1/ Trump asked the Supreme Court to revive his travel ban, appealing a ruling by the 4th Circuit that upheld a nationwide halt on the ban. The move sets up a showdown over a “president’s authority to make national security judgments in the name of protecting Americans from terrorism.” (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN)
2/ Cities, states, and companies are banding together to form a climate alliance. Washington, California, and New York – representing about a fifth of the US economy – have formed the United States Climate Alliance, which will serve as a way for states interested in dealing with climate change to coordinate. At least 80 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents, and more than 100 businesses are preparing to submit a plan to the UN pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emission target, despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News)
- Climate Mayors commit to adopt, honor and uphold Paris Climate Agreement goals. 83 Mayors representing 40 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. (Climate Mayors)
- Rex Tillerson said the US will likely to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite exiting the Paris climate change agreement. Trump has started to roll back nearly all of Obama’s climate change policies, including the limits on greenhouse and methane gas emissions. (The Hill)
3/ Michael Bloomberg pledges $15 million to help foot the Paris Climate Agreement bill. Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners will cover part of the United States’ share of the operating budget. Trump’s budget could cut as much as $2 billion in funding for UN climate change programs as a result of leaving the Paris agreement. (CNN Money)
4/ The White House ordered federal agencies to ignore Democrats’ oversight requests, fearing the information could be weaponized against Trump. The goal is to choke off the Democratic congressional minorities from asking questions of the administration intended to embarrass or attack the president. (Politico)
5/ US intelligence agencies formally asked the Justice Department to investigate Russia-related leaks. As many as six recent leaks have been formally referred to the DOJ for criminal investigation. (ABC News)
6/ The Russia probe now includes a grand jury investigation into Michael Flynn. Robert Mueller’s investigation is looking into Flynn’s paid work as a lobbyist for a Turkish businessman and contacts between Russian officials and Flynn and other Trump associates during and after the election. (Reuters)
7/ Mueller’s also assumed oversight of the ongoing Paul Manafort investigation and could expand to include Jeff Sessions. Manafort was forced to resign as Trump campaign chairman related to business dealings years ago in Ukraine, which predated the 2016 counterintelligence probe into possible collusion between Moscow and Trump associates. Sessions role in the decision to fire Comey could also come under investigation. (Associated Press)
8/ The Trump team wanted to lift sanctions on Russia when he took office, but career diplomats pressured Congress to block the move. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in February to bar the administration from granting sanctions relief without a congressional review. The proposed bill was shelved six days later when Flynn resigned, making it “clear that if they lifted sanctions, there would be a political firestorm.” (Yahoo News / NBC News)
9/ Hurricane season started yesterday with nobody in charge at FEMA or NOAA. The agencies that oversee the government’s weather forecasting and response to disasters are both leaderless nearly five months after Trump was sworn in. Forecasters say the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season could bring “above-normal” storm activity. (NPR)
10/ At least one Republican senator thinks a health care deal is unlikely this year. At least three conservative Republicans are opposed to the health care goals of three moderate Republicans, making the path to 50 votes difficult despite Republicans controlling 52 seats in the Senate. (Wall Street Journal)
11/ Trump appoints a new CIA Iran chief, signaling a more aggressive line toward Iran. Michael D’Andrea oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the American drone strike campaign, and “perhaps no single CIA official is more responsible for weakening Al Qaeda.” (New York Times)
- The Trump administration is returning copies of the CIA torture report. The return of the report to the Senate committee “is extremely disturbing on a number of levels” and raises the possibility that copies of the 6,700-page report could be locked in Senate vaults for good. (New York Times)
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