Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

The White House

  • It was a week of flip-flops for President Donald Trump, who changed his positions on foreign policy matters such as NATO, China, Russia, Syria, as well as more domestic-focused ones pertaining to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the Export-Import Bank.
  • Vice President Mike Pence is in South Korea today, where he will discuss U.S. options to respond to North Korea’s nuclear provocations. Trump is said to be considering new sanctions and military options in response to any North Korean aggression.
  • The president signed into law a Congressional Review Act resolution overturning an Obama administration rule that prohibited states from denying funding to abortion providers.
  • The administration is taking steps to ramp up a nationwide deportation force to facilitate the removal of immigrants illegally residing in the United States.
  • There was a great deal of palace intrigue focused on the White House, with Trump’s political strategist Steve Bannon singled out as a waning influence, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn in the ascendancy.
  • The administration said it will not publish White House visitor logs, a departure from the previous administration’s policy.

Congress

  • The first House election of the Trump presidency was closer than expected, though Republicans ultimately prevailed. While activists on the left are fired up, some Democrats think they should hold their fire and play the long game on special elections.
  • A Morning Consult survey of 85,000 Americans in all 50 states found Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the most popular senator, while Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is the least popular. The same polling also showed how 2018’s most vulnerable senators are faring among their constituents.

What’s Ahead

  • In Atlanta’s suburbs, voters head to the polls on Tuesday for an election that will fill the House seat left vacant by Tom Price, who now leads the Department of Health and Human Services. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will compete in a June runoff.
  • After his stop in South Korea, Pence will continue his 10-day swing through the Asia-Pacific region by visiting Japan.
  • Congress is in recess this week. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington on April 24, leaving them just a few days to authorize government funding beyond April 28 and avert a government shutdown.

Calendar Events (All Times Local)

Monday
No events scheduled
Tuesday
NAACP vice chair speaks at National Press Club 2 p.m.
Wednesday
Heritage Foundation event on U.S.-U.K. trade after Brexit 10 a.m.
Brookings Institution event on carbon pricing and climate cooperation 2 p.m.
Thursday
No events scheduled
Friday
Brookings Institution event on cyber threats 10 a.m.

 

Morning Consult Washington Top Reads

1) Trump’s threat prompts Democrats to play hardball over Obamacare payments
Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post

2) U.S. Bomb Dropped on ISIS Tunnels in Afghanistan Built for Combat and as Psychological Deterrent
Ben Kesling, The Wall Street Journal

3) DCCC Keeping Its Powder Dry in Special Elections, for Now
Eli Yokley, Morning Consult

4) U.S. Takes Sharper Tone on Russia’s Role in Syria
Julie Hirschfeld Davis and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

5) House Republican Recess Talking Points: We’re Doing Great!
Matt Fuller, The Huffington Post

6) Trump administration moving quickly to build up nationwide deportation force
David Nakamura, The Washington Post

7) Plurality of Voters Back Single-Payer Health Care System
Jon Reid, Morning Consult

8) Suburban G.O.P. Voters Sour on Party, Raising Republican Fears for 2018
Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, The New York Times

9) Trump to Lift Federal Hiring Freeze
Louise Radnofsky and Rebecca Ballhaus, The Wall Street Journal

10) Sen. Collins seriously considering run for Maine governor in 2018
Scott Thistle, Portland Press Herald

Briefings

Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

President Donald Trump defended his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., after it was revealed that in June 2016 he met with a Russian lawyer who has ties to the Kremlin. The meeting came after he was led to believe the lawyer would provide damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that the information was part of the Russian government’s effort to assist his father’s presidential campaign. The meeting included a Russian-American lawyer who’s a former Russian intelligence officer

Washington Brief: Trump Says He Didn’t Learn of Son’s Meeting With Russian Lawyer Until This Week

President Donald Trump said he did not hear “until a couple of days ago” about a June 2016 meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer who might have had damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He also said he spent more than 20 minutes of his two-hour meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin pressing him on election meddling.

Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

The Supreme Court allowed part of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect, while saying the temporary restrictions could not be imposed on people who have a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States. Hawaii brought forth a legal challenge that asked a federal judge to clarify whether the Department of Homeland Security violated the Supreme Court’s instructions regarding which family members qualify as having bona fide relationships.

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