The Week - Cohen, the TPP, the Deficit, and Zuckerberg's Testimony to Congress
This week was another wild ride, but in the long-term these are the stories that will matter:
FBI Raid: The FBI raid on President Trump's Lawyer's office and hotel room may well be a game changer and not just in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case. Cohen has been Trump"s "fixer" since the early 2000s, and has been very involved in many of Trump's business dealings. And as the FBI combs through Cohen's files, including communications between Trump and Cohen, any evidence of criminal activity, in any of Trumps business ventures, would be admissible in court. To make matters worse, late yesterday various media outlets reported that Cohen often recorded his conversations with Trump and others during the 2016 campaign.
Budget Deficit: This will be remembered as the week when America realized that Republican concerns about the National Debt only apply when there is a Democratic President. We should have realized that last year when they were passing their tax reduction package that was estimated to increase annual deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars annually. But, no; it took the CBO's report this week of trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see to wake up Washington. After the report, Senator Corker of TN said his tax vote might be the worst decision he ever made in Congress, as if he didn't realize the bill's implications last year. Later in the week, House Republicans took up a "Balanced Budget" Amendment to the Constitution. This brazen act of deception and hypocrisy was even too much for their own members; “there is no one on Capitol Hill, and certainly no one on Main Street, that will take this vote seriously,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). Read more on this story here from RACHAEL BADE and SARAH FERRIS at Politico.
Trans Pacific Partnership: In a surprising reversal President Trump has asked Administration officials to reopen the question of US participation in the TPP. This would be quite a shift from his campaign rhetoric about free trade agreements and many in his base may see it as a betrayal. However, it would be welcome news in farm states as a vehicle to gain access for US agricultural products in the Pacific Rim. But this also might just be a tactic to encourage more flexibility from China in future trade negotiations.
Mark Zuckerberg's Testimony: Largely irrelevant until Congress is willing to pass European style digital privacy protections. But, look for some Democratic Congressional candidates to campaign on passing such measures this Fall.