A Public Clash

Thursday, February 1, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.09.52 AM

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. directorcondemned the push to release a secret G.O.P. memo that accuses the F.B.I. and Justice Department of surveillance abuses, putting him at odds with President Trump.

  • The special counsel in the Russia inquiry wants to ask Mr. Trump about a statement about a meeting with Russians drafted in a moment of crisis on Air Force One.

  • A train carrying Republican lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia crashed into a truck in Virginia, killing one of the truck’s passengers. Several other people were hurt.
  • Nearly 7,000 Syrians who were granted temporary permission to live and work in the United States will be allowed to stay for at least 18 more months. The Trump administration has  previously ended protections for Haitians and Salvadorans.
  • News Analysis: If Mr. Trump believed he would help bring the parties together with his State of the Union line Americans are Dreamers, too, he received little encouragement on Wednesday.

— The First Draft Team
On Washington

From ‘New American Moment’ to Same Partisan Rancor

Republicans and Democrats will need to have some level of trust and willingness to work together to resolve difficult issues, like spending levels and immigration, since measures on both will require votes from each side of the aisle to become law.

Republicans and Democrats will need to have some level of trust and willingness to work together to resolve difficult issues, like spending levels and immigration, since measures on both will require votes from each side of the aisle to become law. Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Now back to our regularly scheduled acrimony.
While a toned-down President Trump called for more bipartisanship in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, the reality is that relations between the two parties on Capitol Hill — and between Democrats and the White House — are badly strained, if not downright toxic at present.
The speech seemed to do little to ease tensions and in fact may have exacerbated them. Mr. Trump will find fulfilling his stated goals on public works projects, immigration and other top initiatives very difficult given the polarized atmosphere.
Deep divisions were on display in the House chamber as Democrats sat stone-faced through most of the president’s remarks — rarely rising to offer even polite applause. Republicans cheered line after line, reserving one of their loudest roars for Mr. Trump’s celebration of “our massive tax cut” — a proposal opposed by every single Democrat in the House and Senate. Mr. Trump also celebrated overturning elements of the new health care law and drove home his success at lifting federal regulations and appointing conservative judges — other areas where he is at odds with Democrats.
“I have never seen a president who cares nothing about reaching out to people who did not vote for him,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio.
The Federal Reserve, meeting for the last with Janet L. Yellen as its chairwoman, will release a monetary policy statement on Wednesday.

Federal Reserve Leaves Rates Unchanged


The Fed left its benchmark rate unchanged, saying it still wants to stimulate growth. The announcement brought down the curtain on Janet L. Yellen’s four-year tenure as chairwoman.

Ji Seong-ho at President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. He has said that the crutches he used when escaping North Korea in 2006 symbolize “that you can achieve anything if you do not give up.”

North Korean Defector, Honored by Trump, Has a Remarkable Escape Story


Ji Seong-ho, a defector from North Korea who lost an arm and a leg at 13, traveled thousands of miles on crutches to make it to the South.

Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, after a House Intelligence Committee vote to release a secret memo on the Russia inquiry on Monday. He has played a leading role in the committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Gowdy, Who Led House Benghazi Inquiry, Will Not Seek Re-election


“There is a time to come and a time to go,” Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who was swept into office with the Tea Party wave of 2010, wrote on Twitter.

A worker stringing cable to spread broadband to rural areas, an ambition that President Trump wants to emphasize in his infrastructure plan.

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Is Light on Federal Funds, and Details


The proposal received a cool reception from Democrats, who disagree with President Trump over how to finance the nation’s ailing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

A United States officer in 2016 at the entrance to the United States prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Ordering Guantánamo to Stay Open Is One Thing; Refilling It Is Another


Despite signing an order to keep the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, open, Mr. Trump hasn’t solved problems that kept him from taking new detainees there last year.

The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, on Wednesday in the Oval Office. On Tuesday, he called on Congress to lift the debt limit and said that the trajectory of the national debt was something that concerns President Trump.

U.S. Will Hit Debt Limit Sooner Than Expected Because of Tax Cuts


The Congressional Budget Office said the nation’s debt limit would be hit a month earlier than it previously expected.

A sage grouse on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Were Fast. It Could Get Messy in Court.


Legal experts say many were made without fully considering the laws and procedures governing changes, making them vulnerable to legal challenges.

A test in California of an interceptor known as the SM-3 Block IIA.

U.S. Test of Missile Interceptor Fails Off Hawaii Coast, Officials Say


The failure comes as tensions with North Korea are running high. But it was somewhat routine for a missile defense system that even advocates will not promote as providing a defensive shield.

President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, at the White House last February.

E.P.A. Blocks Obama-Era Clean Water Rule


Mr. Trump has called the Waters of the United States rule, set to take force in the coming weeks, “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.” Scott Pruitt, the agency’s director, acted to suspend it for two years.

Brenda Fitzgerald in October 2014 with Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia.

C.D.C. Director Resigns Over Tobacco and Other Investments


Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald abruptly left the agency in the middle of a flu epidemic, following disclosures that she had recent investments in tobacco and health stocks.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Matt Lewis in The Daily Beast:
“The Trump framework for an immigration deal won’t make everyone happy, but it should at least keep Republicans happy.”
President Trump outlined an immigration framework in his State of the Union address that has Mr. Lewis cautiously optimistic. Perhaps, he writes, “the only guy who has the credibility with the base to actually grant amnesty is the same guy who called Mexicans rapists.” Read more »
From the Left
Joan Walsh in The Nation:
“Hours before the speech, his administration and Pundit Nation promised us the theme would be ‘unity.’ Instead, we got nativism and jingoism, gibberish, heavy breathing and appeals to divisions of every imaginable sort.”
Ms. Walsh wants to be fair and give credit where credit’s due: “He praised ‘beautiful clean coal,’ which was surreal, but he didn’t praise Nazis or white supremacists or say there are good people ‘on all sides’ of the racial divides he has widened.” However, she writes, that’s not enough to erase what she calls a “crisis of democracy that got more dangerous just in the last 36 hours.” Read more »
More selections »