A Secret Meeting With Kim Jong-un

Wednesday, April 18, 2018Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 8.57.19 AM

Good Wednesday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump sent the C.I.A. directorMike Pompeo, to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un in recent weeks to lay the groundwork for a summit meeting between the two leaders. Mr. Trump alluded to the visit when he said Tuesday that the United States was in direct talks with North Korea at extremely high levels.

  • Barbara Bush, the widely admired wife of one president and the fiercely loyal mother of another, died Tuesday evening at her home in Houston at 92. Her death prompted an outpouring of tributes and remembrances from dignitaries.

  • A top White House official said Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, experienced momentary confusion by announcing new sanctions on Russia. That prompted her to fire back, saying that she did not get confused.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had urged Mr. Trump to get congressional approval before launching airstrikes against Syria last week, but was overruled by Mr. Trump, who wanted a rapid and dramatic response. The president wanted to be seen as backing up his bellicose tweets with action, officials said.

  • The Supreme Court struck down a law that allowed the government to deport some immigrants who commit serious crimes, saying it was unconstitutionally vague. The decision will limit the Trump administration’s efforts to deport people convicted of some kinds of crimes.

  • Millions of taxpayers who waited until Tuesday to file their 2017 tax returns and make payments through the Internal Revenue Service’s website were thwarted for hours by a systemwide computer failure that advised last-minute filers to “come back on Dec. 31, 9999.”
— The First Draft Team

Drawing Connections Between Michael Cohen and the President

By LARRY BUCHANAN AND KAREN YOURISH
Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, has served as a reliable attack dog against real or perceived threats to him.
F.B.I. agents who raided Mr. Cohen’s office, home and hotel room last week were seeking, in part, documents related to payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump: Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels.
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“This has become a much bigger problem, and I think what we have learned in the past few years is that we need to work together in much bigger ways,” said Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, who was largely behind the effort to create a “Cybersecurity Tech Accord.”

Tech Companies to Pledge Not to Assist Governments in Cyberattacks

By DAVID E. SANGER

The companies, including Microsoft and Facebook, hope to create a Geneva Conventions for cyberspace, but none are from countries that are suspected in most of the recent attacks.

Niger Ambush Suspect May Be in Custody, Officials Say

By ERIC SCHMITT AND RUKMINI CALLIMACHI

The Nigerien authorities believe they may have captured Doundoun Cheffou, a militant leader tied to the deaths of four American soldiers in October.

A steel plant in Zouping, China. Propelled by China, the United States, Europe and Japan, global economic growth is on track to reach an annual rate of 3.9 percent this year and next, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

I.M.F. Sees Global Risk in Trump Trade Threats and Tax Cuts

By ANA SWANSON

The world economy is looking brighter than it has in years, but as leaders converge on Washington this week, they will have one eye on potential disruptions from the White House.

People arrived at Kennedy International Airport in New York in June. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a challenge to President Trump’s travel ban next week.

U.S. Vetting System Already Robust Before Travel Ban, Report Finds

By RON NIXON

A ramped-up immigration system after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks put strict limits on foreign travelers even before President Trump’s “extreme vetting” order.

The White House said Mr. Trump filed an extension for his 2017 tax return and that he will submit his complete return by mid-October.

Trump Requests Extension to File 2017 Taxes

By ALAN RAPPEPORT AND MICHAEL D. SHEAR

Mr. Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns in the past, will file his 2017 taxes by October, according to the White House.

Production at a Chinese steel plant. Americans are about evenly split on the steel and aluminum tariffs that President Trump announced last month, according to a survey for The New York Times.

Divides Over Trade Scramble Midterm Election Messaging

By BEN CASSELMAN AND JIM TANKERSLEY

A survey shows strong support for Mr. Trump’s tariff moves among his backers, but not so much among those whose votes could be in play.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposed regulations that could severely limit the amount of opioid pain medication that drug companies can produce.

Sessions Tries to Put New Pressure on Drug Companies in Opioid Crisis

By ALI WATKINS

A proposal by Attorney General Jeff Sessions would limit the amount of opioid-based pain medications that pharmaceutical companies can produce.

Michael Needham, who is leaving the influential conservative think tank Heritage Action for America to become Senator Marco Rubio’s chief of staff, has been largely laudatory of President Trump’s agenda of low taxes and hard-line posture toward China.

Rubio, Darling of G.O.P. Establishment, Hires a Thorn in Its Side

By JEREMY W. PETERS

The hiring of Michael Needham, the head of an influential conservative think tank, as his chief of staff raises questions about whether Senator Marco Rubio may be positioning himself for another presidential run.

Marty J. Jackley, South Dakota’s attorney general, on the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Mr. Jackley argued that a 1992 decision on sales tax did not make sense in the digital era.

Supreme Court Divided on Sales Taxes for Online Purchases

By ADAM LIPTAK

The justices heard arguments about whether to overrule a 1992 decision that shielded many internet retailers from having to collect sales taxes.

The dispute arose from a federal drug investigation in which prosecutors sought the emails of a suspect stored in a Microsoft data center in Dublin.

Supreme Court Tosses Out Microsoft Case on Digital Data Abroad

By ADAM LIPTAK

A closely watched clash between federal prosecutors and Microsoft fizzled after Congress enacted a new law last month.