The Trump administration is reportedly gearing up to roll back Obama-era rules on greenhouse-gas emissions and fuel-economy standards for cars, in a major blow to environmental advocates. Sources cited by The New York Times yesterday said Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is expected to announce the measure next week and frame it as being about cost concerns. A 16-page draft proposal on the rollback has already been given to the White House for review, an EPA spokeswoman confirmed to the Times. The rules, known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, were put in place under President Obama to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and fight climate change. The planned rollback of those standards is likely to trigger legal battles with environmental groups, and California has already vowed to stick to the Obama-era rules.
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for the repeal of the Second Amendment in a New York Times op-ed published today. Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010, called the Second Amendment “a relic of the 18th century” that saw a lifting in its previously limited reach in 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller decision. He said that case’s ruling “provided the [National Rifle Association] with a propaganda weapon of immense power,” and that overturning the Second Amendment “would be simple and would do more to weaken the NRA’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun-control legislation than any other available option.” Stevens, now 97, also called for the March for Our Lives leaders to demand the amendment’s repeal, and claimed it “would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform.”
China’s economic czar, Liu He, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are reportedly leading talks to “improve U.S. access to Chinese markets,” according to The Wall Street Journal. In a letter last week, the Trump administration sent out specific requests to China—including “greater access to China’s financial sector by American companies,” sources told the Journal. Mnuchin also called Liu on Saturday and is reportedly “weighing a trip to Beijing” to pursue negotiations. The contact comes after President Trump signed $60 billion in new tariffs on the Chinese last week against intellectual property theft.
President Donald Trump has challenged former Vice President Joe Biden to a fist fight, and he thinks he’s going to win. Perhaps it was an inevitable response to Biden’s comments on Tuesday, when he said: “If [he and Trump] were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” Just after 6 a.m. ET, Trump mocked the “mentally and physically weak” Biden and insisted that he would leave him in tears if the two men were to actually have a fight. Trump tweeted: “Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!”
Attorneys for President Donald Trump have reportedly sat down for the first time in person with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team. According to CNN, the meeting took place last week and focused on “the topics investigators could inquire” of Trump. CNN also reports that Mueller’s team wants to ask Trump about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, in addition to the president’s knowledge of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the former Russian ambassador. This meeting occurred prior to this week's increased speculation that Trump may be close to firing Mueller despite the objections of Congress.
A Washington, D.C. councilman—and now failed meteorologist—has apologized for pushing a wild conspiracy theory that the recent snowfall in the capital was caused by the Rothschild banking dynasty. As snow began to fall in the city last week, Trayon White Sr., a member of the district’s legislative branch, posted a Facebook video in which he insisted the family of Jewish billionaires—and magnet for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—was intentionally controlling the climate to gain greater control of U.S. cities. “Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” White narrated on the video. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.” After initially defending his commentary, White later apologized, telling The Washington Post: “I work hard every day to combat racism and prejudices of all kinds. I want to apologize to the Jewish community and anyone I have offended,” he said. “The Jewish community have been allies with me in my journey to help people. I did not intend to be anti-Semitic, and I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues.”
Rick Saccone, the Republican congressional candidate endorsed by President Trump in Pennsylvania’s special election, told a crowd of supporters last night that his opponents hate the president, the country, and God. “They’re energized for hate for our president,” Saccone said at a rally on the eve of Tuesday’s special election for the state’s 18th congressional district. “Many of them have a hatred for our country. I’ll you some more—my wife and I saw it again today, they have a hatred for God,” he was quoted as saying by NBC News. The remarks, which appear to be his closing argument in the race, came after a new Monmouth poll showed him behind his Democratic rival, Conor Lamb, whom Trump mocked as “Lamb the Sham” while stumping for Saccone over the weekend.
President Trump reportedly accepted last week's offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the spot without consulting advisers about the move, The New York Times reports. Trump’s quick response to the offer, relayed by a South Korean envoy, is said to have shocked not only several South Korean officials present but also Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom tried to caution the president against making rash decisions. He reportedly brushed them off, however, and has since hailed the potential meeting as capable of bringing “the greatest deal for the world.” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah on Sunday told ABC News there are “no additional conditions being stipulated” for the meeting to take place but North Korea must uphold “promises” not to engage in nuclear or missile testing in order for things to move forward.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly gathered evidence that a meeting in the Seychelles between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a top Russian official was part of a bid to create a back-channel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin. According to The Washington Post, Prince had told congressional investigators that the meeting was not set up in advance, but his account was contradicted by “a witness cooperating with Mueller.” The meeting took place just before Donald Trump was inaugurated as president.
Gary Cohn is set to resign as President Trump’s chief economic adviser, White House officials told The New York Times today. As a free-trade advocate, Cohn had notably been at odds with Trump in recent weeks over the president’s planned tariff hikes on steel and aluminum imports. His departure, the Times suggested in its report, likely means Trump will pursue more nationalist and protectionist economic policies, as opposed to the free-market policies normally pushed by Republican administrations. “Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” Trump said in a statement to the Times.
A grand jury subpoena reviewed by Axios that special counsel Robert Mueller sent to a witness indicates that many in President Trump’s known inner circle, and the president himself, are within the scope of the Russia investigation. The list subpoenas “all communications—meaning emails, texts, handwritten notes, etc.—that this witness sent and received” to Carter Page, Corey Lewandowski, Donald J. Trump, Hope Hicks, Keith Schiller, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and Steve Bannon. The subpoena calls for all communications to be turned over from November 1, 2015—five months after the president first announced his campaign—to the present.
This week, President Trump anounced the creation of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that might kick in as early as next week. The rollout on this was less than ideal, however: White House aides charged with crafting the rules were caught off guard and haven't written the policy yet. Then came the pushback: lawmakers blasted the idea, the stock market plummeted and our allies fumed. Fears of a trade war--which could result in more expensive cars and beer cans--are high. Democrats and Unions, however, have finally found something to agree with Trump on.