Thursday Top News Executive Summary
"Nuclear option," Trump tax returns, Joe Biden responds, ICE raid, Amazon's Seattle exodus, WI supreme court, and more.
The Democrat Party’s ability to obstruct President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees was reined in yesterday thanks to the GOP’s implementation of the “nuclear option.” According to The Hill, “In back-to-back votes, Republicans changed the rules for the amount of time it takes to confirm most executive nominees and district judge.” What formerly could be up to 30 hours of debate per nominee is now just two hours, though Supreme Court picks, appeals-court judges, and Cabinet nominees are exempt. This move will allow Republicans to make significant inroads toward reducing the judicial backlog.
With the Robert Mueller report proving to be underwhelming, House Democrats are doubling down on Trump’s tax returns. ABC News says that Democrats in the lower chamber “have sent their long-anticipated request for six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, the opening salvo in what could prove an explosive battle between Democrats and the Trump administration over the president’s personal finances that is expected to wind up in the courts.” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal laughably asserted, “This request is about policy, not politics.” It’s about getting Trump out of the White House by any means necessary.
Joe Biden, a possible 2020 contender who is suddenly being castigated by his own party for being handsy, responded to his critics and accusers in a video in which he vowed, “I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.” He added, “Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying.” But as Politico points out, “Biden notably did not apologize for his actions in the video posted Wednesday.”
CVE Technology Group Inc. in Allen, Texas, was raided this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which apprehended more than 280 illegal-immigrant employees. Special Agent Katrina W. Berger revealed, “As far as immigration-related arrests, this is the largest ICE worksite operation at one site in the last 10 years.” According to an ICE news release, “All of the immigration status violators … will be interviewed by ICE staff to record any medical, sole-caregiver or other humanitarian situations. Based on these interviews, ICE will determine if those arrested remain in custody or are considered for humanitarian release. In all cases, all illegal aliens encountered will be fingerprinted and processed for removal from the United States.”
After reviewing the circumstances behind the recent Boeing 737 Max crash, Ethiopia says that the pilots acted appropriately. As Bloomberg reports, “Pilots on a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight followed proper procedures and still couldn’t bring the 737 Max out of a dive, Ethiopia’s transport minister said, pressing manufacturer Boeing Co. to fix flight controls to avoid further disasters.” Market analyst Michael Hewson suggests, “They’re saying that the pilots were not to blame. It places much more scrutiny on Boeing’s processes.”
Thousands of Amazon workers will be pulled out of Seattle over the coming years as a consequence of the animus that developed between the corporation and the city. The transferees will be moved to Bellevue. The foundation for the exodus was laid in 2018, when a city councilwoman sought to impose a hefty “head tax” on large corporations. The idea was eventually quashed, but the damage was done. Amazon’s expansion plans were suspended — a decision that prompted the pugnacious councilwoman to further criticize Amazon. Jeff Bezos evidently decided not to put up with it anymore.
Good news from the heartland: “In Tuesday’s Wisconsin supreme-court election, conservatives appear to have scored a shocking upset victory. With only a handful of precincts left to report, conservative-backed Brian Hagedorn leads liberal-backed Lisa Neubauer by nearly 6,000 votes out of 1.2 million cast, according to unofficial results. … If Hagedorn’s lead holds, he will replace retiring liberal justice Shirley Abrahamson, increasing the Wisconsin supreme court’s conservative majority from 4–3 to 5–2. In Wisconsin, justices are elected to ten-year terms, so a Hagedorn victory could solidify that majority for years to come.” (National Review)
Nanny-state news from the heartland: “Two [New York City] council members have announced plans for legislation to place a fee on paper shopping bags. The proposal follows the state banning most single-use plastic bags beginning next March. Under the new law, each municipality has the option of imposing a 5-cent fee on paper bags. The goal of the fee is to encouraging people to shift to re-usable bags.” (CBS New York)
For the record: “The FBI on Tuesday rejected an open records request … for any and all emails sent to or from CNN the day of the pre-dawn raid at the home of Roger Stone. … CNN was the only network present at the Fort Lauderdale home of Roger Stone, a former Trump associate who was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, prior to the arrival of FBI agents dispatched to arrest the bombastic former Nixon aide. The pre-dawn arrival of CNN at what was supposed to be a surprise raid of Stone’s home raised questions about whether the network had been tipped off about the impending FBI arrest of Stone.” (The Federalist)
Update from across the pond: “MPs have narrowly approved a bill which compels Theresa May to seek a further extension of Article 50 to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 12 April. The bill … requires the government to bring a legally binding vote to the Commons, seeking an extension to Article 50, where MPs will be able to determine the length of the extension. … However, this does not bind the European Union to the decision, who could reject the outcome of the vote and not offer an extension.” (Sky News)
Humor: Monkey with typewriter produces reasonable alternative to Green New Deal (The Babylon Bee)
Policy: “Equal Pay Day” is misleading and counterproductive (Independent Women’s Forum)
Policy: The Supreme Court’s absurd death-penalty debate (National Review)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.