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Kavanaugh, China, Rosenstein: Highlights from Trump's U.N. presser.

Byline: Associated Press

Kavanaugh, China, Rosenstein: Highlights from Trump's U.N. presser

UNITED NATIONS -- The Latest on President Donald Trump's appearance at the U.N. General Assembly (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is claiming credit for saving the rebel-held Syrian stronghold of Idlib from a Russian-backed offensive that could have resulted in thousands of deaths and a humanitarian crisis.

Trump said Wednesday that he instructed his national security team to warn Russia about the operation after he heard about it from a supporter at a rally and read a news story.

He also recalled that he used his Twitter account to warn of consequences in the event that chemical weapons were used there by Syrian forces who were poised to enter the province with Iranian proxy fighters and Russian air support.

The offensive was postponed indefinitely earlier this month after the leaders of Russia and Turkey reached a deal declaring a de-militarized zone around Idlib, which is home to 3 million residents and around 60,000 fighters, including some of the world's most radical.

Some estimates put the number of radical fighters at about 10,000. The deal aims to end their presence in Idlib.

5:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is dismissing as "fake news" reports that he was laughed at during the opening moments of his speech before the U.N. General Assembly.

Trump says the heads of states and delegates in the audience "weren't laughing at me. They were laughing with me."

Trump opened Tuesday's speech by boasting about an American economy that he says is "booming like never before." He also claimed his administration had accomplished more in the less than two years he's held office than any other administration at the same point.

His boast elicited laughter from the audience.

Trump insisted at a news conference on Wednesday that "they did not laugh at me. People had a good time with me."

4:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he has rejected a one-on-one meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the tariff dispute involving the two countries. He's also threatening to place tariffs on cars imported from Canada as trade talks between the two neighbors drag on.

Trump says during a news conference in New York that Canada has treated the U.S. "very badly" during the trade talks.

Canada was left out when the United States and Mexico reached an agreement last month to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S. and Canada are under pressure to reach a deal by Sept. 30.

Trump is suggesting he may go forward with a revamped NAFTA without Canada. The president says it would be called "USM," for the U.S. and Mexico, instead of "USMC."

4:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the numerous accusations of sexual assault that have been made against him over the years affect the way he views allegations against other men, including his Supreme Court pick.

Trump says at a New York news conference that he views such accusations "differently" because he's "had a lot of false charges made against me."

Here are his own words: "It's happened to me many times."

Trump says he'd been accused -- falsely -- by "four or five women" who "got paid a lot of money" to made those charges.

More than a dozen women came forward during the 2016 presidential campaign, claiming they were assaulted, groped or kissed without consent by Trump. There's no evidence most were paid.

Also during the campaign, a videotape from 2005 was released on which Trump was heard boasting of grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission.

4:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is insisting he has evidence that China is attempting to meddle in the U.S. midterm elections.

At a news conference Wednesday in New York, a reporter asked Trump what evidence he has to back up the accusation, which China has denied.

He says he can't disclose what evidence he has, but that it will come out. He says his allegation did not come "out of nowhere."

The Trump administration says China is stepping up covert and overt activities to stifle free speech, punish those who support the president's tough trade stance against China and interfere in the U.S. political system.

The administration says China is hurting farmers and workers in pro-Trump states and districts.

According to Trump, China has "actually admitted that they're going after farmers."

4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he would "certainly prefer not" to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and says he may delay a highly anticipated meeting with him.

Trump said Wednesday that Rosenstein denied making remarks attributed to him in a New York Times report, including that Rosenstein discussed secretly recording Trump last year.

Trump and Rosenstein had been scheduled to meet Thursday.

Trump says he may postpone that meeting because he is focused on an extraordinary Senate committee hearing set for the same day with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

4:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's open to changing his mind on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh -- if the evidence at Thursday's Senate committee hearing is compelling.

Trump says at a news conference in New York that he'll watch the testimony from Kavanaugh and a woman who's accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

The president was asked about whether he might be persuaded to withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination. Trump said: "If I thought he was guilty of something like this ... yeah, sure."

Trump is calling Kavanaugh was "one of the highest quality people" he's ever met. The president insists the accusations are false and he's accusing Democrats of playing politics.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 27, 2018
Words:962
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