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September 17, 2018

9-17-2018 Highlights from Last Week….

Week in Review

  • President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, entered into a cooperation agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller and pleaded guilty to reduced charges stemming from his political consulting work in Ukraine. Manafort was set to face a second trial after being convicted last month on bank and tax fraud charges.
  • The Trump administration’s detention of migrant children reached a record number of 12,800 this month. The increase, up more than fivefold since last summer, is not driven by an uptick in children entering the country, but by cutbacks in the number being released to families and sponsors in the United States, data suggests.
  • As Hurricane Florence made its way to the Southeastern coast, Trump accused Democrats of inflating the official Puerto Rico death toll from Hurricane Maria to almost 3,000 to make him “look as bad as possible.” Ahead of the storm, Trump approved federal assistance for states and his campaign canceled scheduled rallies in Mississippi and Missouri.
  • Trump signed an executive order that will allow for new sanctions to be placed on people and companies that are found to be interfering in American elections. The order will give the intelligence community 45 days after each election to probe whether any foreign meddling occurred.
  • The Palestinian government was informed by the Trump administration that the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington, D.C., office will be closed. This leaves the Palestinians without a formal presence in the nation’s capital.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule to replace an Obama administration regulation that aimed to reduce oil and gas industry leaks of methane gas. The move is part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to roll back efforts to combat climate change.

Congress

  • Senate Democrats referred a complaint they received in July to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding Trump’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The complaint accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct more than 30 years ago came from a woman who asked not to be identified, and Kavanaugh has denied it.
  • The House and Senate passed legislation that would fund the Departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, military construction and the legislative branch. 
  • House Republicans introduced legislation that would make permanent the tax cuts they passed for individuals in 2017. The legislation is seen as an effort to highlight their chief economic achievement ahead of the midterms, though there’s little chance of the Senate taking up the measure.
  • House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) announced a plan to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month that would postpone the fight over Trump’s proposed border wall until after the midterm elections.

The midterms

  • Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) resigned from Congress as he campaigns in his state’s closely watched race for governor against the mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., Andrew Gillum (D).
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo beat fellow Democrat Cynthia Nixon by 30 percentage points in New York’s gubernatorial primary. Elsewhere in the state, liberal challengers beat six of the eight members of a group of Democrats who had broken with their party to form a coalition with Republicans in the state Senate.
  • Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-R.I.) secured her party’s nomination for governor, fending off a challenge from a progressive insurgent, former Secretary of State Matt Brown. Republicans nominated Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, setting up a rematch of the 2014 gubernatorial race.
  • Establishment-backed Democrats won the party’s nominations in New Hampshire’s primary elections, including Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, who beat a large field of candidates that included Sen. Bernie Sanders’ son Levi Sanders, in the state’s open 1st District. In the governor’s race, former state Sen. Molly Kelly beat Sanders supporter Steve Marchand for the Democratic nod to take on Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

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