Trump’s Not Done With His Border Wall Crusade
Donald Trump isn’t giving up pushing Congress to fund his wall.
The presidential budget request set for release this morning in Washington includes at least $8.6 billion in new funding for the construction of a barrier on the border with Mexico.
The proposal threatens to breathe fresh life into a partisan dispute that prompted the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. And it shows Trump — who capitulated to wall opponents in the Democratic Party to re-open the government amid mounting strains on the federal workforce — will continue to make his signature 2016 campaign promise a bone of contention with Congress as his re-election campaign gets underway.
The president’s latest bid for congressional wall money is in addition to the funds that he’s hoping to allocate through executive action after declaring a national emergency in February over the situation on the border.
With Democrats in control of the U.S. House, the dynamics in Congress aren’t likely to change to Trump’s advantage. But that may not be the point — keeping up the fight can help him energize his base, whose enthusiasm in November of next year may be key to him winning a second term.
Troll tactics | Russian internet trolls may be shifting strategy to disrupt the 2020 U.S. elections and circumvent social media companies’ efforts to block fake content, cybersecurity experts said. Some are amplifying existing content rather than creating fake messages, to hide their identities. Others are hacking into devices to open large numbers of apparently legitimate user accounts. FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that “malign” foreign influence campaigns are likely to intensify.
Boeing jets grounded | China and Ethiopia grounded their fleets of Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 jets after a model operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed minutes after takeoff yesterday, killing all 157 people on board — the second deadly accident involving the best-selling plane in five months. While Boeing said it’s working closely with the investigators to discover the cause of the disaster, its shares fell today in Asia and Europe.
Brexit brink | With talks deadlocked, U.K. ministers are calling for last-minute concessions by the European Union so Theresa May can get her Brexit deal through Parliament this week. But it’s looking unlikely the prime minister will be able to reverse the historic defeat she suffered in January. So with under three weeks to go until Britain is due to leave the bloc, Brexit could yet be delayed, abandoned in all but name — or called off altogether.
Nordic reverberations | The Finnish government’s surprise resignation comes at an especially bad time for the country’s influence in Europe. Finland’s turn with the European Union’s rotating six-month presidency is set to begin July 1, and the collapse is complicating preparations. The EU country in that role, currently Romania, manages the bloc’s legislative business and represents them in deliberations with the European Parliament.
Ailing leader | Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika arrived home yesterday after receiving medical treatment in Geneva, to pursue his bid to seek a fifth term in the face of mounting protests in the North African oil producer. Largely incapacitated since suffering a stroke in 2013, the 82-year-old has failed to calm the unrest with a pledge to serve an abridged term if he wins next month's vote. In a sign of the army's growing concern over the crisis, the chief of staff said the military and the people “are partners in one destiny.”
What to Watch
- The biggest spat between Italy's populist allies Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio is sparking speculation their government could collapse and force an early election this year.
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baghdad today and will meet his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi during a trip that's expected to focus on energy and trade deals bypassing U.S. sanctions.
And finally... Resurgent tensions between India and Pakistan are taking a toll on the film industry. Pakistan has halted the screening of Bollywood movies in theaters across the country, forcing the nation’s largest chain to show reruns of old Pakistani films. It comes as India announced the dates for the world's largest election, where 900 million voters — more than the population of Europe — will determine whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi secures a second term.
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