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British PM Theresa May to confront Donald Trump over US leaks regarding Manchester Bombing

In Brussels for the NATO summit, May told reporters that the deep defense and security partnership between the U.S. and Britain "is built on trust and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently."

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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the NATO summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017.Source-VOA
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Brussels, May 25, 2017: British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will raise concerns on Thursday with President Donald Trump over U.S. leaks to the media revealing details of the Manchester bombing investigation.

In Brussels for the NATO summit, May told reporters that the deep defense and security partnership between the U.S. and Britain “is built on trust and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently.”

“I will be making it clear to President Trump today that inteligence that is shared between law enforcement agency must remain secure,” she said.

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In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said the “alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling.” “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to
launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

Police working on the Manchester case, who are “furious about the disclosures,” have stopped sharing information with their American counterparts, according to media reports.

The halt in sharing with the United States of police information about the attack will remain in place until assurances are received from Washington that there will be no further leaks, news reports said Thursday.

Various U.S. media outlets reported the name of the suicide bomber, attributing the information to American officials, before it was released by British officials. The New York Times subsequently published forensic photographs from the attack, which had not been officially released.

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People attend a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended Monday night.
People attend a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended Monday night, VOA

Terrorism fight to top talks

Before meetings this week with NATO leaders, Trump has called terrorism the “number one” problem facing the world, and said we are “making tremendous progress” in the fight against terror.

Trump, meeting Wednesday with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, said the United States and NATO will work on “various problems,” but Trump pointed to the suicide bombing Monday in Britain and noted terrorism is at the top of the list.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel prior to a meeting at the Royal Palace in Brussels, May 24, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel prior to a meeting at the Royal Palace in Brussels, May 24, 2017, VOA

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“When you see something like that happened a few days ago, you realize how important it is to win this fight, and we will win this fight,” he said.

Aboard Air Force One, on the flight from Italy to Belgium, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump would be “very tough” on NATO allies Thursday and tell them “you need to make sure you’re doing your share for your security as well.”

Trump wants to “persuade NATO members to step up and fully meet their obligations under burden sharing the two percent of GDP is a target they all agreed to,” Tillerson told reporters.

“We have to be able to increase defense spending when tensions are going up. And tensions are going up,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Thursday.

The defense alliance is expected to give the U.S. president at least one big thing he wants, a commitment to the coalition to fight Islamic State.

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“We do think that would be a really important step for them to take,” Tillerson said.

Reassuring allies

Trump is likely to allay NATO members’ concerns about his administration’s commitment to the pact’s mutual assistance pledge, something that has been in doubt.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017, VOA

During a ceremony Thursday, Trump is expected to endorse Article 5, under which any NATO member agrees to come to the aid of an ally under attack. The only time it has been invoked was when al-Qaida terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

Previous stops

Trump arrived in Brussels Wednesday following talks with the Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome. Trump said on Twitter after the meeting he is “more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017, VOA

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Prior to Wednesday’s meeting with the pope, Trump spent several days touring the Middle East and meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as other leaders in the Muslim world. While speaking to dozens of Muslim leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he called for Muslim unity in the fight against terrorism.

After participating in the inauguration of a new NATO headquarters and a meeting of the alliance’s leaders, the president will return to Italy, specifically the island of Sicily, for the Group of Seven summit.

May is to cut short her attendance at the NATO leaders’ meeting in Brussels amid a critical-level threat of another terrorist attack in her country. (VOA)

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President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

Trump
supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

Climate Change, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

Trump, USA
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)