The Pipelines Return

Wednesday, January 25, 2017Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 07.52.15

Good Wednesday morning.
• With a stroke of a pen, the pipelines are back.
President Trump sharply changed the federal government’s approach to the environment on Tuesday as he cleared the way for two major oil pipelines that had been blocked, and set in motion a plan to curb regulations that slow other building projects.
Mr. Trump resurrected the Keystone XL pipeline that had stirred years of debate, and expedited another pipeline in the Dakotas that had become a major flashpoint for Native Americans.
• Washington braces for another battle over the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump said that he would reach a decision this week on his nominee to fill the nearly yearlong vacancy on the Supreme Court. The choice will probably plunge the capital into an all-consuming political fight, with Democrats prepared to fight any nominee outside the legal mainstream.
• Confirmation fights continue on Capitol Hill.
In a heated hearing, Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, Representative Tom Price, defended his trading of medical and pharmaceutical stocks. Also, the Senate voted to confirm Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina to be ambassador to the United Nations and considered a handful of other nominees.
• New debt projections presage hard choices for Republicans.
After seven years of fitful declines, the federal budget deficit is projected to swell again over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The projections could pose a major challenge to congressional Republicans who have to choose between fiscal prudence and the spending plans of the new president.
NICHOLAS FANDOS
President Trump told corporate leaders on Monday that they could face punishing tariffs and other penalties if they don’t bring back manufacturing jobs.

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Trump Won’t Back Down From His Voting Fraud Lie. Here Are the Facts.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, during a briefing on Tuesday.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, during a briefing on Tuesday. Doug Mills/The New York Times
During a private meeting with congressional leaders on Monday, President Trump asserted that between three million and five million unauthorized immigrants had voted for his Democratic opponent and robbed him of a victory in the national popular vote.
There is no evidence to support the claim, which has been discredited repeatedly by numerous fact-checkers.
That did not stop Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, from standing by the president’s words on Tuesday during a briefing with reporters at the White House. As I said, I think the president has believed that for a while, based on studies and information he has, Mr. Spicer said.
That much appears to be true. Mr. Trump repeatedly raised doubts about the integrity of the American voting system in the period before the election in November and has falsely said since his victory that millions of people voted illegally.
Pressed to present the evidence on Tuesday, Mr. Spicer appeared to conflate two different studies that Mr. Trump’s staff had previously cited in defending his claim. “There’s one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens,” Mr. Spicer said. “There’s other studies that have been presented to him.”
Get the facts »
Border Patrol agents near Jacumba, Calif. President Trump plans to direct funds toward a wall.

Mike Blake/Reuters
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS AND MAGGIE HABERMAN

The president will order the construction of the wall on Wednesday and is mulling plans to bar Syrian refugees from the country, according to people who have seen the orders under consideration.

Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the federal appeals court in Atlanta in November. He is a former Alabama attorney general, a graduate of Tulane’s law school and an outspoken opponent of abortion and gay rights.

Cliff Owen/Associated Press
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR AND ADAM LIPTAK

Judge William Pryor Jr. and Judge Neil Gorsuch are among the leading candidates to fill the vacancy on the justices’ bench, but Democrats are planning fierce opposition.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said his party would insist on having a mainstream Supreme Court candidate.

Al Drago/The New York Times
ON WASHINGTON
By CARL HULSE

Reeling over Republicans’ refusal to hold a hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee last year, Democrats see Mr. Trump’s coming nomination as a chance to take a stand.

Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, President Trump’s choice to be White House budget director, during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
By ALAN RAPPEPORT

Congressional Budget Office projections reveal the strain that the debt will have on the economy as President Trump embarks on plans to cut taxes and ramp up spending.

President Trump signed documents clearing the way to government approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline Rejected by Obama

By PETER BAKER AND CORAL DAVENPORT

The new president continued dismantling his predecessor’s policies by clearing the way for a project at the heart of the battle over climate change.

NEWS ANALYSIS
President Xi Jinping of China in Bern, Switzerland, last week. During his visit, Mr. Xi visited the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he hinted that with the United States in retreat, China was prepared to step up as a champion of free trade.

Trump Injects High Risk Into Relations With China

By JANE PERLEZ AND CHRIS BUCKLEY

As he tosses aside decades of American trade policy, the president could also go his own way on other issues with China, including Taiwan and the South China Sea.

CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK
Donald J. Trump during a Comedy Central roast in 2011, when he edited the wording in a gag to double the size of his fictional penthouse.

For Trump, Everything Is a Rating

By JAMES PONIEWOZIK

Donald J. Trump embellished his “Apprentice” ratings and exaggerated the number of floors in Trump Tower. As president, he has continued using suspect math.

Keep or Replace Obamacare? It Might Be Up to the States

By HAEYOUN PARK AND JASMINE C. LEE

Several Senate Republicans have proposed a plan that offers three options for changing health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. One allows states to continue using the existing law.

What We’re Reading

There may be a drastic shift in policy emanating from the White House, but a Pew survey found that there has been little change in the public’s priorities from the last several years.
The confirmation of Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s choice for trade czar, could be complicated by his representation three decades ago of the Brazilian government in a dispute with American industry, The Wall Street Journal reports.
FiveThirtyEight has written a series of articles taking stock of news coverage of the presidential election and why Mr. Trump’s victory came as such a surprise to many.
Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general, along the parade route for President Trump’s inauguration on Friday. Democrats pushed back a confirmation vote on him.

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
By CHARLIE SAVAGE AND ERIC LICHTBLAU

The outcry over the delay of cases involving the Baltimore Police Department and a challenge a Texas voter ID law came as Democrats pushed back a vote on Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

President Trump leaving the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., on Saturday, his first full day in office.

Doug Mills/The New York Times
By JEREMY W. PETERS

“Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Bombing Iraq. Somali pirates. Top officials from the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations warn how things never go exactly as planned.

Al Drago/The New York Times
By ROBERT PEAR AND THOMAS KAPLAN

Democrats pressed Mr. Price, the nominee for health and human services secretary, on ethics and the Affordable Care Act, but his support from Republicans is solid.

Workers on an auto parts production line in the Bosch factory this month in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. President Trump has threatened to impose a 35 percent tariff against Mexico.

Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
ECONOMIC SCENE
By EDUARDO PORTER

The United States’ southern neighbor must convince President Trump that if he blows up the trade agreement, his country will suffer, too.

CNBC
By BILL VLASIC

The tenor of the White House meeting with the chief executives of the three Detroit automakers appeared far more cooperative than adversarial.

James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, during a reception on Sunday for law enforcement officials and first responders at the White House.

Al Drago/The New York Times
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT AND ADAM GOLDMAN

President Trump has decided to retain Mr. Comey as head of the agency that is leading an inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russia’s government.