Fdd's overnight brief

April 30, 2019

In The News


In the 40 years of Iran’s Islamic Republic, 2019 is shaping up to be among the worst for an economy that’s weathered wars, sanctions and oil slumps. Even before the U.S. decided to tighten oil sanctions against Iran last week, the rial currency had lost two thirds of its value against the dollar, and the International Monetary Fund expected gross domestic product to shrink 6 percent. – Bloomberg

The Iranian authorities have flogged and secretly executed two boys under the age of 18, Amnesty International has learned, displaying an utter disdain for international law and the rights of children. Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat, two cousins, were executed on 25 April in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, southern Iran. Both were arrested aged 15 and convicted on multiple rape charges following an unfair trial. – Amnesty International

Donald Trump’s sanctions against Iran have triggered a collapse in economic growth, pushing the Islamic republic into a deep recession and lifting inflation towards 40 per cent, according to the IMF. – Financial Times

Political consultations between the Turkish and Iranian Foreign Ministries will be held in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, on Tuesday. – Anadolu Agency

Oil prices steadied on Monday, as the market attempted to resume a weeks-long rally that was halted on Friday when U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that producer club OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran. – Reuters

Iran and Russia will conduct a joint maritime drill in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s Mehr News agency reported on Monday. “Based on negotiations with the Russian Navy, the force will dispatch a fleet to the southern regions of Iran this year,” Iranian Army Commander, Navy R.-Adm. Hossein Khanzadi was quoted as saying, without giving a date for the drills. – Jerusalem Post

Tighter U.S. sanctions against Iran could fuel inflation to the highest level since 1980, according to the International Monetary Fund, as the Islamic Republic’s economy grapples with a weakening currency and tighter U.S. sanctions on oil exports. – Bloomberg

Karim Sadjadpour writes: If Khamenei believes he can’t do a deal with Trump, and he fears that waiting out Trump projects weakness, he may contemplate restarting Iran’s nuclear program, counter-escalating against U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East, or both. Iran is the only country in the world simultaneously fighting three proxy wars—against the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia—each of which it could further agitate. – The Atlantic

Islamic State

Islamic State released a rare recorded video that purports to show its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, following the complete collapse of the extremist group’s self-declared caliphate last month when its last outpost in Syria was captured. – Wall Street Journal

He may have lost his hold on territory in Syria and Iraq and barely eluded the U.S.-backed forces who destroyed his “caliphate,” but unbroken Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi re-emerged Monday, appearing for the first time in five years in a crude jihadi video to declare that his global terrorist organization is far from dead. – Washington Times

More than 10,000 members of the Islamic State survived the fighting that drove the organization from its territory in Iraq and Syria, according to a senior Pentagon official. – Washington Examiner

The Sri Lanka bombings were a preview of the Islamic State’s future. […]The attack had been coming for some time, and others like it are almost certainly being planned—and not just in Sri Lanka. – Defense One

On April 21, 2019, the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet Al-Abd Al-Faqir published a video “Notre Dame is not the Last” focusing on the fire that ravaged the Paris cathedral, and exhorting Muslims in the West to carry out attacks using fire. The slickly edited 3:37 minute video combines archive footage from ISIS videos and western media, with two ISIS songs in French playing in the background. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Anthony H. Cordesman writes: The costs to the Islamic world have already been immense. As Part One has shown, the death toll in Syria alone has been a civil war where a mixture of Islamic extremist violence and state repression has probably cost well have over 500,000 lives – the vast majority of which have been Muslims killing Muslims, and Sunnis killing fellow Sunnis. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Cities and towns across eastern Syria are overwhelmed by rubble. The militias that fought the Islamic State are digging tunnels to prepare for a possible battle against Turkey. A recent explosion in the city of Raqqa killed nine people. – New York Times

A US service member died Monday in northern Syria in a non-combat incident, the US military said in a statement. The individual’s name has not yet be released pending notification to next of kin. The death of the service member comes as the Trump administration works to draw down the presence of US troops in the country. – CNN

Nicholas Heras and Kaleigh Thomas write: The United States is a party to this competition because, through the campaign to counter the Islamic State group known as ISIS, Washington and its coalition partners have assembled a zone of control in northern and eastern Syria that encompasses nearly one-third of the country’s territory. Through this coalition zone, the United States has strong influence over the distribution of several key natural resources—oil, agricultural land, water, and electricity production—that are essential to stabilizing Syria and that are coveted by the Assad regime and its allies. – Center for New American Security


One of two alleged spies for the United Arab Emirates, who was also under investigation for a possible link to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been found dead inside his Turkish jail cell. – Wall Street Journal

Turkey is seeking ways to buy more oil from Iraq, already a major supplier of crude to the Middle East’s biggest economy, as the U.S. looks to squeeze exports from Iran, according to two people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

International networks including the BBC and Voice of America unveiled a YouTube news channel dedicated to Turkey on Monday, in a sign that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tight grip on domestic media is creating an opening for foreign broadcasters. – Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Monday discussed a Turkish proposal to create a joint working group on its planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system, the Turkish Presidency said. – Reuters

Turkish police detained 22 suspected Islamic State members in Ankara, state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Monday. – Reuters

One of the two alleged intelligence operatives arrested by Turkey on charges of spying for the United Arab Emirates has committed suicide at a Turkish prison, the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul said on Monday. – Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates Supreme Federal Court upheld on Monday a life imprisonment against a Turkish citizen and a 10-year jail sentence on an Arab citizen after turning down the appeals filed by the two against the same sentences issued by the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court earlier this year. – Al Arabiya News


The Israeli military on Tuesday accused the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group of firing a rocket from the Gaza Strip that landed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel late Monday night. – Times of Israel

PA President Mahmoud Abbas restated the Palestinians’ refusal to accept tax revenues collected on their behalf by Israel so long as the Jewish state deducts millions of dollars over a dispute about prisoners. – Agence France-Presse

Emirati officials tell the Kan public broadcaster that even though Israel will be participating in World Expo in Dubai next year, this does not indicate a change in the diplomatic relations between the two countries. – Times of Israel

Jordan and Egypt are reportedly attempting to mediate between Jerusalem and Ramallah over the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to accept tax dividends collected by Israel. – Times of Israel

In a speech delivered at a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East on Monday, Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon defended the Jewish state’s territorial claims, citing history, the Bible, international law and global security interests. – Algemeiner

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, has called The New York Times “a cesspool of hostility towards Israel.” – Algemeiner

Zev Chafets writes: The Palestinians can’t expect help from their fellow Arabs. This was recently demonstrated by the faint response of the Arab League (and the Arab street) to the establishment of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — long supposed to be the third rail of Arab political sensitivity. The two most important Arab countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, will certainly proclaim their opposition to the Trump Plan. They will even more certainly do nothing weaken their ties to the U.S. – Bloomberg


Libyan forces loyal to a former military commander have intensified their airstrikes on Tripoli, where heavy fighting and blocked roads have left civilians trapped in their homes, officials said Monday. – Associated Press

An armed group attacked Libya’s largest oilfield on Monday, but was repelled after clashes with its protection force, while fighting escalated in eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s effort to capture the capital Tripoli. – Reuters

Eastern-based Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive in April on the capital Tripoli in the west that has plunged the oil-producing nation into a new bout of conflict. – Reuters

Libya’s latest upheaval comes at the hands of a mustachioed military strongman who lived in the U.S. for 20 years, has past links with the CIA, and recently spoke on the phone with President Donald Trump about their “shared vision” for the country. – MSNBC

Middle East

The children ran along the narrow enclosure, screaming, fighting and crying for the attention of the prison worker distributing sweets and balloons. Bug-bitten toddlers, too small to walk, clung to the sides of the chain link fence, staring blankly. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates’ Supreme Federal Court upheld a life sentence against a Turkish citizen in a terrorism case, Emirates News agency (WAM) said on Monday. – Reuters

Major opposition and activist figures who were stripped of Bahraini citizenship are not among hundreds of people whose nationality will be restored under an amnesty announced last week, a Reuters review of the list shows. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

President Trump isn’t the only world leader to boast of good “chemistry” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Russian President Vladimir Putin met the North Korean tyrant last week as the pair look for ways to limit American pressure on the pariah regime. – Washington Examiner

South Korean President Moon Jae-in wrote to former Japanese Emperor Akihito to thank him for contributing to improving ties, in a gesture that could help thaw chilly diplomatic relations between the two countries. – Bloomberg

The former U.S. diplomat who secured the release from North Korea of American Otto Warmbier said on Monday Washington should honor its pledge to pay Pyongyang $2 million for the student’s hospital care. – Reuters


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested Monday that trade talks with China could be wrapped up by the end of next week, following two more rounds of negotiations. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. ratcheted up pressure on its European allies to ban Chinese-made gear from their telecom networks, asserting such equipment could be a shared national-security threat to the West and could compromise intelligence sharing. – Wall Street Journal

A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian national to death on Tuesday for producing and trafficking methamphetamine, amid heightened tension between Beijing and Ottawa over the arrest of a Huawei Technologies executive. – Reuters

Their Uighur wives vanished in 2017, swept up in a Chinese dragnet tackling Islamic extremism, now they’ve been released — but the Pakistani husbands left behind say freedom has come at a price: The women must prove their “adaptability to Chinese society”, and publicly sacrifice their religious ideals. – Agence France-Presse

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised the plight of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region during a visit to Beijing last week, a U.N. spokesman said on Monday. – Reuters

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team is developing a strategy for China based on the idea of “a fight with a really different civilization” for the first time in American history. – Washington Examiner

Anjani Trivedi writes: If new export controls are enforced in their harshest form, the calculus for many Chinese scientists and engineers may change. Their job possibilities in the U.S. will be limited. A potentially cumbersome visa process could discourage many American companies and universities from even interviewing qualified Chinese candidates. – Bloomberg


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani convened a rare assembly of prominent Afghans on Monday to hammer out an approach to peace talks with the Taliban, the latest attempt by the U.S.-backed government to insert itself into the peace process. – Wall Street Journal

More than 3,200 Afghans gathered here Monday to seek a consensus on peace talks with the Taliban, but hopes for success were dampened by the recent cancellation of first-ever talks between Afghan and insurgent representatives in Qatar, and by the refusal of numerous Afghan political figures to attend the current meeting. – Washington Post

A teary-eyed Hameed Rafi said he’ll never forget the day he joined a panel of civilian war victims and family members and spoke about the suicide bombing in Kabul that killed his sister last August. – Associated Press

A fourth Marine Corps rotation as part of Task Force Southwest is preparing to deploy, Marine officials confirmed, despite discussions earlier this year between the White House and Pentagon concerning the withdrawal of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. – Military Times

South Asia

At least one suicide bomber in the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka trained with Islamic State in Syria, people with knowledge of the investigations said, reflecting the extremist group’s continued reach after the collapse of its self-declared caliphate. – Wall Street Journal

More evidence emerged Monday that the Sri Lankan government had ignored detailed warnings about an imminent terrorist attack, days before suicide bombers killed more than 250 people at crowded churches and hotels. – New York Times

In a room in front of the nurse’s station at Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, a 5-year-old girl rolls around her bed at night, shaking and crying silently. – New York Times

Less than a day after the worst terrorist attack in Sri Lanka’s history, thousands of Sri Lankans were consumed with vitriol, outrage and fear. Their community was threatened, they believed. Something must be done. – New York Times

Indian authorities searched three locations allegedly linked to Islamic State recruitment, a week after deadly Easter attacks in neighboring Sri Lanka that investigators think were backed by the militant group. – Wall Street Journal

The U.N. humanitarian chief said Monday there has been “no progress” in dealing with the reasons why more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh from western Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Mark Lowcock, who just returned from a visit to Bangladesh, said Myanmar has failed “to put in place confidence-building measures that would persuade people it’s safe to go back.” – Associated Press

Sri Lankan authorities have identified 42 foreign nationals among the 253 people killed in the string of Easter suicide bombings, officials said Tuesday. Another 12 foreigners remain unaccounted for and could be among still unidentified bodies at Colombo’s police morgue, foreign ministry officials said. – Agence France-Presse

Sri Lanka’s president has lifted a nationwide social media ban that was imposed after Easter suicide bomb attacks that killed 253 people. A government statement Tuesday said that President Maithripala Sirisena has lifted the ban that blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and other popular sites. It asked the public to “act in a responsible manner” on social media. – Associated Press

As Sri Lanka’s long civil war ended in this once-contested region along its eastern coast, Muslim women eager to show their piousness began wearing the black niqab veil to hide their faces. Now in the wake of Easter suicide attacks launched by Islamic State group-linked militants that killed more than 250 people, Sri Lanka’s president has used his emergency powers to ban the practice previously unheard of in the island nation off the southern coast of India. – Associated Press

Sri Lankan security officials have warned that Islamist militants behind Easter Sunday’s suicide bombings are planning attacks and could be dressed in uniform, as the archbishop of Colombo complained about insufficient security around churches. – Reuters


China has pledged to help Cambodia if the European Union moves forward with its threat to withdraw its lucrative tariff agreement, the Southeast Asian country’s leader said. – Bloomberg

Navy file photos of guided-missile destroyers USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) (top) and USS Stethem (DDG-63) (bottom). Two U.S. guided-missile destroyers conducted a transit through the strait separating Taiwan and mainland China on Sunday, U.S. 7th Fleet officials told USNI News on Monday. – USNI News

Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, Taiwan’s defense ministry said Monday, in a move that Beijing said threatened to hinder U.S.-China relations. The ministry said the ships made the passage on Sunday, sailing from south to north through the waterway that divides the self-governing island from mainland China. – Associated Press

Walter Russell Mead writes: China’s prospects in Central Asia may be significantly dimmer, and Russia’s brighter, than many believe. From the standpoint of American foreign policy, that could be a problem. Many American analysts hope Russia will ultimately join a U.S.-led coalition to balance China in Eurasia. – Wall Street Journal


A beluga whale found with a tight harness that appeared to be Russian made has raised the alarm of Norwegian officials and prompted speculation that the animal may have come from a Russian military facility. – Associated Press

Eli Lake writes: Nevertheless, Putin remains afraid of dissent. Consider a report released this week by the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners. Composed of a dozen Western and Russian non-governmental organizations, the group found that as of March 25, Russian jails held 236 political prisoners. That is more than five times the political prisoners Russia held in 2015, when the total was just 46. – Bloomberg

Leonid Bershidsky writes: Putin may well have a similar plan for Ukraine, despite the Russian authorities’ claims of adherence to the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015, which envisage the return of eastern Ukraine to the Kiev government. That passports have been offered during Ukraine’s presidential transition, that is, at a moment of uncertainty, lends weight to the plausibility of such a scenario. – Bloomberg

Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris write: In recent months, U.S. national security officials have been preparing for Russian interference in the 2020 presidential race by tracking cyber threats, sharing intelligence about foreign disinformation efforts with social media companies and helping state election officials protect their systems against foreign manipulation. But these actions are strikingly at odds with statements from President Trump, who has rebuffed warnings from his senior aides about Russia and sought to play down that country’s potential to influence American politics. – Washington Post

Amy Mackinnon writes: On the campaign trail, now-President Donald Trump vowed to improve U.S. relations with Russia, and the report released by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this month lays out in detail how his staffers tried to make it so. They made high-level contacts, set up secret communication back channels, and sought to water down the Republican Party’s stance on Russia ahead of the 2016 party convention. Yet the U.S.-Russia relationship has remained frosty throughout Trump’s presidency. – Foreign Policy


Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France met the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia in Berlin on Monday, reaching toward a large prize: a path to a peace settlement between the two Balkan nations, almost 20 years after a war between them came to an end. – New York Times

The U.K. is open to working with Chinese companies including Huawei Technologies Co. as long as the country’s national security isn’t jeopardized, according to the British envoy to the United Nations, putting the ally at odds with the Trump administration on a top foreign policy issue. – Bloomberg

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has made substantive moves in Brexit talks with the opposition Labour Party, The Times newspaper reported, citing unidentified Labour sources. – Reuters

Britain is due to leave the European Union in six months, but you wouldn’t know it from the country’s news headlines or the debates in Parliament. The issue that consumed the country for almost three years has been reduced to a murmur. – Associated Press

The United States is key to settling the ongoing conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Monday, pointing to the inability of major European countries to reach a unified position on the issue. – Reuters

As part of efforts to replace Soviet-designed copters with new aircraft, the Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a deal to acquire four AW101 helos from Leonardo for the country’s Navy. – Defense News


Six people, including a pastor, were killed in an attack on a Christian church in Burkina Faso, a government spokesman said. – Associated Press

South Sudan has hired U.S. lobbyists to help it reverse U.S. sanctions and stop the establishment of a court meant to prosecute war crimes, a document showed – a move rights groups said could undermine victims seeking justice. – Reuters

Islamists in Sudan who were allied with ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir say they have cancelled a planned rally for fear of violence from the protesters who drove him from power earlier this month. – Associated Press

An air strike near the Somali town of Afgoye killed four people, a relative of one of the victims said on Tuesday. – Reuters

United States

The rabbi had just finished comforting a congregant as she prepared to say the traditional prayer for the dead in honor of her mother when a loud crack rang out in his synagogue. – New York Times

After publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon for which it later apologized, the New York Times published another cartoon from the same cartoonist this weekend. – Washington Examiner

An Army veteran, an off-duty Border Patrol officer and an Israeli war veteran are credited with coming to the rescue in Saturday’s deadly shooting inside a California synagogue that left one woman dead and three others injured. – Huffington Post

Law enforcement over the weekend named John Earnest as the suspected shooter in an attack on a San Diego, Calif., synagogue that claimed the life of a 60-year-old female worshiper and injured three others. – Washington Examiner

Florida legislators approved a bill banning anti-Semitism in the state’s public schools and universities two days after a deadly synagogue shooting in Poway, California, sent shockwaves through U.S. Jewish communities. – Huffington Post

A federal judge ruled last week that Texas’s anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions law is unconstitutional. […]This opinion runs counter to the binding Supreme Court precedent that ruled that ideological boycotts are not speech at all, the article explained. – Jerusalem Post

Violent attacks against the Jewish community in the United States doubled last year, while overall attacks that also include vandalism and harassment remained near record-high levels, the Anti-Defamation League reported Tuesday. – Associated Press

The hate-filled madman accused of killing a 60-year-old woman and wounding three other people at a San Diego-area synagogue claimed to have set fire to a California mosque last month. – New York Post

Editorial: As for the battle with anti-Semitism, may everyone mirror Rabbi Goldstein’s resolve. “The Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion for all faiths. We are so grateful to live here in this country that protects our rights to live openly and proudly as Jews,” he told NBC. “We will not be intimidated or deterred by this terror.” – Wall Street Journal

Yisroel Goldstein writes: Today should have been my funeral. I was preparing to give my sermon Shabbat morning, Saturday, which was also the last day of Passover, the festival of our freedom, when I heard a loud bang in the lobby of my synagogue. – New York Times

John Podhoretz writes: Discriminatory behavior against Jews, especially in America, became a thing of the past. White shoe law firms that wouldn’t interview a Jew soon became disproportionately populated with Jewish attorneys. Jews were prevented from attending the Ivy Leagues in great numbers until the early 1960s but, by the 1990s, most Ivy League colleges had Jewish presidents. – Commentary Magazine


The Pentagon has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security for 320 additional U.S. troops at the southern border, and has approved expanded authorities that allow them to come into direct contact with migrants and asylum seekers, defense officials said. – Wall Street Journal

Global military expenditure reached its highest level last year since the end of the Cold War, fueled by increased spending in the United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies, a leading defense think-tank said on Monday. – Reuters

When Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson took charge of the Navy in 2015, the service was still largely a support element for the larger U.S. effort in the Middle East. When Richardson leaves this summer, his successor will be at the helm of a service that is being grown and reshaped into a key role for the U.S. military’s drive toward high-end warfare in a new era of great power competition. – USNI News

Adm. John Richardson defended the Pentagon’s plan to decommission the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier Monday, arguing the move is crucial to keeping the Navy moving forward with new technologies. – Washington Examiner

The Army is taking another stab at procuring rucksack-portable unmanned aircraft systems after trying a variety of different ways to establish the capability in the force over roughly the past decade. – Defense News

By the mid 2020s, Boeing’s new T-X trainer will begin to replace the aging T-38s flown by fighter and bomber pilots going through advanced training. But the U.S. Air Force hasn’t decided whether to buy enough T-X jets to replace the T-38s used to supplement flying hours for the B-2 stealth bomber. – Defense News

Mikhail Gorbachev writes: Yet nuclear weapons are like a rifle hanging on the wall in a play written and staged by a person unknown. We do not know the playwright’s intent. Nuclear weapons could go off because of a technical failure, human error or computer error. The last alarms me the most. Computer systems are now used everywhere. And how many times have computers and electronics failed—in aviation, in industry, in various control systems? – Wall Street Journal

Heather Hurlburt writes: The effort to reinvigorate Congress’s role in national security policy is off to a slow start. […]It’s easy to focus on the vast areas of U.S. security policy where Congress is so riven by partisanship that joint action is impossible. But there is another set of vitally important security priorities where majorities of members do agree across party and ideological divides. – Defense One

Long War

An Army veteran who allegedly planned to bomb a Los Angeles-area white-supremacist rally has been arrested and his plot foiled, authorities said Monday. – Washington Post

The Trump administration is pushing to issue an order that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, bringing the weight of American sanctions against a storied and influential Islamist political movement with millions of members across the Middle East, according to officials familiar with the matter. – New York Times

New Zealand police said on Tuesday a man was arrested and bomb disposal officers found a package with a suspected explosive device at a vacant property in Christchurch, where 50 people were killed in attacks by a lone gunman on two mosques in March. – Reuters

The commander in charge of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has been dismissed just seven weeks before he was due to leave the post. Navy Rear Admiral John Ring was fired due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to the US Southern Command. – BBC News

Christopher P. Costa writes: Debate is bubbling about whether the United States remains too focused on counterterrorism when the Trump administration has set priority on “global power competition” with China and Russia, not to mention other threats we expect to face. – Defense One

Trump Administration

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation letter to President Trump on Monday, ending a tumultuous two years in which he tried to steady a rocky Justice Department and its relationship with the White House. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump sued two banks on Monday to stop them from complying with subpoenas sent from the Democrat-led House Intelligence and Financial Services committees. – Washington Examiner

During his time as defense secretary, Jim Mattis sought to deflect President Trump from what he thought were ill-advised decisions in North Korea or Afghanistan by limiting his options, according to the New Yorker. – Washington Examiner