What we’re reading: Trump is skipping summits

The ongoing trade war with China will certainly be at the center of the G20 summit this weekend.  (Photo courtesy of eurasiagroup.net).

The ongoing trade war with China will certainly be at the center of the G20 summit this weekend. (Photo courtesy of eurasiagroup.net).

By Michael Rogers

We’re back and we’re reading – everything from the New York Times to NPR. We’re trying to help you keep up with the rapid pace of politics and policy. Today, we’ve got an update on the Florida Senate race, Trump skipping summits and a decision deadline pressuring the UK.

Whitaker is stuck between a rock and a hard place

President Donald Trump’s move to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matthew Whitaker as head of the Justice Department is receiving bipartisan pushback.

The state of Maryland Tuesday filed the first legal challenge seeking to overturn Whitaker’s appointment.

On Capitol Hill, newly emboldened House Democrats are already planning to have Whitaker testify when they take over the majority in January.

Whitaker, who is effectively taking over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s role of overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, now finds himself in a difficult spot. A vocal critic of the Russia probe, Whitaker now has the option of stifling the investigation or defying a president who wants him to do just that.

Trump skips Asia summit, concerns?

Asian world leaders will depart to Papua, New Guinea this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

All leaders of the region will be in attendance, but President Donald Trump is going to “skip” the meeting and send Vice President Mike Pence in his place.

By skipping the 21-nation summit, and two other meetings scheduled in Singapore on Saturday, Trump risks alienating Asia as a region that doesn’t surmount to a compelling priority on his agenda.

White House officials said Trump’s packed schedule is to blame for his absence, but he will be in attendance for the G20 summit in Argentina later this month.

Sen. Scott? 

Gov. Rick Scott is still just that, governor.

According to the Associated Press, Scott was in Washington today standing shoulder to shoulder with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he welcomed all incoming GOP senators set to take their seats in January.

Scott holds the narrowest of leads over Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson in the Florida Senate race, and the recount is still ongoing.

Both Scott and President Trump have accused election supervisors in two Democrat-leaning Florida counties of election fraud without any evidence.

Brexit emergency meeting

British Prime Minister Theresa May held an emergency cabinet meeting today to discuss a draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, according to the New York Times.

With the decision deadline just five months away, May’s political career is on the line.

Critics on May’s left and right say the deal would leave Britain subject to EU rules and regulations without having a say in making them.

May’s party does not have the majority in Parliament so the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (D.U.P.) has a stronger say in the matter.

Jeffrey Donaldson, a D.U.P. lawmaker, said the Brexit deal “undermines the constitutionality and economic integrity” of the United Kingdom.

That’s all we have for today. Check back tomorrow for more.