Stories We’re Watching
Let’s Make a Deal! House of Commons Votes on Brexit Amendments
Earlier today, British House of Commons began voting on amendments to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Since the deal’s latest defeat, over 12 amendments have been put forward, covering unresolved issues such as the Irish backstop, a delay in exiting, and provisions for a no deal exit. Political analysts say that the amendment process has had an outsized impact on drafting the deal. Businesses and other European states have already begun to prepare for the worst case scenario: a no deal exit. The UK is set to exit the EU on March 29—deal or no deal.
- The Guardian: May suffers heaviest parliamentary defeat of a British PM
- BBC: Brexit: Theresa May will ask the EU to reopen Brexit deal
- Forbes: Most Young Women Voted to Remain – How Will Brexit Affect Them?
- NYT: The Brexit Amendment Process That Could Reshape Britain’s Future
- Harvard Business Review: Not Enough Companies Are Ready for Brexit, No Matter What Happens Next
US Announces Venezuela Sanctions, Russia Threatens Kneecaping over $100m Debt
During a rare White House Press Briefing, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced new sanctions on state-owned Venezuelan oil companies. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but has been in a protracted economic crisis for years. Venezuelan authorities responded by approving a parallel currency exchange. Despite Putin’s overt show of support for ‘President’ Maduro, the Russian Finance Ministry announced that they still expect Venezuela to make their upcoming $100m debt payment—on time. Shortly after the sanctions were announced, the price of crude oil rose.
- Voice of America: Venezuela approves parallel currency exchange amid political crisis
- Bloomberg: Crude Rises as US Imposes Sanctions on Venezuelan Oil Industry
- NPR: Venezuela’s State-Owned Oil Company Is Hit With US Sanctions
- Reuters: Russia tells Venezuela it must repay its debt to Moscow on time
US Formally Charges Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou ahead of Tomorrow’s China Trade Delegation Arrival
The US Department of Justice has announced 23 criminal charges against Chinese telecom Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou. US authorities allege that Huawei spent a decade trying to steal trade secrets and evade Iran sanctions. Chinese authorities have characterized the charges a politically motivated smear campaign. Meng has been detained in Canada since December, and Canadian authorities have until March 1 to decide whether or not to extradite her to the US. Her arrest has exacerbated tensions between the US, China, and Canada. The DOJ’s announcement comes just a day before tomorrow’s anticipated arrival of China’s official trade delegation.
- Reuters: Huawei lawyer says CFO Meng a ‘hostage’ after US presses charges
- WSJ: The US Case Against Huawei
- Financial Times: Equities lose ground after US files Huawei criminal charges
- South China Morning Post: Huawei charges are US attempt to smear Chinese companies, Beijing says
Mueller Updates: Stone Pleads Not Guilty, Manafort’s Hearing Abruptly cancelled, Whitaker’s Announcement
Earlier today, Roger Stone pleaded not guilty to all counts in a Federal court in DC. Stone has repeatedly denied the charges and and is next expected to appear on Friday for another hearing. Yesterday afternoon, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced that the Mueller investigation was ‘close to being completed’. Legal analysts have expressed concern over Whitaker’s remarks, calling into question his suitability for the job. Also yesterday, Paul Manafort’s February hearing in Virginia for tax and bank fraud was abruptly cancelled so that he could fully attend to his separate hearing in DC for conspiracy against the US and obstruction.
- Daily Beast: Manafort’s Virginia Sentencing Hearing Canceled
- NPR: Roger Stone Pleads Not Guilty in DC Federal Court Following Florida Arrest
- Vanity Fair: Trump’s DOJ Chief Appears Confused About the Mueller Probe
- The Guardian: Is Oleg Deripaska the missing Link in the Trump-Russia investigation?
Netanyahu Hosts Russian Delegation to Discuss Syria & Iran
Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted a delegation of Russian officials to discuss Syria and Iran. The meeting follows last week’s Israeli air raids on Iranian targets in Syria. Since President Trump announced the US withdrawal last December, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Israel have met with Russian officials to discuss postwar plans for the region. Regional and political analysts caution that the US withdrawal has emboldened and empowered the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Bibi has faced an uptick in competition ahead of Israel’s general elections.
- The Seattle Times: Israel hosts Russian delegation
- Haaretz: Netanyahu Meets Top Russian Officials to Discuss Iran, Syria
- Newsweek: US Ally Israel Meets With Russia After Donald Trump Announces US Withdrawal From Syria
From Deep State Radio
PODCAST: Tales in Wagging the Dog: I’ll Trade You Roger Stone for Nicolas Maduro
Roger Stone was very upset the FBI made his dog anxious when they raided his home. He also was unhappy he did not have chance to put on a nice suit before being hauled in court. On the other hand, who cares? He’s a big time sleaze and deserves everything he gets. Meanwhile, no one deserves to be abused as the people of Venezuela have been first by Hugo Chavez and then by Nicolas Maduro. So the U.S. is helping to lead a push to oust Maduro. What does that have to do with Stone? Listen in to Rosa Brooks of Georgetown Law, Kori Schake of IISS, David Sanger of the NY Times and Ed Luce of the Financial Times to learn the answer (if the title didn’t give it away.)
PODCAST: How Much Does a Huawei?
It’s an old joke. And we couldn’t resist it. But the punchline of the effort to contain Huawei’s burgeoning power over current and next generation telecommunications technologies may be one with profound geopolitical consequences. It may also be one not too many people are in a position to understand…and few of those that do are policymakers. Also in the incomprehensible department: America’s emerging “policy” in Afghanistan. Kori Schake of IISS, Rosa Brooks of Georgetown Law, Ed Luce of the Financial Times and David Sanger of the NY Times all specialize in the incomprehensible and are here to help. Tune in!