Top News Stories for Today – March 28, 2017
Trump to undo Obama’s climate policy
On Tuesday, President Trump will sign an executive order seeking to roll back many of former President Barack Obama’s measures aimed at fighting global warming. Trump will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, which limits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and has long been opposed by Republican governors.
He will also lift a ban on new coal leases on federal lands, which Obama put into place for three years in 2016 so the program could be modernized. A senior White House official informed reporters about the executive order Monday night, and at one point denied knowing that climate change can have a devastating impact on the economy, The Associated Press reports. The Associated Press, The Week,
Trump’s approval rating hits record low
President Trump’s approval rating hit a new low Monday, with just 36 percent of Americans approving of the president, Gallup found. Fifty-seven percent of people disapprove of Trump’s performance in office. Prior to Monday, Trump’s lowest approval rating was 37 percent, which he hit March 18 following the announcement of the Republican health-care bill to replace ObamaCare and Trump’s claims that he was “wiretapped” by former President Barack Obama.
The highest disapproval rating of Obama’s entire presidency was 55 percent, which he hit twice in his eight years as commander-in-chief. Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti notes that Trump has hit a disapproval rating of 55 percent or more 12 times since becoming president on Jan. 20. Gallup, Politico, The Week
Montenegro’s Bid to Join NATO
Montenegro is one step closer to becoming NATO’s 29th member. Ratification of the treaty on Montenegro’s admission into the alliance cleared a procedural hurdle in the US Senate Monday, setting the stage for a final vote later this week. Approving the treaty requires a two-thirds’ vote in the Senate, after which the president can ratify it. Ninety-seven senators supported the measure.
“It [approval] will enhance our security. It will strengthen the alliance and it will send a strong message of resolve to Russia as it invades its neighbors and the international order,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, said. “No country outside the alliance gets a veto over who gets to join, especially Russia. So we must send a strong signal.” A final vote is expected as early as Tuesday. VOA
UN negotiating nuclear arms ban
The United Nations began negotiations Monday on an international nuclear weapons ban, which is opposed by countries that already possess nuclear weapons. Proponents of the ban see nuclear arms as a threat to global security and warn that the weapons can have catastrophic effects if used. More than 120 nations voted last year in favor of launching the treaty talks.
The United States, Britain, France and about 20 other nations stood together Monday in opposition to the ban. Russia and China are also against the proposed treaty and are not taking part in the talks. North Koreans have said quite clearly that they would like to move towards a world without nuclear weapons, but they will only do it when other nuclear weapons states move with them. That is the same position quite frankly as the Chinese and the Russians and even the Americans. VOA
Democrats call on Nunes to recuse
Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday that “after much consideration,” he believes committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) should recuse himself from further involvement in the Russia investigation. Schiff said he based this conclusion on Nunes admitting he went to the White House to meet with a source who told him about the incidental collection of communications from members of President Trump’s transition team.
Nunes, who has shared what he learned with Trump but not his committee, was also a member of the transition team. “I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman,” Schiff said. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Nunes has “tarnished” his office, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “must insist” Nunes recuse himself. Nunes told reporters on Monday night he won’t step down, adding, “Everything is politics here.” Twitter, CNN, The Week
Cheney: Russian hacking is act of war
Cheney, who made clear that he didn’t “speak for anybody else” before offering his assessment of threats posed by Putin, said to expect Russia to continue these kind of efforts “going forward” and accused the Russian President of trying to influence past elections in Baltic countries. However, that Russia had not undermined the legitimacy of President Donald Trump’s electoral victory. Unlike former President George W. Bush, whom he served as vice president, Cheney said he supported Trump, and was happy to do so. CNN
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