Saturday, March 18, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - From tweet to international incident [Trump Fiascos]

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From: TIME Politics <>
Date: 17 March 2017 at 16:27
Subject: From tweet to international incident

An unfounded claim. |

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March 17, 2017

By Zeke J. Miller


President Trump's boldest attempt yet at political misdirection quickly escalated into an international incident Thursday, as his White House Press Secretary repeated an unfounded accusation that a British spy service spied on Trump at the behest of former President Obama. As the administration scrambles to find justification for Trump's tweeted accusation against Obama, the White House ensnared its closest foreign ally in the political drama. The comments came hours after the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee jointly stated they had seen no evidence of surveillance of Trump Tower, as Trump had alleged. The British signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, issued a rare statement calling the claim repeated by Spicer "utterly ridiculous," as other U.K. officials registered their displeasure with the White House. Spicer and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster discussed the matter with British Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch and British National Security Advisor Sir Mark Lyall, the White House said. The British press reported that they apologized to the British government for involving them in the flap—which has already cost Trump allies on Capitol Hill and now threatens its relationship with its closest international partners.

The White House and Capitol Hill whip operation on the GOP Obamacare replacement plan is entering a pivotal week, as House Republicans look to bring the bill up for a vote by the end of next week. It will be a key test for both Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, but it will be only the beginning of the arduous path, as the legislation faces deep skepticism in the Senate.

Trump follows Ryan on a dangerous budget path. Trump hosts Merkel at the White House after campaign criticism. And the White House defends its budget cuts.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Moderate Republicans Are Trying to Make the GOP Health Care Bill More Generous
TIME's Sam Frizell on the push to help those with lower incomes

British Spy Service Says Claim That It Wiretapped President Trump Is 'Utterly Ridiculous'
After White House repeats claim, the U.S. apologizes [TIME]

Mike Flynn Worked for Several Russian Companies, Was Paid More Than $50,000, Documents Show
Former Trump national security adviser had business connections with Russia beyond RT that hadn't been previously known [Wall Street Journal]

President Trump Wants Sheriffs to Help With Deportations.
TIME's Maya Rhodan asks Sheriffs what they think

Trump Follows Ryan Into Same Dangerous Budget Trap
Last time the GOP went down this road, the government shut down. This time, they don't even have Obama to blame. [Politico]

Trump's Campaign Insults Complicate Merkel's Visit
High stakes meeting comes amid regional and geopolitical turmoil [Associated Press]

Trump Takes a Gamble in Cutting Programs His Base Relies On
Will they care? [New York Times]

Sound Off

"As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We're not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that." — Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, at the White House briefing on Thursday

"Meals on Wheels sounds great -- again, that's a state decision to fund that particular portion to. But to take the federal money and give it to the states and say, look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work -- I can't defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore." — Mulvaney to reporters on Thursday

Bits and Bites

Here's Where President Trump Wants to Cut the Most [TIME]

US makes formal apology to Britain after White House accuses GCHQ of wiretapping Trump Tower [The Telegraph]

Rex Tillerson: Military Action Against North Korea Is 'on the Table' [NBC]

NYPD Says President Trump's Budget Cuts Leave New York Vulnerable to Terror [TIME]

White House: Meals on Wheels Isn't 'Showing Any Results' [TIME]

Capitol Hill Republicans not on board with Trump budget [Washington Post]

'He's Past His Prime.' Rand Paul Says John McCain Is 'Unhinged' [TIME]

President Trump's Own Words Keep Hurting His Travel Ban [TIME]

TV ads in West Palm Beach aim for an audience of one [CNN]

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