During the campaign, when President Trump’s advisers wanted him to stop talking about a certain issue — such as when he attacked a Gold Star military family — they sometimes presented him with polls demonstrating how the controversy was harming his candidacy.
During the transition, when aides needed Trump to decide on a looming issue or appointment, they often limited him to a shortlist of two or three options and urged him to choose one.
And now in the White House, when advisers hope to prevent Trump from making what they think is an unwise decision, they frequently try to delay his final verdict — hoping he may reconsider after having time to calm down.
When Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) described the White House as “an adult day-care center” on Twitter last week, he gave voice to a certain Trumpian truth: The president is often impulsive, mercurial and difficult to manage, leading those around him to find creative ways to channel his energies.
Some Trump aides spend a significant part of their time devising ways to rein in and control the impetuous president, angling to avoid outbursts that might work against him, according to interviews with 18 aides, confidants and outside advisers, most of whom insisted on anonymity to speak candidly.
In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.
By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.
A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.
The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.
The chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA was Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican who is now President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar. Marino spent years trying to move the law through Congress. It passed after Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) negotiated a final version with the DEA.
For years, some drug distributors were fined for repeatedly ignoring warnings from the DEA to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills, while they racked up billions of dollars in sales.
The new law makes it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies. That powerful tool had allowed the agency to immediately prevent drugs from reaching the street.
From The Nation — Written by John Nichols — Image courtesy of Reuters / Carlos Barria
Donald Trump’s campaign boast that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters” may still hold true for the dead-enders who cling to the fantasy that he’s a competent commander in chief. But the Trump team doesn’t set the standard for presidential accountability. That was done back in 1787, when the initiators of the American experiment delineated the impeachment power that is suddenly all the rage.
Impeachment is not the only tool for checking and balancing errant presidents. Congress has the power of the purse, the duty to declare wars, and “advise and consent” oversight authority. Unfortunately, the separation-of-powers protections outlined in the Constitution have taken a beating on the long march from George Washington’s “prudent” administration to the imperial presidency that Trump inherited.
From BuzzFeed News — Written by Nancy A. Youssef —
Pentagon officials are in shock after the release of a transcript between President Donald Trump and his Philippines counterpart reveals that the US military had moved two nuclear submarines towards North Korea.
“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movement stealth is key to their mission.
While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of forces. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.
From The Nation – Written by Mattea Kramer —
Could the president be influenced by threats to his profit margin?
Since Donald Trump’s election in November, and especially since his January inauguration, hundreds of small and not-so-small organizations have sprung up to oppose the president. They joined the ranks of established left-leaning and liberal groups already revving up their engines to fight the administration. Among all the ways you can now voice your dissent, though, there’s one tactic that this president will surely understand: economic resistance aimed at his own businesses and those of his children. He may not be swayed by protesters filling the streets, but he does speak the language of money. Through a host of tactics—including boycotting stores that carry Trump products, punishing corporations and advertisers that underwrite the administration’s agenda, and disrupting business-as-usual at Trump companies—protesters are using the power of the purse to demonstrate their opposition and have planned a day of resistance against his brand on June 14th.
Such economic dissent may prove to be an especially apt path of resistance, especially for the millions of Americans who reside in blue states and have struggled with a sense of powerlessness following the election. After all, it’s not immediately obvious how to take effective political action in the usual American way when your legislators already agree with you. But what blue-state dwellers lack in political sway they make up for in economic clout, since blue states have, on average, greater household incomes and more purchasing power than their red-state compatriots. The impact of coordinated blue-state boycotts could be enormous. That’s why Grab Your Wallet, along with Color of Change, a racial-justice group, and numerous other organizations are encouraging individuals to see their purchasing power as political muscle.
From The Week — Written by Paul Waldman — Image courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
There are certain moments in politics that, when they occur, one immediately says, “Oh, we’re going to remember that one.”
One such moment occurred Monday, as President Trump addressed reporters alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a moment that raised once again a profound question: How much of a problem is it that the president of the United States, the most powerful person on Earth, is a blithering idiot?
Here’s what happened. During a chaotic moment with many people speaking at once, a reporter asked a question about Trump’s passing on highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during an unusual Oval Office meeting.
Though rumors swirled about the identity of the U.S. ally, with many pointing to Israel, government sources wouldn’t confirm it — until Trump hushed the assembled reporters and said, “Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel.’ Never mentioned it during that conversation.” Meanwhile, Netanyahu worked hard to keep a friendly smile on his face. “They were all saying I did,” Trump went on (meaning the journalists), “So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.” So in trying to tamp down the story that he revealed sensitive information to the Russians, Trump enthusiastically confirmed to the entire world that Israel was indeed the U.S. ally who had supplied the intelligence information. Nice work, Einstein.