Happy Thursday, it’s August 3. Let’s dive into the news.
- The Editorial Board: Whose Message to Believe on Russia?, The New York Times
- Senator Ted Cruz: How to Degrade the Growing Power of North Korea, The Washington Post
- The Vanguard of the Neo-Confederacy, Politico Magazine
- Karl Rove: Kelly’s Bootcamp for Presidential Aides, The Wall Street Journal
- Trump, GOP Senators Introduce Bill to Slash Legal Immigration Levels, The Washington Post
–The Dow hit a historic, record high of 22,000 on Wednesday. We all know that President Donald Trump loves to talk about the Stock Market, here’s why most president’s don’t–
President Donald Trump wastes no time to tout the ever-rising numbers of the stock market on Wall Street. When he isn’t Twitter ranting, and that has gone down ever since Kelly took office as Chief of Staff, he is probably tweeting about the stock market and how it is reaching record numbers. For example, yesterday he tweeted: “Stock Market could hit an all time high (again) 22,000 today. Was 18,000 only 6 months ago on Election Day. Mainstream media seldom mentions!” But most president’s don’t talk about the stock market that often, wonder why? The stock market is fickle, it goes up and down constantly, and it could go bearish quickly without notice. So when the president constantly attributes the rise of the Dow to what he has done as president, he is also inherently attributing the inevitable losses that will come at some point. Realistically, politics is not the reason for the rise in the stock market that President Trump has been referencing. Strong earnings from Apple, McDonalds, and Boeing are reporting strong earnings. To explain the rest, The Washington Post.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 22,000 Wednesday, setting a new record high in what has become one of its longest bull markets in history.
The extraordinary rise of the stock markets since early 2009 — when the Dow was a mere 7,063 — has greatly fattened the portfolios of American investors, especially the wealthiest ones. And it has played a role in boosting the political fortunes of President Trump who on Wednesday once again took credit for the markets’ performance.
The surprisingly persistent gains this year have come courtesy of robust profits at big companies, low interest rates, and a rare alignment of developed economies in good or improving health at the same time. So far, those have been more powerful forces on stocks than world events such as North Korean nuclear missile tests, Venezuela’s economic and political meltdown, or legislative gridlock in Washington.
The markets’ most recent run-up does indeed have something to do with Trump’s win in November, several analysts said. Back then, some on Wall Street cheered the ascent of a businessman into the White House and his promises to cut taxes, invest in infrastructure and increase military spending. The Dow turned sharply up right after the election and has risen 23 percent since then.
Some companies had more to gain from Trump’s pronouncements than others and saw their stocks jump, an effect Wall Street brokers call the “Trump Trade.”
Boeing, which generates much of its profits from its Defense, Space and Security division, has seen its shares soar more than 70 percent since Trump’s election. It has accounted for 45 percent of the Dow’s rise this year, far more than any of the other 29 companies in the index.
“We’ve picked up over $4 trillion of net worth in our country, our stocks, our companies,” Trump said at a White House event on immigration Wednesday. “The stock market hit the highest level that it has ever been and the country is doing very well.”
By the late spring, a series of reports from prominent analysts showed Wall Street was growing skeptical of Trump’s pledges on taxes and infrastructure. But the markets kept marching higher. Stock analysts attribute this to a simple fact: Big corporations, such as Apple, McDonalds and Boeing — which lean heavily on overseas sales — continue to make a lot of money.
“The market has pretty much shrugged off Washington’s dysfunction,” said Chris Gaffney, president of World Markets at EverBank. “The larger story is about the return of the consumers both here in the states and in the emerging markets of China and India.”
President Donald Trump along with Senators David Perdue and Senator Tom Cotton announced a crackdown on LEGAL immigration in the Roosevelt Room of the White House early on Wednesday. The new policy of reducing legal immigration comes in the form of the RAISE Act. RAISE means Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy. Read the full bill here.
From the National Review: Can the RAISE Act Pass?
The political question about the immigration reform bill unveiled at the White House today is whether it has any chance of passage. Robert’s piece on the home page (I don’t mean to pick on you, Robert, really!) takes issue with the bill’s “controversial” narrowing of the family categories and cap on refugee admissions (there’s no statutory limit now). He writes, correctly, that “Both big businesses and many on the left are beholden to high levels of immigration, low-skill and high-, and a filibuster will require 60 votes in the Senate where Republicans have only 52.” Overcoming that hurdled, he claims, is harder with these provisions. But leaving the current level of overall immigration – or even doubling it to 2 million a year, as the Gang of Eight bill would have done – would still not get 60 votes. The RAISE Act isn’t as pointless as that sounds, though. First of all, major changes in public policy often require several Congresses, and intervening elections, to come to fruition. That’s why it’s not a left-handed compliment to call the Cotton-Perdue bill a “great start” or an “opening bid.” But the bill actually does have a non-zero chance of passage, one that doesn’t require Lindsey Graham or Chuck Schumer to magically change their minds on immigration. Instead, the key is DACA. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is the lawless amnesty that Obama decreed in 2012 to goose Hispanic voter turnout, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in 2010 to get the Democrat House to pass the DREAM Act. That bill would have amnestied illegal immigrants who came before age 16. DACA, Obama’s simulacrum of the DREAM Act, is only able to provide two-year renewable work permits (plus Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and access to EITC). It’s DACA’s perishable nature that is the key. While I’ve been critical of the president for not pulling the plug on DACA as he promised during the campaign, the administration has suggested they might still do so. What’s more, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has warned that if DACA isn’t terminated by September, he’ll be adding it to his state’s lawsuit against the subsequent DAPA executive amnesty, very possibly causing it to be struck down in court. The fear that the work permits of 800,000 illegal-alien DREAMers would be allowed to expire without renewal has prompted Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin to reintroduce the DREAM Act. On its own, the bill’s chances of passage are little better than the RAISE Act’s. But if the supporters of the DREAM Act are scared enough, they might be willing to deal. A package that includes DREAM, RAISE, and enforcement measures to prevent future DREAMer populations from forming, might actually have a chance. I wouldn’t bet my house on it, but it’s not crazy.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/450110/cotton-perdues-raise-act-can-it-pass
Speaking of the RAISE Act, Stephen Miller yelled at reporters for what he calls ‘cosmipolitan bias’. From POLITICO
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller smiled as he volunteered to “take one actual last question” at Wednesday’s news briefing, before press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders returned to the podium. He probably wishes he’d gone ahead and ceded the floor.
Seven minutes later, Miller found himself apologizing to CNN’s Jim Acosta over the fiery, bizarre, combative and confusing exchange that had just ended. The dialogue culminated in the senior White House aide lobbing insults at a member of the White House press corps, prompting Acosta to note that he’d just been called “ignorant” on television.
The explosive episode occurred as Miller took questions from reporters on a bill endorsed Wednesday by President Donald Trump that seeks to cut legal immigration to the United States in half. The policy would favor would-be immigrants with advanced skills, education and mastery of English.
Miller dismissed questions about the Trump Organization’s hiring of foreign workers and sparred with a reporter who asked what research backed up the policy proposal. But it was Acosta, who’d had testy exchanges with other White House officials at the same podium, whose questions raised the tension in the room.
Acosta, the last reporter called on, recited a portion of “The New Colossus,” the poem engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The sonnet “doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer,” Acosta said. “Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?”
Miller replied that speaking English is part of the U.S. naturalization process, and he said the poem Acosta referenced is “not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty” but was added later.
Miller’s defense, Acosta said, “sounds like some National Park revisionism.”
Sources say that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Jeff Sessions to assure him his job was safe. Via POLITICO
New White House chief of staff John Kelly assured Attorney General Jeff Sessions that his job was safe in a weekend phone call, Trump administration officials said.
The call, which was first reported by the Associated Press, occurred over the weekend. Kelly took the job Friday.
The officials said Kelly told Sessions to keep up his initiatives at the department and that Trump’s disappointment wouldn’t lead to his firing, as Trump has occasionally suggested. The call showed that Kelly sees himself as an empowered chief of staff, but Trump could surely change his mind, associates said.
Trump remains angry at Sessions for recusing himself from the probe involving the president’s campaign and potential Russian collusion.
At times last month, Trump was slamming Sessions daily on Twitter. However, the president has offered no public criticism of the attorney general for about a week.
The men were face to face with one another on Monday at the first Cabinet meeting since Kelly took over the job of running the White House.
Sessions, an early campaign supporter, has been on the outs with Trump for several months, even as the two men largely agree on policy. The Alabama law enforcement official has said he was stung by the criticisms from his boss, which have come on Twitter and in news interviews.
Via WaPo: Session’s move to take on affirmative action energizes the president’s base
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s internal announcement indicating that the Justice Department is seeking to curb affirmative action in a university admissions case has roused President Trump’s conservative base by seizing on a longtime grievance of the right at a moment when the administration is struggling to fulfill core Republican promises.
Sessions’s apparent intention to prohibit “intentional race-based discrimination”is also a window into the direction he is pulling the department’s Civil Rights Division in his effort to reverse Obama administration policies on a range of issues, including criminal justice, policing and voting rights.
For a Republican Party still searching for consensus in the Trump era, Sessions’s moves signal that the administration is embracing the base during a time of turbulence and tension, with heavy attention being paid to the concerns of the white voters who lifted Trump into the presidency.
When Trump publicly attacked Sessions last week for his decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, conservative groups and Republican lawmakers swiftly rallied to the attorney general’s defense. They argued Sessions — more than any other Cabinet member — has delivered quickly and concretely on Trump’s priorities, from his crackdown on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities to his overhaul of the department’s criminal-charging policy.
John F. Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, called Sessions on Saturday, the day after he was appointed, to assure him that his position as attorney general is safe and to tell him that the Trump White House supports his work and wants him to continue, according to two people familiar with the conversation. Although the president is still unhappy with Sessions, Kelly told him that Trump does not plan to fire him or want him to resign, the person said. Kelly’s call came after a week of criticism in interviews and tweets by Trump of his attorney general.
Some Republican operatives also see the affirmative action initiative as a strategic play by the White House to rally middle-class and upper-middle-class white voters, especially as the Republican agenda on Capitol Hill has stalled.
“This touches a lot of issues and talks right to the folks who look at college admissions and believe slots for their kids are being taken, whether it’s by illegal immigrants or by other groups,” said Brett O’Donnell, a veteran Republican consultant. “It strikes to the heart of how they feel college is increasingly unaffordable and sometimes impossible to get into.”
EVERYONE ON FACEBOOK: SCARAMUCCI TO HOLD FACEBOOK LIVE FRIDAY: Via CNN Politics
Anthony Scaramucci wants to tell his own story.