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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"As Trump signed a joint statement with Kim Jong Un that offered few details on how the North Korean leader would make good on his vow to denuclearize, Republicans on Capitol Hill said Tuesday that they want and expect the White House to submit any final agreement for their approval." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for any agreement to be in the form of a treaty.
President Trump announced that the United States will suspend "war games" with South Korea, which are "inappropriate" given his meeting with North Korean leader Kim-Jong Un. "We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money," said Trump, "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should." The military exercises "carried out each year by the US and South Korean militaries have been consistently cited by Pyongyang as a US rehearsal for war, and a reason it needs to build a nuclear arsenal."
President Trump "heaped praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, calling him 'a very worthy, very smart negotiator' and vowing to meet with him 'many times.' Speaking to reporters in Singapore after his landmark summit with Kim, Trump said that he found the North Korean premier to be a 'very talented man' who 'loves his country very much.'"