Intense Maneuvering

Tuesday, March 6, 2018Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 10.09.35 AM

Good Tuesday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Republicans intensified pressure on President Trump to relent on his steel and aluminum tariffs,  and he indicated he might provide exemptions for certain countries.

  • Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide who recently met with investigators for the special counsel, said that he had been subpoenaed to go before a grand jury but that he was unlikely to appear.

  • Hosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Mr. Trump expressed optimism that Palestinians would return to talks despite their anger over plans to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem.
  • Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, announced that he was resigning from the Senate, opening another Republican seat.
  • Speaker Paul D. Ryan has modeled himself as the face of a new brand of conservatism. But critics say he has abandoned his principles and is too deferential to Mr. Trump.

— The First Draft Team
News Analysis

A Russian Threat on Two Fronts Meets an American Strategic Void

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is pursuing what he views as a complementary arsenal of new-generation nuclear arms and cyberweapons.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is pursuing what he views as a complementary arsenal of new-generation nuclear arms and cyberweapons. Pool photo by Mikhail Klimentyev

Just hours after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia boasted last week about producing “invincible” new nuclear arms designed to evade American missile defenses, President Trump’s nominee to command the nation’s military cyberunits was being grilled at a Senate confirmation hearing about another vexing Russian threat.
Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the nominee to run the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command, acknowledged that plans were in place to strike back at Moscow for its election hacking. Those actions would require Mr. Trump’s approval.
But General Nakasone said the Russians, as well as America’s other adversaries in cyberspace, seem unimpressed.
“I would say right now they do not think much will happen to them,” he said. “They don’t fear us.”
The Russian muscle-flexing and the American hand-wringing captured a strategic vacuum that now envelops Washington as Mr. Putin pursues what he views as a complementary new-generation nuclear arsenal, as well as cyberweapons.
Read more »
Ohio tried to execute Alva Campbell, 69, in November but could not find a suitable vein into which to pump lethal chemicals.

Too Old to Be Executed? Supreme Court Considers an Aging Death Row


The justices have agreed to decide whether Vernon Madison, 67, who has had at least two severe strokes, can be executed for a killing he cannot recall.

Ben Carson with local housing officials in Columbus, Ohio, in April. As secretary of housing and urban development, he is trying to steer the agency toward programs that foster self-sufficiency.

Carson on His Vexing Reign at HUD: Brain Surgery Was Easier


Ben Carson has been whipsawed by a job overseeing Housing and Urban Development that he has found puzzling, with his goals undermined by indecisiveness, staffing mistakes and presidential indifference.

A worker removing the Trump name from the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Panama City on Monday.

Panama Hotel Owner, Declaring Victory, Has Trump’s Name Removed


Within hours of seizing the administrative offices of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Panama City, the silver letters T-R-U-M-P were removed.

Alexander Kirillov, left, the organizer of a sex seminar in Thailand, and Anastasia Vashukevich, center, a Belarusian escort, spoke to journalists from a detention center in Bangkok. Ms. Vashukevich claims to have recordings that prove Russian meddling in the American election.

Escort Says Recordings Show Russian Meddling in U.S. Election


A Belarusian accused of involvement in a sex workshop in Thailand said she had more than 16 hours of taped conversations, including some about the presidential election.

Qualcomm’s headquarters in La Jolla, Calif. Broadcom, which is attempting a hostile takeover of the chip maker, said it had been informed Sunday night that Qualcomm had asked regulators to review the bid in January.

U.S. Asks Qualcomm to Delay Meeting for Security Review of Broadcom Bid


The surprise move by a government panel comes amid an atmosphere in which foreign takeovers are gaining high levels of scrutiny.

Michael R. Bloomberg, left, with Secretary General António Guterres at United Nations headquarters on Monday.

U.N. Chief Picks Bloomberg for Job as Climate Envoy


Secretary General António Guterres has appointed Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, to be his special envoy for climate action.

President Trump discussed foreign trade and steel production with corporate leaders in Washington last week.

Defending Trump’s Tariffs (With a Can of Coke)


Here’s how the president and his administration are selling the decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum despite strong Republican pushback.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, left, with Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, announcing work requirements to qualify for Medicaid benefits on Monday in Little Rock.

Administration Delays Decision on Scaling Back Medicaid in Arkansas


Federal officials are allowing the state to make work, job training or volunteering a condition for many people to get coverage. But they held off on approving cuts to the state’s expansion of Medicaid.

President Trump discussed foreign trade and steel production with corporate leaders in Washington last week.

Ryan Criticizes Tariff Plan as Trump Issues Nafta Threat


The president tweeted on Monday that tariffs of steel and aluminum could be removed from Canada and Mexico if a fair Nafta is signed, while Speaker Paul D. Ryan bashed the tariffs.

President Trump leading a round-table discussion on trade with corporate leaders at the White House last week. He has announced plans for stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump Hates the Trade Deficit. Most Economists Don’t.


Economists question whether tariffs will do much to narrow the trade deficit, and whether policymakers should care about the economic metric at all.