Stories by Mike Allen

Trump broke two long-standing presidential norms this week

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

In two cases involving his China trade war this week, President Trump suggested the U.S. should ignore historic separations of power and precedent if it yielded good results, Bloomberg's Shawn Donnan writes.

  1. Trump said the Federal Reserve should keep rates low to help the economy weather the trade war.
  2. Trump suggested he'd help free a Huawei executive that the U.S. is currently trying to extradite from Canada.

Why it matters: "U.S. officials have struggled for decades to convince suspicious foreign counterparts about the separation of powers ... They didn’t persuade all of the people all of the time — but the framing was central to America’s ability to lead by example," Donnan notes.

Trump v. Pelosi showdown will define 2019 and 2020

An illustration of President Trump and Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi arguing
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Neither Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi nor President Trump has any real competitor for influence on their side. Each sees themselves as a master dealmaker. Both run in coastal-elite circles.

The bottom line: Their chilly relationship is now the most consequential in American public life.

State lawmakers are engineering 11th-hour power grabs to ice out opposition

The Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo: Andy Manis/Getty Images

In state capitals around the country, we're seeing year-end power plays aimed at permanently icing out the political opposition.

Why it matters: The architects of these drives say they’re just running to the tape before they lose juice. But at a time of declining faith in public institutions, these moves can alienate voters, and make it harder for states to be responsive when the electorate demands change.

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