Pentagon's damning assessment of Kim regime made public, with summit in balance
- The report differs from Trump's public assessment of Kim. Last year the President dubbed him "Little Rocket Man" but in recent weaks he has been effusive in his praise for the North Korean leader, calling him "very open and I think very honorable." The report also makes clear the obstacles Trump faces in convincing Kim to give up his nuclear weapons program, which Kim sees as key to maintaining his grip on power.
- The Pentagon study on military and security developments in North Korea is mandated by Congress, and the latest version was completed before Trump agreed to meet with Kim. Nonetheless it provides the latest detailed public assessment from the Trump administration of Kim's weapons program and his potential motivations for maintaining power in advance of a potential summit.
Trump planning to withhold aid from undocumented immigrant home countries
- Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration is devising a plan to withhold US foreign aid funds from the home countries of immigrants who illegally enter the United States.
- It was also possible he was referring to situations where home countries refuse to accept undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes in the US once they have served their prison sentence.
- Trump once again shined a spotlight on crimes committed by MS-13 gang members to reinforce his administration's efforts to curtail illegal immigration, even though they account for only a small portion of both the number of undocumented immigrants and gang members in the United States.
- That is just a fraction -- less than 1% -- of the 1.4 million gang members the FBI estimates to be criminally active in the United States.
Trump is reportedly considering a plan to slap tariffs on imported cars
- President Donald Trump is considering applying tariffs on imported cars, according to a new report.
- The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Trump administration is considering a plan to impose the tariffs by undergoing an investigation through Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. Section 232 allows the president to impose trade restrictions on national security grounds.
- Trump administration officials have begun to discuss the possibility of auto tariffs with industry executives, according to the Journal, and the tariffs could be as high as 25%.
- The Washington Post's David Lynch and Josh Dawsey also reported that the annoucement of a Section 232 investigation could be a ploy by the Trump adminstration to pressure Mexico into accepting new rules on auto imports in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation.
- By threatening a tariff on all imported cars, Mexico could be pressured into the tightening of the rules.
In a Twitter rant, Elon Musk just vowed to create a news credibility rating site called 'Pravda' — here's how that's connected to Russia
- It all started when, on Wednesday afternoon, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO criticized the media in a series of tweets.
- Several minutes later, Musk followed up by tweeting that he plans to start a site that would rate the credibility of news organizations.
- Existing solely as an online site at Pravda.ru, it covers both straightforward news (often with a Russian nationalist slant) as well as conspiracy theories.
- A few headlines in the past decade have included "AIDS: 21st Century's Biggest Hoax" and "Aliens forced Americans out from the Moon." Unlike today's Pravda, the Pravda Report has an English-language site and is not connected to the Communist party.
- On Twitter, a number of journalists and other commenters have compared Musk's latest tweets to those of President Donald Trump, who frequently criticizes the media for stories he perceives as negative.
Trump offers rare praise to deputy AG Rosenstein
- Rosenstein oversees the special counsel's investigation and has been a frequent target of criticism from the President and his allies.
- Rosenstein earned Trump's praise after outlining steps the Justice Department has taken to combat MS-13 and other violent gangs and listing specific immigration law loopholes Congress should work to close.
- The interaction between the two men comes as Trump and his allies have stepped up their efforts to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, with Trump parroting unfounded claims that the previous administration carried out politically motivated "spying" of his 2016 presidential campaign.
- Rosenstein was at the center of a fight with the President's conservative allies in the House of Representatives who had threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress for withholding classified documents about the source.
The GOP just dealt another blow in their steady unraveling of Obama's legacy
- Congress' passage Tuesday of the first major rollback of Wall Street regulations enacted after the financial crisis are set to not only reshape the financial system, but also serve as the latest Republican blow in a bid to unwind former President Barack Obama's legacy.
- The bill, which President Donald Trump says he will sign, does not undo the post-crisis banking regulation Dodd-Frank Act completely.
- In Congress, Republicans have also made use of the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to rescind regulations put in place by executive agencies.
- Recently, Republicans also tried an unused wrinkle to the CRA, which could allow Congress to rescind regulations dating back to the CRA's passage in 1996.
- But, the GOP pointed a small provision that says the CRA can be used for up to 60 days after a regulation is submitted to Congress.
Trump threatens to take away aid from countries every time one of their citizens comes to the US illegally
- President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration is working on a plan to withhold aid money from countries that he believes don't do enough to prevent their citizens from illegally entering the US.
- Trump made the remarks during a roundtable discussion about immigration and the street gang MS-13 with law-enforcement officials in Long Island, the epicenter of MS-13 violence in the US.
- The president assailed US laws that allowed asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors to stay in the US pending their immigration court dates — some of whom are MS-13 members, Trump said.
- At one point, Trump even accused foreign nations of encouraging their nationals to illegally enter the US.
- It wasn't immediately clear which countries Trump was referring to, whether he was speaking about MS-13 members specifically, or unauthorized immigrants in general.
Trump administration considers new tariffs on imported vehicles: Wall Street Journal, citing sources
- Shares of Toyota Motor Corp.
- dropped nearly 2 percent in after-hours trading after a report that the Trump administration was weighing new tariffs on auto imports to the United States.
- President Trump has discussed plans for tariffs with industry officials, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday afternoon, citing sources.
- It is looking at investigating car imports on national security grounds, the report said, and tariffs could be up to 25 percent.
- Shares of General Motors and Ford Motor rose slightly in extended trading.
- Toyota was off by 1.7 percent.
- Around lunch time, as he boarded Marine One for a trip to New York, Trump talked about ongoing negotiations over the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, a sticking point on which has been rules for imported auto parts.
- Here's the full story from the Wall Street Journal.
How to Win Trade Wars: Don’t Fight Them
- Anyway, Trump, Congress and the Fed are weakening banking regulations, Bloomberg's editors note -- just after banks posted yet another quarter of record profits by overcoming crushing regulations, I guess?
- And though big banks were central to the crisis a decade ago, small banks were at the heart of the savings and loan debacle of the 1990s.
- If you noted a tinge of panic around emerging markets this morning, that was just Turkey’s lira collapsing, partly because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t know how economies work.
- The good news: Turkey’s banking system seems stable so far, writes Marcus Ashworth.
- The Trump administration is considering a variation called “opportunity zones.” But these are geared more toward real estate than jobs – and that could do more harm than good, by making housing even more unaffordable, warns Noah Smith.
Read the tweets that got these people blocked on Twitter by President Donald Trump
- On Wednesday, a federal judge said that Trump does not have the right to block people from following his Twitter posts.
- The ruling came in response to a suit by seven people who had been blocked, personally by Trump, last year on Twitter.
- A lawyer for the institute said she knows of several hundred people, at least, who have been blocked by Trump on Twitter, but the actual number of blocked accounts is likely much higher.
- Below are the people who sued Trump over their being blocked, and the tweets that landed them in the president's crosshairs.
- The Justice Department, which represented the president in the case said it was considering its next steps.
- Trump did not talk about the case Wednesday on Twitter.
- But it's possible, given his history of teeing off on opponents, that he will say something about it in the future.