V.A. Nominee Under Fire

Tuesday, April 24, 2018Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.36.12 PM

Good Wednesday morning,
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump acknowledged that Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, his nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, is in serious trouble amid accusations that as the White House doctor he oversaw a hostile work environment, improperly dispensed prescription drugs and possibly drank on the job.

  • Mr. Trump signaled that he was open to a new arrangement with European allies that would preserve the Iran nuclear agreement by expanding and extending its terms to constrain Tehran’s development of missiles and other destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
  • Crisscrossing the nation, Jeff Sessions, the embattled attorney general, praises the president for supporting law enforcement — most law enforcement, anyway.

  • At a lavish state dinner, there was no mistaking the bromance between Mr. Trump and Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, as they praised each other effusively and emphasized that they saw eye to eye.
  • In what has been described as its largest midterm mobilization ever, the Christian conservative movement is looking past the president’s behavior and toward November.

— The First Draft Team

Republicans Lost Support in Every Special Election Since Trump Became President

By ALEXANDER BURNS AND DENISE LU
Republicans have fared far worse in recent special congressional elections compared with previous elections. Above, Arizona's Eighth District results as of April 25 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern.

Republicans have fared far worse in recent special congressional elections compared with previous elections. Above, Arizona’s Eighth District results as of April 25 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern.

Democratic energy has been on vivid display in a series of special elections since President Trump’s inauguration, including in strongly conservative areas where Republicans usually win elections easily, like Arizona’s Eighth District.
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A Trump supporter at a campaign rally in Sacramento in June 2016. A new study found that many Trump voters were driven by fear of losing their status in society.

Trump Voters Driven by Concern About Status, Not Economy, Study Finds

By NIRAJ CHOKSHI

A new study suggests that the white, Christian and male voters who supported the Trump campaign were driven by concerns over losing their privilege.

Mitt Romney, running for an open United States Senate seat from Utah, spoke to delegates at the state Republican convention on Saturday. He narrowly lost a vote to a little-known state lawmaker but is still expected to win the June primary.

Romney Failed to Win at Utah Convention, but Few Believe He’s Doomed

By JULIE TURKEWITZ AND JONATHAN MARTIN

In seeking an open Senate seat, Mitt Romney, the 2012 G.O.P. presidential nominee, faced conservatives who disliked his ideological swerving and hard-right activists who feared they were losing power.

“I would rather believe a woman who has given birth to a baby and still insists that she is a virgin than Kim Jong-un,” one South Korean said of the North’s leader, Mr. Kim, right.

Fear and Hope in South Korea on Eve of Summit With North

By CHOE SANG-HUN

South Koreans still don’t know what to make of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, as he prepares to meet this week with the South’s president, Moon Jae-in.

FEATURE

How Nunes Turned the House Intelligence Committee Inside Out

By JASON ZENGERLE

In inquiries on Benghazi and Russia and beyond, Representative Devin Nunes of California has displayed a deep mistrust of the expert consensus on reality — a disposition that has helped him make friends in the current White House.

Arizona Special Election: Does the Democrat Have a Chance?

By DEBORAH ACOSTA, NATALIE RENEAU AND DREW JORDAN

A special election in Arizona was spurred by a sex scandal, and polls show that this Republican stronghold could be captured by a Democrat.

James Comey at a book signing in New York City on April 18.
BOOKS NEWS

Sales for Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’ Dwarf Recent Political Best Sellers

By ALEXANDRA ALTER

Amazon limited reviews of the book to readers who have purchased it on its site.

A Super Hornet fighter jet launching from an American aircraft carrier in flight operations against the Islamic State last year. The diversion of Kurdish forces has forced the American-led air campaign to shift its tactics.

U.S. Warplanes Shift Tactics to Target Last ISIS Pockets in Eastern Syria

By ERIC SCHMITT

The American-led air campaign to defeat the remnants of ISIS in Syria’s east lost its main ground force. Now it is shifting its tactics to kill the last remaining fighters.

Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator. Critics of the proposed measure say it will undercut the agency’s ability to protect public health.

E.P.A. Announces a New Rule. One Likely Effect: Less Science in Policymaking.

By LISA FRIEDMAN

Under Scott Pruitt, the agency plans to publish a new regulation that would restrict the kinds of scientific studies the agency can use when it develops policies.

Brigitte Macron, left, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, and the first lady, Melan­ia Trump, in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

The First Lady’s White Hat

By VANESSA FRIEDMAN

Melania Trump’s choice of headgear made quite a statement on the second day of the French state visit.

The Supreme Court case, decided by a 5-to-4 vote, concerned a bank based in Jordan that has been accused of processing financial transactions through a New York branch for groups linked to terrorism.

Supreme Court Bars Human Rights Suits Against Foreign Corporations

By ADAM LIPTAK

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said such suits should require explicit congressional authorization, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor countering that the court had created a double standard for corporations.

Lines outside the Supreme Court before justices heard arguments in two Texas voting-rights cases on Tuesday.

Justices Weigh Claims That Texas Voting Maps Discriminate Against Minorities

By ADAM LIPTAK

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a long and winding case about whether congressional and state legislative districts were drawn to discriminate.

The Supreme Court backed a procedure that resembles a trial in federal court, but is conducted by an executive-branch agency.

Supreme Court Upholds Procedure That’s Said to Combat ‘Patent Trolls’

By ADAM LIPTAK

The justices ruled that the proceedings, which opponents say usurp the role of the federal courts, were a permissible way for the agency that administers patents to fix its mistakes.

The Bushes were married for 73 years.

With Bush Hospitalized, the World Wonders: Is It a Broken Heart?

By GINA KOLATA AND BENEDICT CAREY

Former President George Bush, 93, was hospitalized in Houston. While researchers have reported failing health after sudden grief especially the loss of a spouse — it seems to be statistically quite rare, experts said.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, will lead a delegation of President Trump’s top economic advisers to Beijing next week in hopes of brokering an agreement to avert a trade war.

Mnuchin Will Head to China as Trade Tensions Mount

By ALAN RAPPEPORT AND ANA SWANSON

President Trump said he would send his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, to Beijing to try to resolve a trade dispute that could have damaging economic repercussions.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte Macron, to the White House for a state dinner on Tuesday.

Trump and Macron’s State Dinner: The Guest List

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

The list of invitees to Tuesday’sstate dinner honoring the president of France included over 120 people.

Adm. Harry Harris, right, in March. The leader of the United States Pacific Command, he will become envoy to South Korea instead of ambassador to Australia.

Trump Decides American Envoy Headed to Australia Will Go to Seoul Instead

By GERRY MULLANY AND JANE PERLEZ

The decision to nominate Adm. Harry Harris as the ambassador to South Korea is seen as a diplomatic blow to Australia, a close American ally.