The U.S. government ordered all non-emergency government workers out of Venezuela on Thursday, a day after its long-simmering tensions with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro erupted into a crisis when President Donald Trump recognized the country's opposition leader as interim president. Embassy security in Caracas has been bolstered, and the U.S. has re-positioned assets in the region and begun the voluntary departure of dependents of American diplomats in Venezuela, according to a senior administration official. The State Department in recent days has been running contingency plans for potential evacuations from Venezuela and how the U.S. would respond if Maduro were to target protesters or the American embassy, a congressional official said. In the event the U.S. military needed to respond, the U.S. Southern Command could stage out of Colombia, the official said. Other countries, including Canada, Germany and Haiti, also threw their support to Juan Guaidó, … [Read more...] about How the Trump administration’s move on Venezuela came together
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A Supreme Court decision Tuesday let the Trump administration begin implementing its transgender military ban. The Department of Defence issued a statement reiterating its long-held stance that its new policy regarding transgender troops is “NOT a ban.” The policy does allow transgender troops to serve but only if they do so in their biological sex, do not have a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria, or can show a 36-month period of “stability” prior to military service. Advocates maintain the administration’s justifications, including potential negative impacts to unit readiness and cohesion and medical costs, have mostly been debunked. On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to go forward in implementing its transgender military ban, meaning that the ban can go into effect while it is being challenged in court. Although the administration’s policy, shaped after a report from former Defence Secretary … [Read more...] about Here’s a breakdown of the Trump administration’s transgender military ban that the Supreme Court allowed to move forward
The US is considering eliminating some or all tariffs on China, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is pushing for tariffs on $US250 billion worth of Chinese goods to be stopped, arguing the move would help the two sides toward a trade deal. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is against the move. The Trump administration and Beijing have paused their trade war until March 1 amid negotiations over a larger deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and some Trump administration officials are pushing for the US to lift tariffs on Chinese goods to calm worried investors and get Beijing on board with a larger trade deal, according to a new report. The Wall Street Journal reported that Mnuchin has brought up the idea of removing some or all tariffs on Chinese goods as an incentive for the Chinese to agree to a deal. More hawkish members of President Donald Trump’s trade team, including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the … [Read more...] about The Trump administration is reportedly considering lifting some tariffs on China to help get a trade deal done
On Tuesday, a New York court blocked the Trump administration’s plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The decision is a win for civil rights groups, which said the question would lead to inaccurate counts. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross argued that the question was necessary to uphold provisions of the Voting Rights Act. A New York federal court on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census on Tuesday, a win for civil rights groups that argued the question would frighten immigrant households from participating in the Census. The decision will likely send the case to the Supreme Court. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has argued that the question is necessary to uphold certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act. He first announced the question in March 2018, immediately drawing criticism from immigrant-rights groups. The US hasn’t asked a citizenship question on the Census since 1950. … [Read more...] about A federal judge just ruled against the Trump administration’s push for a citizenship question on the 2020 Census
The Trump administration has reportedly asked the Pentagon repeatedly for military strike options against Iran, requests that were derailed by former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis. The National Security Council, led by White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, asked for these options last fall in response to an unsuccessful attack on the diplomatic quarter in Baghdad, Iraq by militants aligned with Iran. A little over a year earlier, President Donald Trump asked for options to sink the Iranian speedboats that have harassed US warships. Mattis resigned on December 20, 2018, leaving the Pentagon about two weeks later. Former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis was reportedly a bulwark inside the Trump administration who blocked the use of force against Iran, raising questions about whether the US will launch more strikes in his absence.. The Trump administration, specifically the national security team led by hawkish White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, … [Read more...] about The Trump administration has been itching for a fight with Iran, but Mattis held it back. Now he’s gone.