By Jullian Aiden Bravo
1. Mnuchin Confirmed as Treasury Secretary:
In a 53-47 vote, the Senate on Monday confirmed Steven T. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood film financier, to be secretary of the Treasury Department. But Mnuchin’s path to confirmation wasn’t easy. The 54-year-old Wall Street executive took heat from Democrats who called attention to Mnuchin’s failure to include $100 million dollars in assets on his financial disclosure forms and for not revealing his involvement in an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven.
- Source: The New York Times
2. Trump ‘Evaluating Flynn Allegations:
White House press secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement saying President Trump is ‘evaluating’ the situation around security advisor Michael Flynn, who is taking heat for potentially misleading senior administration officials regarding the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. The concern comes after Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, told Vice President Mike Pence that he did not discuss the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. However, a spokesperson for Flynn could not confirm Flynn’s claims. Then acting attorney general Sally Yates told the White House last month about the nature of Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador and warned that Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
- Sources: The Washington Post, CNN
3. Trump, Trudeau Meet in Washington D.C. :
President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Washington D.C. on Monday for their first meeting. The two leaders have notable differences in terms of immigration and trade. Trump reiterated his commitment to strengthen national security and defended his restrictive orders on refugees and immigration. On the other hand, Trudeau emphasized Canada’s commitment to “policies of openness.” Trade policy is a concern for Trudeau, who seeks to ensure Canada is not crippled as Trump aims to “tweak” the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trudeau’s concerns are well-founded as more than 75 percent of Canada’s exports and 98 percent of its oil exports go to the U.S.
- Source: The Associated Press (AP)
4. U.N. Security Council North Korea Missile Test:
Following North Korea's latest ballistic missile launches, The United Nations (U.N.) condemned the nation on Monday and warned of further measures if the nuclear and missile testing does not stop. The Saturday missile test is seen as an implicit challenge to President Trump who acknowledged the problem during a news conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and vowed to "deal with that very strongly." The U.N. Security council also said North Korea's actions increase tensions and violate current U.N. sanctions. The U.N. calls members to "double their efforts" and implement sanctions. But North Korea has showed repeated disregard for six Security Council resolutions that call for more sanctions and an end to the nation's missile and nuclear testing.
- Source: The New York Times
5. Water Levels Drop in Oroville Dam in California:
Authorities evacuated about 200,000 people living near California’s Oroville dam on Sunday after excessive amounts of water spilled over the dam’s emergency spillway. By Monday, however, the water levels dropped. Now, engineers are rushing to repair a damaged overflow channel on the nation’s tallest dam before new storms roll in later this week. The main spillway, a separate channel, was also damaged last week when part of its concrete lining fell apart. Water levels in the dam increased dramatically as a result of a series of rain and snowstorms across California. The evacuation orders for some 200,000 residents remains in effect.
- Sources: CNBC, Reuters