Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 22, 2019

Harold Maass
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee drops out of the Democratic presidential field.
Karen Ducey/Getty Images


White House seeks to end protections for detained migrant children

The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed a rule change that would end an agreement to limit the detention of migrant families, potentially allowing officials to hold migrant children indefinitely until their families' cases are resolved. Under a 1997 court settlement, U.S. immigration authorities currently are expected to keep children in the least restrictive conditions possible, and release them within 20 days. President Trump and his Republican allies have pushed to change the policy, arguing that the expectation of a quick release encourages undocumented migrant families to try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump also said he was looking at ending birthright citizenship, the latest in a series of measures he has pushed to discourage undocumented migrants from entering the U.S. [The Associated Press, Reuters]


Jay Inslee withdraws from 2020 presidential race

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he is ending his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. "It's become clear ... I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race," Inslee said on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. Inslee said he would continue pressing the remaining candidates to address climate change, the focus of his campaign. His weak polling likely would have kept him off the stage in the party's September debate. Inslee is one of three candidates to withdraw recently from the Democratic field. He reportedly plans to run for reelection, as does Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the first to drop out. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who ended his campaign last week, on Thursday announced he is running to unseat Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). [NBC News, The Denver Post]


Trump calls Denmark prime minister's comments 'nasty'

President Trump harshly criticized Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Wednesday for what he described as her "nasty" comments about his interest in a U.S. purchase of Greenland, a self-governing Danish territory. A day earlier, Trump postponed a planned September state visit to Denmark, citing Frederiksen's rejection of the idea as "absurd." "I thought it was not a nice statement, the way she blew me off," Trump said at the White House. "She shouldn't treat the United States that way. … She said 'absurd.' That's not the right word to use." Trump noted that former President Harry Truman and others previously had made the suggestion of a U.S. purchase of Greenland. He also tweeted that as "a wealthy country" Denmark should contribute more to NATO for defense. [The Washington Post]


Trump doubles down on charge that Jews who vote Democrat are 'disloyal'

President Trump on Wednesday repeated his allegation that Jews who vote for Democrats are "being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel." Trump also thanked conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root for saying Jews in Israel love Trump "like he's the King of Israel" and "the second coming of God." Trump also dismissed suggestions that his comments were anti-Semitic. Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, said Trump was trying to "bully Jews" and make himself out to be a savior. "Literally, it's hard to think of something less kosher than telling the Jewish people you're the king of Israel, and therefore, we should have some fidelity to you for that reason," Greenblatt said. [The New York Times]


CBO says deficit will hit $1 trillion faster than expected

The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday said the federal deficit will rise faster than previously forecast due to increased military and social spending in the bipartisan budget deal lawmakers reached this summer. This year's deficit will increase by $63 billion to $960 billion, and the shortfall will exceed $1 trillion in 2020, a threshold it previously had been expected to reach two years later. It would be the first trillion-dollar deficit since 2012 as the country was still struggling to recover from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The deficit also is being fueled by "sluggish growth in federal revenue" after the Trump administration's 2017 tax cuts went into effect. [NPR, The New York Times]


Trump says he's 'Chosen One' to take on China over trade

President Trump on Wednesday framed his trade war with China in religious terms, saying he was "the Chosen One" to confront Beijing over economic policies he considers unfair to the U.S. "This isn't my trade war, this is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago. Somebody had to do it," Trump said. He then looked up and pointed to the heavens, saying, "I am the Chosen One." The Trump administration has imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and is preparing to slap 10 percent levies on all other Chinese imports by mid-December. China has retaliated with duties on $110 billion in U.S. imports, and also is planning to stop buying U.S. agricultural products. [CNBC]


South Korea ends intelligence-sharing alliance with Japan

South Korea said Thursday it would end its alliance to share military intelligence with Japan, the latest sign of strained relations between the two U.S. allies. Washington valued the pact because it helped ensure the tracking of North Korea's missile tests. Japan uses satellites, radar, and aircraft to monitor North Korea, while South Korea collects valuable intelligence from spies and defectors. Kim You-geun, first deputy chief of South Korea's National Security Council, said Seoul was scrapping the intelligence-sharing agreement because a series of trade restrictions Japan recently imposed on South Korea "caused an important change in security-related cooperation between the two countries." Neither Japan nor the U.S. immediately responded to the news of South Korea's decision. [The New York Times]


Trump reverses, says he's not considering payroll tax cut

President Trump on Wednesday said he was not mulling a payroll tax cut, a day after he had confirmed that he was discussing a temporary reduction to give the economy a boost. Earlier in the day, he chided Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for not cutting interest rates enough to support growth. Trump also said he wasn't looking to change capital gains taxes by indexing them to inflation. The White House discussions came following a stock plunge last week after the bond market flashed a warning sign that a recession could be looming. A recent poll found that more than 70 percent of business economists expected the economy to fall into a recession by 2021, partly due to the impact of the U.S.-China trade war. [The Washington Post, Reuters]


Minutes show Fed division over rate cut

Federal Reserve policy makers were split when they voted last month to cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis a decade ago, according to minutes from the meeting released Wednesday. The Fed reduced its target short-term interest a quarter point, but the minutes indicated that "a couple" of people in the meeting were in favor of a half-point cut. "Several" people wanted to keep rates unchanged, citing the strong job market. Leaders of the central bank said the aim of the rate cut was to support the economy in the face of slowing global growth, persistently low inflation, and the possible impact from President Trump's trade war with China. The division demonstrated the uncertainty about how the trade tensions will affect an otherwise strong economy. [The New York Times]


CDC: 153 cases of severe lung disease linked to vaping

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said 16 states have reported 153 cases of serious respiratory illnesses in people who vape. Most of the patients said they had difficulty breathing and experienced chest pain before going to the hospital, and several also said they used products containing THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes a person high. Officials are trying to get to the bottom of what exactly is causing the illnesses, and are now trying to determine which products were used. The cases were reported from June 28 to August 20, with mostly teenagers and young adults affected. The CDC said it has not received any reports of death linked to the illness. [CNN]