Trump at the U.N.

Monday, September 18, 2017Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 8.27.30 AM

Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • All eyes will be on President Trump this week at his first United Nations General Assembly as international leaders take the measure of him.
  • Mr. Trump’s legal team is wrestling with how much to cooperate with the special counsel looking into Russian election interference, an internal debate that led to an angry confrontation last week between two White House lawyers and that could shape the course of the investigation.
  • The Trump administration is considering closing the recently reopened United States Embassy in Havana after 21 Americans associated with the embassy experienced a host of unexplained health problems.
  • In a series of Twitter posts, Mr. Trump shared an animation of him hitting a golf ball into Hillary Clinton’s back and another that appeared to refer to Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, as Rocket Man.
  • Despite a long record of intelligence warnings, there is no evidence that Washington has ever moved with urgency to cut off Pyongyang’s access to a rocket fuel.
— The First Draft Team

Facebook Knows More About Russia’s Election Meddling. Shouldn’t We?

A Facebook mural on the company's campus in 2014. Facebook is under fire for running ads purchased by fake users trying to cause disruption in the American electorate.

A Facebook mural on the company’s campus in 2014. Facebook is under fire for running ads purchased by fake users trying to cause disruption in the American electorate. Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Here’s what we know, so far, about Facebook’s recent disclosure that a shadowy Russian firm with ties to the Kremlin created thousands of ads on the social media platform that ran before, during and after the 2016 presidential election:
The ads “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum,” including race, immigration and gun rights, Facebook said.
The users who purchased the ads were fakes. Attached to assumed identities, their pages are believed to have been created by digital guerrilla marketers from Russia hawking information meant to disrupt the American electorate and sway a presidential election.
Some of those ads were pushed out to very specific parts of the country, presumably for maximum political effect. Facebook has identified some 2,000 other ads that may have been of Russian provenance, although, as CNN reportedlast week, it can’t rule out that there might be far more than that.
Read more about what we don’t know, at least not directly from Facebook »

Sean Spicer Joins Stephen Colbert at the Emmys


The former White House press secretary poked fun at himself in an Emmy bit, but some critics were not ready to laugh along.

When U.N. Envoy Nikki Haley Talks, Does President Trump Listen?

President Trump with Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, last month.By SOMINI SENGUPTA

Ms. Haley has cast herself as someone who can sway President Trump on important foreign policy issues — including the value of the United Nations itself. This week will test her influence.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has found itself in the middle of a fraught debate over the Obama administration’s legacy in Syria after withdrawing a study of the issue.

The Holocaust Museum Sought Lessons on Syria. What It Got Was a Political Backlash.


The Holocaust Museum has found itself in the middle of a fraught debate over the Obama administration’s legacy in Syria after withdrawing research.

A Juggalo who called himself Lunchbox at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. The group was protesting its classification as a gang.

Juggalos on the Mall? Just Another Weekend of Washington Protests


A Saturday filled with protests seemed a potentially combustible mix, but clashes were limited to a few harsh words exchanged near some porta-potties, and the city went about its business.

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 Barulich in The Federalist:
“With a stroke of his pen, Trump could simply direct the I.R.S. to favor American businesses that hire persons legally permitted to work in the U.S. This policy of Affirmative Wage Deduction (AWD) would cause an instant exodus of undocumented immigrants, potentially recoup billions of dollars in federal tax subsidies, and turn off the employment magnet that now draws thousands of illegal immigrants to breach our borders.”
Mr. Barulich finds an alternative to passing immigration policy changes through the legislative process by looking to the tax code. With specificity, he offers regulatory efforts that he argues would lead to “millions of illegal immigrants employed in the hospitality, meatpacking, agriculture, construction, and garment industries” being “replaced by citizens.” His prescriptive pitch: “The president should stop blaming Congress for inaction on the concrete wall. He should keep his promise to his supporters and sign an executive order to create this ‘big, beautiful digital wall.’”
Continue reading the main story
Read more »
From the Left
The editorial board of The Los Angeles Times:
“Trump should set aside his insistence on his silly wall — which even many of his fellow Republicans dismiss as unnecessary and excessively costly — and put the well being of the Dreamers ahead of his ill-advised campaign promises.”
The editorial board makes their point pretty plainly: “We hope the president and leaders of both parties in Congress can find a way to make this work.” They cite fairness and allude to public polling that indicates that “most of the American people” agree with a path to citizenship for this cohort. They point out that “these are people, after all, who often have spent little time in the country where they were born, speak only English and have been brought up as Americans. To qualify for DACA protections, they had to be in school or have graduated or to have been in the military.”
Read more »
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