The Week on Planet Trump: Jerusalem Decision Sparks Bloodshed While Tax Bill Promises Fall Apart
Monday: Tax Bill Passed Through False Promises
House conservatives are already indicating that they're prepared to block some of the key legislative promises that Senate Republicans demanded in exchange for their votes on tax reform legislation.
Those promises materialized in the frantic final hours of the tax debate last week, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) assurances that some of their personal legislative priorities would be dealt with in exchange for their votes.
Collins said she received a promise that the Senate would consider two bipartisan pieces of legislation that would ostensibly mitigate the negative effects that could come from the tax bill’s repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate. Flake said he received a “firm commitment from Senate Leadership and the administration” to work on a permanent protections for the soon-to-be-ended Obama-era program that shields children of undocumented immigrants.
The likelihood that the House declines to follow through on either the Collins or Flake measures may not, in the end, complicate tax reform at all. The Senate has already passed its tax bill and the House could simply pass the Senate’s bill—meaning that even if the senators raise objections, the bill would still be able to pass.
Andrew Desiderio, The Daily Beast
Tuesday: North Korea Rhetoric Risks Escalation
The Trump administration’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric toward North Korea after the isolated nation’s latest long-range missile test has started a “risky game” that could cause deadly miscalculations from Kim Jong Un’s regime and explode into a full-blown conflict, experts say.
President Donald Trump has been broadly criticized for his war of words with North Korea, which have had no apparent effect in taming tensions. A former CIA analyst even said Trump sounded as if he had hired Kim’s speechwriter, since both men have been making identical threats to each other—such as when Trump vowed to reign down “fire and fury” on North Korea if provoked.
Some in Congress are also quite concerned about the Trump administation's stance on North Korea––including Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was at one point stationed in the U.S. territory of Guam, which Pyongyang has threatened multiple times.
"The Trump administration’s mixed messages on North Korea are destabilizing an already tense and dangerous situation," Lieu told Newsweek.
John Haltiwanger, Newsweek
Wednesday: Republicans Pull Rank against Mueller
Republican activists and lawmakers are engaged in a multi-front attack on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of possible connections between associates of President Trump and Russian agents, trying to stop or curtail the investigation as it moves further into Trump’s inner circle.
Several conservative lawmakers held a news conference Wednesday demanding more details of how the FBI proceeded last year in its probes of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email and Russian election interference. This week, the conservative group Judicial Watch released an internal Justice Department email that, the group said, showed political bias against Trump by one of Mueller’s senior prosecutors.
Accusations of bias against Mueller from conservatives have become commonplace in the public debate about the president and the Russia probe, and Republicans are expected to grill FBI Director Christopher A. Wray about those matters when he testifies Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), one of his party’s most outspoken Trump critics, said he couldn’t envision the president firing Mueller.
“I can’t imagine him being terminated,” Corker said. “To me, that would be a step too far.”
Devlin Barrett and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post
Thursday: Jerusalem Policy is a Diplomatic Disaster
Donald Trump's announcement, on recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the US Embassy to the Holy City, appeared, at least on the surface, chiefly ceremonial.
But no ceremony can escape the very real, negative consequences that could transpire as a result of the shift in longstanding US policy, including a complete delegitimization of the US's role in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, regional instability, and loss of key Arab and Muslim allies.
Perhaps most grave is the likely escalation of Israeli military occupation and settlement building on Palestinian land -- a situation that would be completely contrary and detrimental to the peace process.
Enhanced occupation would continue decades of depriving Palestinian men, women, and children of basic human rights such as freedom of movement, access to resources, and freedom from cruel and degrading treatment.
History will determine the true impact of Trump's decision. But breaking from the rest of the world in order to make good on a campaign promise is not symbolic -- it is dangerous.
Wardah Khalid, CNN
Friday: California Fires Point to Existential Crisis
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) says President Trump's stance on climate change demonstrates that he does not appear to fear the "wrath of God" or have any regard for the "existential consequences" of his environmental policies.
“I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility ... this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed,” Brown said in an interview on CBS's "60 Minutes," which is set to air on Sunday.
His latest comments come as the southern portion of California battles massive wildfires that in just a few days have damaged thousands of acres of property and destroyed hundreds of buildings.
Julia Manchester, The Hill
Saturday: Death and Conflict Grips the Middle East
Israeli airstrikes killed two Hamas members early Saturday following a rocket attack on Israel, in the latest fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — a development that has roiled the region and the larger Muslim world.
Protests and demonstrations continued across the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday on the third and final so-called Palestinian “day of rage” following Trump’s announcement. The military said there were clashes in some 20 locations. In Bethlehem, Palestinians hurled stones at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades. The Israeli military said some 600 Palestinians were throwing firebombs and rolling burning tires toward Israeli forces. It said it dispersed the crowds and arrested one rioter.
Along the border with the Gaza Strip, some 450 Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops at eight main locations. About 20 were lightly wounded. Some 4,000 demonstrators gathered in Gaza City and demonstrations resumed in Pakistan, Turkey and elsewhere across the Muslim world as well.
Fares Akram and Aron Heller, USA Today
Sunday: President Lends His Voice to Moore
Roy Moore's campaign is set to run a robocall featuring the voice of President Donald Trump, in what would be Trump's most direct involvement with Moore's campaign efforts to date.
Alabama voters are to begin receiving calls with the president's endorsement starting Sunday, according to a Moore campaign official.
"We need Roy voting for us and stopping illegal immigration and crime, rebuilding a stronger military and protecting the Second Amendment and our pro-life values," Trump's voice is heard saying in a robocall obtained for ABC News. "But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all of our progress will be stopped full.
"Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our 'Make America Great Again' agenda," Trump adds.
Moore is facing allegations from multiple women of sexual misconduct committed against them decades ago, some of whom claim they were pursued by Moore as teenagers. One of the women alleges he initiated sexual contact when she was 14.
Tom Llamas and Alexander Mallin, ABC News
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