Monday, Oct. 16

Š      Congressional Democrats criticized Tom Marino, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, after the Washington Post and 60 Minutes reported he helped steer legislation that made it harder for the DEA to take enforcement actions against giant drug companies. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/manchin-calls-on-trump-to-withdraw-marinos-nomination-as-drug-czar-in-wake-of-post60-minutes-probe/2017/10/16/b73ee1be-b287-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-low_marino-1213pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.681fde9dfc95

Š      Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also said Monday that she would introduce legislation that would repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016, which Marino helped pass. The law, she said, “has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities.”

Š      Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent an experienced federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with murdering a transgender high school student last year. Sessions has brought several hate crime cases and has publicly praised tough prosecution in such cases. He has also brought several hate crime cases, including one against a man accused of burning a mosque. He condemned white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., far more forcefully than Trump, and has been tough on hate crimes. He has tied enforcement of those crimes to his tough stance against violence, and has publicly applauded aggressive hate crime prosecutions. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/us/politics/jeff-sessions-transgender.html?emc=edit_nn_20171016&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=81621366&te=1

Š      The U.S. military said it would practice evacuating noncombatant Americans out of South Korea in the event of war and other emergencies, as the U.S. and the Republic of Korea began a joint naval exercise. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/world/asia/us-drills-evacuate-civilians.html?src=twr

Š      The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal in the case of a statue of the Ten Commandments in Bloomfield, New Mexico, leaving a 2014 federal district court order to remove the monument intact. The ruling cited the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling two years later.http://nmpoliticalreport.com/630247/supreme-court-rejects-ten-commandments-monument-appeal/

Š      North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-korea-says-a-nuclear-war-may-break-out-any-moment/2017/10/16/1b4e879e-b2c5-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?tid=pm_world_pop&utm_term=.6455006f5f69

Tuesday, Oct. 17

Š      Trump announced Tom Marino, his nominee to be the nation’s drug czar, is withdrawing his name from consideration for the job. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/10/17/trump-says-drug-czar-nominee-tom-marino-is-withdrawing-after-washington-post60-minutes-investigation/?utm_term=.1da108da2d84&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation&wpmk=1

Š      Two Democratic members of Trump’s election integrity commission, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Alabama Probate Judge Alan L. King said in separate letters that they are being excluded from information about the commission’s activities since its last meeting on Sept. 12. https://apnews.com/bbeec75d754a4f738acffacb1523429e/Trump-voting-commission-criticized-for-lack-of-transparency

Š      Sen. Rand Paul is prepared to vote “no” on the Senate GOP budget if leaders do not agree to cut billions in spending from the plan, he said in an interview. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/17/rand-paul-oppose-senate-gop-budget-243864

Š      Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican, said he and Sen. Patty Murray have reached a bipartisan deal to provide finding for health care subsidies which Trump said last week he was cutting off. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/us/politics/alexander-murray-deal-obamacare-subsidies.html

Š      A federal judge on Tuesday largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the latest version of the president’s controversial travel ban, setting up yet another legal showdown on the extent of the executive branch’s powers when it comes to setting immigration policy. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/federal-judge-blocks-trumps-third-travel-ban/2017/10/17/e73293fc-ae90-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.849beef2567a&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation&wpmk=1

Š      Georgia Republican state Rep. Betty Price, the wife of Tom Price, Trump’s former health secretary who resigned last month after criticism of his extravagant travel expenses, suggested quarantining people with HIV and/or AIDS at a House study committee meeting addressing the barriers to adequate healthcare for HIV-positive people. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/10/gop-lawmaker-wants-quarantine-people-hiv-since-no-longer-die-readily/

Wednesday, Oct. 18

Š      A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the U.S. government to allow an undocumented teenager in its custody to have an abortion, after saying she was “astounded” the Trump administration was trying to prevent the procedure. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/judge-trump-administration-cancannot-block-abortion-for-pregnant-undocumented-teen/2017/10/18/82348e08-b406-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.f1eb6fb37952&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation&wpmk=1

Š      President Donald Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer met with special counsel Robert Mueller's team on Monday for an interview that lasted much of the day, according to multiple people familiar with the meeting. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/17/sean-spicer-mueller-russia-probe-243882

Š      A federal judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed against The Associated Press by a Russian oligarch whose business dealings with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have been scrutinized by investigators probing Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Russian industrialist and investor Oleg Deripaska sued the AP in May, saying the news outlet falsely implied that he was paying Manafort for work to advance the goals of the Russian government and Russian president Vladimir Putin. http://politi.co/2ywnJjW

Š      Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for five hours, but refused to answer an number of questions about his conversations with Trump. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/us/politics/sessions-senate-judiciary-committee-hearing.html?emc=edit_nn_20171018&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=81621366&te=1

Thursday, Oct. 19

Š      A federal judge refused to clear former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s criminal record after he was pardoned by Trump in August. He had been found guilty of criminal contempt of a federal court order after a five-day bench trial earlier this year. U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton said the pardon freed Arpaio from possible punishment but did not change the underlying facts of the case. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/10/20/federal-judge-refuses-to-erase-joe-arpaios-conviction-despite-trump-pardon/?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.ff217a36a978

Friday, Oct. 20

Š      The White House signaled to Senate Republican negotiators Friday that it wants a bipartisan health-care bill, such as that crafted by Alexander and Murray, to include retroactive relief for individuals and employers subject to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate, a request that is sure to alienate Democrats, and possibly tank the legislation.https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/white-house-pushing-for-new-concessions-in-bipartisan-health-bill-including-retroactive-mandate-relief/2017/10/20/35329200-b5d0-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?utm_term=.4973ebef7020&wpisrc=al_alert-politics&wpmk=1

Š      A D.C. appeals court panel upheld undocumented teen’s right to abortion but declined to order the federal government to immediately allow the procedure, instead giving the Department of Health and Human Services 11 days, until Oct. 31, to find a sponsor to take custody of the girl. If no sponsor is found, the girl must be allowed to have the abortion, the appeals court said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/appeals-court-weighs-whether-immigrant-teen-can-be-denied-abortion-while-in-us-custody/2017/10/20/ab414d2a-b50c-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.18efc55058ff&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation&wpmk=1

Š      The Education Department rescinded 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities as part of the Trump administration’s effort to eliminate regulations it deems superfluous. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2017/10/21/devos-rescinds-72-guidance-documents-outlining-rights-for-disabled-students/?undefined=&utm_term=.c774ddd8e361&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

Saturday, Oct. 21

Š      The five living former presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 at a concert to raise money for victims of hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. https://apnews.com/913c7566b55840128b58d17577abf273/Former-presidents-call-for-unity-at-hurricane-aid-concert

Sunday, Oct. 22

Š      The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed it has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/climate/epa-scientists.html?emc=edit_nn_20171023&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=81621366&te=1