On Politics: Images of Missiles Prompted Debate Over Iran Threat

Good Thursday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.


New intelligence on Iran that has alarmed the White House, but divided government officials and foreign allies over its actual threat, was compiled from photos of missiles aboard small boats in the Persian Gulf — some of which were loaded by Iranian paramilitary forces.

The State Department has ordered “nonemergency United States government employees” to leave Iraq, responding to what the Trump administration said was a threat linked to Iran. But to the people on Baghdad’s streets, American warnings parallel those before the invasion of Iraq.

Few issues have defined Donald Trump’s presidency more than his love for tariffs, rooted in his economic and real-estate battles with Japan in the 1980s. Since entering the White House, tariffs have emerged as perhaps the purest policy expression of his 2016 campaign themes and economic agenda.

A new plan by the Trump administration to overhaul parts of the nation’s immigration system would impose new security measures at the border and vastly scale back family-based immigration and increase education and skill requirements.

The Department of Homeland Security has reassigned federal agents from airports and legal border crossings to the southwestern border to grapple with a surge of incoming migrants. Coast Guard teams and I.C.E. agents who are typically tasked with criminal investigations have also been diverted.

States across the country are passing some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in decades, setting up momentous court battles. The latest law, passed in Alabama, effectively outlaws abortion and was widely condemned by various Democratic presidential candidates.

With more states challenging access to abortion, will the Supreme Court use Alabama’s abortion law to strike down Roe v. Wade? The court’s conservatives may prefer to chip away at it instead.

The Senate reached another milestone in its judicial renaissance under the Trump administration, confirming Kenneth Lee as its 40th lifetime appointment to circuit courts. But the confirmation has occurred amid growing criticism of the Senate’s lack of legislative agenda.

The White House rejected another round of document requests from the House, expanding on its assertions that Democrats in Congress lacked a legitimate legislative purpose for the demands and were inappropriately replicating the work of the special counsel.

The president issued an order to ban American telecommunications firms from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a threat to national security, escalating a battle against China by effectively barring sales by Huawei, the country’s leading networking company.

As the United States and China openly contemplate how to inflict economic pain on each other, the rest of the world now frets about becoming collateral damage in a trade war.

Clasped hands, gripped arms and “God love ya.” While campaigning in New Hampshire, Joe Biden made clear that he is relying on a set of old-school retail politicking skills to connect with voters.


Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Margaret Kramer in New York.

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