President Donald Trump’s work day appeared to be off to a slow start on Wednesday, with the commander-in-chief apparently unable to make his commute from the White House residence to his West Wing office by 11 am, MSNBC reported.
On Tuesday, President Trump skipped his Presidential Daily Briefing and cancelled a scheduled lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
NBC News Pentagon Correspondent Hans Nichols revealed Trump’s late start during a discussion with MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi.
“Let’s talk about what happened prior to the president doing whatever he did yesterday afternoon at about 3:00 pm, there was an unscheduled principals meeting fo the National Security Council,” Velshi noted. “We also know that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got involved, as did the vice president.”
“We know the subject was Helsinki, it was Russia,” Nichols reported. “We don’t know if the president was there and we have strong suspicion he wasn’t, because he wasn’t in the West Wing yet.”
“Now I got to tell you, I just walked past the West Wing, always that telltale sign if the Marine guard is outside, that means the president is in the West Wing,” Nichols noted. ‘At 11:00, the president was still apparently in the residence.”
When the president is in the West Wing, a lone Marine sentry will stand guard, which publicly signals the commander-in-chief is at work.
The White House has used the euphemism “executive time” to refer to time Trump carves out for himself to be away from aides.
Trump reportedly likes to spend “executive time” watching Fox News, tweeting, and calling unofficial advisors.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has claimed Trump uses “executive time” to call him.
During his pre-work “executive time” on Wednesday, Trump busied himself by tweeting Kremlin talking points.
Melania Trump statue torched near her Slovenian hometown: report
On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump carved from a tree outside her hometown in Slovenia last year has been burned to the ground.
"The artist who had commissioned the sculpture, Brad Downey, had the statue removed on July 5," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "Downey, who is American but works out of Berlin, had hoped his statue of the first lady would create dialogue about American politics, given that Melania Trump is an immigrant married to a president who seeks to stem immigration. Though the investigation is still pending, Downey said he hopes to interview the perpetrators for an upcoming exhibition."
FBI investigating Chinese businessman who bankrolled media company linked to Steve Bannon
A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.
"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.
Mike Pompeo asks Egypt to stop harassing US citizens
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed Egypt's release of a US citizen but urged the ally to stop harassment of others.
Mohamed Amashah, 24, was freed Monday, nearly 16 months after he was arrested in Cairo's Tahrir Square for holding up a sign seeking the release of prisoners, according to human rights campaigners.
A dual US-Egyptian citizen who lives in New Jersey, he had gone on a hunger strike this year to protest his conditions.
"We thank Egypt for securing his release and his repatriation," Pompeo told a news conference.
"But at the same time, we urge Egyptian officials to stop unwarranted harassment of US citizens and their families who remain there," he said.