Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- A Brazilian official who met Trump and Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday has tested positive for coronavirus. Fabio Wajngarten, a spokesman for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for covid-19, Brazilian officials said.
- “Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth.” – President Trump said, today. When questioned, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Tony Fauci, “It is a failing. I mean let’s admit it.” “The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it? We’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.”
- Fed is injecting $1.5 trillion into short-term lending markets, a rare move to try to calm investors’ worries about coronavirus
- The U.S. has performed about 11,000 Coronavirus tests total. In South Korea, 10,000 tests are conducted a day.
- President Trump said Thursday that travel restrictions to California and Washington, two states hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, were possible “if an area gets too hot.”
- President Trump is weighing whether to declare a national emergency over the coronavirus, which would free up additional resources to combat the rapidly spreading disease.
The president indicated to reporters that using an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act was under consideration, but would not say definitively whether he would sign it.
Other Administration News
- President Trump on Thursday signed into law a bill banning the use of federal funds to purchase equipment from telecom companies deemed a national security threat, such as Chinese telecom group Huawei.
The Secure and Trusted Communications Act, which the Senate passed in February and the House approved last year, will also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a $1 billion fund to help small telecom groups remove existing equipment that is deemed to be a threat.
- President Trump on Thursday said that “many” Republican senators want him to veto legislation reauthorizing expiring intelligence programs, an indication the president is considering doing so.
“Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted ‘coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning
- The Pentagon’s top leaders confirmed that Iranian-backed militia groups were behind the rocket attack in Iraq that killed two U.S. troops and one British soldier, saying that “all options are on the table” for a response.
“(Tuesday’s) attack by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups consisted of multiple indirect fires that originated from a stationary platform and was clearly targeting coalition and partnered forces on Camp Taji,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.
UPDATE: The US launched airstrikes against an Iran-backed militia group Thursday that hit a military base in Iraq earlier this week.
- A U.S. District Court judge in Alaska ruled against the Trump administration, sidelining its plans to open logging in part of the state’s Tongass National Forest. The decision delays U.S. Forest Service plans to open logging in more than 1.8 million acres over the next 15 years, a project that would have also green-lit the construction of 164 miles of road through the forest.
- The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm James Danly as a commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The chamber voted 52-40 to confirm President Trump’s pick for a Republican seat on the commission that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil.
- House Democrats and the White House fell short of sealing a deal providing economic help to the victims of the devastating coronavirus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday night. But an agreement, she quickly added, is all but assured on Friday.
“It’s fair to say we’re close to an agreement, subject to the exchange of paper, and hope to have an agreement tomorrow,” Pelosi told reporters just outside her office in the Capitol. “One way or another,” Pelosi said, there will be a vote Friday.
- Thursday’s massive sell-off has erased any remaining stock market gains made since President Trump’s 2016 election win. US stocks are down more than 8% Thursday. The total market cap of the US equities market, as measured by the Russell 3000 index, has declined by $11.5 trillion from its February 19 peak to $23.8 trillion as of Thursday morning.
The current market cap is roughly equal to the size of the stock market when Donald Trump emerged victorious in the 2016 election. The Trump administration repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus and its risks when outsized stock selling began in late February, with top economic adviser Larry Kudlow even saying the outbreak was contained on February 25.