Weekend Reading: 3/5/2017

Trump’s wiretapping accusation may backfire:

Schumer: ‘The president is in trouble’ (Politico): President Trump’s wiretapping accusation seems poised to backfire. Though the claim is likely false, it seems like a no-win situation for the president even if it is true. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer:

If it’s true, it’s even worse for the president. Because that means that a federal judge, independently elected, has found probable cause that the president, or people on his staff … have probable cause to have broken the law or to have interacted with a foreign agent.

President Trump’s tweet seems to be driving further divides between him and his allies in congress as  congressional Republicans were caught off guard, though they seem to be willing to investigate the matter.

Preliminary reports from CNN also say that the FBI has asked the justice department to refute President Trump’s claims, according to unnamed sources.


Weekend Reading: 3/4/2017

We have lost our sense of normality (Axios): Donald Trump accuses Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election, possibly stirred on by this Breitbart story. Evidence:

The allegation is bizzarre, and leads to a point that BBC Newsnight’s Evan Davis made to Trump’s deputy advisor Sebastian Gorka: Does president Trump realize he won the election?  

Trump fumes over Sessions’ recusal from Russia probe (Politico): More evidence of disorganization among the current administration, also evidence of the challenges of a  non-politician faces when ascending to the highest office in the land. Jeff Sessions’ recusal, regardless of whether he had inappropriate contact with Russian diplomats, was a conventional move for an established politician – however there’s overwhelming evidence suggesting that Trump’s governance style is anything but.

US suspends expedited processing of H-1B visas (CNN): The first concrete move (that I’m aware of) around the Trump’s administration’s rumored efforts to curb  the number of H1-B visas administered to foreign workers. ( H1-B visas are typically given to highly skilled workers). The move eliminates the expedited processing program, where applicants can pay $1,225 to ensure a response from the US Citizenship and Immigration services within 15 days. Supporters of the the move will point to outsourcing firms that flood the system with applicants who who take home lower wages then their  American counterparts.

The Curious Case of Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s New Terrorism Guru (Foreign Policy): Interesting analysis of Sebastian Gorka’s (deputy adviser to President Trump) role in the White House, as well as the numerous ways he seems to contradict himself when he gives interviews. Gorka  seems to have underwent a significant policy shift over the past decade: In a 2007 doctorate dissertation, he called the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” deeply problematic in the fight against extremism; now, he berates the media for not using it.

Author Colin Kahl, former adviser to president Obama, also wastes no time throwing shade (“When I was a deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, I didn’t have a lot of time for media appearances or keeping up with my Twitter feed [we had a lot of meetings]. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Gorka”)