Trump Congratulates Putin

Wednesday, March 21, 2018Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 9.46.02 AM

Good Wednesday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump congratulated President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on his re-election but did not raise with him the lopsided nature of his campaign. One adviser to Mr. Trump counseled him against praising the vote’s outcome, writing on his briefing materials, DO NOT CONGRATULATE.

  • Mr. Trump welcomed Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to the White House, reaffirming his embrace of an ambitious young monarch bent on reforming his country and realigning the Middle East.
  • A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Mr. Trump sued to be released from a 2016 legal agreement restricting her ability to speak. She is the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts to bury stories about extramarital relationships.

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee offered recommendations for securing American elections from foreign attacks, pressing states to buy voting machines that produce paper ballots and to secure voter databases.

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended her agency’s commitment to minority students in a wide-ranging hearing in which congressional leaders pressed Ms. DeVos on her department’s budget.
— The First Draft Team
The Upshot

What Special Elections Can’t Tell Us About a Democratic Wave

By NATE COHN
There shouldn’t be much doubt that the Democrats are riding a wave heading into November’s midterm elections.
That was clear well before Conor Lamb’s apparent victory in Pennsylvania last week. There have been nearly 100 special elections over the last year, and at this point there’s so much evidence of Democratic strength that there’s not much more to glean from each additional result.
But the special elections haven’t taught us everything we need to know about the midterms. In particular, there are two big outstanding questions that the special elections can’t answer. Can Democrats sustain their performance in a higher-turnout general election? And will Republican incumbents run ahead of the national party by enough to survive?
The answers will determine whether the fight for control of the House is a Democratic-leaning tossup, as history and national polls imply, or whether Democrats are poised for a tsunami, as the special election results suggest.
Read more »
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Melania Trump, the first lady, and President Trump last month.

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Anti-abortion activists demonstrating in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on Tuesday.

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Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi’s agricultural commissioner, at a county fair last summer.

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In Nafta Talks, U.S. Tries to Limit Junk Food Warning Labels

By AZAM AHMED, MATT RICHTEL AND ANDREW JACOBS

A Trump administration proposal would limit the ability of Mexico, Canada and the United States to warn consumers about the dangers of foods linked to obesity.

Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.

Carson Defends Buying $31,000 Dining Set: ‘I Left It to My Wife’

By GLENN THRUSH

In a rambling explanation, Ben Carson, the housing secretary, told a House committee he had “dismissed” himself from the decision to buy the office set.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti of Illinois survived a serious challenge to win the Republican primary on Tuesday.

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The embattled Republican incumbent survived a primary race against a conservative challenger and now faces a serious threat from Mr. Pritzker.

Ralph Peters appeared regularly on Fox News and the Fox Business Network after spending more than two decades in the Army, eventually specializing in Russian intelligence.

Fox News Analyst Quits, Calling Network a ‘Propaganda Machine’

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Ralph Peters, a retired lieutenant colonel, sent an email to his colleagues saying he was “ashamed” of what the channel had become.

Arthur Jones, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary in Illinois’s Third Congressional District, had not won the nomination in five previous tries.

Denounced by G.O.P., Ex-Nazi Wins Its Congressional Primary in Illinois

By LIAM STACK

Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier and former member of the American Nazi Party, was the sole Republican candidate in a suburban Chicago congressional district.