“As with his previous budget proposals, Trump is once again seeking deep and unrealistic cuts to most federal agency budgets, according to the budget summary tables. The cuts are unlikely to be embraced by Congress,” Politico reports.
“For example, the administration is seeking an 8 percent cut to USDA’s budget over current funding levels. Trump’s plan would cut the Commerce Department by 37 percent, the Education Department by 8 percent, the Energy Department by 8 percent, the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 15 percent, and the Department of Health and Human Services by 9 percent.
“As student debt continues to climb, President Trump on Monday released a budget for 2021 that would slash many of the programs aimed at helping borrowers,” CNBC reports.
President Trump suggested he’d like to model American criminal law on drug dealing on authoritarian systems like China, where dealers are executed, Vox reports.
Said Trump: “Countries with a powerful death penalty, with a fair but quick trial, they have very little if any drug problem. That includes China.”
George Conway: “So just as we had Nixon’s enemies list, so we have had three years of Trump’s use of presidential power for vindictive ends. Long before the Vindmans and Sondland, the firing of James B. Comey as FBI director. Trump’s alleged directive to the Pentagon to ‘screw Amazon,’ whose chief executive owns this newspaper, which, frankly, ought by itself to have been an impeachable offense. So, too, his threats against Google, Facebook and Twitter. His obvious punishment of Puerto Rico for its politicians’ criticisms of him. His attacks on a British ambassador who dared assess him critically. The Ukraine scandal itself, indeed, was partially an effort to attain vengeance for wrongs — Ukrainian ‘interference’ — Trump imagines were done to him in 2016. He’ll use whatever means he has at his presidential disposal to redress his bottomless pit of grievances.”
“And he’ll only get worse. Narcissistic leaders such as Trump always do. As we’ve now seen, his rage leads to retribution and misconduct, which beget more criticism, and more investigation, and even more rage, retribution and misconduct. Over and over again.”
“So America beware: The state is Trump, and he’s very, very angry. We might, indeed, have to do it again.”
“Over 100 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq,” CNN reports.
“The Pentagon and President Trump had initially said no service members were injured or killed in the Iranian missile attack… Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq.”
“Amazon is seeking to depose President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and former Defense Secretary James Mattis over a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract awarded to Microsoft,” CNBC reports.
From an Amazon statement: “President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions – including federal procurements – to advance his personal agenda. The preservation of public confidence in the nation’s procurement process requires discovery and supplementation of the administrative record, particularly in light of President Trump’s order to ‘screw Amazon.’ The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand-picked successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has abruptly announced her intention to quit as party leader, Bloomberg reports.
Germany’s ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union, has been scandalized after some of its local politicians in the state of Thuringia voted with the far-right Alternative for Germany party to install a regional leader. Kramp-Karrenbauer had given clear orders not to collaborate with the AfD at any level.
“Four members of China’s military have been indicted by the U.S. government on charges of hacking into the credit-reporting agency Equifax Inc. and plundering sensitive data on nearly 150 million Americans,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned a nine-count indictment last week that accused members of China’s People’s Liberation Army of conspiring to steal reams of data as part of a sophisticated hacking operation that exploited a major vulnerability in the software used by Equifax’s online dispute portal.”
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway hinted that additional officials could be forced out of their roles following the ousters last week of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland — both high-profile witnesses in the impeachment investigation of President Trump, Politico reports.
“Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is asking that every agency inspector general investigate retaliation against whistleblowers who report presidential misconduct, after the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council,” Politico reports.
“President Trump has told top foreign policy advisers that he does not want another summit with Kim Jong Un before the presidential election in November,” CNN reports.
“Trump’s last meeting with the North Korean dictator took place almost exactly a year ago, and both leaders walked away empty-handed. Since then diplomacy — aimed at achieving the denuclearization of North Korea — has floundered, and as Trump focuses on his re-election campaign his appetite to engage on the issue has waned.”
“Donald Trump’s campaign call for all Muslims to be barred from entering the United States has morphed over the past three years into a complex web of travel and immigration restrictions placed, to varying degrees, on 7% of the world’s population,” Axios reports.
“While most eyes were on impeachment and Iowa, President Trump recently extended restrictions to six additional countries — widening the ban and ignoring the massive outcry it has created.