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Watch: Melania Trump appears to slap away president's hand in Israel

An awkward moment played out on the tarmac of an airport in Israel on Monday after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived as part of the couple’s first trip abroad since the president’s inauguration.

>> Read more trending news

As news crews from around the globe documented the couple’s walk from Air Force One, Donald Trump reached back to offer his wife his hand. After he turns to look forward, Melania Trump appears to swat the president’s hand away.

Donald Trump smooths over his tie and adjusts his coat after the rejection.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz slowed down the moment for anyone who missed the flick. No doubt echoing the thoughts of an untold number of viewers, the newspaper tweeted the video with a single word: “Ouch.”

It’s not the first time Melania Trump’s reactions to her husband have come under scrutiny.

>> Related: Melania Trump’s scowl on inauguration day sparks ‘Free Melania’ hashtag

A clip of the first lady went viral in January after Donald Trump’s inauguration. In the clip, Melania Trump shoots a bright smile at her husband as he appears to mouth words at her. As soon as the president turned his back, however, the smile slipped from his wife’s face.

Trump budget proposal includes 25 percent cut to food stamps: report

President Donald Trump will propose a more than 25 percent cut to food stamp funding in a budget proposal expected Tuesday, according to a report.

>> Read more trending news

The president will propose $193 billion worth of cuts over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program, The Associated Press reported, citing talking points circulated by the White House.

The program currently serves about 42 million people, according to numbers released in February by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cuts would drive millions of people off food stamps through changes in eligibility guidelines and the implementation of additional work requirements, according to The AP.

SNAP’s current work requirement is aimed at cutting benefits to the “most able-bodied adults who don’t have children,” The Washington Post reported.

About 44 million people spread across 21 million households got benefits through SNAP last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Officials said participants got an average of $125 per month, while households got an average of $258. The program cost $70.9 billion in 2016.

Trump’s budget proposal is also expected to include large cuts to Medicaid, federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies.

Sinkhole opens outside Trump's Mar-a-Lago in Florida

A sinkhole has opened in front of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, according to an email alert from the Town of Palm Beach in Florida.

>> Read more trending news

The sinkhole is just west of Mar-a-Lago’s southern entrance, where workers are gathered.

The 4-foot by 4-foot hole is in front of the club and appears to be near a new water main on Southern Boulevard, the alert said. Utility crews from West Palm Beach secured the sinkhole and likely will be doing exploratory excavation today.

A worker on scene said crews cut around the sinkhole and will dig to find the problem. It’s unclear how long that will take.

>> See the latest updates from the Palm Beach Post

It was unclear from the alert if traffic would be affected, or if the road is damaged.

Billy Bush opens up about Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape

It’s been almost seven months, and Billy Bush is ready to talk.

Bush opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about the infamous “locker room talk” tape involving President Donald Trump that resulted in Bush losing his job at NBC. In the column, he said that he’s seen the tape only three times, once just before it was leaked and twice ahead of the interview with THR.

He admitted that seeing the tape left him feeling “totally and completely gutted.”

>> Read more trending news

“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic,” he said. “(Trump) liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”

Bush also claimed that “plenty of people” knew about the tapes at NBC.

“I was kind of bopping along, and I don’t know if it was God or what that said, ‘OK, you’ve developed. You’re a pretty good guy. Let’s see how you handle this.’ And ka-boom!” he said. “It all comes apart.”

Despite being fired, Bush said he remains in contact with "Today” show co-hosts Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb. As for his plans for the future, Bush said he is still hoping to get back into TV.

He has been pitching a new series to focus on pop culture, sports and celebrity interviews and said he hopes to show fans his softer, more empathetic side.

Trump told Russian officials firing 'nut job' Comey relieved pressure on him: report

President Donald Trump told Russian officials during a meeting last week that firing FBI Director James Comey relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a report from The New York Times.

>> Read more trending news

Trump spoke about the decision to fire Comey one day after dismissing the top cop, The Times reported, citing a document that summarized the May 10 meeting. The document was read to the newspaper by an American official.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump shared classified, sensitive information related to the fight against the Islamic State May 10 during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

 

The White House has denied the report. 

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said at the meeting, according to the Times report. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. ... I'm not under investigation.”

Multiple investigations into ties between Russia and Trump and his advisers are ongoing. At least one is focused on whether Trump obstructed justice by pressuring Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security adviser Michael Flynn.

>> Related: Report: Trump asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation

The White House has denied any wrongdoing by the president. Trump has characterized the investigations as being part of a "witch hunt."

In a statement released to The Times, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Comey put "unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia" because of Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing (of) the investigation into Russia's actions."

>> Related: Who are key players in the Russia/Trump saga?

"The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it," Spicer said. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”

>> Related: House committee wants Comey to testify about Trump, Russia probe

American journalists were barred from the May 10 meeting between Trump and Russian officials, although a photographer working for Russian state-owned media was allowed to photograph the event.

National Security adviser H.R. McMaster was also present for the meeting. He denied on Tuesday that anything inappropriate was discussed by Trump.

Trump pick for FBI director coming 'soon,' president says

President Donald Trump plans to announce his pick for FBI director “very soon.”

“We’re going to have a director who is going to be outstanding. I’ll be announcing that director very soon,” Trump said Thursday in a joint news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

>> Read more trending news

“I think the people in the FBI will be very, very thrilled,” he said.

Trump last week fired FBI Director James Comey amid a bureau investigation into whether Trump or his advisers worked with Russia to interfere in the November election.

The White House denied that the dismissal was related to the Russia investigation, although Trump told NBC News last week that he had “this Russia thing” on his mind when making the decision.

>> Related: Report: Trump asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation

Trump confirmed Thursday that former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman was a leading candidate to become the country’s next top cop.

Trump met with Lieberman at the White House on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. Trump has also interviewed three other possible picks: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI official Richard McFeely and former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, according to The AP.

>> Related: Who is Joe Lieberman?

The Senate will be tasked with confirming whoever Trump nominates.

“We need a great director of the FBI,” Trump said Thursday. “I cherish the FBI. It’s special. All over the world, no matter where you go, the FBI is special.”

Deputy AG knew Comey would be fired before writing memo used to justify dismissal

The man who wrote the memo used to justify the firing last week of FBI Director James Comey said in a closed session with Congress that he learned the top cop would be dismissed one day before he penned the memo.

>> Read more trending news

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Thursday in his opening statement that he learned on May 8 of Comey’s imminent dismissal. President Donald Trump “sought my advice and input,” he said.

The White House used Rosenstein’s three-page memo as rationale to fire Comey. The memo focused on Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server while in office.

In a letter calling for Comey’s dismissal, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointed to his “evaluation, and … the reasons expressed by (Rosenstein).”

>> Related: Poll: Most Americans want special prosecutor for Russia investigation

Comey’s firing sparked suspicion among Trump’s critics and lawmakers worried that the president might use his power to influence the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump or his advisers colluded with Russia to win November’s presidential election.

The White House denied that Comey’s position as head of the investigation factored into his dismissal, although Trump told NBC News last week that he had “this Russia thing” on his mind when he made the decision.

Rosenstein said that after he was approached for advice, he wrote a memo to Sessions “summarizing my longstanding concerns about Director Comey’s public statements concerning the Secretary Clinton email investigation.”

>> Related: Report: Trump asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation

He reiterated that he felt Comey was “profoundly wrong and unfair” to both Clinton and the Justice Department in a July 2016 news conference about the investigation.

“It explicitly usurped the role of the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and the entire Department of Justice; it violated deeply ingrained rules and traditions and it guaranteed that some people would accuse the FBI of interfering in the election,” he said.

>> Related: Who are key players in the Russia/Trump saga?

Still, he said he believed that Comey “made his decisions in good faith.”

Multiple investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia are ongoing.

The president on Thursday characterized the investigations as politically motivated.

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history,” he said in a tweet.

What comes with a $200,000 membership to Trump's Mar-a-Lago?

In Palm Beach, Florida, money whispers.

Celebrity and power, however, command.

So when a New York real estate developer named Donald Trump moved to town and turned an iconic residence into a private club, there were folks who were happy to pay $50,000 to join the fledgling operation.

But not all.

>> Read more trending news

“When I told my husband I paid $50,000 to join Trump’s club, I thought he was going to kill me,” former West Palm Beach resident Dorothy Sullivan told a reporter more than 20 years ago. “He was a golfer and he said, ‘All that money just for a nice place to eat? It doesn’t even have a golf course.’”

At the time it didn’t, although one was in the planning stages.

As the years went on and membership inched closer to capacity, the initiation fee crept ever higher. First $75,000. Then $100,000. Now, with that brash smack-talking developer as the 45th President of the United States, that 50 grand seems like the bargain of the ages.

>> Related: Trump’s Mar-a-Lago visits costing Florida thousands, documents show

An (allegedly) rich man in the White House, after all, combines all the aforementioned Palm Beach currencies — money, celebrity and power — into one shiny, if not brassy, coin.

The powers-that-be at Mar-a-Lago bet that folks would pay big money for the few remaining memberships offering proximity to fame and power. They were so, so right. Post-election, the price for those last spots rocketed to $200,000.

So, what exactly does one get for that king’s ransom — and the yearly membership fee, recently hiked from $2,000 to $14,000 per year, and the $2,000 minimum dining requirement?

Well, a possible glimpse of the president, if he’s there, and maybe the chance to exchange a few words with the Leader of the Free World, which alone is worth the ducat to opportunistic types.

There are also privileges at both Trump-branded golf clubs in the area — the Trump International in West Palm Beach and the Trump National in Jupiter, where members can play eight to 12 times a year (at least four but not more than six times at each club). And access to two pools, one saltwater oceanfront and one lakefront; a spa; tennis courts with a resident pro; a croquet court with a resident pro; a Beach Club with grill service; a putting green; a member discount on guest suites in both the oceanfront Beach Club (high season, on the beach, about $700), garden suites and the main house; and dining.

>> Related: Four charities moved their galas from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club

And, of course, the unflappable general manager, Bernd Lembcke.

“I don’t even know what I paid for my membership, it was so long ago,” said longtime Trump pal Patrick Park. “But I remember I was on my plane coming down here to look for a place and I heard about Mar-a-Lago so I called to inquire, and I got Mr. Lembcke on the phone. He said, ‘Come by and I’ll show you around.’ So I did. It’s the best club I ever joined. It has great chefs who take an interest in all things culinary, and Bernd Lembcke is a man of endless talents. He is five-star. The most knowledgeable man in the gastronomic world.”

Memberships are not as easy to obtain as in pre-POTUS years. In addition to the horse-choking initial fork-over, there’s a light vetting process — personal references from existing members and a financial statement — that, for security reasons, is sure to get stricter if POTUS continues to visit.

But any interest will have to wait. The club closed for the summer on Mother’s Day, and the Beach Club is closed for redecoration of the ocean suites. Plans call for putting an airier, beachier look in place of the existing Louis XVI decor.

Because we all know what happened to him when his economy went down le commode.

What isn’t included with a $200K Mar-a-Lago membership:

Like at most private clubs, initiation fees and membership dues at The Mar-a-Lago Club simply buy entry through the front door. These items aren’t included:

  • Food — Members pay a minimum dining requirement of $2,000 a year for food and drinks.
  • Golf — Members get privileges at the two Trump-branded courses in Palm Beach County but likely still must pay to play.
  • A minute with the president — Members probably will see him during the season, but there’s no guarantee.
  • Party access — Membership gets you into the club, but you’ll need an invitation and a paid seat to attend fundraising events such as the International Red Cross Ball.
  • Spa services — Members can make appointments and pay for services.

 

Senate Intelligence Committee requests Comey memos

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday asked the FBI to turn over memos written by former bureau Director James Comey as part of its ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in November’s presidential election.

>> Read more trending news

Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and Vice Chairman U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, sent a letter Wednesday asking Comey to testify before the committee in both open and closed sessions.

A separate letter, addressed to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, sought notes or memos written by Comey about conversations he had with senior White House and Department of Justice officials related to the Russia investigation.

>> Related: Report: Trump asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Comey documented each phone call and meeting he had with President Donald Trump in an apparent attempt to create a paper trail of the president’s efforts to sway investigators.

In a memo written in February, Comey wrote that Trump asked him during a one-on-one meeting to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn, The Times reported.

Flynn was forced to resign one day before the conversation between Comey and Trump, after it was revealed that Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about connections he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

>> Related: Poll: Most Americans want special prosecutor for Russia investigation

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” the New York Times reported Trump said, citing the Comey memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, on Wednesday said the committee planned to invite Comey to testify during a public hearing next week. The hearing is expected to looking specifically at Trump’s influence on the investigation into Trump, his allies and their connections to Russia.

>> Related: House committee wants Comey to testify about Trump, Russia probe

Chaffetz, in his role as committee chairman, on Tuesday requested any "memoranda, notes, summaries and records referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the president."

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee also planned to ask Comey to testify, The Hill reported.

Authorities said Russia meddled in November’s election to benefit Trump. The FBI is investigating to determine whether Trump or his associates colluded with Russia, although no evidence to support the allegation has surfaced.

House committee wants Comey to testify about Trump, Russia probe

The House Oversight Committee wants former FBI director James Comey to testify before the committee in a public hearing next week.

>> Read more trending news

Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz wrote in a tweet that Comey will be invited to a hearing scheduled for May 24.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Wednesday afternoon that he had yet to issue the invitation because Comey "evidently has a new (number)." An aide told The Hill that Chaffetz was not immediately able to connect with the former FBI director.

The hearing is expected to look specifically at whether President Donald Trump attempted to influence the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump.

The request was made after The New York Times reported that Comey detailed in a memo a conversation he had with Trump a day after former national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign. The conversation took place after the FBI launched its investigation into ties between Russia and Trump and his advisers.

>> Related: Report: Trump asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation

Flynn was 24 days into his role when reports surfaced that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Mr. Trump told Comey, according to the memo. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."

The White House has denied that Trump attempted to influence the investigation.

Multiple investigations are ongoing into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

>> Related: Paul Ryan on Russia investigation: ‘We need the facts’

The Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter Wednesday asking Comey to testify in both open and closed sessions. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee also planned to ask Comey to testify, The Hill reported.

Dates were not immediately set for those meetings.

In his role as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz on Tuesday requested "all memorandum, notes, summaries and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President" in a letter addressed to acting FBI director Andrew McCabe.

Authorities have not provided evidence that Trump's campaign staff colluded with Russia to win the presidential election.

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