Mar 21, 2019

White House rejects request for documents on Trump-Putin meetings

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Image

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to top House Democrats on Thursday rejecting their request for documents related to President Trump's conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Politico reports.

Details: Addressing the chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, Cipollone argued: “The committees’ letters cite no legal authority for the proposition that another branch of the government can force the president to disclose diplomatic communications with foreign leaders or that supports forcing disclosure of the confidential internal deliberations of the president’s national security advisors."

Cipollone continued:

"With all respect, the Constitution assigns the President the role of charting the course of U.S. foreign policy and determining which diplomatic communications advance the national interest. Policy disagreements with the President's decisions on those matters do not create a legislative right to review the President's diplomatic communications with foreign leaders."

Why it matters: The Washington Post reported earlier this year that Trump has repeatedly sought to conceal the details of his face-to-face conversations with Putin from senior officials in his own administration, even going as far as to confiscate notes from his own interpreter. In the context of the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to the Russian government, Democrats have said they find this behavior alarming.

The big picture: The White House has now rejected oversight requests from congressional Democrats at least three times. Cipollone sent a similar letter earlier this month refusing to turn over documents related to White House security clearances.

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Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.