US Politics in Trump era
In a week when the novel coronavirus ravaged new communities across the country and the number of dead soared past 78,000, President Trump and his advisers shifted from hour-by-hour crisis management to what they characterize as a long-term strategy aimed at reviving the decimated economy and preparing for additional outbreaks this fall.
The United States’s wars continue to rage in the Middle East and Africa against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even in normal times, these conflicts got little public scrutiny. But with attention more occupied than usual, some U.S. military operations have been escalating even further. In recent years, these conflicts have become even deadlier for innocent people
Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service
A top donor to President Trump and the Republican National Committee will be named the new head of the Postal Service, putting a top ally of the president in charge of an agency where Trump has long pressed for major changes in how it handles its business. Trump’s Treasury Department and the Postal Service are in the midst of a negotiation over a $10 billion line of credit approved as part of coronavirus legislation in March.
Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of Paycheck Protection Program emergency funding has been claimed by large, publicly traded companies, new research published by Morgan Stanley shows.In fact, the U.S. government has allocated at least $243.4 million of the total $349 billion to publicly traded companies, the firm said.
In September 2018, the Trump administration received detailed plans for a new machine designed to churn out millions of protective respirator masks at high speed during a pandemic. An HHS spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that although Halyard’s plans were feasible, no funding was available to build the machine.
President Trump was getting ready to declare the coronavirus a “national emergency,” but inside the White House last Thursday, a tense debate erupted among the president and his top advisers on a far different subject: whether the United States should escalate military action against Iran, a longtime American rival that has been devastated by the epidemic.
The Trump Department of Justice has asked Congress to craft legislation allowing chief judges to indefinitely hold people without trial and suspend other constitutionally-protected rights during coronavirus and other emergencies, according to a report by Politico’s Betsy Woodruff Swan.
The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog division has been so weakened under the Trump administration that it is failing to provide basic oversight of the government’s third-largest federal agency, according to whistleblowers and lawmakers from both parties.
German officials will discuss a reported U.S. attempt to secure the rights to any coronavirus vaccine developed by a German pharmaceutical company in crisis meetings on Monday, the country's interior minister said, amid concerns that the Trump administration was trying to monopolize the market.
Johnny McEntee, an ex-college quarterback, heads a sweeping White House effort to purge the civil service and install loyalists. McEntee summoned cabinet liaisons to the White House last week to tell them to root out Trump critics in their ranks, according to reporting by Axios. McEntee has also put a freeze on political appointments and told colleagues that the White House would be selecting cabinet deputies from now on, according to the New York Times.
Trump Quietly Slashed Pay Raise for Federal Workers a Day Before Claiming US Economy Is Best ‘In History’
In a move that drew outrage from labor unions and progressives, President Donald Trump this week quietly took steps to slash a scheduled pay raise for millions of federal workers from 2.5% to 1% due to supposed concerns about "keeping the nation on a fiscally sustainable course."
President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday that includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps and Medicaid, reflecting Mr. Trump’s election-year effort to continue shrinking the federal safety net.
President Trump fired two of the most prominent witnesses in the impeachment inquiry within hours of each other Friday evening, moves that amounted to retribution against those he holds responsible for his attempted removal.
The move came days after the White House announced the deal, which allows Israel the right to continue settlements and annexation while leaving Palestinians with vague promises of statehood at an undetermined future date.
The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to cap Medicaid spending for many poor adults, a major shift long sought by conservatives that gives states the option of reducing health benefits for millions who gained coverage through the program under the Affordable Care Act.
President Trump called the plan, which would discard the longtime goal of granting the Palestinians a full-fledged state, a “win-win” for both sides. The event in the East Room of the White House had a Kabuki-theater quality to it as Mr. Trump ended years of suspense over a highly anticipated peace plan. But rather than viewing it as a serious blueprint for peace, analysts called it a political document by a president in the middle of an impeachment trial working in tandem with a prime minister under criminal indictment and about to face his third election in the span of a year.
‘Biggest Loss of Clean Water Protection the Country Has Ever Seen’: Trump Guts Safeguards for US Streams and Wetlands
The Trump administration is set to continue its corporate friendly assault on U.S. environmental regulations Thursday by finalizing a rule that will allow companies, landowners, and property developers—including golf course owners like the president—to dump pesticides and other pollutants directly into many of the nation's streams and wetlands, potentially threatening the drinking water of millions of Americans.
The White House on Thursday introduced major changes to the nation’s benchmark environmental protection law, moving to ease approval of major energy and infrastructure projects without detailed environmental assessment or consideration of climate change.
The child tax credit, begun in 1997 as a tax cut, has become an anti-poverty program. But more than a third of children don’t receive it because their parents earn too little. The 2017 tax bill, President Trump’s main domestic achievement, doubled the maximum credit in the two-decade-old program and extended it to families earning as much as $400,000 a year (up from $110,000). The credit now costs the federal government $127 billion a year — far more than better-known programs like the earned-income tax credit ($65 billion) and food stamps ($60 billion).
When the Keystone Pipeline burst last week, half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool’s worth of a particularly dirty fossil fuel spilled into wetlands in North Dakota. And the thick liquid, known as tar sands oil, will be nearly impossible to clean up.
The United Nations has condemned the United States for having the world’s highest rate of children in detention. The U.N. experts particularly condemned the Trump administration’s policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border and then detaining children away from their parents or family members.
Candidate Donald Trump railed against America’s chronic trade deficits, vowing to eliminate them if he became president. So, how’s Trump doing? Awful. Trade deficits are growing on his watch. The overall trade deficit in September was 21% larger than during his first full month in office.
Footage captured by U.S. surveillance aircraft over northern Syria has documented several incidents that military officials say may constitute war crimes on the part of Turkish-backed forces there, a U.S. official said.If verified, the imagery could provide credibility to allegations that the offensive Turkey launched over Western objections last month has resulted in repeated abuses against Syrian Kurds who have been an important U.S. partner against the Islamic State.
Iran has taken further steps away from its crumbling nuclear deal with world powers by announcing it is doubling the number of its advanced centrifuges, calling the move a direct result of the United States' withdrawal from the agreement last year.
The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation meant to limit the leaching of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into water supplies from the ash of coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans.
The Federal Reserve is hoping that its latest interest-rate cut will help keep the economy safely at cruising altitude. But don’t expect it to provide much of a lift to the housing market. Few economists expect the housing market to take off in response to this week’s rate cut, because rates aren’t what was holding back housing in the first place. Instead, they point to other factors.
The Keystone pipeline system, an addition to which has been the subject of environmental protests for years, leaked about 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota, covering an estimated half-acre of wetland, state environmental regulators said.
The Trump administration just threw another obstacle at low-income immigrants by narrowing who can qualify for waivers of expensive fees associated with their applications for green cards, US citizenship, work permits, and dozens of other benefits.
He has undermined efforts by career diplomats to deliver messages to Washington about corruption and democratic backsliding in Hungary. And he has privately acted as a broker for Mr. Orban’s point of view, taking positions contrary to United States policy, according to interviews with roughly two dozen current and former American and foreign officials as well as others who have worked with Mr. Cornstein.
Russia announced Tuesday that its units were patrolling between Turkish and Syrian military forces near the northern Syrian town of Manbij, in a sign that Moscow, a key ally of the Syrian government, was moving to fill a security vacuum after U.S. troops withdrew from the area.
An estimated 50 nuclear bombs stored at a US airbase in Turkey have become potential bargaining chips in the tense relationship between Washington and Ankara in the wake of the Turkish offensive into Syria. The presence of B61 nuclear gravity bombs at İncirlik airbase, which is about 100 miles from the Syrian border and which the US air force shares with its Turkish counterpart, is complicating Washington’s calculations.
The United States is sending about 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia in the latest military response by the Trump administration after it accused Iran of attacks last month on Saudi oil facilities, the Pentagon said on Friday. The move came only five days after President Trump said that his desire to terminate America’s “endless wars” led to his decision to pull back from the border area between Syria and Turkey about 50 troops who were working to create a “safe zone” between Turkish and Kurdish troops.
Treasury Department officials are considering rolling back a tax rule aimed at preventing American companies from moving money offshore to avoid U.S. taxes, according to several people familiar with discussions.
Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America’s tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home.
The State Department’s inspector general briefed congressional aides Wednesday about an apparent attempt to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who is seen by House Democrats as a key witness in their impeachment inquiry.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the Trump administration acted lawfully when it scrapped the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules in 2017, dealing a blow to tech giants and consumer advocates who argued that the repeal would create a stratified Internet of fast and slow lanes.
The Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools after concluding that it was offering students a biased curriculum that, among other complaints, did not present enough “positive” imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region.
The Trump administration plans to revoke California’s right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks , according to two senior administration officials, as part of a larger effort to weaken an Obama-era climate policy aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s auto fleet.
The Israelis deployed StingRay mobile identity-catchers, devices that are mistaken for cell towers by cell phones, allowing them to capture the contents of calls and the mobile browser activity. Lipmann says that the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division subjected the devices to extensive forensic tests, looking at where the components came from, how old they were, and considering who would have access to them, and the trail led inexorably to Israel.
The Trump administration on Thursday is expected to complete the legal repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation, which had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and water bodies. Weakening the Obama-era water rule had been a central campaign pledge for Mr. Trump, who characterized it as a federal land-grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit.
The trade war between the U.S. and China worsened Friday as Beijing imposed retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in American goods and President Trump took the extraordinary step of calling on U.S. companies stop doing business with China. The new tariffs, which included reinstated levies on auto products, delivered a strategically timed blow as recession warning signs cast doubt on the strength of the U.S. economy.
The Trump administration unveiled a regulation on Wednesday that would allow it to detain indefinitely migrant families who cross the border illegally, replacing a decades-old court agreement that imposed a limit on how long the government could hold migrant children in custody and specified the level of care they must receive.
America’s federal deficit will expand by about $800 billion more than previously expected over 10 years due primarily to two legislative packages approved this year, pushing the nation further into levels of debt unseen since the end of World War II, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. The CBO also said that the impact of higher trade barriers, primarily President Trump’s trade war, could hurt economic growth amid widespread fears of a recession.
In ominous signs of the damage being done by the trade war between China and the United States, data released on Wednesday indicated that the German economy was hurtling toward recession and that growth at Chinese factories was slowing at a pace not seen in nearly two decades.
The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.
If you like sewage, chemical wastes or radioactive molecules in your drinking water the Trump Administration has your back. It’s part of Team Trump’s determined efforts to remake the Environmental Protection Agency into the Environmental Pollution Agency. Soon the U.S. Supreme Court, urged on by Team Trump, may give its stamp of approval to effectively undo many benefits of the 1972 Clean Water Act in a case from the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Democrats and many in the State Department are increasingly exasperated that they have yet to see the results of an investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s political appointees mistreated career staffers. The delayed release of the State Department inspector general's findings has generated rising suspicion that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is trying to derail the investigation, whose results could be damning to some of his top aides.
Jimmy Aldaoud was deported from the U.S. in June to Iraq, a country that his family said he had never set foot in. Two months after he arrived there, his family got word that he was found dead in Baghdad. Aldaoud was born in Greece, his sister Mary Bolis said, after his family fled Iraq. He didn't speak Arabic.
The trade war between the United States and China entered a more dangerous phase on Monday, as Beijing allowed its currency to weaken, Chinese enterprises stopped making new purchases of American farm goods and President Trump’s Treasury Department formally labeled China a currency manipulator.
Send them back. Hispanic invasion. If our country falls, it will be the fault of traitors. That’s language from the manifesto of Patrick Crusius. Crusius does not invoke President Trump in his manifesto, or in social media posts uncovered as of this writing. But TPM found some two dozen cases where the perpetrators or planners of far-right violence invoked Trump during their assault, or claimed whatever violent action they intended to commit was somehow aligned with his agenda. Since declaring his run for the Presidency in 2015, President Donald Trump has used racist rhetoric to fan feelings of hatred among those that support him.
Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported on Sunday, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month as the United States applies its campaign of “maximum pressure,” sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the country.
The United States formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was in violation of the treaty and had no plans to come into compliance with it. U.S. President Donald Trump made the determination that the United States would terminate adherence to the 1987 arms control accord, known as the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), senior administration officials told reporters.
Trump says he will impose new tariffs on $300 billion of imports from China starting next month, ending brief cease-fire in trade war
President Trump unexpectedly announced on Thursday that he will impose new tariffs on $300 billion worth of imports from China, effectively taxing every product that Americans buy from China. The president acted one day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer wrapped up two days of talks in Shanghai aimed at a comprehensive trade deal.
Four of the world’s largest automakers, including the Ford Motor Company, have struck a deal with California to reduce tailpipe pollution, in a setback to the Trump administration as it prepares to weaken national emissions standards and revoke states’ rights to set their own such rules.
Donald Trump has vetoed a trio of congressional resolutions aimed at blocking his administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, last month cited threats from Iran as a reason to approve the $8.1bn arms sale to the two US allies in the Gulf.
President Donald Trump will head to West Virginia on Wednesday to deliver remarks at a fundraiser hosted by coal baron Bob Murray, underscoring the close relationship the coal industry has with the White House even as the industry steadily declines. The fundraiser comes in the middle of another turbulent month for coal, with Blackhawk Mining the latest company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The Trump administration is reviving another food benefit cut that Republicans couldn’t get through Congress. Under a new proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states would lose some flexibility to set eligibility standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ― commonly known as food stamps ― which would push 3 million people out of the program.
History will record last week as a moment when President Trump turned to raw racial appeals to attack a group of nonwhite lawmakers, but his attacks also underscored a remarkable fact of his first term: His rhetorical appeals to white working-class voters have not been matched by legislative accomplishments aimed at their economic interests.
The American military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said during a ceremony at the White House.Mr. Trump said the unmanned aircraft threatened the Boxer, an amphibious assault ship that can launch attack jets and helicopters from its landing deck.
In 1968 — just a week after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination — Congress passed the Fair Housing Act, or FHA. The law secured everyone’s right to housing regardless of race, national origin, disability, familial status, sex, or religion. The FHA protects people from discrimination when they’re renting, getting a mortgage, or seeking housing assistance — including applying for public housing or housing vouchers. Now the Trump administration is going against that legacy, proposing a regulation that will target immigrant families living in government-subsidized housing.
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
This tax bill was constructed on a foundation of lies. To cite one obvious example, the real U.S. corporate tax rate has never been near the oft-cited 35 percent level. As recently as 2014, the Congressional Research Service estimated that the effective rate (the net rate paid after deductions and credits) was around 27.1 percent, which was well in line with America’s international competitors.
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to weaken rules that for the past quarter-century have given communities a voice in deciding how much pollution may legally be released by nearby power plants and factories.
China has demanded that the United States "immediately cancel" a potential $2.2bn arms sale to Taiwan, including battle tanks and anti-aircraft missiles. The move would be Washington's first big-ticket military sale to the democratically-governed island in decades, and comes amid deteriorating ties between the US and China, the world's two largest economies that have been locked in an acrimonious trade war.
As U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at the behest of President Donald Trump, plans mass raids following the July Fourth holiday, newly released documents shed light on the tactics the agency employs during such operations. The documents, released Wednesday by the immigrant rights groups Mijente, Just Futures Law, and Detention Watch Network, show that ICE officials are building arrest target lists for mass raids to meet specific numbers, even as the agency continues to internally and publicly stress a “public safety” rationale for immigration arrests.
In the biggest blow he’s dealt to the renewable energy industry yet, President Donald Trump decided on Monday to slap tariffs on imported solar panels. The U.S. will impose duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply.
Thanks to Donald “I’m the King of Debt” Trump, our federal government’s debt is rising much faster than under President Barack Obama despite Trump’s frequent assertions that the economy is much better now that he is in the White House. And that $300 per month of added debt you owe via our Uncle Sam is scheduled to grow and grow.
When the delegation of congressional democrats arrived in Texas Monday to tour border facilities holding migrants, they were told in briefing packets and by Customs and Border Protection staff that photos and videos were prohibited — to protect the privacy and safety of those inside.
More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?
Iran has exceeded a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the 2015 international pact curbing its nuclear program, effectively declaring that it would no longer respect an agreement that President Trump abandoned more than a year ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Monday.
Iran’s news media was filled with upbeat economic reports last week. Several tankers of oil had been exported to China, and the economy minister said tax collections were up 30 percent. Farm-raised shrimp production had expanded by 400 percent. “Summer is here!” one article exulted, and online vacation rentals in the country’s tourist spots were a potential growth market. But on the streets of Iran’s cities, as the United States’ “maximum pressure” sanctions took hold, the view was decidedly less sunny.
Senate Republicans narrowly defeated an amendment Friday that would have limited President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran without congressional approval. The 50-40 vote gave the measure a majority of votes cast, but due to parliamentary maneuvering by Senate leadership, it needed 60 votes to pass.
In the hours before and after leaving for an international summit meeting, Mr. Trump assailed Japan, Germany and India. He complained that under existing treaty provisions, if the United States were attacked, Japan would only “watch it on a Sony television.” He called Germany a security freeloader and chastised India for raising tariffs on American goods.
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.
At the squat, sand-colored concrete border station in Texas that has become the center of debate over President Trump’s immigration policies, a chaotic shuffle of migrant children continued on Tuesday as more than 100 were moved back into a facility that days earlier had been emptied in the midst of criticism that young detainees there were hungry, crying and unwashed.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Tuesday called the White House “mentally retarded” and vowed that Tehran would not be intimidated by American sanctions — drawing a blistering threat of “obliteration” from President Trump.“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, calling Mr. Rouhani’s comments “ignorant and insulting.”
The Trump administration has not yet given Puerto Rico $600 million in food stamp aid more than two weeks after the president signed the emergency funding into law, according to federal and territory officials
US President Donald Trump has said he is imposing hard-hitting new sanctions on Iran, including on the office of the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.Mr Trump said the additional sanctions were in response to the shooting down of a US drone and "many other things".Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's highest authority, was singled out because he was "ultimately responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime".
Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland,” but the milk makers who gave the state its moniker are vanishing, falling prey to a variety of impediments, including President Trump and his global trade war.
The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change, defying a longstanding practice of touting such findings by the Agriculture Department’s acclaimed in-house scientists.
Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.
The Trump administration is threatening to furlough — and possibly lay off — 150 employees at the federal personnel agency if Congress blocks its plan to eliminate the department. The Office of Personnel Management is preparing to send the career employees home without pay starting on Oct. 1, according to an internal briefing document obtained by The Washington Post. The employees could formally be laid off after 30 days, administration officials confirmed.
The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled its final plan to rewrite a major Obama-era climate change policy, replacing proposed regulations that cracked down on coal-burning power plants with a weaker alternative.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a US list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts' findings that a Saudi-UAE coalition has been using underage fighters in Yemen's civil war, Reuters News Agency reported on Tuesday, citing four people familiar with the matter.
In 2018, President Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi. There’s a problem, though: Heshmat Alavi appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq, which is known by the initials MEK, two sources told The Intercept.
White House blocked intelligence agency’s written testimony calling climate change ‘possibly catastrophic’
White House officials barred a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony this week to the House Intelligence Committee warning that human-caused climate change is “possibly catastrophic.” The move came after State officials refused to excise the document’s references to federal scientific findings on climate change.
President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses.
Many of the world’s largest automakers joined together Thursday to tell President Trump that one of his most sweeping deregulatory efforts — his plan to weaken pollution standards for automobiles — threatens to hurt their profitability and produce “untenable” instability in one of the nation’s most important manufacturing sectors.