The Trump administration said Sunday that the United Nations budget has been reduced for the coming year, and it framed any cuts as the product of U.S. negotiation. "Among a host of other successes, the United States negotiated a reduction of over $285 million off the 2016-2017 final budget," the United States Mission to the U.N. said in a press release. ... A United Nations spokesman confirmed to NPR the reduction in the budget, and said the total U.N. budget for 2018-2019 is $5.396 billion. But cuts to the U.N. budget are typical: The 2016-2017 budget was roughly $400 million lower than the final appropriations for 2014-2015, which was 2.9 percent lower than the previous biennium's budget. read more
The judge found, the emoluments clauses of the Constitution are intended to protect the country against presidential corruption from foreign influences or financial incentives that might be offered by either states or the federal government. They were not meant to protect businesses from competition from presidentially owned enterprises, he ruled. Were that the case, Judge Daniels said, the Constitution would not have given Congress the power to allow a president to receive a foreign gift or benefit without considering how the president's business rivals might be affected. Judge Daniels also said that it was up to Congress, not the courts, to decide whether Mr. Trump had violated the Constitution by accepting a gift or benefit from a foreign government.
Generally speaking, most filers benefit from the bill, with exceptions across the income spectrum. As a guide to the bill, it is fair to say that the higher your income the more you're likely to benefit. Filers in the $250,000 to $750,000 range generally see the greatest increase in after-tax income. Those at the very bottom of the income spectrum will benefit less. At the same time, the bill is most likely to raise taxes on some high-income filers in states with high state and local taxes. read more
Hillary Clinton has all but avoided appearing at campaign events since her stunning 2016 loss, but some Democrats believe she would be a welcome voice in the 2018 midterms. Despite polling that shows Clinton with low favorability ratings, they say the former secretary of State could help Democratic candidates in congressional districts she won last year. read more
White House lawyers are expected to meet with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's office late this week seeking good news: that his sprawling investigation's focus on President Trump will soon end and their client will be cleared. But people familiar with the probe say that such assurances are unlikely and that the meeting could trigger a new, more contentious phase between the special counsel and a frustrated president, according to administration officials and advisers close to Trump. read more