Talk of Pardons

Thursday, March 29, 2018Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 10.11.43 AM

Good Thursday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • A lawyer for President Trump broached the idea of Mr. Trump pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

  • The Trump administration is attempting to scale back federal efforts to enforce fair housing lawsfreezing enforcement actions against local governments and businesses, including Facebook, while sidelining officials who have aggressively pursued civil rights cases.

  • After weeks of uncertainty atop the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Trump said that he planned to replace its secretary, David J. Shulkin, with Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician and a rear admiral in the Navy.

  • The Trump administration’s whiplash approach to federal prison policy reflects the tension between Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It has left both Democratic and Republican lawmakers confused and has contributed to skepticism that the Trump administration is serious about its own proposals.

  • A top Trump campaign official had repeated communications during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence, according to a document released by the special counsel.

— The First Draft Team

What a Times Political Reporter Learned From the 2016 Election

By ALEXANDER BURNS
A voting-rights protest in Fayetteville, N.C., in August 2016 opposing more restrictive election rules for Cumberland County.

A voting-rights protest in Fayetteville, N.C., in August 2016 opposing more restrictive election rules for Cumberland County. Travis Dove for The New York Times

Like many political reporters, I’ve spent months reflecting on the arc of 2016, pondering where my coverage might have missed the mark and why.
Many of the conventional explanations have been shallow and unsatisfying. It’s not the case, for instance, that the news media didn’t cover President Trump’s supporters or listen to their voices, or that reporters failed to visit the middle of the country. Scores of reporters have the datelines and airline receipts to prove it.
For me at least, the real problem of 2016 was a failure of imagination.
Read more »
Supporters of transgender people serving in the military outside a federal courthouse on Tuesday in Seattle.

Critics See Echoes of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in Military Transgender Ban

By HELENE COOPER

The Pentagon’s recommendations on when transgender people can serve in the military were rife with contradictions, say critics who are ready to challenge them in court.

The aftermath of an American airstrike in 2016 on an Islamic State militant training camp in rural Libya. Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north.

American Drone Strike in Libya Kills Top Qaeda Recruiter

By ERIC SCHMITT

The recruiter, Musa Abu Dawud, provided logistics, money and weapons that enabled the group to threaten and attack U.S. and Western interests, the military said.

Shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif. To secure trade agreements quickly, the White House has taken a contentious approach to negotiations.

Trade Deals Take Years. Trump Wants to Remake Them in Months.

By KEITH BRADSHER

A series of looming deadlines will put pressure on U.S. partners to reach deals, in a high-risk strategy that may not solve deeper and more persistent problems.

Nancy McFadden, executive secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown of California, in Sacramento in 2015. Ms. McFadden recently spearheaded an effort to extend a state program for reducing pollution through economic incentives.

Nancy McFadden, 59, Adviser to Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown, Dies

By JENNIFER MEDINA

A campaign aide to Mr. Clinton in 1992, she joined his administration before becoming Governor Brown’s right hand in Sacramento.

The actress and executive producer Roseanne Barr at the premiere of “Roseanne” in Burbank, Calif., last week. The star, a supporter of President Trump, has said the show would deal with the hot political moment the country is in.

‘Roseanne’ Revival Wins Huge TV Ratings

By JOHN KOBLIN

More than 18 million watched ABC’s reboot of a show with more than nostalgic appeal: Its star, the Trump supporter Roseanne Barr, has pledged to tackle the political moment.

Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica speaking in 2016 about the presidential election. Mr. Nix has been suspended as chief executive in the wake of revelations that the company improperly acquired data from Facebook users.

Soul-Searching From Ad Group That Lauded Cambridge Analytica

By SAPNA MAHESHWARI

The Advertising Research Foundation, which hailed the research firm last year, now says advertisers need to consider the ethics of how consumer data is collected and used.

President Trump’s declaration in an early morning tweet came after days of silence on the subject, and followed student marches around the country over the weekend calling for more gun control.

Trump Says Second Amendment ‘Will Never Be Repealed’

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

The president’s declaration, after days of silence on gun control, came in response to an Op-Ed by John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court justice.

The assembly line at the General Motors plant in Lansing, Mich.

Trump Secures Trade Deal With South Korea Ahead of Nuclear Talks

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR AND ALAN RAPPEPORT

The president won his first bilateral trade deal this week with South Korea, but whether it is a template for future agreements remains in question.

Protesters gathered outside of the Supreme Court where arguments were heard on a Maryland gerrymandering case on Wednesday.

Supreme Court, Weighing Map Warped by Politics, Shows No Consensus

By ADAM LIPTAK

The new case is a Republican challenge to a Maryland congressional district. A second case, a Democratic challenge from Wisconsin, is pending.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is part of the basis of the lawsuit.

Lawsuit Over Trump’s Ties to His Businesses Is Allowed to Advance

By SHARON LAFRANIERE

The suit accuses the president of violating the Constitution by refusing to divorce himself from the Trump Organization and could allow the plaintiffs to scrutinize its records.