Ohio Gov. John Kasich, (R) “the two-term governor and possible 2020 presidential candidate, has checked off priorities such as lowering Ohio’s income tax and expanding Medicaid. He has moderated on conservative issues such as gun rights and labor unions. He has spoken out repeatedly against President Trump, losing allies among his fellow Republicans.
“So Tuesday night, in his last State of the State address, Kasich is likely to play the elder statesman passing on wisdom, not the hard-charging change-agent pushing through his agenda.
“Despite Kasich’s earlier focus on taxes and the economy, Ohio’s economic situation can best be described as ‘not great.’ … Only three states have a higher unemployment rate than Ohio’s 4.9 percent in December, compared with 4.1 percent nationally.” (Cincinnati.com)
TARIFFS. “House Republicans want President Donald Trump to scale back his plan to institute sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports—apparently so they can avoid taking legislative action against him.” Speaker Paul Ryan “is urging the president not to move on the plan he announced Thursday to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. … While congressional Republicans understand the president’s goal of trying to force better trade deals, most disagree with his approach. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said he and … Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), who chairs the Trade Subcommittee, are circulating a letter for signatures that will encourage Trump to ‘tailor his actions’ on the tariffs.” (Roll Call)
“Mr. Trump appeared little moved by the pushback. One of his all-important barometers—the stock market —rebounded on Monday after falling sharply immediately after the announcement of the tariffs last week as the Republican dissent fueled optimism that Mr. Trump would ultimately reverse course. Opponents of tariffs, including many economists, warn they could damage economic growth by igniting a ruinous trade war, a prospect that Mr. Trump has alternately welcomed or dismissed as unlikely.” (New York Times)
NUNBERG. “Sam Nunberg, a onetime Trump campaign aide who recently met with investigators for the special counsel, set cable news alight on Monday when he declared that he was subpoenaed to go before a grand jury on Friday, but that he was unlikely to appear or to provide documents he was ordered to hand over.” (New York Times)
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The Trump Administration will sanction China over the purchase of Russian-made fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons systems. "The sanctions are being imposed pursuant to the 2017 sanctions law punishing Russian interference in the 2016 elections, which threatens to sanction any third party that conducts a 'significant transaction' with the Russian defense industry." State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert cited "the delivery to China of Su-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018" as the transactions that led to the sanctions.
President Trump named retiring Rep. Darrell Issa "to head the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, setting up what could be a contentious confirmation battle in the Senate." As former House Oversight Committee chairman, Issa accused top IRS officials "of targeting conservative groups for political purposes, led the charge to hold former Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, and accused President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of trying to covering up the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attacks in 2012." If confirmed, Issa would lead the Trump Administration's multi-front effort to renegotiate more favorable trade deals.
"Christine Blasey Ford told Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley Tuesday night that she wants the FBI to investigate her claims of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, raising further doubts about whether she and Kavanaugh will appear before the committee on Monday." Grassley still wants her to