DML Briefing: Stories I am watching today, May 14

MAY 14, 2019

Today is May, 14, and these are the stories I am watching closely.

1-Barr targets Russia investigators
Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and determine if intelligence collection efforts targeting the Trump campaign were “lawful and appropriate,” a person familiar with the situation told Fox News on Monday evening. John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will conduct the inquiry, the source said. The move comes as the Trump administration has pushed for answers on why federal authorities conducted the surveillance — as well as whether Democrats were the ones who improperly colluded with foreign actors.

MY TAKE: I have forever said to investigate Hillary and Obama.

2- Growing tension with North Korea and Iran
The Trump administration is dealing with tension with both North Korea and Iran, two conflicts that have slowly escalated over the past week. North Korea on Tuesday demanded the U.S. returned a cargo ship used to transport that was seized in violation of international sanctions against the rogue regime, calling it a “robbery.” An unnamed North Korea foreign ministry spokesman accused the U.S. betraying the spirit of last year’s summit agreement between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, according to the country’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Meanwhile, an American military team assessing blasts that damaged four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday has blamed Iran or Iranian-backed proxies using explosive charges, a source told Fox News on Monday evening. The UAE asked the U.S. to help investigate the damage, which Gulf officials have characterized as sabotage. The U.S. has warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and America has moved additional ships and aircraft into the region.

MY TAKE –– Trump is being tested, and his reactions here could shape 2020.

3- Behind the shakeup at Homeland Security
Pushback on a previously secret White House plan to arrest thousands of migrant parents and children in nearly a dozen U.S. cities led to the departures of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former Acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello from the Trump administration, Fox News confirmed. The Trump administration wanted to target migrant families that had crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in attempt to show that the U.S. wasn’t going to back down on its border stance by detaining and deporting illegal immigrant families, The Washington Post first reported. Nielsen and Vitiello challenged the administration’s plan, citing lack of preparation, public outrage and worries that the operation could use border resources. These factors were reportedly part of the reason Trump pushed both officials out of the administration.

MY TAKE – Send them all home.

4- Trade threat hits markets. Stocks posted their biggest drop in months after officials in Beijing and Washington exchanged fresh threats in a trade dispute that many observers fear could crimp growth. European stocks climbed in early trading today after a downbeat session in Asia. U.S. futures point to opening gains.

MY TAKE – WE have been here before.  Just wait it out.

5- Walmart “is rolling out a next-day delivery service to counter Amazon’s recent move to speed shipment times for top customers to just one day from two,” writes Bloomberg’s Matthew Boyle. “The offer …. will extend [from Phoenix and Las Vegas at launch] to Southern California in the coming days and will reach about three-quarters of the U.S. by the end of the year.” Why it matters: “The company wants to convince more of its in-store shoppers to buy online, because when they do they spend more than twice as much with the retailer.” Bricks and mortar … “Over the past two years, major U.S. retailers … have spent billions of dollars to overhaul existing programs or launch new loyalty schemes” to fend off the allure of Amazon, per Reuters.

MY TAKE – Amazon will rule the world. 

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