FROM David Herszenhorn
Ryan Seeks Support of Freedom Caucus The GOP establishment is begging Paul Ryan to take over the House speaker position from the departing John Boehner. But Ryan says he won’t run for Speaker unless a breakaway conservative faction of the House GOP supports him. He’s talking about the Freedom Caucus: a group of about 40 ultra right-wing Republicans who have effectively decapitated the power structure in the House.
The West and Kremlin Eye Pro-Russian Protestors In several eastern Ukrainian cities, pro-Russian demonstrators seized government buildings yesterday. In demonstrations that appear to be coordinated, they're demanding a referendum like the one that stirred international outrage last month in Crimea. At the White House today, Press Secretary Jay Carney said there is evidence the demonstrators were paid and not local residents. We hear more from David Herszenhorn, who's in Moscow for the New York Times .
Snowden Asks Russia for Asylum Edward Snowden, the fugitive leaker of secrets about the National Security Agency, says he could face torture or the death penalty if he's extradited to the United States. That's according to an official who says Snowden has officially applied for asylum in Russia. David Herszenhorn, who reports from Moscow for the New York Times , has more on the story.
American Spy Removed from Russia in Strange Caper The State Department is not talking, but Russians are slapping their thighs about Ryan C. Fogle, officially third secretary of the political department of the US Embassy in Moscow. He's persona non grata after showing up at a meeting with what appeared to be spying gear amateurish enough to embarrass James Bond. Video released by the Russians first shows Fogle face down as a Russian agent pins his hands behind his back, then, later, being questioned by a Russian official with other US diplomats standing by.
An Age of Austerity: Can It Happen Here? In France, pension reform has led to street demonstrations and occasional violence. In Britain, a new coalition government is prepared for massive cuts in government spending. In the US, calls for "smaller government" are the major theme of this year's political season. What would that really mean?
An Age of Austerity: Can It Happen Here? The French senate today passed pension reform despite weeks of angry street demonstrations and occasional violence. In Britain, a new coalition government is prepared to dismantle much of the welfare state . In the midst of the economic crisis, calls for "smaller government" have been deafening in America's election campaigns. But what might that really mean? Will Democrats stand for shredded safety nets? Will Republicans approve cuts in Social Security and Medicare? Are new taxes out of the question? Does either political party have the moral authority to face new realities, or will the fear of bold action lead to paralysis and partisanship intensified?
Tax Cuts, the Deficit and the November Election Tax cuts signed into law by George W. Bush were attacked for making the rich richer at the expense of the Middle Class and for helping to turn a federal surplus into a deficit. They are scheduled to expire at the end of this year and Republicans are warning of the biggest tax increase in history. President Obama wants to let the tax cuts expire in the top bracket, but keep them in place for individuals making $200,000 or less and for couples at or below $250,000.
Tax Cuts, the Deficit and the November Election Tax cuts signed into law by George W. Bush were attacked for making the rich richer at the expense of the Middle Class, and for helping to turn a federal surplus into a deficit. They are scheduled to expire at the end of this year and Republicans are warning of the biggest tax increase in history. President Obama wants to let the tax cuts expire in the top bracket, but keep them in place for individuals making $200,000 or less and for couples at or below $250,000. The impending epic political battle will have high stakes for taxpayers, the deficit and economic recovery. Will Republicans and Democrats find a middle ground in an election year? What are the consequences of no action at all?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?