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Discussions between U.S., North Korea moving quickly, officials say

Discussions between the U.S. and North Korea “have moved more quickly than expected,” White House officials said in a statement released on the eve of a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

>> Read more trending news

Trump arrived Sunday in Singapore, where the meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday. He told reporters he felt “very good” about the planned summit.

>> Trump arrives in Singapore for historic summit

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. local time Tuesday. White House officials said they will meet one-on-one, with only translators present, before holding an expanded bilateral meeting that will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

After the bilateral meeting, Trump and Kim will hold a working lunch. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim and Matt Pottinger, the National Security Council’s senior director for Asia, will be part of the lunch, officials said.

>> Photos: North Korea's Kim Jong Un arrives in Singapore for historic summit

Trump will address reporters after Tuesday’s meetings. He’s scheduled to speak with the media around 8 p.m. local time before leaving Singapore for the U.S.

The meeting between Trump and Kim is scheduled to take place nearly two weeks after the president met with North Korea’s former military intelligence chief at the White House. Kim Yong Chol was the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the White House in 18 years.

>> Trump says North Korea summit will go on after meeting with top Kim Jong Un aide

The president said he hopes Tuesday’s summit will be the start of improved relations between the U.S. and North Korea.

“I think it will be a process,” Trump said June 1. “I never said it will go in one meeting, but the relationships are building, and that’s a big positive.”

Tony Awards 2018: Robert De Niro blasts Trump in bleeped comments

Actor Robert De Niro let viewers of the 2018 Tony Awards know exactly how he feels about President Donald Trump, lobbing profanity at the commander in chief after taking the stage during Sunday night's broadcast.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Tony Awards red carpet

"I'm just going to say one thing: [Expletive] Trump!" said De Niro, who was introducing Bruce Springsteen's performance of "My Hometown."

"It's no longer, 'Down with Trump.' It's, '[Expletive] Trump!'" De Niro added.

>> See the moment here (WARNING: Censored profanity)

CBS censored the language in its broadcast of the awards ceremony, but the audience at New York's Radio City Music Hall heard every word, The Associated Press reported. Many responded with a standing ovation.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Tony Awards show

According to Deadline, a spokeswoman for CBS addressed the controversy in a statement, calling De Niro's insult "unscripted and unexpected." 

>> 2018 Tony Awards: ‘The Band’s Visit,’ complete winner list

"The offensive language was deleted from the broadcast," the spokeswoman said.

>> Read more trending news 

Read more here or here.

Photos: North Korea's Kim Jong Un arrives in Singapore for historic summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has landed in Singapore for Tuesday's highly anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump says he won't back G-7 statement, slams Trudeau; Merkel shares tense photo

President Donald Trump announced Saturday evening that he won't endorse a G-7 statement on fair trade while lashing out at Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau in a pair of heated tweets.

>> Trump: North Korea summit is ‘one-time shot,’ Russia would be ‘good ally’

Earlier in the day, Trudeau told media outlets that leaders from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Japan had reached an agreement on the statement, or "communique," amid recent spats over trade and tariffs, NBC News and The Associated Press reported.

"We acknowledge that free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation," the statement said, NBC News reported.

>> PREVIOUSLY: Jamie Dupree: President Trump trades barbs with allies on eve of G-7 Summit

But that all changed after Trudeau's announcement about the agreement, during which he said: "As Canadians, we are polite, we’re reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around."

"Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!" Trump posted Saturday evening after leaving the G-7 summit early to travel to Singapore for a highly anticipated summit with North Korea.

>> Read more trending news 

In a second tweet, he added: "PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, 'US Tariffs were kind of insulting' and he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!"

>> See the tweets here

Earlier Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared a photo on Instagram of a tense moment at the G-7 summit. In the now-viral image, Merkel faces Trump with her hands on a table as Trump looks forward with his arms crossed.

"Day two of the G7 summit in Canada: spontaneous meeting between two working sessions," the caption read, along with the hashtag #G7Charlevoix.

>> See the photo here

Read more here or here.

'I feel like my life is starting over,' Alice Johnson says after Trump commutes life sentence

Alice Johnson, the 63-year-old woman released from prison Wednesday after President Donald Trump commuted her life sentence, said that she feels like her life is starting over after she spent more than two decades jailed for nonviolent drug offenses.

>> Read more trending news

“I’m just so thankful,” Johnson told reporters gathered Wednesday outside the Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville in Alabama. “This is a miracle day.”

>> Trump commutes Alice Johnson's sentence after meeting with Kim Kardashian West

Johnson was reunited with her family 22 years after she was convicted of charges connected to a Memphis-based cocaine trafficking operation.

In an appearance Thursday morning on the “Today” show, Johnson said her heart leaped when she saw her family gathered outside the prison.

“We are going to appreciate every single moment we have,” she said. “Sometimes we take family and life for granted. I’ll never do that again.”

>> Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West meets with Trump over prison reform

She added that she hopes to use her newfound freedom to help people still in the prison system.

“I can’t just walk away and forget about those who have been left behind,” she said. “I want to take this chance to try to magnify what has happened with me, so that people will remember there are people just like me who are first-time nonviolent offenders who pose no safety risk to their communities.”

She told CNN on Thursday that even though it had only been one day since her release, she already had a job lined up.

“My plan is to start work,” she said. “And my plan is also to work hard on helping to change some of these laws. Something has to happen, and I believe what has already begun is a good first step with prison reform.”

Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence Wednesday, one week after celebrity socialite Kim Kardashian West pleaded her case in a meeting with the president. Johnson thanked both Trump and Kardashian West in several interviews Wednesday and Thursday.

“Only God could have touched Kim K’s heart like that,” Johnson told CNN. "She said she felt a connection when she saw and heard my story."

The president shared well-wishes for Johnson in a tweet Thursday morning.

The president has issued several pardons since his January 2017 inauguration. Last week he pardoned conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws.

Melania Trump makes first official appearance in 24 days

She's back.

According to CNN, first lady Melania Trump, who hadn't made any official appearances since May 10, attended a private White House event for Gold Star families Monday afternoon. 

>> Read more trending news 

Although the reception was closed to the media, a video from the event quickly circulated on Twitter.

>> See the video here

Trump also tweeted photos from the event.

"Tonight @POTUS & I were honored to pay tribute to our fallen heroes," she wrote. "Thank you to the Gold Star families that joined us in celebration & remembrance." 

>> See her tweet here

The news followed weeks of rumors and speculation about the first lady, who last appeared publicly when she and her husband, President Donald Trump, welcomed three American detainees released from North Korea. Soon afterward, she had surgery "for a benign kidney condition," CNN reported.

Read more here.

Trump says he has 'absolute right' to pardon himself

President Donald Trump said he has “the absolute right to PARDON” himself in a tweet Monday morning but added that he has “done nothing wrong” as the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election continues.

>> Read more trending news

The president also claimed that the appointment last year of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia probe “is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”

The tweets were posted after Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested during interviews on a pair of Sunday TV shows that as president, Trump has the authority to pardon himself.

“He probably does,” have the authority, Giuliani said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “He has no intention of pardoning himself, but he probably – not to say he can’t.”

However, Giuliani told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump pardoning himself “would be unthinkable and probably lead to immediate impeachment.”

Giuliani's comments came as the White House sharpened its legal and political defenses against the special counsel Russia probe, which Trump has repeatedly called a “witch hunt.”

Mueller’s investigation, launched in May 2017, has led to charges against several people connected to the Trump presidential campaign and its officials.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation

The president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has pleaded not guilty to a variety of money laundering and other criminal charges stemming from the probe. Five people -- including former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aides Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos -- have pleaded guilty to charges in the probe and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Trump says North Korea summit will go on after meeting with top Kim Jong Un aide

President Donald Trump said Friday that the scrapped June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on again after a week of uncertainty.

>> Read more trending news

Trump met Friday with North Korea’s former military intelligence chief at the White House, making him the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit in 18 years. The meeting between Trump and Kim Yong Chol, described by NPR as Kim Jong Un’s “right-hand man,” lasted for more than an hour.

>> N. Korea says it’s still willing to meet with Trump after sudden cancellation of summit

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 1: Trump said he hopes that the June 12 meeting will be the first of many between U.S. and North Korean officials.

"I think it will be a process,” Trump told reporters after Friday’s meeting. “I never said it will go in one meeting but the relationships are building, and that's a big positive.”

The president confirmed he was given a letter from Kim Jong Un, though he declined to discuss details. It was not immediately clear whether he had read the note.

“It was a very interesting letter,” he said a few minutes before telling reporters he had yet to open Kim Jong Un’s letter.

Trump said Thursday that Kim Yong Chol planned to deliver a letter from Kim Jong Un as the two countries continued work to salvage the canceled planned for June 12 in Singapore.

Original report: American and North Korean officials held a trio of meetings around the globe Thursday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had a “substantive” discussion in New York with Kim Yong Chol and others. Meanwhile, a U.S. delegation met with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. In Singapore, officials from both countries met to discuss logistics.

>> Pompeo: 'Good progress' made toward historic summit with North Korean, US officials

"I think it will be very positive,” Trump said of Thursday’s discussions. “We will see what happens. It is all a process."

If the summit takes place, it will be a historic meeting between the two nations.

Trump on May 24 abruptly canceled the planned meeting in a letter addressed to Kim Jong Un, citing the country’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.” However, he didn’t dismiss the possibility that the meeting could be rescheduled. North Korean officials also said they'd still be willing to meet face-to-face, despite the tension.

Pompeo: 'Good progress' made toward historic summit with North Korean, US officials

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Thursday with North Korea's former military intelligence chief to continue discussions aimed at salvaging a scrapped meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

>> Read more trending news

Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, described by NPR as “Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man,” Thursday morning in New York City after the pair started discussions over dinner one night earlier.

Pompeo said after the meeting that Thursday’s discussion was “substantive” and that “good progress” had been made toward re-establishing the planned June 12 meeting in Singapore.

“We discussed our priorities for the potential summit between our leaders,” he wrote. “#NorthKorea and the world would benefit greatly from the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump said Thursday morning that officials were having “very good meetings with North Korea.”

“I believe they will be coming down to Washington on Friday (with) a letter being delivered to me from Kim Jong Un,” he told reporters gathered at Join Base Andrews. “It is very important to them.”

He said he still hopes that North Korean and U.S. officials can meet next month despite his decision last week to cancel the summit amid tension with North Korea.

>> N. Korea says it’s still willing to meet with Trump after sudden cancellation of summit

"I think it will be very positive,” Trump said of Thursday’s discussions. “We will see what happens. It is all a process."

Two other meetings related to the planned summit also took place Thursday, according to The Washington Post. A U.S. delegation was meeting Thursday with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. In Singapore, officials from both countries met to discuss logistics.

If the summit takes place, it will be a historic meeting between the two nations.

Trump on May 24 abruptly canceled the summit in a letter addressed to Kim Jong Un, citing the country’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.” However, he didn’t dismiss the possibility that the meeting could be rescheduled. North Korean officials also said they'd still be willing to meet face-to-face, despite the tension.

Trump denies he fired Comey over Russia investigation

President Donald Trump denied on Thursday that he fired former FBI director James Comey in May 2017 because of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, despite previously saying that he had the investigation in mind while considering whether to fire Comey.

>> Read more trending news

“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” Trump wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”

The president has denied multiple times that he fired Comey over the Russia investigation, however, he told NBC News in 2017 that he was thinking about “this Russia thing” when he came to his decision.

>> Comey first heard he was fired from television reports; thought it was a prank

“When I decided to do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,” he said. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”

>> Who is James Comey? Things to know about the former FBI director

Comey was fired on May 9, 2017, four years into his role as FBI director. President Barack Obama had appointed him in September 2013 to serve as the nation’s top cop.

White House officials have said the termination was prompted by Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time in office.

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