Bannon's appointment to the council drew widespread criticism among media and foreign policy experts. (Sign up for our free video newsletter here http://bit.ly/2n6VKPR)
President Trump has removed chief strategist Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council in a shakeup that consolidated the power of White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster.
The change was disclosed in a notice published in the Federal Register.
During the first weeks of Trump's presidency, Trump was criticized for taking the unusual step of allowing his political advisor to attend all National Security Council meetings, giving Bannon unusual influence over key military and intelligence decisions.
As the Senate heads toward a showdown this week over President Trump’s nominee of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the stalemate threatens a history-making upheaval in the way the upper chamber operates. Here’s a brief history of the filibuster, cloture and the “nuclear option” — and what this week’s potential rule change could mean for the future of the Senate.
What’s a filibuster?
The Senate has from its start operated on the principle of limitless debate — the idea that any one senator could stand and talk endlessly about an issue. It’s a way to woo lawmakers to your side or, more pointedly, to block bills or other measures from advancing. Think of Jimmy Stewart holding forth in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley opened an emergency Security Council session Wednesday to discuss what some members called the "monstrous, heinous" attack in Syria that killed scores of civilians, including numerous children.
But there were early indications that the same hurdle the council has always faced on Syria — vetoes by China and Russia — would stymie immediate action regarding the suspected chemical gas attack.
"This body has always been eloquent" in its condemnations, Ukraine's ambassador, Volodymyr Yelchenko, said. "But that's about it. There is an outstanding gap between talk and action."
President Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has helped choreograph Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming summit at Trump’s Florida resort, pressing the idea that the mercurial U.S. president can make a diplomatic breakthrough with the straitlaced Chinese leader based on personal rapport.
Most evidence and experience point to the contrary.
Democrats now officially have enough votes to filibuster President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil M. Gorsuch, setting up the possibility of a history-making showdown that several senators Monday were urgently trying to prevent.
Even as both sides appear headed for a confrontation that would end with a change in the Senate’s rules to eliminate filibusters against Supreme Court nominees, conversations have been quietly underway behind the scenes among a handful of lawmakers from both parties who are trying to find a way to deescalate. Their ability to strike a compromise remains doubtful, however.
Whatever happens, Gorsuch is all but certain to be confirmed. The issue now is what the rules will be when the next vacancy occurs on the high court. Gorsuch would fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia — one conservative replacing another. But the next vacancy could change the balance on the court.
As California’s top energy regulator, Michael Picker has an absurdly busy job. So it was a little surprising to find him recently near a Washington, D.C., Metro stop, randomly handing out help-wanted fliers in the middle of a workday.
But with morale plummeting at the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, Picker saw in that patch of sidewalk near its headquarters an opportunity — and perhaps a publicity stunt — to lure top-shelf talent that never before would have considered bolting from the agency.
The dim outlook at the EPA is weighing heavily on its 15,000 scientists, engineers, investigators and other employees, many of whom perceive their life’s work to be under assault from within. The Trump administration is moving as quickly as it can to diminish the place, with plans to cripple the EPA science office, stop the agency’s climate change work, cut its Superfund program in half and outright eliminate 50 programs, down to the voluntary Energy Star stickers that help consumers choose efficient appliances.