By Jullian Aiden Bravo
1. Trump Blames Intelligence Agencies for Flynn Downfall:
President Trump blamed U.S. intelligence agencies on Feb. 16, saying that former security advisor Michael T. Flynn was brought down by illegal leaks to news media. The claims come during a time when new information was disclosed regarding the Trump campaign's communications with Russia during and after the presidential campaign. On Twitter, Trump also tried to shift attention from questions regarding contacts with Russia, saying the nature of the talks are not outrageous, but the leaks about them are. According to the White House, Trump ordered Flynn's resignation on Feb. 14 and on Feb. 15 he said Mr. Flynn had been treated "unfairly" by the media.
- Source: The New York Times
2. Alexander Acosta Nominated For Labor Secretary:
President Trump on Feb. 16 nominated former National Labor Relations Board Member, Alex Acosta, for U.S. secretary of labor after his original nominee, Andrew Puzder, withdrew. Acosta had a long public service career, serving three presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed positions, and is currently the dean of the Florida International University College of Law in Miami. Acosta is Trump's first Hispanic nominee with more government experience than many of Trump's other cabinet members.
“I thank the President and his staff for their confidence in me and I am eager to work tirelessly on behalf of the American worker,” Acosta said.
- Source: Reuters, CNBC
3. G.O.P Leaders Outline Plan to Replace Obama Care:
House Republican leaders on Feb. 16 presented rank-and-file members with outlines of their plans to replace Obama's Affordable Care Act, relying on tax credits to finance individual insurance purchases and sharply reducing federal payments to the 31 states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility. However, the talks only involved the benefits and did not include how the legislation would be paid for. The talks also left out estimates of the number of people who would gain or lose insurance under the plan. A House proposal’s rollback of Medicaid payments reveals that the number of people covered by the new plan would be smaller.
- Source: New York Times
4. Associated Press Obtains Immigration Draft:
The Trump administration is considering a proposal to use as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to roundup undocumented immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico boarder, according an 11 page draft memo obtained by the Associated Press. Four boarder states—California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas—are included in the proposal. However, the draft also includes unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement in states as far north as Portland, Ore., and as far east as New Orleans, La. According to the memo, written by written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and retied four-star Marine general John Kelly, governors of the 11 states would decide whether to have their guard troops participate. The White House has denied the reports.
- Source: The Los Angeles Times
5. Two More People Arrested in Death of Kim Jong Un's Half-Brother:
Two more people in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong Nam—Kim Jong Un's half-brother—have been arrested, according to Malaysian authorities. One of the suspects, a 24-year-old man, was arrested Feb. 15 in the city of Anpang. He then helped lead authorities to his girlfriend. She was arrested carrying an Indonesian passport and authorities believe she is a national of the country. Authorities did not disclose where she is being detained. The two arrests come after the first arrest of a woman carrying a Vietnamese travel document on Feb. 15
- Source: CNN