“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” Trump said in a pair of tweets late Saturday.
The conservative group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records related to travel to Palm Beach by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump — as well as records on a Colorado trip by Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Aside from Trump family members, the watchdog group is suing for records related to travel since December by former President Barack Obama, Vice President Mike Pence and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
“The public controversy over President Trump’s travel will only increase if the Pentagon and Secret Service won’t disclose basic costs and other details as FOIA law requires,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Extreme transparency should be the Trump administration’s ethic, especially after eight years of lawless Obama secrecy.”
The Judicial Watch suit names the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security as defendants. The Department of Defense oversees the use of Air Force One; Homeland Security oversees the Secret Service.
In a statement this afternoon, Judicial Watch said it filed suit after the Air Force and Marine Corps didn’t respond to FOIA requests seeking “mission taskings, transportation costs and other passenger manifests” for a variety of trips:
• Then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch, from Denver to Washington in January;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach, – Feb. 3-6;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach, – Feb. 10-13;
• President Trump to Palm Beach, – Feb. 17-21;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach – Feb. 17-21;
• Pence to Houston – February;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 3-6;
• President Trump to Palm Beach – March 17-20; and
• all of President Trump’s February 2017 helicopter trips on Marine One.
Judicial Watch also says the U.S. Secret Service failed to respond to FOIA requests seeking records of costs for providing security and other services for:
• Obama to Hawaii – December-January;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – February 3-6;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – February 10-13;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – February 17-21;
• Pence to Houston – February;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 3-6;
• President Trump and Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 17-20;
• Melania Trump to Palm Beach – March 24-27;
• Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. to Aspen, Colorado – March 2017.
Here’s a pool report on the Bak visit from Ching-Yi Chang of the Shanghai Media Group:
U.S. First Lady Trump and Madame Peng of China visited Bak Middle School of the Arts, which is a local public middle school teaching arts, dance, and music, theater etc.
The two “First Ladies” visited four classes today: girl’s choir, symphonic band, advanced orchestra, and civic lesson.
Mrs. Trump wears a deep blue stylish pantsuit with a flower-patterned white scarf. And Madame Peng wears long Chinese style, elegant white top with a pair of long loose pants, and she held a purple oval clutch on her hands. Her dress is always designed and made in China.
They seemed running late behind the schedule for roughly a half hour. They arrived the first class at 11:04 AM, and they left the last class at 11:45 AM.
Prior to that, the girl students were waiting and eager see them. The students said they knew they would see Mrs. Trump and Madame Peng “just this morning”. But they knew important guests would visit, so they have practiced for quite some time.
The first class with 80 girls sang “Astonishing”. The song is about, according to whom directed it, women power and empowering women. Madame Peng kept nodding her head, seemed enjoying the song, likely because she is a famous soprano singer and she teaches singing in China. And Mrs. Trump kept smiling. After the performance, Madame Peng said “bravo” repeatedly, and then Mrs. Trump approached to the students and asked them how long they’ve practiced and what’s their passion etc.
For the next two classes, it was basically the same, the students performed, and they applauded and encouraged students.
Mrs. Trump and Madame Peng didn’t interact much in the classes. Yet, your pooler noticed that, on their way to different classes, they would talk to each other on the way with the interpreter in between them.
The final class was different. The students demonstrated their international relations projects. There were five small groups with five desks, and the two First Ladies went to each desk and talked with students. At one point, there was a ten-year-old boy student talked with Madame Peng, the boy was from China. Madame Peng talked nicely in Mandarin Chinese to the boy for a while, yet your pooler couldn’t hear clearly about their conversation. At the end of conversation, Madame Peng gave the boy a hug.
In the end of the event, a student reporter and a student cameraman went to them and did a interview, they asked Mrs. Trump why she chose the school to visit, she said she wanted to see it and meet students. And the students asked Madame Peng about her relations with arts, she said her parents were both in the field of arts, and in the end, she encouraged students to keep integrity and honest always.
A Chinese official told your pooler, developing friendship between Madame Peng and Mrs. Trump is also an important goal. As many of you may recall, Madame Peng invited former First Lady Obama to China in 2104, and that was a good effort for “First Lady Diplomacy”.
Last but not least, some reporter friends asked your pooler about whether people called Madame Peng “First Lady” in China? Not often. More people call her Prof. Peng, since she has been teaching music in several universities and colleges, and she is currently the Dean of PLA Academy of Art. So that is likely the reason why she visited Bak Middle School of the Arts today.
Trump’s acting national security adviser, Gen. Keith Kellogg — described in a Trump tweet today as “very much in play” for the permanent job — also boarded Air Force One, as did White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon.