Biden to showcase foreign policy credentials with 2020 decision looming
- Munich, Germany (CNN) - Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday will return to a familiar place on the world stage, delivering remarks at an annual gathering of political leaders and security experts in Munich, Germany, as he draws closer to a decision about whether to run for president in 2020.
- Biden will speak to the Munich Security Conference, giving him an opportunity to showcase his foreign policy acumen as he weighs entering a Democratic presidential primary field that is currently light on national security credentials.
- It was a vote that animated much of the foreign policy debate in the 2008 Democratic primary, with Biden and Hillary Clinton being among the candidates who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq while Barack Obama opposed the war.
This weekend reminds us what presidential greatness is all about
- In a very different way, Theodore Roosevelt refashioned the presidency at the turn of the 20th century into an instrument capable of shaping national debate and playing a visible role as the top public representative of the country.
- Roosevelt would lead the country through a Great Depression, which left 25% of the workforce unemployed, and then a world war against totalitarianism.
- Barack Obama's election in November 2008 was a great night for the nation despite all the opposition that he would encounter and the disappointments that some Democrats expressed once he was in office.
- His ability to figure out how, as an African-American, to make the case for his election in a nation still haunted by the legacy of slavery and the continued reality of racism, permanently changed the expectations of what was possible in elections.
Mueller recommends a prison sentence of up to 24.5 years for Paul Manafort after a federal judge voided his plea deal for lying to investigators
- The special counsel Robert Mueller's office recommended a sentence of 19.58 to 24.41 years in prison for Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, in a sentencing memo unsealed Friday.
- The filing came after US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Wednesday that Manafort lied to prosecutors in three out of five instances outlined by Mueller's office.
- Prosecutors are also looking into discussions Manafort and Kilimnik had around the same time about a plan to end the conflict in Ukraine after Russia annexed the territory of Crimea in 2014, according to comments one of Mueller's prosecutors made at a court hearing this month about Manafort's lies.
- The prosecutor, Andrew Weissman, said at the hearing that Manafort and Kilimnik communicated extensively about the so-called Ukraine peace plan beginning in early August 2016 and continuing into 2018, months after Manafort was first indicted by the special counsel.
Germany’s soldiers of misfortune
- On a recent trip to Lithuania, where about 450 German soldiers are stationed as part of a NATO mission to deter Russian aggression, U.S. officials were dismayed to discover Bundeswehr personnel communicating on unsecure mobile phones due to a shortage of secure radio equipment.
- With U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration putting intense pressure Berlin to spend more on defense and fulfill its NATO obligations, the sorry state of Germany’s military is bound to be top of mind this weekend when U.S. and European political and military leaders gather for their annual security pow-wow in Munich.
- Given Germany’s size and economic might, Berlin’s attention to security is surprisingly shallow; citizens and politicians alike often seem oblivious to the challenges the country faces.
What happens when the president declares a national emergency
- President Trump declared a national emergency on February 15, 2019.
- This gives Trump special powers, which he says will help him fund a wall along the US-Mexico border.
- But what is a national emergency and how does it give the President more power?
- Declaring a national emergency isn't limited to military or war situations.
- Once the President declares a national emergency, many legal limits on his authority are lifted.
- Both Congress and the Supreme Court may modify, limit, or revoke the President's special powers, specifically if they deem his actions unconstitutional.
- National emergencies expire after a year, unless the President renews them by notifying Congress.
- The oldest national emergency still active today was declared by Jimmy Carter in November 1979.
- In April 2015, Barack Obama declared a national emergency to block malicious cyber-threats from entering the US.
What 12 world leaders' desks around the world look like
- Trudeau's desk was built sometime around 1880, according to the CBC, and was used by former prime ministers Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Lester B.
- The Kenyan State House in Nairobi houses Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's office, containing his unique desk that features an L-shape that extends to his left.
- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's workspace inside of the villa features a rounded cream desk with green trim and a light green chair.
- Quirinal Palace is one of the official residences of the Italian president.
- In it is Italian President Sergio Mattarella's office and desk, which is a deep wood with gold trim and burgundy-tinted top.
- Finnish President Sauli Niinistö recently showed off his office and desk during his 2019 New Year's speech.
- Today, the president's office can be found inside the Leopoldine Wing of the palace.
Border-Wall Vote: Latest Updates and Analysis
- President Trump on Friday said he would declare a national emergency to bolster his border-wall plans, supplementing the funding contained in a spending bill passed by Congress with billions in additional funds diverted from elsewhere in the government.
- President Trump on Friday was set to sign a spending bill that keeps the government open and lay out his plans to divert billions of dollars of funds to build a wall on the southern U.S. border, including the declaration of a national emergency.
- Programming Note: Trump's remarks are now expected at 10:30 a.m. President Trump was set to sign a spending bill that keeps the government open and lay out his plans to divert funds to build a wall on the southern U.S. border, including the declaration of a national emergency.
Vice President Mike Pence and Jared Kushner visited Auschwitz on Friday
- WARSAW, Poland (AP) — US Vice President Mike Pence visited the memorial site of Auschwitz on Friday along with the Polish president and Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, viewing a train car, crematoriums, and the hair of victims that make it such a powerful testament to the evil that befell Europe in the last century.
- It was the first visit for Pence, a conservative Christian, to the site where German forces murdered 1.1 million people, most of them Jews but also Poles, Roma and others, during the Nazis' occupation of Eastern Europe during World War II.
- The visit comes a day after Pence also visited sites commemorating the suffering of the Jewish and Polish people in Warsaw during the war.
- Pence is on a four-day visit to Europe that included meeting with Polish soldiers and American troops in Poland and a conference on the Middle East that concluded Thursday.
Parties Line Up to Sue Trump on ‘National Emergency’ Declaration
- If Trump plans to pay for construction by reallocating military funds, individuals or businesses who lose funding as a result of that decision could also sue.Central to the arguments against the emergency declaration will be the separation-of-powers doctrine that affords Congress the right to allocate or not allocate money for certain discretionary programs.
- Trump’s exercise of the power in a matter of national security is on much more solid ground than President Barack Obama’s 2009 emergency to deal with swine flu, said John Eastmen, a constitutional law professor at Chapman University and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
- There aren’t many legal determinations on the president’s powers under the National Emergencies Act. One such case is a Korean War-era lawsuit dubbed the steel-seizure case, which addressed President Harry Truman’s lack of authority to seize private property without the support of Congress.
Short-seller Jim Chanos says he will support Joe Biden if he runs for president in 2020
- Famed short-seller and Democratic donor Jim Chanos plans to support former vice president Joe Biden if he runs for president in 2020.
- Chanos, a longtime friend of Biden's, planned to support the former Delaware senator last time he was mulling a run for president ahead of the 2016 election.
- Chanos, who founded Kynikos Associates, has a history of supporting Democratic candidates, potentially making him a key financial ally for Biden if the former vice president chooses to run for president in 2020.
- While records show Chanos gave minimally during the 2018 race, he donated just over $50,000 to President Barack Obama's Victory Fund during his 2012 re-election bid.
- Biden has been in touch with donors about possibly running for president in 2020 and has privately acknowledged he's leaning toward entering the race, according to people with direct knowledge of the talks.