not addressing Assange's self-proclaimed status as a publisher.

One of the counts includes a charge of conspiracy between Manning and Assange to obtain receive and disclose national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, a rare move for a person who never served inside government.

"The Department takes seriously the role of journalists and our democracy and we support it," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers told reporters Thursday. "It has not and never been the Department's policy to target them for reporting. Julian Assange is no journalist, this is made plain by the totality of his conduct as alleged in the indictment.

The superseding indictment comes just one week after Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst and anti-secrecy activist, was ordered back to jail after a federal judge held her in contempt of court for defying a grand jury subpoena. That grand jury is convened at the same federal court where prosecutors filed their charges against Assange.

The indictment specifically addresses Assange's exchanges with Manning, alleging that "after agreeing to receiving classified documents from Manning and aiding, abetting, and causing Manning to provide classified documents," Assange then published those documents on WikiLeaks -- an act they say put confidential sources used by the U.S. government abroad in potential danger.

Assange is currently serving a 50-week jail sentence in Great Britain for skipping bail and is fighting extradition to the United States.

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Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- Senate lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly voted in support of a $19.1 billion disaster aid package after months-long delays that stalled critical federal funding in aid for farmers and parts of the country still recovering from a brutal onslaught of natural disasters over the last two years.

The final tally was 85-8.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, secured the president’s commitment to support the multi-billion dollar disaster package even though it doesn’t include additional funding for the U.S.-Mexico border, which the White House had requested.

“We took it all out. We’re going to try to push that separately when we come back,” Shelby told reporters. “It’s a good deal. This disaster issue has played on for months and months. Let’s hope we can move it out of the Senate today.”

The Senate voted late Thursday just before lawmakers left town for a weeklong Memorial Day recess.

Congress has not passed a broad disaster relief package since February 2018.

“This legislation has already taken far too long to deliver,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said at a news conference Tuesday. “It is past time to put partisan politics aside, move past any tangential questions and secure a final agreement that can become law.”

The Senate's top Democrat - Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York - blamed the delay on Republicans.

“It’s good that Republicans finally came to their senses and realized that Puerto Rico and other disaster impacted areas deserve to be treated fairly and that extraneous provisions shouldn’t be added to the disaster relief package," he said in a statement.

“It is a shame that Republicans allowed President Trump to—not once, but twice—add extraneous things to this bill, as it could have been approved much sooner. We hope this does not happen again," he added.

The compromise measure would provide disaster relief for hard-hit states ravaged by tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes and wildfires in various parts of the country and is supported by Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

The measure also includes $600 million in nutrition assistance and $304 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for Puerto Rico – which were key Democratic priorities. More than 1 million residents lost their food stamp payments after the program’s emergency funding expired in March.

The disaster bill has been on hold since last year, largely due to the president’s opposition to sending more money to Puerto Rico. Trump has spent months complaining about fiscal mismanagement by Puerto Rico’s leaders.

The legislation includes billions of dollars in additional funding for states in the Midwest and the South that have experienced catastrophic flooding and tornadoes in 2019. Finally, the bill also includes an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., applauded the agreement.

“Chairman Lowey is pleased that President Trump and Republicans have agreed to bipartisan, comprehensive disaster relief legislation that will meet urgent needs across the country,” said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for Lowey. “If the Senate passes the legislation today, House Democrats support clearing it through the House as soon as possible.”

The measure must clear the House next before it heads to the president's desk for his signature.

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The tension at Wednesday's failed meeting between President Donald Trump and top Democrats didn't end when he abruptly left the room.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one of the president's top aides, Counselor Kellyanne Conway, also had a terse exchange.

After the president left the Cabinet Room after just three minutes without shaking hands or allowing anyone else an opportunity to speak, Conway said she challenged Pelosi to respond to the president’s complaints to members of the president's Cabinet and senior staff still in the room.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday at the White House, Conway said Pelosi treated her “as she might treat her maid” in declining to have further discussion.

“Respectfully, Madame Speaker, would you like to address the specific points the president raised?" Conway said she asked Pelosi after the president left without ever sitting down or shaking hands with anyone.

“And she did what she does all the time,” Conway said, making a dismissive hand gesture as if to mimic Pelosi and said the speaker told her: "I talk to the president, not to staff.”

"Gee, that's so pro-woman of you," Conway said she then told Pelosi.

Conway continued: “Because, after all, she thinks we're all staff. I think she's the sixth or so richest member of Congress and behaves that way. She treats me as she might treat her maid, or her pilots, or her makeup artist, or her wardrobe consultants.”

Pelosi, asked to respond Thursday to Conway’s account of their exchange, said she had no interest in talking about Conway but again reiterated that she deals with the president directly.

“I’m not going to talk to her, I responded as the Speaker of the House to the President of the United States. Other conversations people want to have among themselves is up to them,” Pelosi said.

Conway also on Thursday sought to further counter the narrative that the president was raging in his meeting with Democrats, contending that the president walked away “very calmly.”

“My point was the president spoke for three minutes and was very specific about why he's turning around and walking away very calmly,” Conway said. “She didn't address any of that.”

The president also took to Twitter on Thursday to directly bat back against the characterization that he was hot-headed in his meeting with Democrats.

Immediately following his short-lived meeting with Democrats on Wednesday, the clearly frustrated president then went before cameras in the Rose Garden in a hastily-arranged press availability, where vented that Democrats had accused him of a “cover-up” and vowed not work with Democrats on legislative priorities until they stop investigating him.

Conway also said Pelosi, though she didn’t want to have a conservation with her, did go on a tangent about Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt.

“Everybody let her finish, no idea what that was about and then I just filled the air,” Conway said. “That was all she said and then she stormed out.”

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday again called his former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, "dumb as a rock" in a tweet responding to comments Tillerson made in a closed-door meeting with lawmakers this week questioning Trump's handling of meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2017.

Rex Tillerson, a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019

Tillerson met for seven hours with leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday to discuss his tenure in the Trump administration, and the challenges he faced at the State Department and in the White House.

Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Putin "out-prepared" the president in a 2017 meeting in Hamburg, German that turned into a "a globe-spanning two-hour-plus session involving deliberations on a variety of geopolitical issues," according to a Democratic committee aide. The Washington Post first reported the details of Tillerson's testimony to the committee.

On Twitter, Trump said he doesn't believe Putin would agree with that account of their meeting.

"It’s pretty outrageous and it probably explains why Rex Tillerson is no longer the Secretary of State," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC Thursday morning.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said he found the former secretary of state to be "forthcoming" in his assessment of President Donald Trump's handling of foreign policy and the inner workings of the administration's foreign policy apparatus.

“His telling to us of what life was like in that short year that he was secretary of State was very interesting,” Engel said in the ABC interview. “It just solidified my feeling that there was disorganization and that the president was not focused.”

In a prepared statement to the committee, Tillerson said it was “no secret that President Trump and I disagreed” on some elements of foreign policy. “But at bottom, President Trump and I shared a common goal: to secure and advance America’s place in the world and to promote and protect American values.”

The meeting was arranged through a mutual acquaintance, according to Engel. An aide said Tillerson later called the committee and expressed his willingness to talk.

Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, the top Republican on the panel who participated in the Tillerson inteview, declined ABC News’ request to discuss the conversation.

“My time in government is over, but I hope that my testimony today will help you as you continue to do the critical work of this Committee” Tillerson said in the statement.

On Wednesday, Engel said he hoped the conversation was the first of many between Tillerson and his panel on Capitol Hill.

“I don't know how much he has that he hasn't told, but I suspect a great deal. And we’ll see,” the New York Democrat added.

After a rocky partnership, Trump fired Tillerson on March 13, 2018 -- announcing the decision in a tweet. Tillerson stayed on the job until March 31.

Engel confirmed that he and Tillerson discussed what Engel called the “unusual circumstances” of the president’s family members -- including the president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner “having the last say” on administration decisions.

“He wasn’t there to bash the president,” Engel said of Tillerson, though he later added that the former secretary of State said Trump “was not the most proficient on foreign policy.”

Before joining the Trump administration, Tillerson served as CEO of Exxon Mobil, the international oil and gas company.

The committee and Tillerson also discussed Tillerson’s management of the State Department, according to the chairman. Engel and Democrats have raised concerns about the Trump administration targeting career officials over their perceived political affiliation.

Engel was surprised that Tillerson defended his controversial proposal to reorganize the State Department, which was unpopular in Washington and among lawmakers of both parties on Capitol Hill.

“I thought he might push it off on Trump, but he didn’t. He said it was his baby, and he defended it, because he thought it would work better if they redesigned it.”

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Mark Makela/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Chicago-based financier Stephen Calk was indicted in New York on Thursday for his alleged role in a loan scheme with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, federal prosecutors announced.

Prosecutors charged Calk, a banking executive, with a single count of financial institution bribery after investigators found he allegedly extended a $16 million loan to Manafort in exchange for a senior-level position in the Trump administration.

In his indictment, prosecutors recount how Calk, who is expected to appear in federal court later on Thursday, provided the loans to Manafort during the 2016 campaign before sending the former campaign chief “a ranked list of the governmental positions he desired.”

According to prosecutors, Calk’s list of “perspective rolls [sic]” included which “Secretary of the Treasury and was followed by Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Commerce, and Secretary of Defense, as well as 19 ambassadorships similarly ranked and starting with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy,” court records show.

Calk, who had been an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, knew Paul Manafort “urgently needed” millions of dollars in loans to avoid foreclosure on several properties, prosecutors wrote.

“Calk believed that [Manafort] could use his influence with the Presidential Transition Team to assist Calk in obtaining a senior administration position,” prosecutors said. Calk extended the loans despite the “significant red flags” in Manafort’s ability to pay, according to the FBI and, as such, put his bank at risk.

If found guilty, Calk could face up to three years in prison.

Calk, wearing the same khakis and blue dress shirt he wore when he surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning, pleaded not guilty in a brief arraignment at a federal court in Manhattan and was released on a $5 million bond. He was instructed by the judge to have no contact with potential witnesses in the case, including officers and directors of the Chicago bank he ran, and allegedly defrauded in pursuit of a top job in the Trump administration.

His case is due back in court on June 6.

Dan Stein, an attorney for Calk told reporters on Thursday that his client "has done nothing wrong and is going to be exonerated at trial."

"The banks loans to Mr. Manafort, who had by then been terminated from the Trump campaign, have nothing to do with Mr. Calk's desire to serve."

In a statement released late Thursday morning, officials from The Federal Savings Bank where Calk worked said that the bank "is not a party to the federal criminal case in New York involving its former chairman Steve Calk, who has been on a complete leave of absence and has no control over or involvement with the bank."

Officials went on to say in the statement that "further, there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of the bank. Indeed, the Special Counsel and a federal judge determined that The Federal Savings Bank was a victim of Mr. Manafort's crimes," the statement said, referring to former special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Stephen M. Calk abused the power entrusted to him as the top official of a federally insured bank by approving millions of dollars in high-risk loans in an effort to secure a personal benefit,” Audrey Strauss, Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Thursday, “namely an appointment as Secretary of the Army or another similarly high-level position in the incoming presidential administration.”

Calk’s loan to Manafort had already garnered attention from congressional investigators on the House Oversight Committee and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

In April of 2018, the bank confirmed its interactions with the special counsel’s office, telling ABC News in a statement that it had “been fully cooperating with the Special Counsel throughout his investigation and will continue to do so.”

A source told ABC News Thursday that prosecutors’ case against Calk had not been referred by the special counsel’s office.

Manafort helped Calk to be formally interviewed for the position of Under Secretary of the Army in or about early January 2017 at the Presidential Transition Team’s principal offices in New York. But he was ultimately not hired.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  A day after President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting with congressional Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared emboldened by the fracas, capitalizing on the showdown to move past her party’s growing divisions regarding the prospect of impeaching the president.

The feud escalated further Thursday afternoon, when Trump, at a White House event, said, "She's a mess."

“He pulled a stunt,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol Thursday. "The president has a bag of tricks … for certain occasions. He’s a master of distraction."

Pelosi said she believes the president wants to goad congressional Democrats into launching an impeachment inquiry prematurely, which could doom Democrats in the eyes of an electorate that watches with curiosity.

"What really got to him was that these court cases and the fact that the house democratic caucus is not on a path to impeachment. That’s where he wants us to be," she said.

Pelosi said that Trump's behavior "in terms of his obstruction of justice," including ignoring congressional subpoenas "could be impeachment offenses."

"We want to follow the facts to get the truth to the American people," she said. "How we deal with [impeachment] is a decision that our caucus makes, and our caucus is very much saying whatever we do, we need to be ready when we do it."

But Pelosi made clear that impeachment is still premature. and potentially "a very divisive place to go in our country."

"We can get the facts to the American people through our investigation. It may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not," she said. "But we're not at that place."

Pelosi said she continues to pray for Trump, and believes he needs "an intervention."

“Now this time, another temper tantrum,” she said. "I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country."

Trump gave his version of events in a tweet Thursday morning.

Even though the president has ruled out cooperating on advancing bipartisan legislation until Democrats end their investigations into him and his administration, Democrats insist they are committed to salvaging an infrastructure package and stand ready and willing to work with Trump.

"You have bought into his excuse. [Cover-up] was not a reason that he did that yesterday. That was an excuse for him to do that," Pelosi said.

Pelosi’s decision to accuse Trump of a “cover-up” Thursday infuriated the president, but the speaker emphasized it was not the first time she had suggested his conduct amounted to a cover up, and she claimed she did not intend to provoke Trump into an outburst that has all but ended any fleeting prospect of bipartisanship. Instead, she believes Trump "wasn't up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the cost of the important infrastructure legislation."

"There's a question of the American people understanding that what he's doing is an assault on the Constitution of the United States," Pelosi said, justifying her caucus's widening investigations. "We can walk and chew gum at the same time. I hope he can, too."

"Whether it's the crisis at the border, whether it's infrastructure, or anything else. It's very hard to have a meeting where you accuse the President of the United States of a crime and then an hour later show up and act as if nothing's happened. The idea of that is insane," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday morning.

"The president's feelings weren't hurt. She accused him of a crime. Let that sink in," Sanders said. "She didn't say I don't like you. She accused him of committing a crime."

The top House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, speaking soon after Pelosi, called her claim the president is "engaged in cover-up" irresponsible.

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Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer, exchanged hundreds of phone calls and text messages with Columbus Nova, the American financial firm tied to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, according to court document unsealed Wednesday.

The communications began the day Donald Trump was elected and lasted for the next eight months, the document said.

“Telephone records related to Cohen’s cellular telephone show that on or about November 8, 2016, the day of the presidential election, a telephone registered to Cohen exchanged the first in a series of text messages with the CEO of Columbus Nova, LLC,” the document said, referring to the company's chief executive officer.

“Between approximately November 8, 2016 and July 14, 2017, telephone records showed over 230 telephone calls and 950 text messages were exchanged between Cohen’s cellular telephone and the CEO of Columbus Nova.”

The document was among a total of five search warrant applications were unsealed by the order of a federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday at the request of news organizations. They show how federal prosecutors were initially suspicious of Cohen’s Russia contacts and possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), though ultimately those were not part of the charges that sent Cohen to prison for three years.

FARA requires agents working on behalf of a foreign government "political or quasi-political capacity" to identify themselves as such and provide information relating to their activities and financing to the U.S. government.

The feds were also curious, the documents show, about Columbus Nova’s payments of nearly a half million dollars to a consulting company that Cohen established.

“The United States continues to investigate if any of the payments or financial relationships…were connected to Cohen’s involvement in the distribution of a plan to lift Russian sanctions,” the document said.

Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, said the details in the document are "pure innuendo."

"In fact, Mr. Cohen was not charged with anything to do with these allegations," Davis said in a statement sent to ABC News.

Earlier this month Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges of campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and a bevy of financial crimes, reported to the federal corrections facility in Otisville, New York, to begin serving his sentence.

Federal prosecutors implicated the president in Cohen's campaign finance violation, writing in court documents that then-candidate Trump directed Cohen to make payments in an effort to keep adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal from making their allegations of affairs with Trump public. Trump has denied directing Cohen to break the law.

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Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump has evoked disturbing images of Democrats backing policies that he says allow babies to be ripped from "their mother's womb" toward the end of pregnancy as a way of painting his opponents on the left as extremists on abortion rights.

But the parade of 2020 Democrats, primarily led by the female candidates, is reclaiming the reins of this politically sensitive issue with proactive proposals following a spate of restrictive anti-abortion bills sweeping across conservative states.

"Democrats are now the party of ... late-term abortion," Trump said this week in Pennsylvania in what has become a familiar refrain for the president.

One day after his Pennsylvania rally, a number of Democrats shared a podium and a bullhorn on the steps of the Supreme Court to condemn Trump and what they see as a new and ongoing assault by Republican-led state legislatures aiming to curtail a woman's constitutional right to access abortion care.

"This is the beginning of President Trump's war on women," New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told demonstrators at the protest. "If he wants this war, he will have this war, and he will lose."

Under his administration, Trump seeks to draw a hard line on the polarizing issue, reenergize his coalition against abortion, and drive a wedge through the Democratic field. The Trump campaign said it is poised to push Democrats into a corner on an area of support for abortion rights and highlight the issue as "extreme."

Trump's decision to insert "late-term abortion," a non-medical term largely used by anti-abortion groups into his stump speeches on the campaign trail, comes after Democratic-led legislatures in New York and Virginia approved laws that expanded women's access to abortion later in pregnancy.

But in recent weeks, anti-abortion measures in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio are splintering the Republican Party -- with Trump distancing himself from the most restrictive abortion bans that appear to be too extreme.

A new Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 28 percent saying abortion should be legal in all cases, matching the highest level of support since the question was first asked in 2004.

Only 13 percent of voters believe abortion should be illegal in the case of rape or incest.

"We have the American people on our side," Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, told ABC News on Tuesday. "Seventy-three percent of Americans support Roe vs. Wade as the law of the land, and none of us want our children to live in a world where they have fewer rights than we do. So if he wants to make this a 2020 issue, we will win."

For decades, Democrats have coalesced around their support for the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Now, with a renewed sense of urgency to safeguard Roe v. Wade in this pitched battle, the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are charging ahead with abortion policies and restoring mainstream values in the conversation.

Gillibrand, who has made abortion rights a cornerstone of her campaign platform and was the first Democrat to unveil a reproductive rights agenda, released policy details last week.

Beyond protecting Roe v. Wade by pledging to only nominate judges -- including Supreme Court justices -- who will uphold the decision as settled legal precedent and codifying it into law, Gillibrand said she would abolish the Hyde Amendment and guarantee access to reproductive health care, including abortion ,  across the country.

The next day, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, known for outpacing the primary field with a volume of policy ideas, outlined a plan to not only block the erosion of access in the legislative and judicial spheres, but also to expand access under federal law.

Warren committed to enshrining Roe v. Wade as law and repealing the Hyde Amendment but also urged for the passage of the Women's Health Protection Act, which was introduced in Congress, and the EACH woman Act, to prevent private insurance companies from refusing to cover abortion care.

Two other White House hopefuls, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, introduced their own proposals to defend reproductive rights this week, showcasing similar priorities -- Roe v. Wade and the Hyde amendment -- and offering new approaches.

"For so long, women have been leading this fight, shouldering the burden of making sure that their reproductive rights are protected," O'Rourke said at a CNN Town Hall Tuesday in Iowa, during which he announced a three-pronged plan to protect and expand abortion rights for women. "It's time that all of us join them in this fight. As president, I will make sure that every nominee to every federal bench, including the Supreme Court, understands and believes that the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade is the settled law of the land."

On Wednesday, Booker announced a series of executive actions he vows to take on day one if elected president, including creating a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom to oversee and coordinate his administration's efforts.

"A coordinated attack requires a coordinated response," Booker said in a statement announcing his proposal. "That's why on day one of my presidency, I will immediately and decisively take executive action to respond to these relentless efforts to erode Americans' rights to control their own bodies. I will also pursue a legislative response, including legislation to codify Roe v. Wade's protections into federal law."

Although they have yet to release detailed plans of their own, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, three candidates who leverage their roots in the Midwest to stake out more moderate positions in the primary, showed an eagerness at the Tuesday Supreme Court rally alongside Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, to speak out against the new abortion laws -- signaling a broader consensus among the leaders of the party on abortion rights.

"You know where I come from, there are a lot of Democrats who don't agree with me on the issue of choice, and they have contributed to the party, and again, many people, even who have regarded themselves as reasonable -- reasonable -- pro-life voters are still pretty shocked by the kinds of things happening in a place like Alabama," Buttigieg told ABC News on the sidelines of the rally.

"This isn't just some minor little fight," Klobuchar said during an interview. "This law that these guys have passed would put doctors in prison. This law that they've passed would literally make it so that if a college student was raped, she would have no choice in deciding what to do if she got pregnant. … We have to make that very clear to the American people, they're with us on this, and then push back against these laws in other states. And of course, push back in court."

While a number of red states impose restrictions on abortion procedures, criticized as "regressive," some states with Democratic majorities are moving forward with legislation that would preserve a woman's choice, including Nevada, Vermont and Illinois.

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STEVE PARSONS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Next month the Royal family will meet the Trump family.

President Donald Trump's children and their spouses will join his state visit to the United Kingdom in June where they are expected to be greeted by the royal family, sources with knowledge of the trip told ABC News.

Many of the details during the three-day trip are still being finalized, but during this official state visit Trump will be feted by Queen Elizabeth II at a lavish banquet dinner on June 3, that his children are expected to attend as well, according to a White House official.

According to sources, one of the potential meetings on the trip will be between the Trump children -- Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Tiiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and his wife Lara, and Prince William and his wife Kate. It is likely that the young royals will meet the young Trumps as part of the queen’s entertaining of the president during his official visit. However, the White House and Buckingham Palace are still discussing a final schedule.

“President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump accepted the invitation from Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to visit the United Kingdom from June 3 to 5, 2019," the White House said in a statement. "This state visit will reaffirm the steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom."

A White House spokesperson declined to comment on the news that Trump's children will be joining him on the trip.

Trump and Melania had tea with the queen at Windsor Castle during his working visit to the U.K. last July, but he did not meet the heir to the throne Prince Charles or his wife Camilla. On this trip, it is understood that Prince Charles will invite the Trumps to tea, sources told ABC News.

The queen has hosted two previous state visits for U.S. presidents -- President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush made a state visit in November 2003 and President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a State Visit in May 2011.

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