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Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images
In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for drug trafficking offenses. And President Trump loves it. He’s been telling friends for months that the country’s policy to execute drug traffickers is the reason its drug consumption rates are so low.
"He often jokes about killing drug dealers... He’ll say, 'You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.'"— A senior administration official to Axios
The substance: Trump may back legislation requiring a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for traffickers who deal as little as two grams of fentanyl. Currently, you have to deal forty grams to trigger the mandatory five-year sentence. (The DEA estimates that as little as two milligrams is enough to kill people.)
Between the lines: Conway told me this kind of policy would have widespread support. “There is an appetite among many law enforcement, health professionals and grieving families that we must toughen up our criminal and sentencing statutes to match the new reality of drugs like fentanyl, which are so lethal in such small doses,” she said.
What's next: Trump wants to get tough on drug traffickers and pharmaceutical companies. Stay tuned for policy announcements in the not-too-distant future.
Pilots Captains John Dunkin (left) and Jay Galpin after flying Donald Trump's private jet in 2014. Photo: by Andrew Milligan / PA Images via Getty Images
The president’s personal pilot is on the administration's short list to head the Federal Aviation Administration. Trump has told a host of administration officials and associates that he wants John Dunkin — his longtime personal pilot, who flew him around the country on Trump Force One during the campaign — to helm the agency, which has a budget in the billions and which oversees all civil aviation in the United States.
What I'm hearing: One industry insider equated this to the Seinfeld episode when Cosmo Kramer used his golf caddy as a jury consultant. A senior administration official told me that comparison is completely unfair. The source confirmed Trump recommended Dunkin and that he’s sat for an interview for the post. That source said he was impressive.
“He’s on the list because he's the president’s pilot, but if he gets the job it won't be because he's the president's pilot,” the source said.
In response to my questions for this story, another administration source stressed that while no decision has been made, Dunkin has the appropriate experience to get the job.
“John Dunkin isn’t just a pilot," the administration official told me. "He’s managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from start-up under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump presidential campaign’s air fleet, which included managing all aviation transportation for travel to 203 cities in 43 states over the course of 21 months.”
Other candidates for the position, per my sources, include Rep. Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican; and current acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell, who has impressed many in the administration and the industry.
Dunkin has told people that when he used to fly Trump around on his private Boeing 757, they'd often find themselves stuck on the tarmac with delays. He'd tell Trump that none of this would happen if a pilot ran the FAA.
Bloomberg scooped on Friday that Trump wants the Commerce Department to seek the harshest maximum tariffs on global steel imports: 24 percent.
I’m told that’s accurate, but with one small tweak: Sources tell me the president has told confidants he actually wants a *25* percent global tariff on steel because it's a round number and sounds better.
The big picture: Also, an official with knowledge of the trade discussions told me the White House is preparing to impose tariffs on a "shit ton" — meaning, potentially hundreds — of Chinese products. They'll avoid going through the World Trade Organization — which Trump doesn't trust — and instead use Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to unilaterally retaliate against China for stealing Americans’ intellectual property.
What's next: The much bigger fight inside the Trump administration concerns whether they'll put massive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as Wilbur Ross' Commerce Department "found that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports 'threaten to impair the national security'." That was part of what’s called a Section 232 investigation.
The pushback: When I shared these harsh criticisms with the White House and agencies, only Rex Tillerson's team would go on the record to deny our reporting:
Finally, a Commerce Department official pushed backed against the assertion that Ross didn't properly analyze the impact on the overall economy.
"DOC modeling has not shown any substantial impact on the overall economy as a result of the proposed steel tariffs," the official said. "This is consistent with the finding of the International Trade Commission that the Section 201 (in 2002) had negligible effects on the overall economy...While these were different products than those covered in the 232, they are all steel, and the ITC is an empirical source."
Axios' Sam Baker previews three blockbuster Supreme Court cases this week:
1. A potentially crippling blow for public-sector unions: For years, the court has been inching closer and closer to ruling that public-sector unions can't collect fees from non-members.
2. Email privacy vs. law enforcement: If an American email provider stores your emails on a server that's located in another country, does it have to hand those emails over in response to a warrant from U.S. law enforcement? That’s the question in US v. Microsoft, which the court will hear Tuesday.
3. Free speech at the polls: A Tea Party voter wore a Tea Party t-shirt to his polling place on Election Day. But Minnesota, where he lives, bans political apparel at polling places, so he was asked to cover up the Tea Party messages while voting. Is that a violation of his right to free speech, or a permissible restriction on electioneering?
Bottom line: The court also has cases on the docket this term about gerrymandering, the privacy of cell-phone location data, whether a Christian baker can refuse to serve a same-sex couple, and President Trump’s travel ban. And then there’s the consistent speculation about whether Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire.
Congress has a light schedule this week:
President Trump's schedule this week, per a White House official: