Expel ‘Evil’

Monday, May 22, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 8.37.30 AM

Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
Trump Rules

How Rollbacks at Scott Pruitt’s E.P.A. Are a Boon to Oil and Gas

Devon Energy’s Beaver Creek gas plant outside Riverton, Wyo. The company was prepared to install sophisticated equipment to reduce emissions. Since Scott Pruitt assumed the helm of the E.P.A., the company has pulled back from its proposals.

Devon Energy’s Beaver Creek gas plant outside Riverton, Wyo. The company was prepared to install sophisticated equipment to reduce emissions. Since Scott Pruitt assumed the helm of the E.P.A., the company has pulled back from its proposals. Ryan Dorgan for The New York Times

FREMONT COUNTY, Wyo. — In a gas field here in Wyoming’s struggling energy corridor, nearly 2,000 miles from Washington, the Trump administration’s regulatory reversal is crowning an early champion.
Devon Energy, which runs the windswept site, had been prepared to install a sophisticated system to detect and reduce leaks of dangerous gases. It had also discussed paying a six-figure penalty to settle claims by the Obama administration that it was illegally emitting 80 tons each year of hazardous chemicals, like benzene, a known carcinogen.
But something changed in February just five days after Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general with close ties to Devon, was sworn in as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Devon, in a letter dated Feb. 22 and obtained by The New York Times, said it was “re-evaluating its settlement posture.” It no longer intended to move ahead with the extensive emissions-control system, second-guessing the E.P.A.’s estimates on the size of the violation, and it was now willing to pay closer to $25,000 to end the three-year-old federal investigation.
Read more »
A spread from the yearbook of Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan. The contentious presidential election posed a challenge for high school yearbook staffs.

It Was Hard This Year to Keep Politics Out of High School Yearbooks


A look at how students in the Kansas City region commemorated the campaign in keepsakes meant to be enjoyed by all classmates, no matter their leanings.

Republicans Watch Their Step in a Slow Retreat From Trump

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill this month. He and other Republicans have said they need more information about the firing of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director.By EMMARIE HUETTEMAN AND NOAH WEILAND

Senator Marco Rubio and other lawmakers inched away from the president over his actions surrounding Russia inquiries, but they did not explicitly criticize him.

Michael Caputo, who served as a communications adviser to the Trump campaign, in 2010. Mr. Caputo did work in the early 2000s for Gazprom Media, a Russian conglomerate that supported President Vladimir V. Putin.

House Inquiry Turns Attention to Trump Campaign Worker With Russia Ties


Michael Caputo, who was a communications adviser during the presidential race, has been asked to sit for an interview and to provide documents about his connections to the Kremlin.

Joel Luna, center, a former Border Patrol agent, in court in Brownsville, Tex., in January. He was charged with helping to send illegal weapons to Mexico and ship drugs into the United States, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Story of a Rogue Agent Clouds Efforts to Ease Border Patrol Expansion


The president wants to streamline the process to add 5,000 new agents, but critics say cut corners could again leave the agency vulnerable to corrupt hires.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson with Saudi officials in Riyadh on Saturday.

To Trump, Human Rights Concerns Are Often a Barrier to Trade


The president’s visit to Saudi Arabia underlined a calculation by his administration that such concerns too often impede the flow of commerce.

Saudi Arabia to Invest $20 Billion in Infrastructure, Mostly in U.S.


The investment company Blackstone says the Saudi sovereign wealth fund has committed the money to a fund that could spend more than $100 billion on infrastructure.

An honor guard outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last month. The Chinese government killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 C.I.A sources from 2010 through 2012.

Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations


At least 18 C.I.A. sources were killed or imprisoned in China between 2010 and 2012, one of the worst intelligence breaches in decades. Investigators still disagree about how it happened.

A protest in Miami this month against the possibility that Haitians in a United States residency program will lose their temporary protected status after its July 22 expiration date.

58,000 Haitians in U.S. May Lose Post-Earthquake Protections


American officials are weighing whether to extend a special residency status that was granted after a 2010 disaster but could expire in July.

A mobile dental and medical clinic in Milton, Fla., in December. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals about the fate of federal “cost-sharing” subsidies to insurers.

Trump, Shouting ‘Death Spiral,’ Has Nudged Affordable Care Act Downward


The administration and Congress have had a hand in the instability shaking the health care program, using it to their advantage.

Rob Quist in Great Falls, Mont., last month. Mr. Quist, a Democrat running in a House special election on May 25, is focusing on local issues, rather than troubles at the White House.

Outside Washington’s ‘Blazing Inferno,’ Democrats Seek an Agenda


While party leaders in Washington focus on the president’s troubles, candidates in the states are trying to devise a message to reach the voters they need to win back.

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
• Victor Davis Hanson in American Greatness:
“The pre-presidential fears about a populist nationalist rather than conservative Trump […] have not materialized.”
Mr. Hanson has a message for never-Trump conservatives who might be starting to feel vindicated in light of the turmoil of the past couple of weeks: Whatever his flaws, President Trump is still the country’s best bet to enact true conservative policies. Read more »
From the Left
• Paul Waldman in The Washington Post:
“Mike Pence would like you to know that Mike Pence is not involved in any of this.”
Mr. Waldman believes that Vice President Mike Pence “harbors presidential ambitions of his own,” which is why a slew of his anonymous associates have come forward recently to create plausible deniability over his role in the Flynn controversy. But Mr. Waldman suspects that Mr. Pence is not quite as “out of the loop” as his supporters want the news media to believe. Read more »
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