U.S. War Footprint Grows

Thursday, March 30, 2017Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 11.10.52

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in a string of wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought. Officials say the shift began under President Barack Obama and was adopted by President Trump with a “fight to win” pledge.
  • The top Republican and the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee distanced themselves from a flagging House effort and vowed to take the Trump-Russia inquiry “wherever the intelligence leads.”
  • Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter, is becoming an official government employee. She had criticism from ethics experts after saying she would serve as an informal adviser to her father.
  • After Mr. Trump’s moves aimed at undoing many of the Obama administration’s climate change policies, China is now poised to take the lead on confronting global warming.
— The First Draft Team

What Cold War Intrigue Can Tell Us About the Trump-Russia Inquiry

By JAMES RISEN
F.B.I. agents in 2001 at the Vienna, Va., home of Robert Hanssen, an F.B.I. agent who gave Moscow the names of Soviets working for the United States.

F.B.I. agents in 2001 at the Vienna, Va., home of Robert Hanssen, an F.B.I. agent who gave Moscow the names of Soviets working for the United States. Doug Mills/Associated Press

It began with evidence of a breach of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and has now evolved into a sprawling counterintelligence investigation to determine whether there was any coordination between members of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign staff and the Russian government, perhaps even influencing the 2016 election.
When James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, went before Congress on March 20 and confirmed the existence of the Trump-Russia investigation, it echoed of the Cold War investigations in which the bureau and the C.I.A. searched for agents hidden in the government who had spied for Moscow.
A look back at those Cold War cases may reveal lessons for today’s investigators. Above all, those past cases show it could take years before the new investigation uncovers any answers.
Read more »

U.S. War Footprint Grows in Middle East, With No End in Sight

By BEN HUBBARD AND MICHAEL R. GORDON

Two months after President Trump took office, indications are mounting that the military is deepening its involvement in complex wars that lack clear outcomes.

Tillerson to Lift Rights Conditions on Arms Sale to Bahrain

By DAVID E. SANGER AND ERIC SCHMITT

The decision could mend a rift with a critical Middle East ally, but it is bound to be read by other nations in the region as a sign the administration will ease human rights demands.

Senators Vow Thorough Russian Investigation

By MATT FLEGENHEIMER AND EMMARIE HUETTEMAN

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee pledged to forge ahead, while seeking to distance themselves from the troubled House inquiry.

Coal Mining Jobs Trump Would Bring Back No Longer Exist

By HIROKO TABUCHI

The jobs the president alluded to — hardy miners in mazelike tunnels with picks and shovels — have become vestiges of the past.

China May Take Lead on Climate After U.S. Moves to Undo Policies

By EDWARD WONG

For years, the United States pushed China to commit to limiting its use of fossil fuels. The countries now look likely to switch roles.

Ivanka Trump, Shifting Plans, Will Become a Federal Employee

By MAGGIE HABERMAN AND RACHEL ABRAMS

The president’s elder daughter had drawn criticism from ethics experts after saying she would serve as an informal adviser to her father.

No Deal Between Kushners and Chinese Over Skyscraper

By MICHAEL FORSYTHE AND CHARLES V. BAGLI

A Chinese company has ended talks to invest billions of dollars in a Manhattan building owned by the family of the president’s son-in-law.

Melania Trump Honors Women Affected by Bias and Abuse

By MARK LANDLER

In a rare speech, she challenged a State Department audience to put themselves in the shoes of women — victims of domestic abuse, gender bias, or violence — who have fought injustice.

DeVos Says More School Choice, Not Money, Is the Answer

By ERICA L. GREEN

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, the education secretary rejected the notion that money was a panacea for the challenges facing public schools.

What the Repeal of Online Privacy Protections Means for You

By BRIAN X. CHEN

Now that internet providers will not have to get permission to collect and sell customers’ online information, how will that affect privacy online?

In Lawsuit After Lawsuit, It’s Everyday People v. Trump

By VIVIAN YEE

Plaintiffs suing the president to block his travel ban have included professors and grocery clerks, Americans and people trying to become one.

Little Sign of a ‘Trump Bump’ in the Economic Forecast

By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

Despite upbeat sentiment among consumers and investors in the new year, actual growth estimates are modest for the quarter and beyond.

FEATURE

One Reason Health Care Costs So Much: Indecipherable Medical Bills

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

Hospitals have learned to manipulate medical codes — often resulting in mind-boggling bills.

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 Left
• From TruthDig:
“His policies haven’t sprung from thin air.”
Bill Blum traces a line from President Trump’s executive orders concerning immigration back to specific legislation from an unlikely predecessor: President Bill Clinton. Read more »
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From the Right
• From The Weekly Standard:
“The distribution of benefits is deeply contrary to the principles of republican government.”
Jay Cost evaluates the Trump administration’s federal budget along moral and historical lines, arguing that the Founding Fathers would have balked at the ease with which modern administrations — both Democratic and Republican — borrow money. Mr. Cost argues that high levels of debt betray the ideals of the Constitution and our moral obligation to future generations. Read more »
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See more picks »