White House Throws Weight Behind a Plan to Curtail Legal Migration

Thursday, August 3, 2017Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.23.24 AM

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team

U.S. Opens Door to Talks With North Korea, While Flexing Military Muscle

By DAVID E. SANGER
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson arriving to brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, center, and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson arriving to brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Al Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In the Trump administration’s first serious attempt at a diplomatic opening to North Korea, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has offered to open negotiations with Pyongyang by assuring “the security they seek” and a new chance at economic prosperity if the North surrenders its nuclear weapons.
Mr. Tillerson’s comments came just hours before the United States on Wednesday tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, sending it 4,200 miles to a target in the Marshall Islands. The Pentagon said the test was not intended as a response to the North’s launch on Friday of a missile that appeared capable of reaching Los Angeles and beyond.
But military officials said the test demonstrated that the American nuclear arsenal was ready “to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the United States and its allies.”
The combination of Mr. Tillerson’s outreach and the missile test laid bare an internal administration debate over what course to take — and whether a combination of diplomatic outreach and maximal military pressure would change North Korea’s current course. Most intelligence assessments have concluded that the North has no incentive to begin negotiations until it demonstrates, even more conclusively than it has in recent weeks, that its nuclear weapon could reach the United States mainland.
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Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, spoke about the party’s trade proposals outside the Capitol on Wednesday.

Senate Democrats Seek to Outdo Trump on Trade

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

The lawmakers revealed a package of protectionist proposals aimed at recapturing the loyalty of voters concerned about foreign trade.

White House Purging Michael Flynn Allies From National Security Council

By GLENN THRUSH AND PETER BAKER

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who succeeded Mr. Flynn as national security adviser, has slowly been removing some of his appointees, angering conservatives.

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
• Eliot A. Cohen in The Atlantic:
“He has picked Kelly not because of his political or administrative skills but because he thinks of him as a ‘killer.’”
Mr. Cohen, who wrote this article just before the ouster of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director, is not as optimistic about the appointment of John Kelly as chief of staff as some other writers have been. Mr. Kelly’s “occasionally contemptuous attitude towards the press and Congress,” though seen as assets by his boss, will likely ensure that the former general will not thrive in the White House. Finally, Mr. Kelly’s new role “contributes to the continuing decay of American civil-military relations,” according to Mr. Cohen, who finds it “inappropriate to have so many generals in policy-making positions.” Read more »
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From the Left
• Heather Digby Parton in Salon:
“Frankly I think he’s better off working at the White House scheduling the president’s time and refereeing the dysfunctional Trump family circus than overseeing that vast police agency.”
Ms. Parton is not as confident as the journalist Ryan Lizza that the appointment of Mr. Kelly is a positive sign for this administration. As pundits across the political spectrum express “breathless excitement” over the “swashbuckling military man” sent in to whip the White House into shape, Ms. Parton has her doubts. If Mr. Kelly is the “square-jawed” man of integrity the news media has been making him out to be, she predicts “the general’s not long for Trumpworld.” Read more »
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