Trump Pulls Back From Declaring a National Emergency to Fund a Wall

WASHINGTON — President Trump has stepped back from declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall, under pressure from congressional Republicans, his own lawyers and advisers, who say using it as a way out of the government shutdown does not justify the precedent it would set and the legal questions it could raise.

If today the national emergency is border security, tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change,” Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the idea’s critics, said this week. Another Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, told an interviewer that declaring a national emergency should be reserved for “the most extreme circumstances.”

.. “What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency,” he told reporters gathered in the Cabinet Room as the shutdown approached its fourth week. Minutes later he contradicted himself, saying that he would declare a state of emergency if he had to.

.. Instead, Mr. Trump would use his authority to transfer funds to the wall that were appropriated by Congress for other purposes. Toward that end, the Army Corps of Engineers has been directed to study whether it can divert about $13.9 million in emergency aide set aside for Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California. And with the money secured, the president could drop his opposition to the appropriations bills whose passage would end the shutdown.

.. Former White House aides, who noted that Mr. Trump did not focus on the wall during the first two years of his presidency, said the optics of fighting for the wall were more important to the president than erecting it.

.. But opposition has come from many Republican quarters. Some conservatives see it as an unacceptable extension of executive power. Kellyanne Conway, a White House aide, has said it would essentially give Congress a pass. Representative Mike Simpson, Republican of Idaho and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said it was not clear to him that an emergency declaration would even lead to the prompt reopening of the government.

Betting on Crisis, Hedge Funds Short Italian Bonds

Five Star politicians, including the group’s founder and current leader, pondered such radical cures to Italy’s economic woes as restructuring its enormous debt and establishing a currency in addition to the euro.

.. The Janus Global Unconstrained Fund, managed by William H. Gross, lost 3 percent in one day.

.. Hedge funds have been building up their short positions for months, betting that Italian bonds will face another bout of selling pressure

.. the same strains that prompted the earlier bout of selling — weaker countries running up potentially unsustainable debts — are showing again.

.. “These people feel very strongly that deficit limits make no sense,”

.. a robust market for futures contracts tied to Italian government bonds had made it easy to bet against Italy

.. In addition to betting against bonds, many prominent hedge funds are calculating that the share prices of large Italian companies will fall drastically.

.. Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, has a number of short positions on Italian financial institutions, including UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank

.. “What we have had so far is a political event, not a credit event,” he said, referring to the point when a country runs out of money. “The endgame is still 12 to 24 months out.”

.. What has spooked investors the most has been the Italian ruling party’s flirtation with a second currency.

.. Strapped Greek and Italian citizens could use this alternate currency to pay taxes and for things like gasoline or health care from the state.

.. “Italy is a conservative country,” Mr. Bonansinga said. “I am just not sure that people want to leave the euro.”

Trump, Cruz and the “To Hell With ‘Em” Hawks

Rubio is a kind of crusader for global Americanism, a believer that our foreign policy should consist of championing the right (as we see it) and opposing anyone who doesn’t line up behind us, and always doubling down on our commitments. The true insanity of this ideology in practice is manifest in his recent piece on how to defeat ISIS, which calls for first defeating ISIS’s strongest opponents, Russia, Iran and the Assad regime, so that the deck can be cleared for America to battle ISIS without accidentally siding with anyone who hasn’t already won an American commitment to their defense.

.. Trump wins applause for saying we should cheer Russia on for attacking ISIS rather than getting in their way or trying to take over. But he also wins applause for saying we should seize ISIS’s oil and kill their families. There are common threads between the more restrained and the extremely aggressive stances: in both cases, we’re talking about somebody attacking ISIS, and in neither case is there any real concern for a strategic endgame.

The rising dispensation on the right is interesting in demonstrating that American can win – and that it doesn’t really care who else has to lose in the process.