The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

  • A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the House cannot sue to enforce its subpoenas, delivering a win for President Trump in his battle against a congressional subpoena of former White House counsel Don McGahn. 

The ruling argued that the Constitution forbids federal courts from resolving disputes between branches, endorsing a view that had been pushed by the Trump administration that would insulate the White House from congressional oversight. The ruling could essentially render congressional subpoenas of the executive branch unenforceable.

During his impeachment trial, Trump’s attorneys argued that impeachment was an overreach by the House and they should have pursued the matter through the courts.  

  • President Trump has tapped Rep. John Ratcliffe to serve as his next director of national intelligence (DNI), reviving an appointment of the Texas Republican that previously derailed last year; but, Radcliffe withdrew from consideration weeks later amid media scrutiny that he padded his résumé as well as bipartisan concerns about his experience.
  • The White House issued a statement Friday evening condemning a federal court ruling that blocked the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), known colloquially as the remain in Mexico policy. MPP, which has been in effect since January 2019, requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are heard. The injunction handed down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday will be in effect while a legal challenge to the administration’s role plays out.
  • President Trump will nominate U.S. Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite to be Navy secretary, following the ouster of former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, the White House formally announced Friday. 
  • A new military pact between the Philippines and the U.S. is reportedly under consideration. The Defense Department was left “extremely concerned” after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has said he plans to step down later this year, ended the two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) earlier this month.
  • The ACLU, along with the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition are suing the Trump administration over a plan to allocate an additional $3.8 billion in Department of Defense funding for the border wall. 
  • Newly released emails from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reflect the internal concern over the agency’s credibility after it released a statement backing up President Trump’s forecast of Hurricane Dorian’s projected path last fall. The emails, which were obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, show complaints from members of the public to the agency’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) Director Ken Graham, as well as complaints from internal staff. 
  • A federal judge voided five oil and gas leases on public lands that amounted to nearly a million acres, arguing that the Trump administration wrongly excluded public input. 

The Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity argued in court that a 2018 Trump administration policy for handling oil and gas leasing on land where sage grouse can be found unlawfully restricted public participation. Federal Judge Ronald E. Bush ruled in their favor.

  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday downplayed the impact of the coronavirus, arguing it would not lead to an economic downturn. “The virus is not going to sink the American economy. What is or could sink the American economy is the socialism coming from our friends on the other side of the aisle,” Kudlow told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “That’s the biggest fear that I have today.”
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that the central bank will likely take action to boost the U.S. economy amid a steep stock market selloff triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday said a new round of tax cuts would be a top priority for President Trump if he gets reelected.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing more than $200 million in fines against the country’s top mobile carriers after a lengthy investigation concluded that T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon improperly sold access to their customers’ precise location information.

The agency is alleging the companies broke the law by failing to protect information about the geolocation of their hundreds of millions of customers.

  • With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo watching, U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban’s political chief, Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed a deal in Doha, Qatar signed a deal Saturday  to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban is assuring it will not allow Afghanistan to be used by terrorists to attack the United States.
  • A federal judge has ruled that Ken Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency and, as a result, lacked authority to give asylum seekers less time to prepare for initial screening interviews.

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss found Cuccinelli’s appointment violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a 1998 law governing who is eligible to lead federal agencies in an acting capacity. The impact of the ruling wasn’t immediately clear.

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