A change of plans
April 15, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron is changing up his priorities.

Macron was scheduled to give a "highly-anticipated" television address on Monday evening in response to the Yellow Vest movement, a sometimes-violent national protest that began after a French fuel tax hike last November based around the beliefs that ordinary French citizens have lost purchasing power and that Macron's policies favor the rich. Per France 24, Macron was possibly going to introduce tax cuts and other measures to help retirees and single parents.

But he postponed the speech at the last minute, as the Notre Dame cathedral caught on fire in Paris. Macron instead traveled to the site of the blaze. Per Politico, the president wrote on Twitter that his thoughts "are with all Catholics and French people" and that he was said to see "this part of us burning."

Per The Associated Press, Macron is treating the fire as a national emergency and, upon arrival at the scene, went straight into meetings at the Paris police headquarters. It remains unclear what, if any, parts of the Cathedral firefighters will be able to save. Tim O'Donnell

July 31, 2017

President Trump is set to decide "this week" whether or not to allow ObamaCare to implode, even as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) have quietly been working on a new health-care proposal for their divided party, Politico reports.

The lawmakers, along with Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), spoke with the president Friday about the proposal. Cassidy is expected to meet Monday with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about the plan. The so-called Cassidy-Graham proposal "seeks to keep most of ObamaCare's taxes except the medical device tax, send federal health-care funds to the states in block grants, kill ObamaCare's individual mandate, and maintain the requirement to cover people with pre-existing conditions," Politico writes.

Read more about what could be next for health care here at The Week. Jeva Lange

June 9, 2017

Before Robert Mueller was tapped to lead an independent investigation into President Trump's ties to Russian election meddling, the Trump team was seriously considering him for the job of FBI director. Citing "two sources familiar with the process," NPR reported Friday that Mueller was a "top candidate to lead the FBI" and that he'd gotten far enough along in the process that he'd met with officials at the White House and the Justice Department about the job.

Instead, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Mueller to head up the independent Russia probe, which was launched shortly after Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey on May 9. The fact that Rosenstein was willing to reach into the White House's pool of FBI director candidates "underscores the heavy pressure Rosenstein was under to find an independent law enforcement leader to take charge of the Russia probe," NPR noted.

Congress and the Justice Department have largely approved of Rosenstein's pick. Mueller previously served as FBI director under former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama. Becca Stanek

July 6, 2016

President Obama announced Wednesday that he will slow the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, keeping about 8,400 troops there instead of reducing the number to 5,500 by the end of 2016, as was originally planned. There are currently 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Though Obama said that Afghanistan is a "much better place than it was," he explained that Afghan security forces are still not as strong as they need to be and that security "remains precarious." Thirty-eight Americans were killed in Afghanistan over the last year and a half. Troops will remain focused on supporting counterterrorism efforts and advising Afghan forces.

Obama's announcement came just a day before he travels to Poland for a NATO summit; the group also plans to maintain troops in Afghanistan through 2017.

Obama said that he will leave it up to his successor to determine the appropriate next step for America's military presence in the country. Becca Stanek

June 22, 2016

Just one month after tweeting that he'd "only said like 10000 times" that he'd be a "private citizen" come January, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appears to have changed his mind. In an interview with the Miami Herald, Rubio confirmed weeks of rumors that he'd been re-considering his decision to leave the Senate. "The point that really drove me to change my mind is that as we enter this kind of new chapter in our history [with the presidential election] ... there's another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important," Rubio said, "and that's the power given to it in the Constitution to act as a check and balance on the excess of the president."

Rubio had reportedly begun telling some Republicans about his change of plans. He reportedly reached out to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), another one-time 2016 presidential candidate, to ask for his endorsement, though aides say Cruz declined the request because he didn't want to "be accused of nudging out U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis, the tea-party favorite in the race for Rubio's seat," The Washingtonian reports. DeSantis suggested last week that he would consider dropping out if Rubio decided to run.

Rubio's entry in the race comes just days ahead of the Friday deadline for candidate filings, and at the behest of his Republican colleagues. A close friend of Rubio's, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, has already told his supporters he'd back off if Rubio decides to run, and, last week, another Republican running for Rubio's seat, Rep. David Jolly, withdrew from the race.

Rubio is expected to make a formal announcement Wednesday afternoon. His candidacy greatly boosts the GOP's chances of retaining his Florida seat — one that could tip the Senate majority to either side of the aisle. Becca Stanek

May 26, 2016

Just hours after seemingly accepting Sen. Bernie Sanders' challenge for a debate, Donald Trump has already backed out, CBS News reports. On Thursday morning, Trump reportedly said he was just kidding when he agreed on Wednesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live to face off against Sanders.

Trump initially seemed keen on the idea because "it would have such high ratings," and he figured Sanders "would be easier to beat" than Hillary Clinton. Sanders had already agreed to the debate, tweeting he "look[s] forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary." Becca Stanek

February 23, 2016

Just five weeks after rejecting Donald Trump's suggested "deportation force," Sen. Ted Cruz is pledging to round up and deport all 12 million people who are in the U.S. illegally. In an interview Monday night with Fox host Bill O'Reilly, the Texas senator seemingly embraced the idea of using federal resources to search for people in the country illegally to deport them.

"Yes, we should deport them," Cruz said. "We should build a wall, we should triple the Border Patrol. Federal law requires that anyone here illegally that's apprehended should be deported." When O'Reilly pushed Cruz on whether he would actually "go look for them," Cruz responded that "of course you would." "That's what [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] exists for," Cruz said. "We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them."

Just over a month ago, Cruz told CNN's Jake Tapper that he would not "send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America" because "that's not how we enforce the law for any crime." A Cruz spokeswoman has denied any changes in Cruz's stance on immigration.

Watch Cruz's interview with O'Reilly below. Becca Stanek

January 22, 2016

Chris Christie is headed back to New Jersey for the snowstorm after all. "I'm sorry NH, I gotta go home. We got snow coming," Christie tweeted Friday afternoon, cutting short a New Hampshire campaign trip that was supposed to end Monday.

The New Jersey governor initially planned to keep on campaigning and deal with the blizzard from afar, only returning if "circumstances warranted." His remote management plans didn't go over well, however — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed him Friday morning for putting politics ahead of his state.

New Jersey is anticipating up to 18 inches of snow. Becca Stanek

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