US Politics in Trump era
John Bolton fired: Trump fires national security adviser, saying he ‘disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions’
President Trump announced Tuesday that he had fired his national security adviser, John Bolton, saying in tweets that he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” Trump’s harshly worded tweet made clear that long-simmering frustration with Bolton had boiled over. Bolton immediately took issue with Trump’s assertion that he was fired, saying that he had offered his resignation.
Last year, when many GOP candidates across the country turned to vicious anti-immigrant advertisements to turn out voters in the midterm elections, some turned to i360, Koch’s state-of-the-art data analytics company. The company is one of the several appendages of the Koch political machine — one that includes a suite of voter outreach organization, lobbying, and campaign messaging tools.
National conservative leaders are pushing for President Trump to take an ax to federal spending if he is reelected. This year’s ongoing Alaska budget crisis shows how politically unpopular that would be. Alaska has been spending beyond its means for years. The state levies no statewide personal income or sales tax and instead relies mainly on revenue from oil production to finance its state government.
Mick Mulvaney’s battles with Alexander Acosta began almost immediately. Weeks after he was named acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney summoned the labor secretary for a tense January encounter that became known inside the West Wing as “the woodshed meeting.” Mulvaney told Acosta in blunt terms that the White House believed he was dragging his feet on regulation rollbacks desired by business interests and that he was on thin ice as a result, according to advisers and a person close to the White House. Soon after, Acosta proposed a spate of business-friendly rules on overtime pay and other policies
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the challengers opposed to partisan gerrymandering, the practice in which the party that controls the state legislature draws voting maps to help elect its candidates. The vote in two cases was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. The court appeared to close the door on such claims.
When it comes to conservatives and the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion and labor rights are often considered among their prime targets. Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the court last fall, though, opened the road for a host of other challenges for which conservatives have quietly been laying the groundwork for years. This month, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm based in California, made moves on one of those fronts, asking the Supreme Court to take up a case challenging the constitutionality of inclusionary zoning — a popular tool cities and states employ to increase affordable housing and promote residential integration.
Conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas is launching yet another project to wage war on multiple fronts of America’s most heated cultural and political debates. This time, however, her plan will include a project to “protect President Trump” using at least two new campaign-related political entities, according to a presentation obtained by The Intercept and Documented.
As the Trump administration maintains the friendliest U.S. relationship with the Israeli right in history, Texas has become one of the most pro-Israel states in the country. It has forged ties with Israeli settlements and aggressively enforced a law targeting advocates of boycotting Israel. Its exports to Israel last year topped $900 million, and its imports from Israel are valued at $1.5 billion, according to the Texas Economic Development Corporation.
Manipulated videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made it seem as if she were stumbling over and slurring her words continued to spread across social media on Friday, fueled by President Trump’s feud with the Democratic leader.
For more than 20 years, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health have partnered to fund a unique nationwide program studying environmental impacts on children’s health. No more. The Trump administration is zeroing out the EPA contribution to the program, forcing many of the 13 university-based research centers to curtail their multiyear projects and leaving the NIH to scramble for a rescue plan.
At a luxury resort just outside of the nation’s capital last month, around four dozen senior congressional staffers decamped for a weekend of relaxation and discussion at Salamander Resort & Spa. It was an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together and listen to live music from the Trailer Grass Orchestra, sip surprisingly impressive glasses of Virginia wine — and hear from health care lobbyists focused on defeating Medicare for All.
The Trump administration informed a federal appeals court on Monday night that it would no longer defend the Affordable Care Act after a judge in Texas declared that the entire law must be struck down. The judge, Reed O’Connor, is a former Republican Senate staffer with a history of striking down policies opposed by conservatives. O’Connor’s opinion is widely viewed as ridiculous, even by conservative legal scholars and health policy experts.
America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21bn saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives.
With the nation's eyes largely elsewhere in a sea of distraction on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee quietly advanced 44 of President Donald Trump's federal judicial nominees in what civil rights defenders denounced as a "monster markup" that threatens to leave the president's dangerous ideological footprint on the nation's courts for generations to come.
In the latest example of Russian officials rubbing elbows with members of the American right, a newly emerged photo shows Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson standing alongside a key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev.
Last month, a new leak site called Distributed Denial of Secrets went live, compiling a cache of hacked emails and documents of Russian officials, confidants of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, and those steering Russian interference efforts. Among the revelations: A higher-up at the Bradley Foundation, one of the main financiers of right-wing groups in the U.S. — including the Daily Caller News Foundation and anti-immigrant organizations — apparently attended a notorious “pro-family” conference in Russia in 2014, held shortly after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
As U.S. lawmakers, civil society leaders, and Latin America experts continue to warn against American intervention in Venezuela's internal political affairs, the Wall Street Journal on Friday confirmed suspicions that opposition leader Juan Guaido's move to declare himself "interim president" of Venezuela this week was highly coordinated with the Trump White House and Republican lawmakers.
For two years, they tried to tutor and confine him. They taught him history, explained nuances and gamed out reverberations. They urged careful deliberation, counseled restraint and prepared talking points to try to sell mainstream actions to a restive conservative base hungry for disruption. But in the end, they failed.
For months, Donald Trump and his fellow right-wing extremists have adamantly insisted that Flynn is innocent, the victim of a partisan witch hunt who would ultimately be exonerated and expose the entire Russia investigatory apparatus as a fraud. Flynn’s own lawyers argued as much in their sentencing memo, suggesting that the FBI acted inappropriately in failing to adequately disclose that lying to federal agents was a crime. As recently as Tuesday morning, bloviators on Fox News were convinced that Judge Sullivan would use his judicial discretion and toss out the entire case.
Hobby Lobby is the single most significant court victory ever achieved by America’s religious right. Before Hobby Lobby, religious conservatives could not wield their faith to undercut the rights of other people. After Hobby Lobby conservative religious objections may be used to narrow the rights of third-parties. Yet a passage in Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion for the Court in Hobby Lobby could — or at least, should — take on an entirely unexpected significance after Reed O’Connor, a partisan operative turned federal judge, struck down the entire Affordable Care Act on Friday in a case called Texas v. United States.
A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.
Conservative Sen. Mike Lee is taking a lone stand against a Trump nominee, blocking her from joining the office that takes workplace complaints because of her support for LGBTQ rights. Lee has argued that the nominee, Chai Feldblum, wants to “use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters” and called for a nominee “who respects the institution of marriage and religious freedom for all Americans.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio broke with his party by blasting last year’s tax overhaul for benefiting corporations rather than workers. “When corporation uses profits for stock buy back it’s deciding that returning capital to shareholders is better for business than investing in their products or workers,” Rubio said in a tweet Thursday. “Tax code encourages this. No surprise we have work life that is unstable & low paying.”
The guilty plea Thursday of a woman accused of infiltrating the National Rifle Association on behalf of the Russian government has thrust the powerful conservative group into an uncomfortable spotlight as the organization appears to be facing declining donations and signs its fearsome political influence may be waning.
It’s official: Fox News is the propaganda mouthpiece of the Trump White House. How do I know? Not just because Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro are happy to appear on stage with Trump to campaign for Republican candidates. It's because the connection is now financial: Trump aide and former Fox News executive Bill Shine continues to get paid by Fox News. Shine formally resigned from Fox to become Trump's deputy chief of staff for communications last July. But Fox is continuing to make payments to Shine, totaling $3.5 million this year, and another $3.5 million in 2019.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in just one number: $343 billion. That’s the increase between the deficit for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018 — that is, the difference between the fiscal year before Ryan became speaker of the House and the fiscal year in which he retired. If the economy had fallen into recession between 2015 and 2018, Ryan’s record would be understandable. But it didn’t. I
The Trump administration has shut down at least one government-run study that uses fetal tissue implanted into mice even before federal health officials reach a decision on whether to continue such research, which is opposed by antiabortion groups.
The National Rifle Association spent $30 million to help elect Donald Trump—more than any other independent conservative group. Most of that sum went toward television advertising, but a political message loses its power if it fails to reach the right audience at the right time. For the complex and consequential task of placing ads in key markets across the nation in 2016, the NRA turned to a media strategy firm called Red Eagle Media.
Thomas Hardiman, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, made what should have been viewed as a shocking declaration for a federal judge. Hardiman told the crowd at the 2018 Federalist Society Convention: “If I were able to do something unilaterally, I would probably institute a new federal rule that said that all cases worth less than $500,000 will be tried without any discovery.” The audience applauded. A fellow panelist, Judge Amul Thapar of the 6th Circuit, chimed in, “Can I say amen?” Thapar later repeated his endorsement of the idea.
The 41st and 45th presidents may have differed greatly in their approach to politics. But when it comes to their legacies, one thing is exactly the same: Both nominated men to the Supreme Court who would be accused of sexual misconduct, and both stood behind those men in their confirmation battles. Clarence Thomas has now served on the Supreme Court for 27 years, his decisions affecting Americans long after Bush, a one-term president, left office. Brett Kavanaugh is also likely to serve on the Court for decades, long outlasting Trump’s presidency no matter what happens in 2020.
During his 20 months in office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has swept in perhaps the most dramatic political shift in memory at the Justice Department, from the civil rights-centered agenda of the Obama era to one that favors his hard-line conservative views on immigration, civil rights and social issues.
Last year, before he became a supreme court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh hired the son of a close friend to serve as his clerk, even though the clerk had not earned a spot on the Yale Law Journal, as almost all Kavanaugh’s previous Yale clerks had. The decision to hire Clayton Kozinski, son of the now disgraced judge Alex Kozinski, smacked of the kind of cronyism that is rife in federal courts. It was especially common for Kavanaugh, who not only had a reputation for hiring “model-like” female clerks, but also the children of powerful friends and allies.
On Thursday night, conservative legal operative Ed Whelan sent a series of tweets suggesting that the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh were likely a case of mistaken identity. His evidence was that a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s kind of looked like him, and lived in a childhood home that sounded similar to the home where Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, described the assault taking place.
Ms. Butina’s efforts to deal in Russian jet fuel, detailed in hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails, were notable not just for their whiff of foreign intrigue but for who they involved: David Keene, a former president of the National Rifle Association and a prominent leader of the conservative movement, who has advised Republican candidates from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney. They also involved Mr. Keene’s wife, Donna, a well-connected Washington lobbyist, and Ms. Butina’s boyfriend, Paul Erickson, who ran Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and who moved in rarefied conservative circles despite allegations of fraud in three states.
President Trump warned evangelical leaders Monday night that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if Republicans lose control of Congress in the midterm elections. Speaking to the group in the State Dining Room of the White House, Mr. Trump painted a stark picture of what losing the majority would mean for the administration’s conservative agenda, according to an audiotape of his remarks provided to The New York Times by someone who attended the event.
President Trump lashed out at the Koch brothers Tuesday, saying their conservative political funding and policy network has “become a total joke in real Republican circles” and is “highly overrated. The president’s assessment, made in a flurry of morning tweets, followed a weekend gathering at which top officials affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch sought to distance the network from Trump and his base in the Republican Party, citing tariff and immigration policies and “divisive” rhetoric out of Washington.
The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina this month that his department was studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to account for inflation in determining capital gains tax liabilities.
Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, in a move that marks a dramatic escalation in the battle over the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The effort, led by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), also sets up a showdown with House Republican leaders, who have distanced themselves from calls to remove Rosenstein from office.
The U.S. Treasury said on Monday that it will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities. But the move frees labor unions, issue advocacy organizations, veterans groups and other nonprofits that do not receive tax-exempt money from meeting confidential disclosure requirements set in place decades ago.
Imran Awan: Congressional IT staffer reaches plea deal that debunks conspiracy theories about illegal information access
Federal prosecutors concluded an 18-month investigation into a former congressional technology staffer on Tuesday by publicly debunking allegations — promoted by conservative media and President Trump — suggesting he was a Pakistani operative who stole government secrets with cover from House Democrats.
When I visited McConnels library at the university of Louisville while researching my 2014 biography on McConnell, I was struck by what was missing: exhibits on actual governing accomplishments from the Senate majority leader’s four decades in elected office. That absence confirmed my thesis that McConnell, far more even than other politicians, was motivated by the game of politics — winning elections and rising in the leadership ranks, achieving power for power’s sake — more than by any lasting policy goals.
There were no direct efforts to pressure or lobby Justice Kennedy to announce his resignation on Wednesday, and it was hardly the first time a president had done his best to create a court opening. But in subtle and not so subtle ways, the White House waged a quiet campaign to ensure that Mr. Trump had a second opportunity in his administration’s first 18 months to fulfill one of his most important campaign promises to his conservative followers — that he would change the complexion and direction of the Supreme Court.
Starting over Fourth of July weekend, the political network funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is planning to release attack ads targeting seven senators who voted against President Donald Trump's $15.4 billion spending cuts package
The Supreme Court dealt a major blow on Wednesday to organized labor. By a 5-to-4 vote, with the more conservative justices in the majority, the court ruled that government workers who choose not to join unions may not be required to help pay for collective bargaining.
In a 5-to-4 vote, the court’s conservatives said the president’s statutory power over immigration was not undermined by his history of incendiary statements about the dangers he said Muslims pose to Americans. Mr. Trump, who has battled court challenges to the travel ban since the first days of his administration, hailed the decision to uphold his third version of an executive order as a “tremendous victory” and promised to continue using his office to defend the country against terrorism and extremism.
President Trump, spurred on by conservatives who want him to slash safety net programs, unveiled on Thursday a plan to overhaul the federal government that could have a profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans.
The Supreme Court held on Monday that employers can force their employees to sign away many of their rights to sue their employers. As a practical matter, Monday’s decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis will enable employers to engage in small-scale wage theft with impunity, so long as they spread the impact of this theft among many employees.
The new national security adviser has been quietly taking advice from a few associates. Some have business interests that overlap with the National Security Council. Nearly two months into Mr. Bolton’s tenure, some people familiar with the N.S.C. say the influence of his associates can be seen in the agency’s effort to crack down on leaks, as well as an exodus of agency staff and a roster of candidates now under consideration to take their place, and have taken to calling the associates a “shadow N.S.C.”
The House, in a striking display of Republican division, rejected a massive farm bill on Friday that would have imposed strict new work requirements on beneficiaries of federal food aid while continuing farm subsidies popular with rural voters. The twice-a-decade farm policy measure failed on a 213-to-198 vote, after a key bloc of conservatives rebuked Speaker Paul D. Ryan over his refusal to schedule an immediate vote on a restrictive immigration bill sponsored by the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia.
Trump calls on Congress to pull back $15 billion in spending, including on Children’s Health Insurance Program
“Let’s be honest about what this is: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to tear apart the bipartisan [CHIP], hurting middle-class families and low-income children, to appease the most conservative special interests and feel better about blowing up the deficit to give the wealthiest few and biggest corporations huge tax breaks,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday.
More than just an ideologically radical opinion, Judge Ho’s dissent from the full United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision not to rehear Zimmerman v. City of Austin is a monument to conservative political rhetoric and right-wing historical myths. It’s the sort of commentary one would expect to find in an especially strident political magazine — perhaps one of the publications one of Ho’s current law clerks used to write for. It is emphatically not the sort of writing one expects to find in a judicial opinion.
Media Giant Sinclair Hired Reporter From Russian Propaganda Outlet RT Who Produced ‘Must-Run’ ‘Deep State’ Segment
The United States' largest owner of television stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, mandated that its outlets run a segment on the so-called deep state that was produced by a former reporter for the Russian propaganda outlet RT, according to a new report.
Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information from a huge swath of the electorate to develop techniques that were later used in the Trump campaign. Details of Cambridge’s acquisition and use of Facebook data have surfaced in several accounts since the business began working on the 2016 campaign, setting off a furious debate about the merits of the firm’s so-called psychographic modeling techniques. But the full scale of the data leak involving Americans has not been previously disclosed — and Facebook, until now, has not acknowledged it.
White House and State Department officials conspired with prominent conservatives, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump, two top House Democrats allege in a letter released Thursday.
As the Russia investigation plays out, McGahn has taken a long view toward policy issues that he thinks could serve as legacy issues for Trump. He recently met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley about installing more conservatives in the judiciary. He's taken a keen interest in deregulatory issues.
On Wednesday afternoon, Apple posted a press release. The primary purpose of this statement, it seems, was to tell investors exactly how much money the company would have to pay in taxes on the profits it’s now repatriating from overseas. Instead of simply reporting this information, conservative media decided to drop it in the middle of a long missive titled “Apple Accelerates U.S. Investment and Job Creation.”
Stephen K. Bannon is stepping down from his post as executive chairman of Breitbart News, the company announced Tuesday. Mr. Bannon’s departure, which was forced by a onetime financial patron, Rebekah Mercer, comes as Mr. Bannon remained unable to quell the furor over remarks attributed to him in a new book in which he questions President Trump’s mental fitness and disparages his elder son, Donald Trump Jr.
Kelly inspired intense loyalty and admiration among many of the Latin American and U.S. diplomats with whom he worked, but he clashed with senior State Department officials who viewed him as a narrow thinker prone to impolitic statements. “At first I thought he was a kind, almost grandfatherly figure, but then I came to see him as someone with impulse-control problems” who is “driven by ideology,” said a former senior U.S. military official who soured on Kelly after working with him for several years.
Trump insisted his assault on government programs would not have any negative ramifications. “We’re going to be doing smart budget cuts, budget cuts that will make it just as good or better than it is right now but for a lot less money,” he vowed. Congress has not yet enacted his massive budget cuts, but that has not stopped the administration from dispatching a team of domestic policy aides to push for cuts, unilateral executive actions, and conservative actions across the federal government.
For years, a coalition of well-funded groups on the religious right have waged an uphill battle to repeal a 1954 law that bans churches and other nonprofit groups from engaging in political activity. Now, those groups are edging toward a once-improbable victory as Republican lawmakers, with the enthusiastic backing of President Trump, prepare to rewrite large swaths of the United States tax code as part of the $1.5 trillion tax package moving through Congress.
Alabama resident Leigh Corfman said that in 1979, when Moore was an assistant district attorney, he brought her to his home and touched her sexually. Three other women said that Moore – now a candidate for U.S. Senate -- pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.
Robert Mercer, the billionaire that has funded Breitbart and Milo Yiannopoulos, resigned from his role as CEO of the quant hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, according to the New York Times. Mercer’s resignation came just two weeks after ThinkProgress revealed 12 nonprofits, universities, and public retirement funds had invested millions of dollars into the hedge fund, noting that their investments were helping fund white nationalism.
Any examination of Kelly’s past public remarks makes clear he is not a sober professional, calculating that he must degrade himself in public so he can remain in place to rein in Trump’s worst instincts behind the scenes. Rather, Kelly honestly shares those instincts: He’s proudly ignorant, he’s a liar, and he’s a shameless bully and demagogue.
The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch spent much of the eight years of the Obama presidency stoking fears about the budget deficit. Now that Republicans control all levers of power in Washington and the Koch brothers are poised to reap a windfall of billions of dollars through tax cuts, they have a new message: Don’t worry about the deficit.
The regretful Republicans of Kansas have a message for the tax-cutting Republicans of Congress: Don’t follow our lead. If states are, as Justice Louis Brandeis famously called them, the laboratories of democracy, then Kansas’s experiment in conservative tax reform set off an explosion of red ink. Steep cuts for businesses and individuals failed to produce a promised economic boom, and busted the state’s budget instead. Now, the GOP legislators that oversaw—and ultimately cancelled—that fiscal study are increasingly worried that Washington will ignore its central finding.
The Supreme Court is poised to deal a sharp blow to the unions that represent millions of teachers and other public employees, announcing Thursday it will consider striking down the mandatory fees that support collective bargaining. The justices will hear the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees to the union, which represents 35,000 state workers.
President Trump’s effort to strike an immigration deal with Democrats attracted cautious support from lawmakers of both parties Thursday even as it prompted a swift backlash from scattered conservatives and an attempt by irritated Republican leaders to reassert their authority.
The Sinclair Broadcast Group (Smith) and the Trump administration’s F.C.C. chief (Pai) see eye-to-eye on the need to unleash television. An examination of the F.C.C. records shows that the Smith-Pai alliance does not follow the familiar script of a lobbyist with deep pockets influencing policy. Instead, it is a case of a powerful regulator and an industry giant sharing a political ideology, and suddenly, with the election of Mr. Trump, having free rein to pursue it — with both Mr. Smith, 66, and Mr. Pai, 44, reaping rewards.
The chaos, legislative fumbling, and legal jeopardy should not obscure the ways that the administration is remaking federal policy in consequential ways. With the Trump administration’s chaos sucking up all the attention, it’s been able to move forward on a range of its priorities, which tend to be more focused on regulatory matters anyway. It is remaking the justice system, rewriting environmental rules, overhauling public-lands administration, and greenlighting major infrastructure projects. It is appointing figures who will guarantee the triumph of its ideological vision for decades to come.
A longtime friend of President Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials. The startling assertion comes as some of Mr. Trump’s conservative allies, who initially praised Mr. Mueller’s selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement drew immediate reaction from big-city mayors, governors and Congress members. See who supported the decision and who is opposing it.
President Trump announced Thursday that he will withdraw the United States from participation in the Paris climate accord, weakening global efforts to combat climate change and siding with conservatives who argued that the landmark 2015 agreement was harming the economy. The withdrawal process could take four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.
President Trump is considering reversing major pieces of the Obama administration’s opening with Cuba and reinstating limits on travel and commerce, citing human rights abuses by the Castro government as justification for a more punitive approach.Mr. Trump wants to announce the changes in Miami as early as June and deliver on a campaign promise that remains a cherished demand for the politically conservative Cuban-American exile community, according to aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
President Eisenhower warned our nation during his farewell address to be very wary of the military industrial complex and its encroachment on civil society. The moment when the best interests of defense contractors start determining what is in the national security interest of our country, the tail has begun to wag the dog. This is the concern of Rand Paul, regarding the recent arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday night, Arkansas executed Ledell Lee—the state’s first execution in 12 years. Lee’s final plea to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected by a 5–4 vote. Justice Neil Gorsuch cast the deciding vote allowing Lee to die. It was his first recorded vote cast as a justice of the court. Lee insisted upon his innocence from the day of his arrest through the night of his execution. He implored Arkansas to let him take a DNA test and compare the results to DNA collected at the scene of the murder he allegedly committed, but the state refused.