In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

  • Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday reportedly released a new set of restrictions covering FBI investigations of political candidates. The memo stated that the Department of Justice has the responsibility to make sure that elections are “free from improper activity or influences.” Barr’s orders come after Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz found that the FBI’s investigation into President Trump’s former campaign aide, Carter Paige, was ridden with errors and falsified info. Under the new guidelines, the FBI must get Barr’s approval before investigating any 2020 presidential candidates or their senior staff.
  • During his State of the Union address, President Trump tried to put one item on Congress’s to-do list: He promised if the body passed a bipartisan bill to reduce prescription drug costs, “I will sign it into law immediately.” It was a statement that didn’t sit too well with some House Democrats, who passed comprehensive legislation to cut drug prices just a few weeks ago. So a few of them stood up, held three fingers in the air, and shouted “H-R-3” (the number of their bill) — interrupting Trump for a few awkward moments in the middle of his speech. HR-3 currently sits in Mitch McConnell’s legislation ‘graveyard.’
  • President Trump pledged more action to ramp up pressure on Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro during a White House meeting Wednesday with Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who is recognized by the US and more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s interim president.
  • President Trump’s administration is delaying an arms transfer to Ukraine worth $30 million. At least six commercial sales of guns and ammunition have faced delays of at least a year and continue to remain frozen, three current Ukrainian officials and one former senior U.S. official told BuzzFeed News. Now, Ukraine is requesting its money back. The export license for the “most critical” of the pending sales was submitted in November 2018 for $10 million in ammunition. The five other sales, which include products like lethal weapons and amount to about $20 million, were prepaid between January and March 2019. The officials have said the Trump administration has not provided any reasoning about why the commercial orders are being delayed.
  • After he expressed deep anger on Thursday over the attempt to remove him from office because of his actions toward Ukraine. President Trump is preparing to push out national security official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who testified against him during the impeachment inquiry. Vindman will be informed in the coming days, likely on Friday, by administration officials that he is being reassigned to a position at the Defense Department, taking a key figure from the investigation out of the White House.
  • A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by congressional Democrats alleging President Donald Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by refusing to allow lawmakers to review and approve his financial interests. The ruling is a major triumph for the President, who’s intensely sought to keep his business affairs in private.
  • Before boarding a helicopter, President Trump stated, “I thought it was a terrible thing when she ripped up the speech. First of all, it’s an official document. You’re not allowed. It’s illegal what she did. She broke the law.” It was not illegal. Deleting presidential Tweets, which Trump has done many times, is a violation of the Official Records Act.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has asked the Pentagon to find military installations near 11 major airports that could potentially house up to 220 U.S. citizens quarantined due to the coronavirus, according to a Defense Department statement released Thursday. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to support the request.
  • President Trump confirmed the death of an al-Qaeda leader in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. Trump said the U.S. carried out a successful counterterrorism operation that killed Qasim al-Rimi, the founder and leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate of the terrorist group. One of al-Rimi’s deputies, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was also killed.
  • Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced a $64 million dollar initiative to fund research and development for coal, giving an assist to an industry that is on the decline. Brouillette announced the “Coal FIRST” initiative at an Atlantic Council event, saying that it was “going to help us produce more coal-based power more efficiently and transform it into a near-zero emissions energy source.”
  • The Trump administration has finalized plans to dramatically shrink the scope of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments despite an ongoing legal challenge from environmentalists and Native American tribes. In 2017, President Trump issued proclamations to shrink the size of both Utah monuments. The administration decided to shrink Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase by about half.
  • The State Department is urging Americans not to travel to China amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 170 people in China and infected thousands worldwide. The State Department announced Thursday evening that it had elevated its travel advisory to the highest level after the World Health Organization declared the viral outbreak an international public health emergency

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