Cyberattack’s Aftershocks

Monday, May 15, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 10.09.58 AM

Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The effects of last week’s worldwide cyberattack could be magnified as people return to work, because many, particularly in Asia, had logged off before the malware began proliferating. President Trump has ordered his homeland security adviser to coordinate a response and help organize the search for who was responsible.
  • Senate Republicans, increasingly unnerved by Mr. Trump’s volatility and unpopularity, are starting to show signs of breaking away from him as they try to forge a more traditional party agenda and protect their political fortunes.

  • Republican and Democratic lawmakers said that if recordings of the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey exist, they would or should come to light.

  • Mr. Comey has held positions at a hedge fund and a large corporation, as well as in academia. His next act may call for a big stage.

  • Mr. Trump’s move to reconsider a conservation area has thrust southeast Utah back to the front line in the fight over how much control Washington should have over Western lands.
— The First Draft Team
On Washington

Unity Was Emerging on Sentencing. Then Came Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest penalties possible for criminal defendants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest penalties possible for criminal defendants. Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

As a senator, Jeff Sessions was such a conservative outlier on criminal justice issues that he pushed other Republicans to the forefront of his campaign to block a sentencing overhaul, figuring they would be taken more seriously.
Now Mr. Sessions is attorney general and need not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to imposing his ultratough-on-crime views. The effect of his transition from being just one of 535 in Congress to being top dog at the Justice Department was underscored on Friday when he ordered federal prosecutors to make sure they threw the book at criminal defendants and pursued the toughest penalties possible.
“This is a key part of President Trump’s promise to keep America safe,” Mr. Sessions said on Friday as he received an award from the New York City police union to mark the beginning of National Police Week.
Given Mr. Sessions’s long record as a zealous prosecutor and his well-known views on the dangers of drug use, his push to undo Obama-era sentencing policies and ramp up the war on drugs was hardly a surprise. But it was still striking, because it ran so contrary to the growing bipartisan consensus coursing through Washington and many state capitals in recent years — a view that America was guilty of excessive incarceration and that large prison populations were too costly in tax dollars and the toll on families and communities.
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The British Embassy participated in European Union Day on Saturday, an annual celebration in the spring in Washington.

Britain and the E.U. Are Breaking Up, but They’re Still Partying Together


Despite its country’s vote to leave the alliance, the British Embassy in Washington again took part in European Union Day, an annual festival of embassy open houses.

Protesters at the White House on Wednesday after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director amid an inquiry into Russia’s role in last year’s election.

The Election Is Over, but Trump Can’t Seem to Get Past It


At the root of Donald J. Trump’s unpredictable presidency is a deep frustration about attacks on his legitimacy, and a worry that Washington does not see him as he sees himself.

Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, who heads the Intelligence Committee, is known for his unpretentious ways, but recent events have made him more forthcoming about his concerns.

Richard Burr Leads Russia Inquiry, Whether He Likes It or Not


Mr. Burr, the unobtrusive chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is moving into a spotlight he never expected and does not seem to relish.

Callista Gingrich, left, is expected to be nominated as the next ambassador to the Vatican. Ms. Gingrich is the wife of Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.

President Trump to Nominate Callista Gingrich as Vatican Ambassador


Ahead of a meeting with Pope Francis, Mr. Trump is said to have chosen Ms. Gingrich, who is married to Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, as envoy to the Holy See.

Kris W. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, with President Trump at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. in November. Mr. Kobach was recently named to lead a commission investigating vote fraud.

A Seeker of Kansas Voter Fraud Gets a National Soapbox


Kris W. Kobach, Kansas secretary of state and one of the nation’s leading voices on tough voter rules, will spearhead a new commission on voting fraud.

James B. Comey visited backstage after seeing the musical “Fun Home” in Washington on Saturday.

Fired by Trump, James Comey Makes an Outing to See a Musical


Mr. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and his wife saw “Fun Home” in Washington. “They were wiping away the tears as they came backstage to meet the cast,” a producer said.

DBGB Kitchen and Bar in CityCenterDC, where there is also an Hermès store.

Washington Welcomes the Wealthiest


Sales of extravagant homes, cars and goods are up, as not only the Trump people but also many others discover the city’s new luxuries.

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer and Alec Baldwin as President Trump on “Saturday Night Live” on Saturday.

Melissa McCarthy Plays an Angst-Ridden Sean Spicer on ‘Saturday Night Live’


Ms. McCarthy, hosting the show, returned to the role of Mr. Spicer in a sketch about a challenging week for the White House press secretary.

Elisabeth Moss as Offred in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a new show on Hulu.

Politics, It Seems, Has Jolted Even the Idiot Box Awake


Critics credit shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and comedians like Stephen Colbert for dealing with issues that resonate today. Viewers, it seems, want shows that are “woke.”

Ohene Asare and Régine Jean-Charles are homeowners in Milton, Mass. They live with their four children and an au pair.

How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality


An enormous entitlement in the tax code props up home prices — and overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and the upper middle class.