Roaring Again on Free Trade

Friday, April 21, 2017Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 10.44.49

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • While ordering an investigation into steel imports that is aimed at China and Japan, President Trump went off script to accuse Canada of hurting American dairy farmers. The flurry of anti-trade action appears to signal a comeback for the nationalist wing of the White House, but there has not yet been a concrete shift in policy. Despite Mr. Trump’s actions, China’s steel exports may prove hard to contain.
  • Desperate for progress on the vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are pushing to resurrect a health care bill even as a more urgent deadline looms to avoid a government shutdown. The G.O.P. plan evokes the days before Obamacare.
  • Sarah Palin, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent spent four hours in the White House, where they dined, took the grand tour and discussed foreign affairs with President Trump.
  • The Internal Revenue Service will start using four private debt-collection companies to chase tax delinquents, a job it has handled itself for years.
  • Though the Bill O’Reilly scandal had relatively little impact on Fox News, he was dismissed because advertisers felt obliged to desert “The O’Reilly Factor.” Mr. O’Reilly may net $25 million as part of his exit package.
  • States seeking to execute inmates face a range of barriers, from the difficulty in procuring the lethal drugs to the tools at defense lawyers’ disposal.
  • The Justice Department is weighing whether to charge Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, for his role in the disclosure of classified information that the United States claims has harmed national security and diplomatic relations, a law enforcement official said.
— The First Draft Team

From N.F.L. Owners to Florida Retirees, a Who’s Who of Inaugural Donors

Hundreds of pages of financial disclosure documents were released this week on the sources of funding for President Trump’s inauguration in January.

Hundreds of pages of financial disclosure documents were released this week on the sources of funding for President Trump’s inauguration in January. Josh Haner/The New York Times

Blue-chip American companies, kings of “dark money,” titans of professional football and even a Florida retirement community.
They all contributed to Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. Together, the donor rolls for the president’s inaugural committee, which announced this week that it had raised a staggering $107 million, take up 510 pages.
Million-dollar checks came in from nearly 50 people or corporations, many of whom have interests at stake in Washington or ties to the government. Smaller checks came in from all corners of the country and nearly every large industry — not to mention from some of President Trump’s closest friends.
You can examine the documents yourself. But we scoured them for you and found some of the more interesting donors.
See some of the major donors to the inauguration »
Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Virginia last month. His comments this week about Hawaii have drawn criticism.

Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as ‘an Island in the Pacific’


The attorney general’s comments, related to a federal judge’s ruling that blocked the Trump administration’s latest travel ban, drew criticism from lawmakers.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, left, and Randi Weingarten, the American Federation of Teachers president, spoke with Alaina Arney, a freshman at Van Wert High School in Ohio, on Thursday.

Ohio Town’s Schools Hope to Be ‘More Than a Line Item’ in the Federal Budget


The town of Van Wert, Ohio, became a crossroads of federal policy with a visit by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Randi Weingarten, a teachers’ union leader.

Ivanka Trump announced the creation of the Ivanka M. Trump Charitable Fund for the unpaid portion of her book advance and any future royalties.

Ivanka Trump Says She Will Donate Book Proceeds to Charity


Ms. Trump has announced plans to donate $200,000 of a book advance for “Women Who Work” to charitable groups. She will also forgo a publicity tour.

Delta planes in 2014. This month, a federal air marshal left a loaded service weapon unattended in a bathroom on a Delta flight, in what was described as a significant security breach.

U.S. Air Marshal Left Loaded Gun in an Airplane Bathroom


A passenger found the weapon and gave it to a member of the flight crew. The episode is the latest in a string of embarrassments for the air marshal program.

The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the Sunda Strait last week.

Trump Unleashes the Generals. They Don’t Always See the Big Picture.


Both the aircraft carrier repositioning that wasn’t and the massive bomb in Afghanistan show that even seasoned military leaders can lose sight of the broader picture.

Ajit Pai, the F.C.C. chairman, in Washington in February. The agency voted on Thursday to roll back rules restricting telecom companies and broadcasters.

F.C.C. Leader Seeks Tech Companies’ Views on Net Neutrality


The chairman, Ajit Pai, met with companies like Facebook and Oracle about his plans to roll back rules that require broadband providers to make all internet content equally accessible.

President Trump leads a signing event for the Memorandum Regarding the Investigation Pursuant to Section 232(B) of the Trade Expansion Act, Thursday, April, 20, 2017.

No U.S. Military Role in Libya, Trump Says, Rejecting Italy’s Pleas


At a news conference Thursday with the prime minister of Italy, the president said he would not give the military a direct role in stabilizing war-ravaged Libya.

President Trump hosting a dinner with President Xi Jinping of China at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 6. That night, Mr. Trump broke the news to Mr. Xi of a missile strike he ordered against a Syrian airfield.

Bold, Unpredictable Foreign Policy Lifts Trump, but Has Risks


The president’s improvisational approach has helped his fortunes, but if he backs off from a threat, he could weaken the nation’s standing.

From left, Ingo Hülsmann, Stefan Stern and Eva Meckbach performing in the BAM production of the Schaubühne’s adaptation of “An Enemy of the People” that was presented in 2013. A new version of that production is heading to Broadway next season.

Theater in the Trump Era: A Broadway Revival of ‘An Enemy of the People’ Is Planned


The new production of the oft-adapted work was developed at a German theater, Schaubühne, and is being brought to Broadway by David Binder.

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona held an event last week in Mesa. He is one of two Republicans seen as vulnerable in the 2018 midterm elections.

Group Therapy and Chastened Lawmakers at Raucous Town Halls


Over a two-week congressional recess, many lawmakers have avoided meeting with constituents. For those who have held forums, the results have been telling.

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
• Matthew Continetti in The Washington Free Beacon:
“What connection does Tim Cook have to the cause of a free press other than in suppressing it for profit?”
Earlier this week, the Newseum awarded Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, an award for free speech. Matthew Continetti sees hypocrisy in granting Mr. Cook this award after Apple acquiesced to a Chinese government request to remove The New York Times from the Chinese version of the App Store. And he notes that Apple is a “platinum sponsor” of the Newseum’s Free Expression awards. Read more »
From the Left
• Luke Savage in Current Affairs:
‘The West Wing’ is an elaborate fantasia founded upon the shibboleths that sustain Beltway liberalism and the milieu that produced them.”
If you love Aaron Sorkin’s political drama “The West Wing,” you might want to read Luke Savage’s critical perspective on the show. You’ll definitely want to read it if you hate the show. Mr. Savage explains how the show’s valorization of pragmatism and process, rather than any specific policy or ideological gains, is the idealized state of establishment liberal politics. It reflects the smug view that “politics is less a terrain of clashing values and interests than a perpetual pitting of the clever against the ignorant and obtuse.” Read more »
More selections »