Walled-In Trump Eyes Emergency Powers Gambit
(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump is going directly to the American people to make the case for U.S.-Mexico border wall funding, a demand that's prompted a partial government shutdown that's beginning to bite.
Some White House insiders believe Trump may act despite an almost inevitable legal challenge — raising the stakes of a partisan brawl with the Democrats, who took control of the House last week and are keen to land a blow on Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential race.
Pressure on both sides to reach a deal eased yesterday when the Internal Revenue Service said an ongoing shutdown — now in its 18th day — wouldn't prevent it from issuing taxpayer refunds.
But with hundreds of thousands of federal workers poised to miss their first paychecks on Friday, trash piling up in national parks and shuttered courts on the horizon, the Trump Administration is finding it increasingly hard to minimize the political fallout of the president’s wall gambit.
Syria maneuvers | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton in Ankara today and used a scheduled speech in parliament to tear apart American proposals that a Washington-backed Kurdish group play a key role in Syria after U.S. troops withdraw.
Brexit battles | With Prime Minister Theresa May's deal to steer Britain out of the EU still looking unlikely to secure the support of Parliament, politicians on all sides are trying to grab control of what happens next. Pro-European lawmakers get their first shot today, trying to attach an amendment to the Finance Bill to make it harder for the government to pursue a no-deal Brexit.
On board | North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took an overnight train to Beijing to visit Chinese President Xi Jinping, his closest trade and security partner. Xi could be Kim's best bet on lifting some of the stronger United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on Pyongyang. It's Kim's fourth trip to China since March, and could signal that stalled nuclear negotiations with the U.S. will pick up soon.
Italy blinks again | Before coming to power, the Five Star Movement railed against previous administrations for using public money to prop up bankers it considered incompetent at best. Now that it's in government, things look different. Last night the populist coalition signed off on state guarantees to help a struggling lender.
Reservations about Russia | German commitment to a new gas connection is wavering amid pressure from Trump. The $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline will double the amount of natural gas arriving from Russia but will also deprive Ukraine of lucrative transit fees for helping to supply European consumers. Trump says the project makes Germany Russia's “captive.”
What to Watch
Chinese authorities plan to give a statement following the latest round of U.S. trade talks today in Beijing, after both sides signaled progress toward resolving a conflict that has roiled markets.
The White House will be scouting a new nominee for the Federal Reserve's board of governors after Nellie Liang — a former economist for the central bank — withdrew from consideration.
Malaysia is examining allegations that Beijing offered to use its influence to deter graft probes from the U.S. and other countries into troubled state fund 1MDB.
And finally... Scientists at a symposium in India have prompted hand-wringing after one participant claimed Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton had misled the world with their theories. No stranger to curious scientific claims, some have said India invented the internet thousands of years ago, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi mused the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha is proof that India had plastic surgeons in ancient times.
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