U.S. Set to Loosen Pollution Rules

Friday, March 30, 2018Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 9.27.26 AM

Good Friday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort to weaken emission and fuel economy standards for cars, handing a victory to manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide.

  • Russia will expel 60 American diplomats and probably dozens from other nationsthe Kremlin said. The move, which also includes closing the American consulate in St. Petersburg, is retaliation for the expulsions of more than 150 Russian officials in 27 countries over the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in Britain.

  • Mr. Trump escalated his attack on Amazon, saying on Twitter that the online behemoth does not pay enough taxes — and suggesting that he may try to rein in the e-commerce business. He also accused Amazon of using the United States Postal Service as their Delivery Boy.

  • Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who worked behind the scenes to direct the president through multiple crises, has left the building. Those left behind are wondering what happens now.

  • Mr. Trump’s dismissal of David J. Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs — and the nomination of a man with no known policy views to take his place — has brought renewed focus to a debate over whether to let veterans use their benefits to see private doctors rather than going to government hospitals and clinics.

  • The story of one White House dinner shows how The National Enquirer’s publisher, David J. Pecker, has used Mr. Trump’s friendship to court Saudi business. It’s a previously untold chapter in the long, symbiotic relationship between the president and Mr. Pecker, which was forged in the 1990s.

— The First Draft Team

Kiss Up, Kick Down: Those Recalling Bolton’s U.N. Confirmation Process Say He Hasn’t Changed

By KATIE ROGERS AND ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON
President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Bolton during a congressional recess in August 2005.

President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Bolton during a congressional recess in August 2005. Doug Mills / The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The last time — perhaps the only time — John R. Bolton inspired bipartisan agreement, it was over the shared conclusion that he was perhaps the least diplomatic personality a president could have ever picked to be an American diplomat.
That was in 2005, when Mr. Bolton was last considered for a government job. Accounts of his red-faced tirades against intelligence analysts whose findings he disagreed with so concerned members of the Senate that they refused to approve his nomination as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations.
He wound up getting the job anyway through a recess appointment by Mr. Bush, who later regretted spending the political capital on such a divisive figure, telling conservatives, “I don’t consider Bolton credible.”
Thirteen years later, another president has given Mr. Bolton the far more consequential job of national security adviser. But because that post does not require Senate confirmation, the five months in 2005 that the Senate took to decide whether Mr. Bolton should go to the United Nations remain the only extensive examination of his record and his temperament.
Those who opposed him then, like Carl W. Ford Jr., along with many who supported him, say Mr. Bolton has not changed.
Read more >>
Roseanne Barr received a call from President Trump on Wednesday congratulating her on the high ratings her comedy had received. “Roseanne” is back on the air after more than two decades.

Trump Rings Up Roseanne Barr After Her Show Is a Ratings Winner

By MAGGIE HABERMAN AND PATRICK HEALY

The president, an obsessive about TV ratings, was said to have been enthralled by the “huge” viewership the show had drawn.

Biggest Threat to Humanity? Climate Change, U.N. Chief Says

By SOMINI SENGUPTAAntónio Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, said, “I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off.”

The stakes are high, the secretary general said. But he suggested that the Trump administration’s decision to quit the Paris Agreement didn’t matter much.

Griffin Lipson for The New York Times

Eric Holder Says He’ll Sue to Block Citizenship Question on Census

By MATTHEW HAAG

In a wide-ranging TimesTalks conversation, Mr. Holder, the former attorney general, also said Facebook should be viewed as a communication company and be regulated.

An Amazon warehouse in Florence, N.J. The company says it collects taxes in every jurisdiction where it is required to do so.
FACT CHECK

The Facts Behind Trump’s Tweet on Amazon, Taxes and the Postal Service

By MICHAEL GOLD

President Trump criticized Amazon again, causing its stock price to fall. Here are the facts behind his tweets.

Citing Trump’s ‘Racial Slurs,’ Judge Says Suit to Preserve DACA Can Continue

By ALAN FEUER

A federal judge in Brooklyn said Mr. Trump’s language had created a “plausible inference” that the decision to end the program protecting young, undocumented immigrants violated the Constitution.

Trump Heralds a New Trade Deal, Then Says He Might Delay It“We’ll probably hold that deal up for a little while,” President Trump said Thursday of a new South Korea trade agreement, “see how it all plays out.”

By KATIE ROGERS AND JIM TANKERSLEY

In a meandering speech, Mr. Trump seemed to undercut his own administration’s initiatives, including on infrastructure and a trade agreement with South Korea.

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman in the revived “Roseanne” on ABC. Its premiere on Tuesday earned the highest ratings for a network sitcom in almost four years.

‘Roseanne’ Reboot Sprang From ABC’s Heartland Strategy After Trump’s Victory

By JOHN KOBLIN AND MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Realizing it was leaving some viewers behind, the network put into effect a plan that brought back a working-class sitcom.


Sessions Rejects Republican Calls for Second Special CounselAttorney General Jeff Sessions said an existing Justice Department inquiry already included an examination of the surveillance of a former Trump aide, obviating the need for a special counsel.

By KATIE BENNER

Lawmakers had sought an independent inquiry into the Justice Department’s surveillance of a former Trump aide, but the attorney general said the matter was already being investigated.