Oct 14, 2017

Trump's policy motives, explained

Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn yesterday. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Two ways of thinking about this week's big Trump policy moves:1. Trump going it alone ... Reuters' James Oliphant: "After weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump has been ... reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters."1. "Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall."2. Undoing Obama ... CNN: "The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Paris climate accords. The Iran nuclear deal. Transgender people serving in the military. And, now, that most personal of policies for the former president: The Affordable Care Act."N.Y. Times' Peter Baker, in front-page "White House Memo" noting that Obama took the same route when stymied by Congress: "Trump ... is turning to executive power to accomplish what lawmakers will not, in this case erasing the legacy of the Obama years."Quote of the Week: Life of Ryan ... Speaker Paul Ryan to MSNBC's Kasie Hunt, about Trump attacks on GOP lawmakers: "It's what he does. We've kind of learned to live with it."

How It's Playing ... Bloomberg's Nick Wadhams and Margaret Talev: "The Risk of Failure Is Enormous for Donald Trump's Iran Strategy."

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health