WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s 11-day swing through Asia will include meetings to press Chinese leaders to be tougher on North Korea and more pliable on economic issues. But he will skip the Korean Demilitarized Zone to make time for meetings like ones he will have with the strongman leader of the Philippines, with whom aides say he has a “warm rapport.”
China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, told reporters on Monday that his government has been “doing everything we can on the (North) Korean issue,” according to a transcript shared by the White House Correspondents’ Association. But a senior Trump administration official a day later said there is “clearly” more that China could do to change the North’s behavior as its largest trading partner and lone remaining ally.
“The Chinese have done a great deal” in pressuring Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, “more than, I think, many expected they would do,” the senior official told reporters during a briefing to preview Trump’s trip, which starts Friday.
—CQ Roll Call
Bipartisan group introduces last-ditch bump stock bill
WASHINGTON — On the eve of the one-month anniversary of the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that takes aim at the bump stock loophole in the National Firearms Act.
The Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act explicitly empowers the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately regulate bump stocks and similar semiautomatic rifle attachments that increase the rate of fire to fully automatic.
Under the Fitzpatrick-Kildee-Titus-Trott legislation, anyone who has or wants to buy a bump stock must register it with the ATF. The registration process would include an extensive background check, fingerprinting and a $200 registration fee.
Two Democrats, Reps. Dina Titus of Nevada and Michigan’s Dan Kildee, joined forces with Republican Reps. Dave Trott of Michigan and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania to produce the bill.
The measure would not outlaw bump stocks, which were found on 12 of the rifles in the hotel room from which Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock killed 58 concertgoers and wounded more than 500 on Oct. 1.
—CQ Roll Call
Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas won’t run for re-election
DALLAS — U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling won’t run for re-election next year.
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned,” the Texas Republican wrote to supporters Tuesday.
Hensarling has represented Congressional District 5 in the Dallas area since 2003. He chairs the powerful Financial Services Committee and has been a strong voice in regulating the financial industry.
A staunch constitutional conservative, Hensarling has long believed that Congress was not a place for career politicians. Yet his announcement comes as a surprise to those who felt that he would be in line for more influential leadership posts.
The filing period for the March primary starts Nov. 11, leaving potential successors little time to make a decision and start the campaign process. District 5 includes the southeast portion of Dallas County including Mesquite and stretches southeast into Kaufman, Anderson, Henderson and Cherokee counties. It has been reliably Republican, with President Donald Trump taking 63 percent of the vote last November.
But Hensarling said Tuesday he wanted to spend more time with his family.
—The Dallas Morning News
Hundreds of recruits get sick at Marine boot camp
SAN DIEGO — More than 300 recruits at the Marines’ boot camp in San Diego are suffering from diarrheal symptoms from a bacterial outbreak, officials disclosed on Tuesday.
With most of the cases linked to Shiga toxin-causing E.coli bacteria, physicians are treating 302 patients out of the more than 5,500 candidates undergoing training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
“Our immediate focus is identifying, isolating and treating recruits who present symptoms,” said Brig. Gen. William Jurney, the commander of both the depot and the Corps’ Western Recruiting Region, in a written statement. “We are working to identify the cause of the sickness, making sure our affected recruits can return to training as soon as possible and continuing training for recruits not influenced.”
The illness was identified in recruits at both the depot and at Edson Range at Camp Pendleton. The number of cases spiked on Monday, officials said, and 10 recruits were transported to an undisclosed hospital off the base for additional care. While Marines are still trying to identify the source of the contagion, commanders have quarantined sick recruits from those who have yet to display symptoms, mandated increased hand washing and ensured proper sanitation in all training areas.
—The San Diego Union-Tribune
Catalan leader vows not to return to Spain unless he’s guaranteed a fair trial
BRUSSELS — Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont insisted that he remains the region’s president and will not return to Spain until he is guaranteed a fair trial.
Puigdemont spoke to journalists at a packed Brussels news conference across the street from European Union institutions. His arrival in Brussels on Monday with a group of other Catalan politicians sparked speculation about his plans in Belgium.
The Catalan leader said he will return “immediately” to Spain if he is guaranteed a fair trial there.
A Spanish judge on Tuesday summoned Puigdemont and five members of his former Cabinet to appear this week in Madrid as part of a rebellion probe for pushing ahead with an independence declaration.
Spain’s chief prosecutor is seeking charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement against Puigdemont, former Vice President Oriol Junqueras and a dozen members of their ousted government. Under Spanish law, the crimes are punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Investigating judge Carmen Lamela said the group should appear in the National Court on Thursday for interrogations that would last through Friday.
The Constitutional Court in Madrid separately announced Tuesday that it was suspending the Catalan parliament’s independence vote while it studies its legality.
—Los Angeles Times
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