Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Wednesday, August 2, 2017Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 8.53.02 AM

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

‘The Lowest-Profile State Department in 45 Years,’ in 2 Charts

By KEVIN QUEALY
The foreign policy of the United States is being tested around the world: in RussiaNorth Korea and across the Middle East. But an important element of advancing it — the State Department press briefing — is at its most infrequent levels in decades under President Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
These briefings had been a near-daily occurrence in both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, dating to the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. But there were no daily press briefings at all for more than a month after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, and none again in May. They are now held twice per week.
Read more »

Senate Confirms Christopher Wray as New F.B.I. Director

Christopher A. Wray being sworn in at his confirmation hearing in July to head the F.B.I.By ADAM GOLDMAN

The former federal prosecutor has pledged to protect the F.B.I. from political pressure after the firing of the former director, James B. Comey.

Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, denounced the president’s words in an email.

Sessions Steers Clear of Trump’s ‘Joke’ About Police Use of Force

By REBECCA R. RUIZ AND MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

The attorney general has been silent about the president’s remarks urging the police not to be “too nice,” even as other officials have denounced them.

A traveler crossing from Mexico into the United States at a biometric kiosk in 2015 in San Diego.

Border Agents Test Facial Scans to Track Those Overstaying Visas

By RON NIXON

Federal border agents are testing a biometric scanning system to better track undocumented immigrants, focusing on those who have overstayed visas.

Bill Shine after a meeting with Donald J. Trump on Nov. 21, 2016, at Trump Tower in New York City.

Former Fox News Executive Said to Be Considered for White House Job

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Bill Shine, a former co-president of the network and an ally of Sean Hannity, was said to have discussed a position on the president’s communications team.

Trump Was Involved in Drafting Son’s Statement, Aide Confirms

By PETER BAKER

The White House spokeswoman confirmed that the president “weighed in” on a statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, contradicting earlier denials.

President Trump and his daughter Ivanka during an event with small-business leaders on Tuesday.
FACT CHECK

Trump’s Claims on Unemployment and Business Spirit

By LINDA QIU

The president highlighted stock market highs, low unemployment and never-before-seen growth and optimism. Here’s an assessment.

Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, center, commandant of the Coast Guard, at President Trump’s inauguration in January.

Coast Guard Still Supports Transgender Troops, Commandant Says

By RON NIXON

Adm. Paul Zukunft said he remained committed to “our people right now,” despite the president’s statement that transgender people were not welcome in the military.

Rod Wheeler, a private detective, speaking on the “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox News in May about his investigation into the death of Seth Rich, an aide for the Democratic National Committee.

Lawsuit Asserts White House Role in Fox News Article on Seth Rich

By EMILY STEEL

The suit says that the White House urged the publication of an article about a slain Democratic aide and used fabricated quotes from an investigator to support it.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed service members participating in the joint multinational military exercise at an air base outside Tbilisi, Georgia, on Tuesday.

Trump Will Sign Russia Sanctions Law ‘Very Soon,’ Pence Says

By SEWELL CHAN

The news is no surprise, but the sanctions are the first time Congress has imposed its will on the White House on a major policy issue.

A metal fence between the United States and Mexico, seen from Puerto Palomas, Mexico, in February. President Trump’s plan to build a border wall has been part of a contentious budget fight in Congress.

Homeland Security to Bypass Environmental Laws in Border Wall Work

By RON NIXON

The department said it would invoke waivers to environmental laws when it begins construction of border wall prototypes near San Diego.

A coal-burning plant in China’s Inner Mongolia region. Residents of 13 countries ranked climate change as the greatest threat to national security.

Islamic State and Climate Change Seen as World’s Greatest Threats, Poll Says

By LISA FRIEDMAN

A Pew survey finds that while global warming is a top concern around the world, more Americans are more concerned about cyberwarfare than climate change.

President Trump crouching to greet Montgomery Weer during an event at the White House last month.

J.K. Rowling Apologizes for Anti-Trump Tweets (but Not to Trump)

By DAN BILEFSKY

The “Harry Potter” author had assumed — incorrectly — that the president had snubbed a 3-year-old boy with spina bifida.

A Ukrainian soldier firing a weapon toward the positions of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in the front-line town of Krasnohorivka, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, in July.

Pentagon and State Department Said to Propose Arming Ukraine

By ERIC SCHMITT AND ANDREW E. KRAMER

While President Barack Obama decided against providing such assistance to the beleaguered country, the issue was rekindled when President Trump took office.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, joined other Senate Democrats at the Capitol last week.

After Health Care Victory, Senate Democrats Seek Compromise on Tax Plan

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

A letter signed by 45 Senate Democrats urged the president and Senate Republican leaders to work with Democrats on the coming tax reform debate.

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
• David Harsanyi in The Federalist:
“If you’re a Trump fan, and you’re looking for the bright side of all of this, you could be somewhat heartened that Kelly didn’t let the problem fester.”
Mr. Harsanyi proffers qualified optimism that the president’s appointment of John F. Kelly to chief of staff is a step in the right, and chaos-free, direction. While Mr. Harsanyi sees no evidence that Mr. Kelly will be able to stem some of the more self-defeating habits of the president — “Take away his phone? Seems inconceivable.” — he still hopes that the general can “mitigate some of the dysfunction.” Read more »
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From the Left
• Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker:
The sacking of Scaramucci signals that Kelly, a retired Marine general, may actually be empowered to be a true chief of staff.”
In almost every account of Mr. Scaramucci’s dismissal, his profanity-laden interview with Mr. Lizza serves as a turning point, if not a nail in the coffin, in his tenure as the White House communications director. Here, Mr. Lizza offers his view on the dismissal and the man he can be sure read his article, Mr. Kelly. Read more »
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