In a more conventional presidency, this approach might work. But with Trump, it’s hard to avoid unexpected setbacks — and this week is no different.
Take immigration, an issue where the Trump administration has repeatedly struggled to achieve victories in court.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in San Francisco dealt the administration a blow by temporarily blocking Trump’s order targeting “sanctuary cities.” The policy allowed the attorney general to withhold funding from cities and towns that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. It is now under a nationwide injunction.
Another example is Michael Flynn, Trump’s controversial ex-national security adviser, and his ties to Russia.
On Tuesday, the heads of the House Oversight Committee said Flynn probably broke the law by failing to disclose income he received for a speaking engagement in Russia and for lobbying on behalf of Turkey. The news brought concerns about Trump associates’ connections to Russia back to the forefront, just as they seemed to be fading slightly from the headlines.
The White House will seek to overshadow these developments Wednesday.
As a reminder, the administration plans to release an outline of an overhaul of the U.S. tax code. Trump wants to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and plans to call for a significant increase in the standard deduction that people can claim on their tax returns.
THE LATEST FROM CAPITOL HILL
The White House is claiming legislative progress on one issue this week: health care.
On Tuesday, several Trump officials and Republican lawmakers said they were nearing a deal on health-care legislation aimed at satisfying members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Three top leaders of the caucus, in a boost to Trump, signaled they are ready to support a new plan, according to two White House officials.
Meanwhile, it appears increasingly unlikely that the government will shut down Friday, when its funding will expire.
That’s because Republicans included no new money for the construction of a southern border wall, a priority for Trump, in the latest government funding proposal they sent to Democrats. Instead, the GOP insisted on increases in border security and defense spending, which Democrats appear ready to support as long as funds for a physical wall are not included.
Finally, Trump visited Capitol Hill to speak at an event honoring the memory of people killed in the Holocaust.
He gave his strongest denunciation of anti-Semitism, calling Holocaust deniers “accomplices to this horrible evil.”
“We will confront anti-Semitism,” Trump said. “We will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred, we will bear witness and we will act. As president of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people.”
IVANKA, JARED FACE ETHICS SCRUTINY
Concerns are rising about the roles played by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the White House, as several news developments revealed.
While speaking on a panel in Germany on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump called her father a “tremendous champion of supporting families.” She was booed, which made international headlines.
Ivanka’s role is drawing increasing scrutiny as she settles into her new office and schedule in the West Wing. Even the panel moderator in Germany asked her: “You are first daughter … what is your role? To whom are you represented — your father, the American people, or your business?”
Jared Kushner was also called out, although less dramatically, this week.
The government watchdog group Democracy 21 called on Kushner on Tuesday to recuse himself from a wide range of policy decisions given his decision to retain ownership of many of his businesses while working at the White House.
“He has an unprecedented role assigned to him in the White House,” Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, told The Washington Post. “He is the president’s son-in-law, and he has a vast and complex set of business interests that have been valued at as much as $740 million.”
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