Stories We’re Watching
Congress Launches Sweeping Investigations into Trump & Co
The House Intelligence Committee has announced a sweeping investigation into President Trump’s financial interests beyond Russia. Committee Chairperson Adam Schiff said that the investigation would include Russian election interference, obstruction, and whether or not any foreign agent has compromised the president’s decision making. The president has accused lawmakers of “presidential harassment”. The House Financial Services is also investigating Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over last month’s sanctions relief for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Meanwhile, in Brazil …
- TIME: House Launches New Investigation Into President Trump
- Associated Press: Unbowed by Trump, Democrats charge ahead
- CNN: Waters wants to bring in Mnuchin to grill him on Russia sanctions
- Atlantic Council : A Breakdown of the Sanctions Deal between the United States and Oleg Deripaska
Brazil Court Sentences Former President Lula to 2nd Jail Term
Brazil’s federal court has sentenced former President Lula to another 12 year prison sentence for corruption involving his construction business. The sentence is the latest in Operation Car Wash, a massive ongoing criminal investigation which has exposed widespread corruption and bribery amongst Brazil’s political and business elite. President Bolsonaro has yet to comment on the most recent charges against Lula, but in October then-candidate Bolsonaro predicted Lula would “rot in jail.”
- Deutsche Welle: Brazil court hands ex-President Lula second jail term
- FRANCE 24: Brazil’s Lula sentenced to nearly 13 years in new corruption case
- BBC: Brazil corruption scandals: All you need to know ICYMI
US Trade Deficit with China Narrows, US & China to Resume Trade Talks Next Week in Beijing
Data released today show that the US trade deficit with China narrowed for the first time in six months. However, economists warn that part of the reversal could be the result of a stocking-up effect in anticipation of increased tariffs. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that top US officials would travel to Beijing next week to continue high-level trade talks. The two sides have until March 2 to secure a deal before $200bn worth of goods gets hit with 25% tariffs.
- CNN: The US-China trade war could benefit Europe, Mexico and Japan
- BBC: US-China trade war: UN warns of ‘massive’ impact of tariff hike
- CNBC: US and China to resume trade talks next week in Beijing
- South China Morning Post: US trade deficit with China narrows, as effects of trade war-induced
Taliban Peace Talks in Moscow End, Afghan Opposition & Taliban Agree to Back US-Led Peace Process
Taliban officials and Afghan opposition politicians have released a joint statement outlining progress made during their recent summit in Moscow. The two-day talks built on previous discussions between US officials and senior Taliban leaders but did not include any representatives from current Afghan President Ghani’s administration. The two sides plan to meet again in Qatar but have not set a date. Analysts caution that little progress is likely until current Afghan President Ghani is included.
- The Guardian: Taliban and Afghan groups find common ground in landmark talks
- Voice of America: Afghan Opposition, Taliban Agree to Back US-Led Peace Process
- Foreign Policy: As US Mulls Withdrawal From Afghanistan, Russia Wants Back in ICYMI
PM Theresa May in Brussels to Avoid no-deal Brexit
Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Brussels earlier today to try to renegotiate the Brexit deal she agreed to late last year. So far, the EU has refused to reopen negotiations. As it currently stands, the deal is unlikely to pass UK Parliament due to the the Irish Backstop. Because the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is UK’s only EU land border, Brexit will require that the two sides establish new customs and regulatory agreements. Businesses, universites, immigration officials, and research laboratories are already preparing for a chaotic exit.
- Business Insider: Theresa May’s demands to renegotiate Brexit deal rejected by EU
- CNBC: British Prime Minister Theresa May is in Brussels in search of a Brexit
- Forbes: Theresa May’s Chances As A Woman In A Pan-European Fundraising? Not Good
- Foreign Policy: Theresa May Is Negotiating Like Yasser Arafat
THE BEST AMERICAN CONSPIRACY: A CONVERSATION WITH BRAD MELTZER
What if I told you I know this guy who counts U.S. Presidents as fans, has been on the New York Times Bestseller list (many times) & created a tv show that featured a little known actor named Bradley Cooper. You’d say this sounds like a character from a novel and I’d say…you’re close. It’s author Brad Meltzer whose own life is as interesting as the characters he writes. In this fascinating chat, we talk about his meeting with Tony Mendez (the real CIA officer behind Argo) when he read to George Bush Sr before he passed away and why women make the best subjects for his books on role models. Tune in!
PODCAST: THE SPAWN: THE HORROR SHOW THAT IS THE PRESIDENT’S INNER CIRCLE
Have a little time on your hands? Why not spend the evening trying to figure out which of the president’s off-spring is the worst? If you want to throw in Jared, go right ahead. Then, once you’ve hashed it out consider that in Trump’s friendless world in which he can’t trust even his closest staff the people whose opinions matter most to him…are those awful, awful kids. We discuss this and how to get your dog to behave on this must-listen edition of Deep State Radio. Tune in!