Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- The U.S. Health and Human Services Department suffered a cyber-attack on its computer system Sunday night during the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The attack appears to have been intended to slow the agency’s systems down.
- First lady Melania Trump has announced the annual White House Easter Egg Roll — a tradition dating back more than 140 years — won’t be held next month due to concerns about the coronavirus.
- The Supreme Court postponed oral arguments scheduled for March, including a potentially landmark dispute over subpoenas for President Trump’s financial records.
- President Trump told a group of governors on Monday that they should not wait for the federal government to fill the growing demand for respirators needed to help people diagnosed with coronavirus.
- White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow predicted Monday that the coronavirus outbreak is a short term economic hurdle, a matter of “weeks and months,” he said, rather than a harbinger or longer-term strife in the U.S. economy
- President Donald Trump released guidelines Monday instructing Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The president also urged Americans to avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts.
- President Trump says he would rate his administration’s response to the coronavirus a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10: “I think we’ve done a great job… and the professionals, I think the professionals have done a fantastic job.”
- Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that while some people may perceive the new coronavirus guidelines as inconvenient or going too far, they reflect a deteriorating assessment of the containment efforts and should be taken seriously. “It isn’t an overreaction.”
- President Trump on Monday urged Americans to avoid traveling and gathering in public spaces in an effort to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, saying the outbreak could last into July or August.
Other Administration News
- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iraq’s prime minister that the United States would take measures in self-defense if attacked, according to a statement on Monday after a rocket attack on an Iraqi base that houses U.S. troops helping fight Islamic State.
Pompeo spoke to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday, a day after three American troops and several Iraqi forces were wounded in the second major rocket attack in the past week on an Iraqi base north of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi officials said, raising the stakes in an escalating cycle of attacks and reprisals.
- A day after a dramatic move in interest rates, the Federal Reserve on Monday increased the amount of liquidity it’s offering in short-term lending to the financial industry.
In a mid-day announcement, the New York Fed said it will conduct a $500 billion repo operation this afternoon, another move targeted at keeping money flowing through the system. Repo involves banks putting up high-quality collateral like Treasurys in exchange for the liquidity they need to conduct operations.
- Asked during a press briefing whether the U.S. is sliding into a recession, President Trump said “it may be” marking one of the first times he has openly suggested an economic downturn instead of touting the surging stock market and economy that has so far held throughout his presidency.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday filed a motion to dismiss charges against a pair of shell companies accused of financing a Russian troll farm that sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors argued that the companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, were taking advantage of the discovery process to obtain material about U.S. efforts to combat election interference and that a court proceeding was not necessary because it wouldn’t lead to “meaningful punishment in the event of conviction.”
- The Department of Justice will no longer allow polluting companies to reduce their fines by footing the bill for environmental projects, putting an end to a tool that’s been popular with both industry and government agencies.
Special Environmental Projects, which have been used for roughly 30 years, let businesses reduce their civil penalties by taking steps such as cleaning streams or replacing old gas-guzzling school busses.
- Mandy Gunasekara, who previously led the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, who worked on some controversial administration actions.