Good Morning and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to leave a comment, follow me on Twitter or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!
1 Big Thing: The Many Dimensions of the Rob Porter Story
- Rob Porter, a former White House staff secretary, physically and emotionally abused his two former wives. He resigned from the White House Thursday.
- An issue in this story is security clearances. The FBI was aware of Portman’s violence and held up his security clearance. Yet Portman, who handled presidential paperwork and was involved in policy making and decisions, continued his job all the while with the possibility of being blackmail. Now, other White House staffers’ security clearances are being questioned as well.
- Bigger Fish: At first, John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, lauded Porter’s character, but soon backtracked his comments after photo evidence of the Porter’s abuse surfaced. This turmoil has himself and many people questioning his job. Then, President Trump tweeted, “People lives are being shattered by a mere allegation.” This tweet comes in the wake of Porter and another White House staffer’s resignations and in the shadows of the President's own sexual assault allegations.
- The thing to know: While another White House scandal will erupt soon enough, the Me Too movement takes down another abuser.
Budget Deal: Everyone is Angry For Different Reasons
- What’s in the bill: It raises the government’s borrowing capacity, a.k.a spending caps. The Pentagon will receive an extra $165 billion dollars and domestic spending will also drastically increase. On one hand, Trump praised the increase in military expenditures on Twitter. On the other hand, many Republicans like Rand Paul balked at the increase in spending caps. However, the bill was able to overcome these Republican “nays" as some Democrats were wooed to vote yes by the increase in domestic spending.
- Immigration reform was not a part of the deal. Although, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell both verbally promised an immigration debate shortly, but did not offer anything tangible.
- A sigh of relief: The country won’t face the possibility of a shutdown until late next year
Schiff's Memo: Political Games
- Last week, the House Intelligence Committee and the Trump Administration declassified a memo drafted by Republican Chairman, Devin Nunes, that questioned a warrant surrounding the FBI, Christopher Steele, and Carter Page.
- This week, the House Intelligence Committee unanimously voted to declassify a memo drafted by Democratic Ranking Member, Adam Schiff, that sets the record straight after the Nunes' memo omitted important facts. The memo was sent to the CIA and FBI beforehand so they could review it to safe keep of sources and methods.
- However, the memo was sent back to the committee by President Trump because it contained classified information that would unveil sources and methods. Trump claimed the Democrats were playing politics because they knew certain things in the memo would have to remain classified, yet choose to send the memo to him anyway. Schiff is concerned about possible political redactions Trump might make to the memo in order to protect himself. Additionally, Schiff called Trump out for being a hypocrite because, all of a sudden, Trump is concerned with the same facts that were made public in the Nunes' memo.
2018 Winter Olympics: International Diplomacy
- North Korea is participating in the 2018 Winter Games and they sent Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong-un’s sister, as their diplomat. In a sign of progress, South Korean President Kim Young Nam invited Jong to sit and talk with him. Moreover, Nam delayed military exercises for the duration of the Games.
- Vice President Mike Pence, who is attending the Games, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe struck a cooler tone, in regards to Jong and North Korea. For example, Pence refused to greet Jong even though he sat right beside her and refused to stand for the North Korean athlete delegation. Likewise, Abe has been seen with negative body language and already called for South Korea resume military exercises after the Games are over.
Off the Beaten Path: Cancer Treatment
Figure : Credit: Sagiv-Barfi et al., Science Translational Medicine (2018).
Recently, a promising cancer treatment has completely cured lab rats of cancer. The treatment includes two agents: 1) an immune booster and 2) a non-evasive targeted agent. This new combination is key and has eliminated cancer in the targeted area and across the body.