Hello 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: Gun Legislation?
Weeks after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, guns are still in the middle of American political discourse. However, will something get done? Or are politicians just posturing as the momentum shifts against gun regulation?
- Trump met with a bipartisan group of legislators at the White House Wednesday. Here, he challenged many Republicans and supported various gun control measures like expanded background checks and the seizure of guns from mentally ill people or those who pose a threat without due process at first.
- However, Trump met with the NRA later and appeared to back off certain regulations he supported in the meeting.
- No bills have emerged with board support, but only two, at the moment, have a chance at passage. First, the Manchin-Toomey bill, which garnered 54 votes in the past, would expand background checks to online sales and gun shows. Second, the Corbyn bill would improve reporting to the federal background check system. However, the Cobryn bill has opposition from both sides of the aisle.
White house Security Clearances
In a memo sent Friday, White House staffers with an interim Top Secret/SCI-level security clearance will lose them until they are properly vetted. Staffers affected by this memo include senior advisors, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
- This issue with White house security clearances follows the Rob Porter scandal. Now, Chief of Staff Kelly is trying to sure up the process.
- Kushner’s new security clearance is Secret, which includes diplomatic reporting, basic military info, and limited intelligence. However, the Top Secret/SCI clearance contains information that paints a more complete picture of foreign governments.
- A couple important points: 1) the White House stated this issue won’t affect Kushner’s ability to do his job, 2) Trump can declassify anything if he so chooses and 3) Kushner’s Top Secret/SCI clearance is pending; it’s not gone forever.
President Trump decided to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum to protect those American industries.
- These tariffs divide American businesses between producers and their consumers. On one hand, the producers benefit because they don’t face competition from foreign markets. On the other hand, producers can increase their prices, which hurts their American customers.
- Then these tariffs risk starting a trade war with countries around the world. Other trade powers, such as China and the European Union (EU), could impose tariffs of their own, which would hurt American interests. Additionally, the renegotiation of NAFTA is thrown into the air with this announcement.
Dreamers and the Supreme Court
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court rejected Trump’s appeal to overturn a district court’s decision about the Deferred Action for Childhood Action program.
- The Court’s rejection of the appeal does not signify anything about the content of the appeal. Instead, the Court is waiting for the appeals courts to hear it first.
- This ruling is interesting because it removes Congress’ March 5th deadline and, therefore, removes the pressure on them to find a permanent solution.
Off the beaten Path: Trump Impersonators
On Friday, Donald Trump attacked Alec Baldwin, a Trump impersonator on Saturday Night Live, on Twitter. It got me thinking: everybody impersonates Trump now from your not-so-funny friend to professionals. Before, people impersonated Apprentice Trump with “You’re Fired!” Now, people impersonate political Trump with the physical hand motions and “Build that Wall!”