How the summit got derailed


Trump releasing a dove, which drops to the ground
President Trump hasn’t shut the door on the possibility that a North Korea summit could still happen — but for now, he’s warning North Korea not to try anything.
Behind the scenes: A White House official told Axios’ Jonathan Swan: “They literally threatened nuclear war. …[N]o summit will work under these circumstances when they’re literally threatening our people.”
For now, it’s back to the days of “fire and fury.”
  • Here’s what Trump said this afternoon at the White House: “Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world … is ready if necessary.”
  • South Korea and Japan are “ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea.”
  • But, but, but: “It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at some later date. Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.”
Two views on where we’re headed, from Axios Expert Voices:
  • The case for pessimismfrom Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations: “There was no way the summit could have succeeded … Better that the summit was postponed than to have ended up in dramatic failure.”
  • The case for optimism, from Tony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration: “Both leaders still likely want this meeting to happen.”
Go deeper:


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House Passes Holocaust Remembrance Amendment



The U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included an amendment introduced by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), and Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) that would order the Secretary of Defense to include Holocaust remembrance in any commemorations of the 75th anniversary of World War II.

Following passage of the NDAA with their amendment, the Representatives issued this joint statement:

World War II ended with the U.S. and Allied Forces defeating the Nazis and liberating Europe from Hitler’s murderous regime. But as they fought their way through Europe, they uncovered the horrific Nazi network of death camps set up to carry out their Final Solution – the complete annihilation of the Jewish people. As our country plans for commemoration events marking the end of World War II, we must also remember and teach future generations about the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust and honor the Allied liberators of Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and other Nazi concentration camps.



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Mueller’s investigation has absolutely uncovered evidence of crimes

Image result for MuellerĂ¢€™s investigation has absolutely uncovered evidence of crimes
 Mueller’s investigation has absolutely uncovered evidence of crimes:
  • Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and a key Trump campaign surrogate, pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators in December.
  • Rick Gates, a top aide on the Trump campaign and a longtime business partner of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to false statements and one count of conspiracy.
  • George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, pleaded guilty to false statements.
  • Alexander van der Zwaan, a London-based Dutch attorney, pleaded guilty to making false statements about his contacts with Gates and an unnamed Ukrainian.
  • 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been indicted on conspiracy charges, and some on identity theft charges, related to Russian social media and hacking efforts.
  • Richard Pinedo, a California resident, has pleaded guilty to an identity theft chargerelated to the Russian indictments.
  • Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair, is facing two separate indictments — one in DCabout conspiracy, money laundering, false statements, and failure to disclose foreign assets; and one in Virginia about tax, financial, and bank fraud charges.







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Rudy Giuliani is Very Confused




Jimmy Kimmel went to great lengths to fully comprehend what Rudy Giuliani said during an interview on This Week.
Kimmel began by addressing the “old” and “scary” volcano that “erupted over the weekend” (and no, not the one in Hawaii) and played a clip of his interview with George Stephanopoulos when he incoherently was responding to a question about whether President Trump knew about Michael Cohen‘s payment to Stormy Daniels after the campaign.
“I gotta tell you, I don’t even know what he was trying to say,” Kimmel reacted.










Rudy Giuliani: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver









Rudy Giuliani is new to Trump’s legal team, but not to public controversy. John Oliver examines his turbulent record as a lawyer, a politician, and an enemy to ferrets.

Late last night, at 9pm Eastern, Trump ordered an unauthorized, strategy-free, dangerous strike on Syria

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 late last night, at 9pm Eastern, Trump ordered an unauthorized, strategy-free, dangerous strike on Syria.
It wasn’t a bait and switch. It’s not 12-dimensional chess. He’s not outfoxing anyone. With this strike, Trump is transparently gambling with the safety of the Syrian people, and pulling us closer to war with Russia and Iran, to distract from his own legal troubles.
The strike comes just days after horrific images out of Syria showed yet another apparent deadly chemical attack from the Assad regime on the people of Syria. And, in the face of events like that, the instinct to want to “do something” is understandable.
But Trump has no real interest in the safety of the Syrian people. The US has only accepted 11 Syrian refugees this year. And strikes put Syrians in greater risk of harm by escalating war and bloodshed. Trump’s message to the Syrian people? Stay there, we’ll bomb you. Come here, we’ll ban you.
Trump clearly has zero respect for the people of Syria, as his actions have put them at greater risk. We know he has zero respect for the rule of law, since these strikes are unconstitutional absent congressional authority. He also has zero strategy, evidenced by his Administration’s failure to articulate just how these strikes address the chemical weapons attack and what the plan is from here.
Though we’re still grappling with this news (and we know you are too), we want to let you know (like we always do) where you can have an impact on this important, emerging issue.

What your members of Congress should do:

Though they don’t always act like it, Congress is a co-equal branch of government that holds tremendous power to check Trump’s recklessness. There are a number of concrete steps that Congress can and should pursue.Any single one of these actions is better than allowing Trump’s one-off missile strikes to continue:
  • Publicly voice support for the ongoing investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into the chemical weapons attack
  • Forcefully insist on its sole authority to authorize military force by demanding that Trump come to Congress before any further strikes in Syria
  • Vote NO on any authorization for further force in Syria, based on Trump’s demonstrated recklessness and lack of a full strategy
  • Publicly denounce Trump’s bigoted Muslim and refugee bans that are harming victims of violence in Syria and elsewhere, and call on the Administration to immediately resettle more Syrian refugees
  • Call on the Administration to lead not by military force, but by engaging international partners to seek a diplomatic and political solution to end Syria’s suffering
  • Hold hearings to assess the US government’s own global war operations and the resulting ramped-up civilian body count across the world
Call your MoC and tell them to do everything in their power to rein in Trump’s Syrian escalation. Urge the Administration to lead with diplomacy to help the people of Syria. You can view our resource, and call script, here.

Next, take action to stop Trump’s War Cabinet:

While Trump surrounds himself with “his generals” and warmongers like John Bolton, he has two more highly questionable Cabinet nominations coming up for a vote soon in the Senate:
  1. Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo (former MoC and current CIA Director) to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. In his hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, he didn’t rule out a ground war in North Korea, and said that Trump has the authority to attack Syria without Congressional approval (he doesn’t). If he’s confirmed as Secretary of State, Pompeo will export Trumpism across the globe. Use our resource and call script to take action now-- the Senate could vote on Pompeo as early as this week.
  2. To replace Pompeo at the CIA, Trump has nominated Gina Haspel, a war criminal who personally helped torture detainees in a secret CIA-run prison in Thailand during the Bush Administration. Alberto Mora, former chief counsel of the Navy in the Bush administration, argues that there’s nothing else senators need to know to make their decisionHaspel is a torturer and is therefore unfit to lead the CIA. Her committee hearings, and a Senate vote, will likely come after Pompeo’s. But it’s never too early to read our resource and use our call script to let your MoCs know you don’t want a torturer to run the CIA.
It’s been a hard week. And it’s made one thing clear: we must remain vigilant at all times. The United States is escalating the conflict in Syria. Trump could still fire Rosenstein at any moment. And all the while, he’s trying to pull together a war Cabinet so that he can drag us into yet another endless war.
Protecting our democracy is a battle we have to fight on multiple fronts at the same time, and we’re proud to be in it with all of you.


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How the crackdown on Opioids created the Heroin Addiction Crises

Opioids and unintended consequences
As Congress looks for more ways to address the opioid epidemic, one subset of policy changes is focused on making prescription painkillers harder to abuse — limiting the number of pills in a prescription, for example.
But that approach hasn't necessarily worked in the past and may have had some unintended consequences, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Between the lines: There have been three distinct phases in this crisis:
  • Deaths from abuse of prescription painkillers rose steadily from 2004–2010 — the first phase.
  • The second phase began in August 2010, when the pace of opioid-related deaths started to flatten out and heroin deaths surged.
  • The working paper attributes that to the August 2010 reformulation of OxyContin — a leading prescription painkiller. Those changes made the drug harder to abuse, but "each prevented opioid death was replaced with a heroin death," the paper says.

Adapted from Evans et. al., 2018,  "How the Reformation of OxyContin Ignited the Heroin Epidemic", The National Bureau of Economic Research; Note: "Opioids" includes all opioid related deaths aside from those that are exclusively attributed to heroin; Chart: Axios Visuals
Federal data indicates that we're now in a third phase, in which deaths from illegal synthetic opioids like fentanyl are skyrocketing, and have even outpaced heroin. That trend began in about 2013.
Why it matters: As my colleague Caitlin Owens explains in more detail, this is a poignant illustration of why this crisis has been so hard to solve.
  • It also helps explain why public health experts are so adamant that Congress should be pumping more money into treatment. Cracking down on the supply of drugs is important, but when people can easily switch from one drug to another, treating the underlying addiction may have a bigger impact.











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How health care has energized the Liberals




Health care is one of the biggest reasons activism and protests are on the rise — specifically, because ACA supporters have been going to a lot of rallies, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman writes in today’s column.
The numbers that matter: A Kaiser Family Foundation-Washington Post survey found that 50 million Americans went to a rally or protest over the last two years, and 14 million — about 28% — said the ACA was one of the main reasons. Of that group, 85% said they were coming out to support the law.
The bottom line: That may not be a surprise, since the law was under attack — but the point is that the energy in health care protests has shifted from the right to the left.





















Source: Axios.com

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The Legacy Of Speaker Ryan



Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan has been by far his party’s No. 1 champion for an aggressive overhaul of entitlement programs. He won’t accomplish that before retiring next year, but his impact on the GOP’s platform isn’t likely to fade in his absence.
Ryan forced the issue of entitlement cuts into a position of prominence within the Republican Party, largely through his earlier positions as chairman of the Budget Committee and then as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate.
Medicaid: Ryan’s budget proposals called for converting federal Medicaid funding into a block grant to the states.
  • That’s now one of the few pieces of health policy the GOP agrees on. Through all the hue and cry and competing ideas that ultimately sunk last year’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, steep Medicaid cuts — either through block grants or a system of spending caps — were a constant across almost every bill.
Medicare cuts have always been a harder sell politically, and none of Ryan’s potential successors have matched his energy on the issue.
  • “He was a fabulous champion — maybe unequaled,” conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin said.
  • Ryan’s proposals would have converted Medicare from a single-payer program into a new system in which the government gave seniors a subsidy to purchase private coverage, similar to the basic structure of the ACA.
  • That model, known as premium support, will still be a mainstay even without Ryan to press for it, Holtz-Eakin said.
  • “Premium support can’t go away,” he said. “It solves too many of Medicare’s problems.”
The other side: Democrats would love for Holtz-Eakin to be right. Ryan's budgets never became the political poison that liberals (and some Republican strategists) had anticipated in 2012 and 2014, but you could make a strong case that they helped Democrats move back to playing offense on health care.







Source: Axios.com



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A Betrayal


A Betrayal

If Henry is killed, his death can be traced to a quiet moment in the fall of 2016, when he sat slouched in his usual seat by the door in 11th-grade English class. A skinny kid with a shaggy haircut, he had been thinking a lot about his life and about how it might end.