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President Donald Trump arrives for the G7 official welcome at Le Manoir Richelieu. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

As President Trump defends his means of preparedness for the historic summit with North Korea, the New York Times points out that he is doing so absent of a science adviser to the White House, or a senior counselor trained in nuclear physics.

Why it matters: The veteran negotiator is sticking to his trademark of running matters his own way as the Times details that he is "the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser." And former nuclear negotiators caution that the lack of an adviser with such experience in the field "could put him at a tactical disadvantage in one of the weightiest diplomatic matters of his presidency."

He's not alone: The State Department, too, is without a chief scientist to handle matters including global warming and cybersecurity. As is the Department of Agriculture — its nominee, Sam Clovis, a former talk-show host with no scientific background, per the Times, withdrew his name, and the administration has not followed up with a nomination to the position since.

The impact, per the Times: "These and other decisions have consequences for public health and safety and the economy. Both the Interior Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have disbanded climate science advisory committees. The Food and Drug Administration disbanded its Food Advisory Committee, which provided guidance on food safety."

The big picture: Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton, tells the Times: "I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the post-World War II period where issues as important as nuclear weapons are on the table, and there is no serious scientist there to help the president through the thicket."

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.