Trump Today: A mysterious arrest in Spain

Welcome to Trump Today, a one-stop entry point for the latest news on the 45th president of the United States.

The headlines


The arrest of a Russian man in Spain on a US computer crimes warrant is creating a buzz because of suggestions it may be linked to the Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election on President Donald J. Trump’s behalf.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized Russia before his first diplomatic trip there, saying it was “incompetent” for allowing Syria to keep the chemical weapons used in the horrific attack on civilians last week. He also accused the Kremlin of trying to sway US and European elections. His remarks were tougher than anything Trump has said.

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What is the Trump administration’s policy on Syria now that the US has lashed out with a Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian government air base in retaliation for that attack on civilians? Top aides weren’t completely clear on the Sunday political talk shows.

Trump made a swift, startling turnaround last week from being resigned to inaction on Syria to being determined to act. Here’s how it played out.

Tillerson said the missile attack on Syria was a message to any nation operating outside international norms. At the same time, the United States dispatched a Navy carrier strike group toward the Korean Peninsula, where North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.


After the stinging defeat of his health care bill, Trump wants to overhaul the tax code. But Democrats say that could be a big conflict of interest. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, asked, “Are our interests being protected or are these deals that somehow promote his interests?”

With Judge Neil Gorsuch slated to be sworn in Monday, here’s a profile — and a look at where the Supreme Court is headed now that he’s been appointed.

Government watchdog groups plan to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration to try to compel the White House to release logs of those who visit the complex.

The Republican president is back in Washington after four days at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida. His stay at the “Southern White House” included two days of meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and two other days when he made lengthy visits to his nearby golf club. The Palm Beach Post caught a picture of him golfing on Saturday.

Today’s schedule

Trump will attend the swearing-in of the new Supreme Court justice, Gorsuch, at 11 a.m. He also has a meeting with White House budget director Mick Mulvaney at 4 p.m. Press secretary Sean Spicer will brief the media at 1:30 p.m.

What’s he been tweeting?

Trump was quiet on Twitter Monday morning.

Over the weekend, he thanked the military for Thursday’s Syria strike in several tweets.

He also defended the decision not to strike the Syrian air base’s runways, after reports that planes were using the runways shortly after the attack.

He said he was “so sad” about the terrorist attack in Egypt.

He also said “tremendous good will and friendship” had been formed by the visit of Chinese President Xi but “only time will tell on trade.”

On Friday evening, he retweeted a tweet by his daughter Ivanka that showed her children serenading him and President Xi at Mar-a-Lago with a Chinese song.

More on the Syrian attack

Massachusetts US Senator Edward J. Markey urged Trump to lay out a strategy for Syria and seek authorization from Congress before escalating conflict any further. His points were echoed by Representative Seth Moulton, the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi and Evan Allen report.

Trump, who took less than three days to hit Syria after seeing images of a horrific chemical government attack on civilians there, is confronting the same thicket of difficult decisions that the Obama administration examined for years without coming to consensus. He’s simply gotten to that point much more quickly, the Globe’s Matt Viser reports.

More headlines

Presidential adviser Stephen Bannon benefited from an intricate multimedia machine comprising nonprofit organizations and private companies, using it to advance his conservative populist views and make millions.

Trump, tired of infighting among advisers, is considering a shakeup of his senior staff. The future of Bannon, who has feuded with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, is unclear.

More staff churn in the White House. Deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland is expected to leave her post and be named US ambassador to Singapore. McFarland had been hired by former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign. Flynn’s replacement, H.R. McMaster, is conducting a shakeup of the national security council.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to get tough on crime again, fondly recalling the drug crackdowns of several decades ago, even though today’s crime rates are relatively low. Some experts say Sessions wants to return to approaches that have been “proven not to work.”

The missile attack statement

Here’s video of Trump’s statement Thursday after the missile attack on Syria:

Comic commentary

How will the comedians on TV handle the Syrian strike, which came after a horrific gas attack on civilians?

John Oliver, who stars in HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” wondered if Trump was thinking strategically when he decided to launch the srike.

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