Fake Americans

Thursday, September 7, 2017Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 9.15.10 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Posing as ordinary citizens on Facebook and building warlists of Twitter accounts, suspected Russian agents intervened last year in the American democratic process.
  • A day after reaching a fiscal deal with Democratsthe president waged peace with the opposition party in hopes of finding more areas of agreement.
  • The Senate approved legislation to raise the debt limit and keep the government funded until December while providing $15 billion in disaster aid, giving a stamp of approval to the deal that Mr. Trump struck with Democratic congressional leaders.
  • Donald Trump Jr. told Senate investigators that he set up a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer because he was intrigued that she might have damaging information about Hillary Clinton, saying it was important to learn about Mrs. Clinton’s fitness to be president.
  • Not striking back after James B. Comey accused her of acting recklessly is just one in a long list of mistakes that Mrs. Clinton lists in her election post-mortem What Happened.
— The First Draft Team

How the U.S. Could Respond to Another North Korean Missile Test

Korean People's Army soldiers attended a celebration this week in Pyongyang, North Korea, for scientists involved in carrying out its largest nuclear blast to date.

Korean People’s Army soldiers attended a celebration this week in Pyongyang, North Korea, for scientists involved in carrying out its largest nuclear blast to date. Kim Won-Jin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

South Korea’s prime minister is saying publicly what American officials will not: In the next few days, intelligence reports predict, North Korea will launch another intercontinental ballistic missile.
“A special measure is urgently needed to stop their recklessness,” the prime minister, Lee Nak-yon, told defense ministers in Seoul on Thursday.
He may be wrong about the timing. But at the White House and the Pentagon, and out in the Pacific, American officials are scrambling to decide how the United States should react, particularly if the North Koreans demonstrate without doubt that they can reach the American territory of Guam, or even a distance equivalent to striking the West Coast of the United States.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said this week that President Trump had been presented with all military options and would meet threats with a “massive military response” that would be “effective and overwhelming.” Mr. Trump’s aides will not indicate whether fueling up another ICBM constitutes a threat, saying they want to keep North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, guessing.
The options for a nonmilitary response are becoming clear. On Wednesday, the United States circulated to members of the United Nations Security Council a draft resolution that would require all countries to cut off the North’s oil and all refined petroleum products; it would also allow the Security Council to designate North Korean ships that could be boarded and inspected using “all necessary measures,” meaning whatever force was needed.
Read more »

Ryan Says Trump Cut Deal With Democrats to Avoid Fight Over Hurricane Aid


Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he understood the president’s motivation for making a spending a deal with Democrats, but remained skeptical of the plan.

The debt limit was instituted in the early 20th century so the Treasury did not need to ask for permission each time it needed to issue bonds to pay bills.

The Debt Ceiling: Why We Have It, and What Would Happen if It Died


The president made one debt limit deal this week, but apparently he has another one in mind: doing away with the debt ceiling entirely.

Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, center, testified on Thursday before the Senate health committee along with several other governors: from left, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Steve Bullock of Montana, John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado and Gary R. Herbert of Utah.

Governors Rally Around Health Law Fixes as White House Pushes Repeal


Governors from both parties testified before the Senate on behalf of modest changes to the Affordable Care Act, but the White House and some senators have not given up on repeal.

Border Patrol agents in San Diego opened a single gate to allow families to hug along the Mexico border as part of Mexico’s Children’s Day in April.

New Round of Contracts Is Issued for Border Wall Prototypes


The contracts are the latest step in the president’s bid to build a wall along the border with Mexico, a central campaign issue for him.

4 Takeaways From The Times’s Interview With Paul D. Ryan


The House speaker talked about the coming tax overhaul effort, what it’s like to work with the president, and how Congress can pick up its pace.

Representatives Linda T. Sánchez of California and Joseph Crowley of New York in February. They signed a letter that was sent Wednesday to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, urging him to establish a committee to study an “outbreak of hate.”

House Democrats Seek Committee to Combat White Supremacy


The lawmakers argued that Congress needed to study an “outbreak of hate” brought on by last year’s presidential election.

Protesters demonstrated in support of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in Washington on Tuesday.

For DACA Recipients, Losing Protection and Work Permits Is Just the Start


The rollback of the DACA program could disrupt many other aspects of immigrants’ lives, like health coverage, financial aid and driving privileges.

The Navy destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship in June off Japan, and seven sailors died in their flooded berthing compartments.

Navy Ships Kept at Sea Despite Training and Maintenance Needs, Admiral Says


Crews and commanders have little time to train and ships go without maintenance because of growing demands in the Pacific, a top admiral told lawmakers on Thursday.

A unit of Pfizer that manufactures the EpiPen has been accused of failing to investigate reports that the devices malfunctioned in life-threatening situations.

F.D.A. Accuses EpiPen Maker of Failing to Investigate Malfunctions


The agency said Pfizer ignored hundreds of complaints that the device failed to operate in life-threatening emergencies, including incidents when patients died.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke on Thursday at George Mason University about coming changes to campus sexual-assault policies.

Betsy DeVos Says She Will Rewrite Rules on Campus Sex Assault


The education secretary said in a speech that the Obama administration had gone too far and had forced colleges to deprive accused students of their rights.

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
Ben Domenech in The Federalist:
“What this amounts to is a triangulation from a position of strength over your own party (technically). It comes from a recognition that the country largely hates the G.O.P.”
Mr. Domenech sees something that he thinks congressional leaders don’t: Republican voters “want Trumpism — or at least what they think that is.” Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin must face the fact that when they disagree with the president, he doesn’t have to “give way” as though they have an “equal seat at the table.” “They don’t have that, and they don’t deserve it,” he writes. Read more »
From the Left
Jeet Heer in The New Republic:
“Rather than triumphing with a successful Clinton-esque triangulation, Trump might be facing not one but two hostile parties, thereby accelerating the breakdown of government.”
Mr. Heer recalls how, during the 2016 election, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas predicted that as president, Mr. Trump would be a flexible, pragmatic dealmaker, willing to work with Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. However, Mr. Heer writes, the president’s recent triangulations might be “more motivated by spite than strategy.” Read more »
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