ESSENTIAL #1: “BRITISH AMBASSADOR KIM DARROCH QUITS AFTER TRUMP ATTACKS IN RESPONSE TO LEAKED MEMOS” CHRISTINA BOYLE AND LAURA KING, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
From the article: “Britain’s ambassador to Washington resigned Wednesday, following a leak of brutally frank diplomatic cable she wrote about President Trump, and a storm of invective from the president in response.
The episode, playing out over just a few days, was a jarring reminder of how Trump’s disruptive and highly personal style is coloring the United States’ dealings with the rest of the world — in this case, with one of its closest allies, the other half of the much-vaunted ‘special relationship.’”
ESSENTIAL #2: “THOUSANDS OF EX-PRISONERS TO REUNITE WITH THEIR FAMILIES THIS MONTH AS PART OF FIRST STEP ACT” CALEB PARKE, FOX NEWS
From the article: “More than 2,200 federal inmates are returning to their families this month from behind bars under the bipartisan prison reform bill President Trump signed into law last year, according to policy experts and prisoner advocates involved in the effort.
This month will see the largest group to be freed so far under a clause in the First Step Act that reduces sentences due to ‘earned good time.’ In addition to family reunification, the formerly incarcerated citizens, 90 percent of whom have been African-American, hope to get employment opportunities touted by Trump last month at the White House as part of the ‘Second Chance’ hiring program.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “FED CHAIR POWELL SIGNALS OPENNESS TO RATE CUT AND STOCK MARKET RALLIES” JEANNA SMIALEK AND MATT PHILLIPS, THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the article: “Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell signaled that an interest-rate cut may come soon, sending stocks to a new high as the benchmark S&P 500 stock index traded above 3,000 for the first time.
Mr. Powell, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, said risks to the United States economy remain, including President Trump’s trade war and global economic weakness, suggesting a cut may be more likely than not when the Fed meets again later this month.
While the Fed continues to expect a solid job market and gradually increasing inflation, officials have been watching data to gauge whether a rate move is needed to sustain the economic expansion, which hit a record length earlier this month. Mr. Powell told lawmakers that ‘it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook.’”
ESSENTIAL #4: “TRUMP'S LABOR SECRETARY HANGS BY A THREAD OVER PLEA AGREEMENT WITH EPSTEIN” STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN
From the article: “America may soon have yet another acting Cabinet official, as Labor Secretary Alex Acosta hangs by a thread over his links to a 2008 plea agreement for Jeffrey Epstein.
Acosta, who as a US attorney in Miami signed off on what critics now say was a lenient non-prosecution agreement with the hedge fund manager, has become a liability for his boss in an episode that is casting a questionable light on some of President Donald Trump's own decision making.”