TrumpWatch, Day 38: Trump to Up Military Spending, Cut Domestic Agencies
Defense spending will be at expense of environment, State Department, food stamps
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Developments on Day 38 of the Trump Administration:
Trump to Up Military Spending, Slash EPA & Other Agencies
“Four senior administration officials” say the Republican administration of Donald Trump will pursue a Federal budget with sharp increases in Defense Department spending and drastic cuts to domestic agencies.
The cuts will ensure that the Administration does not touch Social Security and Medicare.
Tens of billions of dollars will be cut from the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department. Social safety net programs like food stamps will also be cut.
The budget has been developed by Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney; National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn; and the White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
The advisors are seeking a message for Trump’s Tuesday night address to Congress that, rather than being mired in turmoil, the President is going to pursue an aggressive line on immigration, the economy, and the budget, no matter how much criticism this bring.
“They might not agree with everything you do, but people will respect you for doing what you said you were going to do,” said Jason Miller, a communications strategist on the Trump campaign who remains close to the White House. “He’s doing something first, and there’s time for talk later.”
Press Secretary Effort to Cut Leaks…Is Leaked
Press Secretary Sean Spicer tries to stop White House leaks with increased security measures such as random phone checks, only for the effort to be leaked to the media.
Spicer convened about a dozen staff last week in an “emergency meeting” to express his frustration. Staffers were told to dump their phones on a table to prove they had nothing to hide.
The Press Secretary, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers.
He warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide and Signal with encryption is a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting was leaked to the media.
Last week a four-page memo from the State Department’s legal office about leaks was soon posted by The Washington Post.
Father of Commando Killed in Yemen Slams Trump, Demands Investigation
The father of a Navy SEAL killed during an anti-terrorism raid in Yemen demands an investigation into its planning as he criticizes Donald Trump.
Bill Owens said he refused to meet Trump at Dover Air Force Base, when the casket of Chief Special Warfare Officer William “Ryan” Owens was returned.
Ryan Owens and about 30 civilians, including 10 women and children, died in the US raid on a suspected Al Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula compound on January 29.
Owens said in an interview published on Sunday, “I want an investigation.The government owes my son an investigation.”
The White House was conciliatory with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying she believed that Trump would support an inquiry.
Officials have criticized the President and his advisors for acting with limited information and planning. The White House has responded that the plan was conceived during the previous Administration, although Barack Obama did not give a go-ahead for the raid.
— Adam Khan (@Khanoisseur) February 25, 2017
DNC Head Perez Calls for Trump-Russia Investigation
The new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez calls for an independent investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“What we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin,” Perez said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.
He argued that Attorney General JJeff Sessions cannot lead the investigation because he was a close advisor to Trump during the campaign: “It’s really unfair to any foxes around the country to say that would be the fox guarding the hen house.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it is too early to call on Sessions to recuse himself:
I don’t think we’re there yet. Let’s work through this process. You guys want to jump to the very end of the line. That’s not how this works. Typically, you go through a congressional oversight review. We’re doing that. Let’s not go to the very end of the extreme. Let’s let this play out the way it should.