‘No child of God should ever suffer such horror.’

Friday, April 7, 2017Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 08.34.23

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The United States fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians, American officials said. It was the first time the White House had ordered military action against forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
  • In a brief address from his estate in Palm Beach, Fla., President Trump said of the chemical attack: “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
  • The strike could shape the future of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy after weeks of apparent disorganization and a hacking scandal involving Russia.

  • Senate Republicans changed the chamber’s rules to bypass Democrats’ filibuster of Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Judge Neil M. Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority vote, which is expected on Friday.

  • A clash between Stephen K. Bannon and Jared Kushner is central to the direction of the Trump presidency, but hope of a middle ground seems to be fading.

— The First Draft Team

Key Points on Sarin: The ‘Most Volatile’ of Nerve Agents

By RUSSELL GOLDMAN
The United Nations destroyed stockpiles of sarin in Iraq in the 1990s. Sarin, a nerve agent, was used in an attack in Syria this week, Turkish officials said.

The United Nations destroyed stockpiles of sarin in Iraq in the 1990s. Sarin, a nerve agent, was used in an attack in Syria this week, Turkish officials said. Unscom

The victims of a bombing in northern Syria this week were exposed to sarin, a banned but easily manufactured poison that has been widely used in chemical weapons, Turkish officials who conducted autopsies on the victims said on Thursday.
What is sarin?
Sarin is a nerve agent, one of a class of chemical weapons that affect the brain’s ability to communicate with the body’s organs through the nervous system. It is a colorless, tasteless, odorless liquid that was first synthesized in Germany in 1938 as a potential pesticide.
Sarin is considered “the most volatile of the nerve agents,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This means it can easily and quickly evaporate from a liquid into a vapor and spread into the environment.”
Sarin vapor does not last long, but it can be deadly if inhaled. Contact with sarin liquid on exposed surfaces, in food or in water can also be fatal. Its effects may strike quickly or be delayed after exposure.
Read more »

Dozens of U.S. Missiles Hit Air Base in Syria

By MICHAEL R. GORDON, HELENE COOPER AND MICHAEL D. SHEAR

The strike, involving cruise missiles fired from nearby warships, was in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week.

The Grim Logic Behind Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attack

By ANNE BARNARD

The idea, analysts say, is to demoralize President Bashar al-Assad’s foes, showing them that their cause is hopeless and that no one will come to their aid.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Striking at Assad Carries Risks and Opportunities for Trump

By DAVID E. SANGER

The strike could shape the future of the president’s foreign policy after weeks of apparent disorganization and a hacking scandal involving Russia.

Senate G.O.P. Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’ to Clear Path for Gorsuch

By MATT FLEGENHEIMER

In bypassing a filibuster, Republicans abandoned long-held practices and will be able to confirm the President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil M. Gorsuch, with a simple majority vote.

How Senators Voted on the Filibuster and the Nuclear Option

By WILSON ANDREWS, AUDREY CARLSEN, JASMINE C. LEE, ALICIA PARLAPIANO AND ANJALI SINGHVI

Democrats filibustered the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, and Republicans voted to change Senate rules to bypass the filibuster.

CONGRESSIONAL MEMO

After Filibuster’s Death, Somber Senators Seek Path Forward

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

After the judicial filibuster was put to rest, senators on both sides talked about finding common ground to prove that the chamber still functioned.

C.I.A. Had Earlier Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump

By ERIC LICHTBLAU

Former government officials said the agency told senior lawmakers last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help get President Trump elected.

Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Forms

By JO BECKER AND MATTHEW ROSENBERG

In applying for top-secret security clearance, Jared Kushner failed to mention having contacts with the Russian ambassador and the head of a state-owned bank.

Devin Nunes to Step Aside From House Investigation on Russia

By EMMARIE HUETTEMAN

Mr. Nunes, the Intelligence Committee chairman, said his decision came after “left-wing activist groups” filed accusations against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

In Battle for Trump’s Heart and Mind, It’s Bannon vs. Kushner

By MAGGIE HABERMAN, JEREMY W. PETERS AND PETER BAKER

The escalating feud between the chief White House strategist and the president’s son-in-law reflects a larger struggle to guide the direction of the Trump presidency.

Preet Bharara Links Firing to Trump Team’s ‘Incompetence’

By BENJAMIN WEISER AND WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM

In his first interview since being ousted as the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara described a series of events preceding his firing that still has him confused about why it happened.

Trump Administration to Take Harder Tack on Trade With China

By MARK LANDLER AND MICHAEL D. SHEAR

The president planned to sign an executive order targeting steel dumping, a measure aimed at China and a potential victory for his hard-line advisers.

IMPERFECT PARTNERS

How Trump Can Fix the Messy U.S.-China Economic Relationship

By NEIL IRWIN

A time to pick the right fights, while resisting the urge to announce a big splashy deal.

Twitter Sues to Block Unmasking of an Anti-Trump Account

By MIKE ISAAC

Twitter said it had a received a summons from the U.S. government to reveal the owner of a so-called alt-account, whose owners say they are dissident current or former government workers.

Up to 100,000 Taxpayers Compromised in Fafsa Breach

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

Hackers posed as students applying for financial aid, the I.R.S. said, and might use stolen data to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds.

Trump Keeps Bringing Up Elijah Cummings. Here’s Why.

By KATIE ROGERS

The Democratic representative from Maryland, who has maintained a back and forth with the president since an Oval Office meeting, believes the president reacted positively to his frankness.

Trying to Revive Health Bill, G.O.P. Adds Billions for Sickest Americans

By ROBERT PEAR

Under intense pressure from the president to revive legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans added a fund to help insurers pay the most expensive claims.

Trump and Warren Agree? Maybe, on Plan to Shrink Big Banks

By MICHAEL CORKERY AND JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

The president and Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat harshly critical of Wall Street, may both favor separating retail and investment banking.