Suspicious Contacts

Wednesday, May 24, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 8.46.30 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
The Russia Investigation
  • During last year’s election, the C.I.A. noticed suspicious contacts between Russian officials and associates of the Trump campaign, John O. Brennan said. The former C.I.A. director’s remarks before the House Intelligence Committee were the fullest public account to date of the origins of an investigation that has continued to shadow the Trump administration.
The President’s Budget
Trump Overseas
The Family Business
— The First Draft Team


On Washington

Republicans Will Reject Trump’s Budget, but Still Try to Impose Austerity

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, on Tuesday in the press briefing room at the White House.

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, on Tuesday in the press briefing room at the White House. Jim Bourg/Reuters

Finally some good news for President Trump: His new budget stands absolutely no chance of being enacted by Congress.
Moving forward with the cuts outlined in the $4.1 trillion spending plan created by the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, formerly one of the most determined fiscal hawks in Congress, would no doubt have major repercussions and compound the peril of Republicans already facing upheaval over their health care proposals. It would most likely hurt some of the very voters in rural and economically distressed corners of the nation who catapulted Mr. Trump to the White House and Republicans to control of the House and Senate. The effect on those constituents would be quickly felt.
Presidential budgets, especially in times of divided government, are traditionally labeled dead on arrival. This one, with its deep domestic spending reductions, never even drew a breath, despite unified Republican control of Washington. But it will influence the coming congressional spending deliberations, and its most consequential effect may be to push authors of House and Senate budget and spending bills to the right.
Read more »
The director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, in Washington on Tuesday. A court ruled that Wikimedia has grounds to sue the N.S.A. over Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Federal Court Revives Wikimedia’s Challenge to N.S.A. Surveillance


An appeals court ruling on warrantless internet surveillance raises the chances that the Supreme Court could one day scrutinize the issue.

Organic farmers in Colorado use a camera-equipped drone to survey their fields. The Trump administration is seeking the authority to track and destroy any type of drone over domestic soil.

Proposed Rules Would Allow U.S. to Track and Destroy Drones


Citing security threats, the Trump administration has asked Congress to give the federal government sweeping powers regarding drones over domestic soil.

Near the Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River after Syrian fighters with American air support captured it from Islamic State militants this month.

Inside the Air War Over Syria: A High Altitude ‘Poker Game’


A recent visit to the American-run air command center in Qatar shows the complexities of fighting against the Islamic State in the aftermath of a missile strike against a Syrian airfield.

Obama’s Fiduciary Rule, After a Delay, Will Go Into Effect


New protections requiring financial advisers to put customers’ interests first will take effect in June, even as regulators continue to review them.

A military parade in April commemorated the 105th anniversary of the birth of the former North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.

Democrats Warn Trump Against Pre-emptive Attack on North Korea


Sixty-four members of Congress sent a letter to the president exhorting him to resolve the standoff with North Korea peacefully.

Joe Arpaio at his office in Fountain Hills, Ariz. He was defeated for re-election as sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., last fall.

Since Ouster, Sheriff Arpaio Has Lots of Time, but Not for Regrets


The Arizona sheriff, tough on inmates and accused of targeting Latinos in Maricopa County, reflects on his reputation and his decades in law enforcement.

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 French in National Review:
“There is a reason beyond our nation’s respect for constitutional rights why a defendant’s decision to assert the Fifth Amendment is inadmissible in criminal trials: It simply isn’t a reliable indicator of guilt.”
No matter what you think of Michael T. Flynn, Mr. French writes, it’s important to remember that not everyone who pleads the Fifth is guilty. In fact, the insight we can glean from Mr. Flynn’s decision to invoke his right against self-incrimination is that he employs a “shrewd legal team.” Read more »
From the Left
Matthew Yglesias in Vox:
“Trump’s obstruction of justice happens to be the rare situation to which impeachment is well-suited.”
Impeachment is a weighty and clumsy tool, Mr. Yglesias writes, but that doesn’t mean we should never use it. And while the events that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation took years to unfold, that shouldn’t mean action can’t be swift in this case. After all, as Mr. Yglesias claims, “the smoking gun is already in our possession,” and it has aired as an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. Read more »
More selections »