5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump to sign executive order seeking to undo Obama's climate policy

  • Top Democrats call on Devin Nunes to recuse himself from Russia probe

  • White House sets its sights on tax reform after health-care flop

  • President Trump's approval rating hits record low

  • Elon Musk to launch startup aiming to develop cranial computers

On Tuesday, President Trump will sign an executive order seeking to roll back many of former President Barack Obama's measures aimed to fight global warming. Trump will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, which limits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and has long been opposed by Republican governors. He will also lift a ban on new coal leases on federal lands, which Obama put into place for three years in 2016 so the program could be modernized. A senior White House official informed reporters about the executive order Monday night, and at one point denied knowing that climate change can have a devastating impact on the economy, The Associated Press reports.

Source: The Associated Press

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday that "after much consideration," he believes committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) should recuse himself from further involvement in the Russia investigation. Schiff said he based this conclusion on Nunes admitting he went to the White House to meet with a source who told him about the incidental collection of communications from members of President Trump's transition team. Nunes, who has shared what he learned with Trump but not his committee, was also a member of the transition team. "I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman," Schiff said. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Nunes has "tarnished" his office, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) "must insist" Nunes recuse himself. Nunes told reporters on Monday night he won't step down, adding, "Everything is politics here."

Source: Twitter, CNN

After last week's failure to overhaul health care, tax reform is next on President Trump's legislative agenda. Republican deficit hawks in the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus have expressed flexibility in accepting tax cuts that are not offset by spending cuts or some other rise in revenue, and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated Monday that Trump might also consider working more closely with Democrats on tax reform than he did on health care. The last major tax system overhaul happened in 1986, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act after years of negotiation. In addition to tackling taxes, Republicans must pass a new spending bill by April 28 or risk a government shutdown.

Source: Talking Points Memo, The New York Times

President Trump's approval rating hit a new low Monday, with just 36 percent of Americans approving of the president, Gallup found. Fifty-seven percent of people disapprove of Trump's performance in office. Prior to Monday, Trump's lowest approval rating was 37 percent, which he hit March 18 following the announcement of the Republican health-care bill to replace ObamaCare and Trump's claims that he was "wiretapped" by former President Barack Obama. The highest disapproval rating of Obama's entire presidency was 55 percent, which he hit twice in his eight years as commander-in-chief. Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti notes that Trump has hit a disapproval rating of 55 percent or more 12 times since becoming president on Jan. 20.

Source: Gallup, Politico

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is setting his sights on something new: "neural lace" technology, which involves implanting tiny electrodes into the brain that could one day help humans reach higher levels of function. His new company, Neuralink, will pursue developing these cranial computers, which at first will most likely be used to treat people with brain disorders like epilepsy and major depression. While Musk would not comment to The Wall Street Journal about Neuralink, several people with information said he is actively setting the company up and could have a significant leadership role. Musk has said it's important for humanity to not be left behind as advances are made in artificial intelligence.

Source: Wall Street Journal
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