May 17, 2019

House Dems: Russia's investments in Kentucky poses national security threat

Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

A Russian aluminum company has approved a $200 million investment in a planned mill in Ashland, Ky., to which Democrats wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, calling on the Trump administration to investigate the deal, expressing concern about Russian influence and national security.

"Russia remains a central threat to U.S. national security and prosperity and is, along with China, one of our most aggressive and capable adversaries. The proposed investments by En+ - a company that is majority owned by a U.S.-sanctioned Russian national and Russian state bank - in an American aluminum mill, raises serious questions of national security, particularly given the mill promises to supply materials to the Department of Defense."
— House Democrats in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Why it matters: The Russian aluminum company, Rusal, was sanctioned last year, banning the business from U.S. operations. Its owner, oligarch Oleg Deripaska, had been accused of "malign activity." House Democrats are "deeply alarmed" the company's U.S. investment.

Go deeper: U.S. lifts sanctions on 3 Deripaska-linked companies

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Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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Judge sets "scheduling" conference call ahead of Roger Stone sentencing

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has requested a Feb. 18 "scheduling" conference call in the Roger Stone case, two days before the former Trump associate is set to be sentenced.

Why it matters: Stone's defense team on Friday filed a sealed motion for a new trial — the second time they've done so — amid allegations of juror bias and a growing controversy over Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the case.

Biden says Bloomberg's money can't "erase" his record

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Michael Bloomberg's vast fortune cannot "erase" his record, and that scrutiny of Bloomberg's positions on things like race and policing will ramp up now that he's in the national spotlight.

Why it matters: Biden's polling free fall in the wake of poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire has coincided with a surge for Bloomberg, who appeals to a similar moderate bloc of the Democratic Party. The billionaire's limitless spending capacity poses an especially stark threat to Biden, who has struggled with fundraising.