Nancy Pelosi’s Test

Monday, February 12, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 9.35.52 AM

Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • As Congress turns to the difficult topic of immigration, some are wondering if Nancy Pelosi is the person to lead her party on an issue that goes to the heart of Democratic divisions in the era of President Trump.

  • On Saturday, Mr. Trump again thrust himself into the national debate over sexual harassmentasserting that a mere allegation could destroy the lives of those accused, as his own White House was engulfed by charges of abusive behavior. Two aides — his staff secretary and a speechwriter — have stepped down over allegations of domestic abuse.

  • John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff who often defends the accused, said he was willing to step down over how the situation was handled. And while the White House was in turmoil, senior advisers rushed to defend Hope Hicks, the communications director, who was involved in the administration’s response.

  • Mr. Trump also accused the Democrats of forcing his hand in blocking the release of a classified memo that rebuts Republican charges that law enforcement agencies abused their power in spying on a former Trump campaign aide. He announced his decision to block the memo Friday.

  • After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons in a deal that he insisted would also include compromising material on Mr. Trump.
— The First Draft Team
News Analysis

G.O.P. Squirms as Trump Veers Off Script With Abuse Remarks

Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, a first-term Republican, is one of the president's most visible champions outside the White House staff.

Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, a first-term Republican, is one of the president’s most visible champions outside the White House staff. Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

President Trump’s approval ratings have been nudging upward and his party’s political standing is improving, but the president’s unceasing habit of making inflammatory and insensitive remarks is galvanizing opposition against him — especially from women — that could smother Republican momentum going into the midterm campaign.
Saturday was a case in point. In a Twitter post, Mr. Trump appeared to raise doubts about the entire #MeToo movement, a day after he had offered sympathy for a former aide accused of spousal abuse.
“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” the president wrote on Twitter, adding: “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
On Friday, the president had jumped into the controversy over the former aide, Rob Porter, who is accused by two former wives of physical and emotional abuse, defending him and offering no denunciation even for the idea of assaulting women. Mr. Trump, who himself has been accused of sexual misconduct, focused instead on Mr. Porter, saying that he was enduring a “tough time.”
The president’s seeming indifference to claims of abuse infuriated Republicans, who were already confronting a surge of activism from Democratic women driven to protest, raise money and run for office because of their fervent opposition to Mr. Trump.
Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, at an event in support of Nation School Choice Week on Capitol Hill in January.

In Her Words: Education Secretary Assesses a Year on the Job


In the last 12 months, much of what Betsy DeVos has done has faced a barrage of backlash. But in a wide-ranging interview, she said her agenda had not been derailed.

Representative Martha McSally of Arizona at a rally last month in Tuscon, Ariz. She represents the evolution of the Republican establishment’s handling of President Trump, from wary detachment to warm embrace.

Arizona G.O.P. Tiptoes Between Trump-Loving Base and Leery Wider Electorate


With possibly two Senate seats open, and as many as three competitive House seats, Arizona could be ground zero this year, but both parties are torn by divisions in the electorate.

Marvin Goodfriend, a conservative economist whose nomination to the Federal Reserve’s board is now opposed by Senator Rand Paul, at his Senate confirmation hearing last month.

Unexpected Opposition Imperils Federal Reserve Nominee


Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, has joined Democrats in opposing the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend to the board of governors.

Antoinette Lopez, who has rheumatoid arthritis, complained about paying more and more for drugs to treat her illness.

Lower Drug Prices: New Proposals Carry Lots of Promises


The White House is considering a plan to lower out-of-pocket costs for people in Medicare drug plans, who often pay inflated prices for medications.

From left, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister; Rex W. Tillerson, the secretary of state; Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, Qatar’s defense minister; and Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, in Washington last week.

In Charm Offensive, Qatar Pushes for a Comeback in Washington


After a disastrous 2017, Qatar is winning over fans in the Trump administration. But given the country’s ties to Iran, risks remain.

The budget release will turn a spotlight on Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Mulvaney, who was a hard-line deficit hawk in Congress, has at times strained to defend Mr. Trump’s deficit-busting policies.

With New Budget Deal, Trump Surrenders to the Administrative State


A year after planning a broad reorganization of the federal government, President Trump has signed a budget that expands every facet of the Washington swamp.

An employee of Plug Power in Latham, N.Y., filling a hydrogen fuel cell from a hydrogen dispenser. The company makes hydrogen-powered fuel cells meant for forklifts.

The Trump Tax Cuts Hurt This Manufacturer. It Kept On Lobbying.


Hundreds of companies were hurt by the Trump tax cuts, which failed to extend dozens of expiring tax credits. Executives at Plug Power in Latham, N.Y., never lost hope.

Mark Lee Coleman, right, getting blood work done at the Family Health Centers in Louisville. Mr. Coleman is a diabetic on Medicaid, whose condition can threaten his ability to work.

Kentucky Rushes to Remake Medicaid as Other States Prepare to Follow


The state will require many people to work, volunteer or train for a job to qualify for coverage — and to prove it with frequent documentation.

Army soldiers carry the coffin of Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright of Lyons, Ga., who was killed by extremists in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger. A Pentagon investigation has recommended scaling back West Africa missions like the one that killed Sergeant Wright and three other American soldiers.

Inquiry of Soldiers’ Deaths Urges Curtailing Missions in West Africa


The Pentagon is poised to scale back patrols and commanders’ authorities as a result of the October ambush in Niger that killed four American soldiers.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, in the second row, was barely 10 feet from Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen Pence.

No Handshakes as Pence Avoids North Korean Leader’s Sister at Olympics


The terms were set by Mr. Trump: He was open to a meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and Kim Jong-un’s sister, but only if Mr. Pence delivered a tough message away from TV cameras.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana is one of the projects listed by President Trump as a priority for federal investment.

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan May Ignore Climate Change. It Could Be Costly.


The president wants to spend $1.5 trillion on rebuilding roads and bridges, but experts say failing to account for climate change will add to costs.

Joy-Ann Reid in Manhattan.

How an MSNBC Host Became a Heroine of the Resistance


The daughter of immigrants, Joy-Ann Reid spars fiercely with supporters of the Trump administration, both on the air and in the Twitter ether.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, read testimonies from Dreamers who had written to their representatives about their lives.

Pelosi Spoke for Eight Hours on Dreamers. We Checked Her Facts.


The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, mostly told anecdotes and personal stories. But she included a few facts and falsehoods to sort through as well.

Jeanine Pirro, the Fox News personality and longtime friend of President Trump, is likely to write an account that is highly favorable to him.

‘No Fire, No Fury?’ Trump Is On Board With Pirro Book to Rebut Wolff’s


Jeanine Pirro, the Fox News personality, met with the president, who agreed to be interviewed for a book to counter the damning portrayal in Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury.”