5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • President Trump arrives in Israel hoping to restart peace talks with Palestine

  • Democrat Elijah Cummings: Flynn 'lied to investigators' about foreign income

  • Supreme Court finds illegal, racial gerrymandering in North Carolina

  • Report: Trump budget proposes deep cuts to Medicaid

  • Ford ousts CEO Mark Fields

President Trump arrived in Israel on Monday for a 36-hour visit intended to make progress toward regional peace. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the sacred Western Wall in Jerusalem, and he also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region. ... But we can only get there working together," Trump said. He will meet Tuesday in the West Bank with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. When he hosted Abbas at the White House earlier this month, Trump said Mideast peace is "something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years."

Source: The New York Times, The Associated Press

In a letter released Monday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) revealed ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to Pentagon investigators about his foreign income and contacts with Russian officials when he was re-applying for security clearance last year. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the committee had obtained documents that "appear to indicate" Flynn "lied to investigators," claiming income that came from Russian state news site RT actually came from "U.S. companies." Cummings sent the letter to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), using language directly taken from the Pentagon's own report on Flynn's application. Earlier Monday, Flynn declined to cooperate with a Senate subpoena related to its Russia probe, invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Source: Politico, The New York Times

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the gerrymandering of two North Carolina congressional district maps was done on racial grounds to yield a Republican advantage and was thus unconstitutional. The court ruled 8-0 to strike down the District 1 map and 5-3 to strike down the District 12 map, with Justices Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justice Anthony Kennedy dissenting from the latter ruling. Justice Clarence Thomas joined the court's liberals on District 12 while Justice Neil Gorsuch did not participate, as the case was argued before he was confirmed to the court. Republicans have been accused of drawing districts to illegally concentrate black voters, who are typically liberal, and consequently make the surrounding districts more conservative.

Source: USA Today, CNN

President Trump's budget proposal, scheduled for release on Tuesday, will feature major cuts to Medicaid and changes to programs that help low-income Americans, people familiar with the planning told The Washington Post. When it comes to Medicaid, the budget follows through on a bill House Republicans passed that cuts more than $800 billion over 10 years, the Post reports; the Congressional Budget Office has estimated such a plan could get rid of benefits for roughly 10 million people over the next decade. The White House is also expected to propose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and will give states more leeway in imposing work requirements for Americans participating in anti-poverty programs, the Post says. The budget is also expected to call for $200 billion for infrastructure projects and $25 billion over 10 years for a program that would create six weeks of parental leave benefits.

Source: The Washington Post

On Monday, Ford Motor confirmed that CEO Mark Fields is retiring. He will be replaced by Jim Hackett, the former chief executive of office-furniture company Steelcase Inc. Fields, 56, is being pushed out after three years as chief executive and 28 years at Ford after the automaker's share price has dropped 40 percent on his watch. Investors criticized him for lagging behind peers in creating electric vehicles and advancing toward self-driving autos, while also letting some core products grow stale. Hackett, who has led Ford's mobility unit since last year, was credited with reversing Steelcase's declining fortunes, in part by foreseeing the shift from cubicles to open office floor plans.

Source: The Associated Press, Reuters
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