Apr 25, 2017

Key takeaways from Spicer's Tuesday briefing

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Tuesday's briefing centered around whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn broke the law by not disclosing past payments from Russia, which Spicer said was "a question for him and a law enforcement agency." He added that it was "outlandish" to expect the WH to have a log of all of Flynn's calls, or to turn over documents from the transition period. Other takeaways:

  • Spicer's guest du jour: Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said that despite the new taxes on Canadian softwood lumber, the administration doesn't think there will be a trade war. As for the U.S. relationship with Canada, "They are a close ally... they're generally a good neighbor. That doesn't mean they don't have to play by the rules."
  • Funding for the wall: Spicer wouldn't say if Trump would risk a government shutdown to get funding, but seemed to signal a way out by saying Trump wanted some money for border security now, and more later this year.
  • Trump's first 100 days: Spicer said Trump has passed 28 pieces of legislation, created over 500k jobs, and made 68 calls with 38 different world leaders.
  • Meeting with Australian PM: Spicer said Trump will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aboard the USS Intrepid May 4.

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.