FROM Matt Viser
The Fiscal Cliff, Susan Rice and Political Gamesmanship As promised, President Obama had lunch with Mitt Romney today — no press coverage, no details of their discussion. But just weeks after the election, partisanship is still the word in Washington. After days of optimism about avoiding the fiscal cliffs, hard lines are now being drawn. The President and House Speaker John Boehner spoke by telephone last night, and it appears the President is still insisting that priority number one is the bill to maintain tax breaks for the Middle Class while raising rates on the wealthy. At a news conference this morning, Boehner threw cold water on the President's much advertised return to the campaign trail to win public support.
Supreme Court Justices Weigh Future of Healthcare Law Whatever its ultimate ruling in June may be, the US Supreme Court made history this week. It's taken two years for the Affordable Care Act to reach the Court, which is lightening speed by normal standards. After three days of arguments , the fate of President Obama's most important legislative achievement is very much up in the air. Will the Supreme Court throw out the "mandate" to buy insurance? What about requirements already in effect, like insurance despite pre-existing conditions? What's the potential impact on this year's presidential election?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?