In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

12/2

  •  Frank Wuco, a former naval intelligence officer and conservative talk radio host who promoted fringe conspiracy theories in radio appearances, is now a senior adviser at the State Department Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.
  • Trump says the U.S. will designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups for their role in trafficking narcotics and people. 
  • President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act despite protests from officials in Beijing, who complain that the legislation meddles in their domestic matters. The legislation imposes sanctions on individuals who commit human rights violations in Hong Kong and blocks them from entering the United States. It would also require the State Department to provide an annual report to lawmakers on whether Hong Kong remains “sufficiently autonomous” from China.
  • China’s government announced Monday that it would suspend visits from U.S. military ships and aircraft to Hong Kong, blaming the U.S. for supporting the pro-democracy protests that have rocked the city for months. China’s foreign ministry pointed to legislation signed by President Trump last week, which imposes sanctions on individuals suspected of committing human rights violations in the province, as evidence of U.S. interference in Chinese affairs.
  • Federal appeals court in DC has temporarily stayed a lower court’s ruling that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify to Congress while the court considers Trump administration’s appeal. Panel of judges will hear arguments January 3rd.
  • President Trump and the first lady traveled to Afghanistan Thursday to pay a surprise Thanksgiving visit to US troops. This is the president’s first trip to the country.
  • Newsweek has fired a writer assigned to cover President Trump and his family after she inaccurately reported that the president “spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan,”
  • President Trump announced the U.S. is talking to the Taliban and claimed they are eager to make a deal, less than three months after he suddenly called off official negotiations. It was unclear in what capacity the negotiations were taking place, and whether they amounted to official negotiations or back-channel meetings.
  • Despite President Trump’s announcement this week that Taliban officials want a cease-fire, the militant group pushed back and said its position has not changed since negotiations with the US were canceled in September.
  • Google and YouTube have taken down hundreds of video advertisements for President Trump in recent months, according to a new report from CBS News’s “60 Minutes.” A review of the Google and YouTube’s advertising archives found that more than 300 video advertisements for the president had been removed, primarily during the summer, for violating policies.
  • As lawmakers return from their Thanksgiving recess this week, the House is slated to move into its third phase of its impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The House Judiciary Committee — the panel that holds jurisdiction over drafting any article or articles of impeachment — is gearing up to hold its first hearing, entitled “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” on Wednesday. The panel will hear from legal scholars as it weighs whether the evidence turned up in their weeks-long impeachment inquiry warrants the drafting of articles aimed at removing the president from office.
  • After repeatedly claiming that the impeachment process was violating his rights by not letting him participate, Trump is now declining to participate. The Trump White House on Sunday told the House Judiciary Committee that it will not participate in Wednesday’s impeachment inquiry hearing. 
  • President Trump announced Monday that his administration would immediately reimpose steel and aluminum tariffs on two South American countries, blaming the governments of Brazil and Argentina for devaluing their currencies and hurting the U.S. economy.
  • Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Former national security adviser John Bolton, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry continue to defy House subpoenas to testify.
  • Ukraine’s president says in a new interview that he never discussed a “quid pro quo” with President Trump, but criticized any blocking of U.S. security aid for his country at a time when it is at war with Russia. “I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Time published Monday. “I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war,” he said. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.”
  • Trump continues to pretend President Zelensky’s refusal to criticize their phone calls is an actual defense. Trump Tweeted: “Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls. If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!”
  • Trump’s Acting Commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency, Mark Morgan, broke federal ethics rules to fund happy hours, asking outside entities to pay for the social events even after being warned it was a violation.
  • Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who were Trump’s first endorsements from Congress, have now both pleaded guilty – Collins for insider trading and Hunter for misuse of campaign funds. When they were charged in mid-2018, Trump called them “very popular Republican Congressmen” and criticized Sessions for the timing of the indictments.
  • President Trump’s 2020 campaign announced Monday it will no longer allow reporters from Bloomberg News to obtain credentials to cover Trump campaign events.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will hear from four constitutional scholars about the “constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered” in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine when the next phase of its investigation begins.
  • Trump Tweeted: “In the 3 decades before my election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds, and only 3 other NATO members were meeting their financial obligations. Since I took office, the number of NATO allies fulfilling their obligations more than DOUBLED, and NATO spending increased by $130B!”

NOTE: 2019 is the 5th consecutive year collective defense spending among NATO members has gone up. They began spending more in 2014, when Obama was still president and NATO members agreed to work toward spending 2% of GDP on defense by 2024.

  • A report by the Republican controlled Senate panel cleared Ukraine of election interference. Some Republican senators recently questioned whether Kyiv tried to sabotage Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. But the GOP-led Intelligence Committee looked into the theory, and found no evidence to support the claim.

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