Conceding to the N.R.A.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 7.33.43 AM

Good Tuesday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump abandoned his live-on-television promise to work for gun control measures that are opposed by the National Rifle Association, citing a lack of support for raising the age limit to purchase rifles and saying states should decide.

  • Even as the special counsel expands his inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Republicans said that their investigation had found no evidence of collusionbetween Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 election.

  • In a highly unusual move, Mr. Trump issued an order prohibiting Broadcom, a Singapore-based chip maker, from buying Qualcomm for $117 billion, citing national security concerns.
  • At least eight complaints have been filed against White House aides since Mr. Trump’s inauguration alleging violations of the Hatch Act, which bars public officials from using their offices to engage in partisan politics.

  • The pornographic-film actress who says she had an affair with Mr. Trump will return $130,000 she got from Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer if it means she can speak freely, her lawyer said.

— The First Draft Team
News Analysis

How Trump’s Disdain for the Iran Deal Makes a North Korea Pact Even Harder

By DAVID E. SANGER
A display in Tehran with missiles and a portrait of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran's missile program is not covered by the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

A display in Tehran with missiles and a portrait of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s missile program is not covered by the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA, via Reuters

The Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, drastically different but often spoken of in the same breath, are now being thrust together, as President Trump’s determination to kill the landmark 2015 accord limiting Tehran’s capabilities is colliding with his scramble to reach a far more complex deal with Pyongyang.
For years, as the Iranians watched the North Koreans build an arsenal and make deals with the West only to break them, they learned what the world was prepared to do — or was unwilling to risk — to stop them. More recently, the North Koreans picked apart what Tehran got in return for agreeing to a 15-year hiatus in its nuclear ambitions, weighing whether the promised economic benefits were worth giving up its nuclear capabilities.
The North will be watching especially closely in May, when Mr. Trump will face another deadline on deciding whether to abandon the Iran deal, which he has called a “disaster.”
The same month, if all goes as Mr. Trump plans, he will head into a face-to-face negotiation with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un — the first time an American president has ever spoken with the leader of that country — confident in his ability to do what his predecessors could not: persuade the North Koreans to denuclearize.
Read more >>
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia spoke to NBC News in Moscow this month.

After Putin Blames Jews, Democrats Beg Trump to Seek Russians’ Extradition

By NICHOLAS FANDOS AND MATTHEW LUXMOORE

Democrats implored President Trump to seek the extradition of 13 Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 election after Russia’s leader blamed “Jews.”

Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, before a news conference in Coral Springs, Florida, last week.

DeVos Hasn’t ‘Intentionally’ Visited Any Struggling Michigan Public Schools

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she had not “intentionally” visited a struggling public school in her home state.

President Trump during a school safety listening session with students, teachers, parents and others last month.

Trump Proceeds on Gun Training for School Staff, White House Says

By MAGGIE HABERMAN

The president intends to establish a federal commission to examine school safety proposals, but the administration’s efforts appeared to be piecemeal and of limited scope.

Demonstrators protesting a planned appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative provocateur and former editor at Breitbart News, at the University of California, Berkeley, last year.

What College Students Really Think About Free Speech

By NIRAJ CHOKSHI

A new study finds that a vast majority of students strongly support free speech but struggle to balance it with their desire for inclusivity.

Soldiers in the small meeting room that straddles the border between the two Koreas in the village of Panmunjom. The room has entrances on either side of the border.

Where Might President and Kim Jong-un Meet? Here Are Some Possibilities

By AUSTIN RAMZY

The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea might be the best bet for a meeting between the American and the North Korean leaders. But there are other options.

President Trump at a rally at the Pittsburgh airport on Saturday.
FACT CHECK

Six Claims Trump Made at His Rally That Were False or Lacked Context

By JUSTIN BANK

At his rally at the Pittsburgh airport on Saturday, the president repeated some falsehoods and facts in need of context.

President Trump spoke to reporters at the White House on Saturday.

No Immediate Push to Raise Age for Buying Assault Rifles, Trump Says

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

In a pair of tweets, Mr. Trump cited “not much political support” now to move ahead with his pledges after the deadly mass school shooting in Florida.

Federal officials and lawmakers debate whether to relax restrictions, backed by the National Rifle Association, on governmental research into gun violence.

600,000 People Have Been Shot Since Congress Halted Gun Violence Research

By SHEILA KAPLAN

Why do so many Americans kill one another, and how can the violence be stopped? The C.D.C. quit studying these and other questions over 20 years ago.

Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., NASA’s acting administrator, at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., last month.

Acting Chief at NASA to Retire as Trump’s Nominee Is Stalled

By KENNETH CHANG

Robert Lightfoot has filled in at NASA since the end of the Obama administration. The agency has never gone this long without a leader confirmed by the Senate.

Pennsylvania’s Special House Election: What to Watch For

By JONATHAN MARTIN AND ALEXANDER BURNS

The race for a vacant House seat in a red district near Pittsburgh district has evolved into the latest test of whether Democrats can make inroads with Trump voters.

John H. Buchanan Jr., a Republican congressman from Alabama, in 1972. To reach the House he soundly defeated an incumbent segregationist Democrat.

John Buchanan, Once a Deep South Centrist in Congress, Dies at 89

By SAM ROBERTS

He was one of the first Republicans elected to Congress from Alabama in the 20th century, but he became too progressive for his constituents.

President Trump appeared to embrace comprehensive gun control during a meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday at the White House.

Trump’s Evolving Positions on Gun Issues

By LINDA QIU AND KITTY BENNETT

The president has repeatedly shifted his stance on a wide range of gun issues — from purchasing age to background checks to ownership rights — over nearly 20 years.

The military tribunal case of a high-profile Guantánamo Bay detainee has ground to a halt since defense lawyers discovered a hidden microphone in the room where they regularly met with their client.

Guantánamo Lawyers Challenge Government’s Explanation for Hidden Mic

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

The declassification of the fact that defense lawyers found a hidden microphone is shedding new light on what caused a military commissions meltdown.

Some companies took a chance to express their revulsion at the entire concept of President Trump’s border wall. This proposal includes a 2,000-mile pink wall, a shopping mall and a detention center.

Trump Plans to View Wall Prototypes. Here Are Some He Won’t See.

By ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON

The government asked for “innovative design.” In response, proposals envisioned concepts like a vivid pink wall, one topped by a monorail and a moat with nuclear waste.