Here’s where things stand heading into Day 87 of the Trump administration:

Vice President Pence spent Monday in Seoul for meetings with the acting president and the staff of the U.S. Embassy.

He also visited the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and held a news conference, where he issued a strong warning to North Korea to stop its aggressive behavior.

“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” the vice president said.

“North Korea would do well not to test this resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”


The big question is: How will the North react? As usual, it’s almost impossible to predict.

Over the weekend, North Korea held a huge military parade featuring missiles that can theoretically reach the United States. On Sunday morning, it fired a ballistic missile, which blew up almost immediately after its launch.

Tensions were already running high between the United States and North Korea, which threatened Saturday to respond to any U.S. attack with a “nuclear war of our own.”


While a White House foreign policy official said the United States doesn’t need to “expend resources” over the failed missile launch, it’s clear that the saga is far from over.


President Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said Sunday that the United States is exploring a “range of options” on North Korea but would prefer to “avoid the worst” by taking actions short of armed conflict.


Trump has made no attempt as president to hide his ties to the private sector. In fact, he regularly hosts White House roundtable meetings to solicit advice from chief executives.

Leaders who attend those meetings aren’t eager to share what they request from the president, to say the least. But we can get a sense of what they want by studying comments formally submitted as part of the federal regulatory process.


Take manufacturing interests, for example.

Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Jan. 24 instructing the Commerce Department to find ways to boost manufacturing. After that, regulators received a total of 168 comments from manufacturing interests suggesting what federal rules might be loosened as part of that effort.

The Environmental Protection Agency was a major target of those comments, The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reported.

Here are some of industry’s requests, as detailed in her article:

  • BP wants to reduce how often companies must renew their oil and gas leases.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to reduce the amount of time opponents have to challenge the federal approval of projects.
  • The Associated General Contractors of America wants to repeal 11 executive orders and memorandums signed by President Barack Obama, including one establishing paid sick leave for government contractors.


Thousands of Americans marched in dozens of cities on Saturday, demanding that Trump release his tax returns.


As you might expect, Trump is still resisting.

The president took to Twitter on Sunday morning to try to discredit the marchers, suggesting that they had been paid and arguing that there is no need for him to release his tax returns because he won the election.

“I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican — easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?” Trump tweeted.


“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”


This marks another big change from the Obama administration.

The Trump administration will not voluntarily disclose the names of most visitors to the White House, it announced Friday, citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns.”


It could take years after Trump leaves office for that information to become public, unless the White House makes an exception or changes its policy.

Government watchdog groups harshly criticized the decision, The Post’s John Wagner wrote.

“The only excuse for this policy is that the Trump administration has something to hide,” said David Donnelly, president and chief executive of Every Voice. “This kind of secrecy will allow big donors, lobbyists and special interests to have unknown levels of influence in the White House.”

Follow the author: @eliseviebeck.