Syria Attack

Wednesday, April 5, 2017Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 11.18.13

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Despite expressing outrage over the worst chemical attack in years in Syria, a White House spokesman dismissed calling for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was “impractical.” Instead, President Trump’s focus remained on U.S. interests.
  • Among the membership rolls of the Mar-a-Lago resort is a Chinese magnate who is a frequent critic of Beijing. It could make for an awkward topic as Mr. Trump hosts President Xi Jinping there.
  • Jeffrey M. Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, resigned and said on Tuesday that he had broken the Fed’s rules in 2012 by speaking with a financial analyst about confidential deliberations.
  • Two selections for prominent posts at the education department, both lawyers, have legal records on sexual assault that have alarmed some advocates.
  • In a conservative part of the Atlanta suburbs, a brush fire of liberal discontent is fueling the campaign of a political neophyte, Jon Ossoff, for an open seat in the House.
— The First Draft Team

Fact Check: Trump, Faulting Obama on Syria, Contradicts Himself

By LINDA QIU
A victim received oxygen after the attack in Syria on Tuesday.

A victim received oxygen after the attack in Syria on Tuesday. Ammar Abdullah/Reuters

In a statement condemning Tuesday’s chemical attack in Syria, President Trump faulted the administration of former President Barack Obama for not intervening more aggressively in that country’s civil war — contradicting his own, earlier advice.
“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” Mr. Trump said in the statement released by the White House. “These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”
“President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing,” Mr. Trump continued, referring to Mr. Obama’s first direct threat of force. “The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.”
But Mr. Trump has repeatedly advocated doing nothing in Syria, insisting it is not America’s problem.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Obama to “not attack.”
Read more »
NEWS ANALYSIS

For Trump, a Focus on U.S. Interests and a Disdain for Moralizing

By PETER BAKER

The president has dispensed with what he considers pointless moralizing and preachy naïveté, playing down issues of human rights or democracy that animated his predecessors.

2 Education Dept. Picks Raise Fears on Civil Rights Enforcement

By ERICA L. GREEN

Staffing in the Office for Civil Rights has been a source of concern for civil rights advocates ever since the Trump administration rescinded protections for transgender students as one of its first education policy moves.

U.S. Appetite for Mexico’s Drugs Fuels Illegal Immigration

By RON NIXON AND FERNANDA SANTOS

President Trump’s border policies focus on keeping people out. But some officials say the flow of drug money going from north to south is an equal part of the problem.

Ceding to One Side on Health Bill, Trump Risks Alienating Another

By ROBERT PEAR AND THOMAS KAPLAN

With the administration struggling to gather enough G.O.P. support in the House for a new bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, party leaders say no action is imminent.

Senate Formally Takes Up Gorsuch Nomination, and Braces for Turmoil

By MATT FLEGENHEIMER

The Senate will face a blistering partisan conflict this week over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch and the chamber’s future rules.

Russian Spies Tried to Recruit Carter Page Before He Advised Trump

By ADAM GOLDMAN

Mr. Page, a businessman, met in 2013 with one of three Russians who were eventually charged with being undeclared officers with Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

Ex-Obama Adviser Is Back in Political Cross Hairs Over Surveillance

By PETER BAKER

Susan Rice denied wrongdoing after reports that she sought to learn the identities of associates of President Trump swept up in the electronic monitoring of foreigners.

A Veteran and China Hand Advises Trump for Xi’s Visit

By MARK LANDLER AND JANE PERLEZ

Matthew Pottinger, an ex-journalist, Marine and now an Asia adviser in the Trump administration, joins the president to meet with President Xi Jinping.

ON THE RUNWAY

Melania Trump Wears Dolce & Gabbana for Official Portrait

By VANESSA FRIEDMAN

In an unexpected move, the first lady chose an Italian brand when styling her role for posterity.

As Trump Meets Xi at Mar-a-Lago, There’s a ‘Wild Card’

By MICHAEL FORSYTHE

Among the membership rolls of the Mar-a-Lago resort is a Chinese magnate, Guo Wengui, who is a frequent critic of Beijing. His ties to the club are a new twist in how President Trump’s business interests can complicate diplomacy, in this case with arguably the world’s most important bilateral relationship.

Richmond Fed President Resigns, Admitting He Violated Confidentiality

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

Jeffrey M. Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, said on Tuesday that he also failed to disclose the details of the conversation even when he was questioned directly in an internal investigation.

PEER PRESSURE

How Gorsuch Could Pull the Eight Other Justices Rightward

By JUSTIN WOLFERS

A study finds the presence of a liberal or conservative justice can move the entire court left or right, and not only with their own vote.

Fox Losing More Advertisers After O’Reilly Harassment Claims

By EMILY STEEL AND MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

More than a dozen marketers have said they are pulling their advertisements from Bill O’Reilly’s program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” and the National Organization for Women demanded that he be fired.

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
• Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard:
“The rich can wait.”
What kind of tax plan should President Trump push for? A simple one, according to Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard. Here, Mr. Barnes proposes a tax plan that cuts corporate income tax to 20 percent from 35 percent and includes hundreds of billions of dollars for an infrastructure bill that is likely to appeal to Democrats. What’s not in this tax overhaul? A cut to the personal income tax rate. At least for now. Read more »
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From the Left
• Ezekiel Kweku in MTV:
“Watching science fiction and fantasy movies is like reading the dream journal of the collective subconscious. Donald Trump’s campaign, a bundle of exposed nerve endings and raw fear, took its campaign rhetoric about cities directly out of the pages of this journal.”
To understand how Mr. Trump sees crime and the modern American city, Ezekiel Kweku urges you to watch John Carpenter’s 1981 dystopian action film, “Escape From New York.” No, really. Read more »
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