Saturday News: Grifters gonna grift


TRUMP EARNS TENS OF MILLIONS FROM HOTEL AND RESORT PROPERTIES: The Trump-branded hotel blocks from the White House has quickly generated almost $20 million of income for the Trump Organization while Mar-A-Lago, the private club used as a “Southern White House,” has seen profits climb nearly 25 percent — figures that are sure to fuel ethics advocates’ charges that Donald Trump is profiting off the presidency. One marquis property showing income gain is the Palm Beach resort called the Mar-A-Lago Club, which Trump calls his southern White House and it doubled its initiation fees to $200,000 in January, weeks before Trump took office. The disclosure form includes reported income of $37.2 million for the Florida resort, up sharply from $29.8 million in the prior year’s report.

CUBANS CONCERNED ABOUT TRUMP'S REVERSAL OF OBAMA INITIATIVES: President Donald Trump on Friday is expected to give America's Cuba policy its second major change in three years during an appearance in Miami, reviving the Cold War goal of starving Cuba's communist system of cash. Stopping short of a complete turnabout, Trump will announce a revised policy aimed at stopping the flow of U.S. dollars to the country's military and security services while maintaining diplomatic relations and allowing U.S. airlines and cruise ships to continue service to the island, White House officials said Thursday. Ordinary Cubans have been bracing for the worst. Across the island, people of all ages, professions and political beliefs expect rising tensions and fewer American visitors. And while some Cuban exiles in South Florida are celebrating, others question the wisdom of undoing a policy that had started showing results by increasing the number of Cubans economically independent of the government.

TRUMP BOUNCES BETWEEN TEMPER TANTRUMS AND TWITTER BLASTS OVER BEING INVESTIGATED: Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit — and potentially end — his presidency. Some of his ire is aimed at Rosenstein and investigative special counsel Robert Mueller, both of whom the president believes are biased against him, associates say. Aides have counseled the president to stay off Twitter and focus on other aspects of his job. Yet Trump's angry tweets on Friday underscored the near-impossible challenge his advisers and legal team have in trying to get him to avoid weighing in on an active probe.

NCGA LEADERS SAY THEY EXPECT BUDGET COMPROMISE TO BE READY FOR MONDAY VOTES: After two weeks of closed-door negotiations, House and Senate leaders predict they'll have a final budget deal to unveil Monday. On Friday, lead budget-writers for the two chambers were walking back and forth between the corner offices. House senior Appropriations chair Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said Friday afternoon that the two sides were "on the way to conclusion," and that they hoped to agree on all the major items by the end of the day. However, there are usually a few smaller issues left on the table for the "corner offices" - the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem - to settle at the end. And legislative staff will need time to draft, proofread and print the final bill and accompanying documents.

7 US SAILORS MISSING AFTER CONTAINER SHIP COLLIDES WITH DESTROYER NEAR JAPAN: Seven Navy sailors were missing and the captain and at least two others were injured after a U.S. destroyer and a container ship collided off the coast of Japan before dawn Saturday, the U.S. Navy and Japanese coast guard reported. Rescuers were searching for the seven sailors who were thought to have been thrown into the sea or possibly trapped inside damaged sections of the destroyer, said Japanese coast guard spokesman Yoshihito Nakamura. None of the crew of the container ship was reported injured. The area is particularly busy with sea traffic, said Yutaka Saito of the coast guard. The Navy, Japanese maritime defense vessels and the coast guard were working to stabilize the destroyer as it headed to shore, said Navy chief Adm. John Richardson. The Navy said that the collision occurred 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, which is home to the 7th Fleet.