Stories We’re Watching
Pompeo Declares “When America retreats, chaos follows” in Landmark Policy Speech
Earlier today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a major policy speech in Cairo. Pompeo was expected to explain and clarify the new US policy in the Middle East following President Trump’s announcement of the US troop withdrawal from Syria. Instead, his speech focused mostly on criticizing former President Obama and Iran and praising the Trump administration. Pompeo’s Cairo visit is part of his eight-day tour to reassure allies of America’s commitment to the region. Yesterday, he met leaders in Baghdad and in the Kurdish regional capital Erbil in Iraq. He is next expected to meet with officials in the Persian Gulf.
- Vox: Pompeo’s Cairo speech revealed the total incoherence of Trump’s
- The Atlantic: In the Middle East, Is Trump the Anti-Obama or Obama 2.0?
- Reuters: Erdogan threats against Kurds will not stop Syria withdrawal
- Voice of America: Iran, Gaza on Agenda as Pompeo Visits Egypt
Maduro Is Inaugurated in Second Term as Venezuela Faces Humanitarian Emergency
Nicolas Maduro was sworn in earlier today for his second six-year term as Venezuela’s president. His inauguration is marred by a deep economic crisis and international criticism over last year’s general elections, which many analysts have called illegitimate. Last week, the US and 13 other countries vowed to not recognize Maduro’s second term. Since taking office in 2013, Maduro has drawn criticism over human rights violations and for mismanaging Venezuela’s economy, which is one of the world’s largest oil producers and also in a state of crisis.
- The Economist: Nicolás Maduro digs in for another six-year term
- FRANCE 24: ‘It’s going to be terrible’: Round two of the Maduro presidency
- BBC: Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for second term
- Reuters: Maduro faces next term in a hobbled, isolated Venezuela
South Korean President Confirms Second US-N.Korea Summit, Date TBD
Earlier today, South Korean President Moon Jae-in confirmed that President Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un are expected to meet again. President Moon also announced that Supreme Leader Kim would visit Seoul ‘soon’. Insiders say that North Korean officials have been meeting with US diplomats in Vietnam in recent weeks to discuss the venue for the second summit. The two leaders held their first summit in Singapore last June, but have made little progress in agreements over arms control and denuclearization.
- Washington Post: How reality-show diplomacy with North Korea could backfire
- Reuters: South Korea, China urge concessions on both sides to end US-North
- Channel NewsAsia: China: The not-so invisible hand in US-North Korea talks
- Military Times: North Korea’s Kim looking to ‘achieve results’ with Trump
Global Markets Sputter as Fed Releases December Minutes
World stocks lost their four-day growth spree following the Fed’s release of its December meeting minutes and Beijing’s comments on the US-China trade talks. Oil, stocks in Europe, and the US dollar all fell. Economists warn that because data from the Commerce Department hasn’t been released during the US government shutdown, it is more difficult for Federal Reserve officials and investors to properly read the economy.
- Reuters: GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rally splutters as trade talks, data disappoint
- Wall Street Journal: Missing Government Data Make Job Tougher for Policy Makers, Traders
- Politico: Mnuchin to brief lawmakers on easing sanctions against Putin ally
- MarketWatch: Fed minutes show ‘many’ think officials think they can be ‘patient’
Mueller Updates: President Trump Hires 17 Lawyers, Lawmakers Prepare to Subpoena Acting Attorney General
President Trump’s legal team has grown by an additional 17 lawyers following recent developments in the Mueller investigation. Insiders believe that the team is being assembled primarily to stop parts of the Special Counsel’s forthcoming report from becoming public. Legal analysts have warned that any obstruction of justice by the president would be an impeachable offense. President Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, began meeting with Senators earlier today ahead of his confirmation hearing. Yesterday, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee demanded that Acting Attorney General Mat Whitaker testify on Capitol Hill before the end of the month.
- The Independent: Trump hires 17 lawyers to protect him from Mueller investigation, while federal workers go unpaid during shutdown
- VICE: Democrats want to know what the hell Whitaker has been up to at DOJ
- ABC News: House Democrats ready subpoena for testimony from Acting Attorney
- Vox: Republicans are denying Democrats’ meetings with Trump’s AG pick
WASHINGTON FOR BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: THAT TIME THAT HILLARY CLINTON FIRED YOU AND YOU CONTINUED TO SHOW UP FOR WORK- A FUNNY CANDID CONVERSATION WITH PHILIPPE REINES
Hillary Clinton’s senior advisor Philippe Reines has had a unique career path, to say the least. He never imagined that his job would circle him around the globe as HRC’s right hand man or that he would be called on to go “method” and role play as Trump for 2016 presidential debate prep. Philippe peels back the curtain and gets candid about politics, his recent twitter tussle with a FOX commentator, his thoughts about 2020 Democratic candidates and why he owes Emily $1. Join us!
PODCAST: 2019: THE YEAR IN REVIEW, PART II–“THE WORST YEAR OF DONALD TRUMP’S LIFE”
In this, our second year in review episode for the year ahead we look at US domestic developments in the next 12 months. The bad news is–they’re pretty bleak. The good news is–we tell them to you in advance so you can sleep through the whole year or just settle into a drunken stupor. Join Rosa Brooks, Kori Schake, Ed Luce, David Sanger and Deep State Dog for a great conversation about what will surely be the very worst year in Donald Trump’s life. Tune in!