President Trump will formally announce his decision on the Paris climate accord Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern in the Rose Garden. Trump is expected to announce that he will withdraw the U.S. from the landmark agreement, despite last-minute pleas to remain from global leaders, climate advocates and even Mitt Romney. Trump believes the agreement disadvantages the U.S. in required cuts to carbon pollution, and aides, including daughter Ivanka Trump, have had difficulty dissuading him of that position. It would fulfill an unambiguous campaign pledge, but would also send a sharp signal around the world that the U.S.’s commitment to treaties may not be as rock-solid as had been expected.
On the same day Trump is preparing to fulfill one promise, he’s violating another, signing a six-month waiver to the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Trump had pledged to move the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying he wouldn’t be like other presidents of both parties who have signed the waivers to congressional legislation mandating the move every six months since 1995. The White House argues that Trump is trying to make space for possible peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the decision is better understood as Trump bowing to the realities of international norms. Many Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are privately worried that the move would cause a wave of violence and shatter what little hope remains of a peace process. Arab leaders have pushed Trump not to make the move as well, for the same reasons. Trump promises that the move is a matter of when, not if, but that’s what many other presidents have said—for a long time.
Hillary Clinton took questions Wednesday at the Recode conference, blaming Russia, FBI Director James Comey, the media, the Democratic National Committee, Trump, and her supporters’ own confidence that she would win. And it’s true, all of those things undoubtedly contributed in some way to her defeat, but she was undoubtedly a factor herself. Nowhere in the interview did Clinton admit any fault on her part, only saying she takes responsibility for her campaign. This has been Clinton’s modus operandi since Election Night, and as she reaches for an ever-growing circle of culprits she may find herself running out of defenders.
Congress issues subpoenas in its Russia investigation. Trump looks to give Russia’s seized property back. And TIME’s new cover story explores Jared Kushner’s ‘Family First’ role in the White House
Here are your must reads:
Family First: The Trials of Jared Kushner
Now front and center in the Russia probe, Jared Kushner is bound to Trump by more than marriage, TIME’s Karl Vick writes
Fighting Words: A Battle in Berkeley Over Free Speech
TIME’s Katy Steinmetz on the fight between the far-left and far-right that is squeezing everyone in the middle
Afghanistan’s Front Line
Ashraf Ghani’s country is key to the global battle against terrorism, TIME’s Nikhil Kumar reports
Trump Administration Moves to Return Russian Compounds in Maryland and New York
Seized by Obama administration after election hacking [Washington Post]
How Bannon and Pruitt Boxed in Trump on Climate Pact
The two advisers have spent months building pressure on the president to exit the Paris deal — and trying to outmaneuver Ivanka Trump [Politico]
Comey Expected to Testify Before Senate, if He Isn’t Blocked
Trump could claim privilege [New York Times]
“Going forward, all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz.” — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer deflecting questions about the Russia investigation Wednesday
“If they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions — which are right, from their point of view — to the fight against those who say bad things about Russia.” — Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time acknowledging the possibility that Russian hackers tried to influence the 2016 election
BONUS: “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” —White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on President Trump’s ‘Covfefe’ tweet.
Bits and Bites
Biden launches PAC, keeping options open [Politico]
Trump to hold reelection fundraiser in June [Politico]
The Obamas just bought their rental home in Washington [Washington Post]
Democrats’ Bid to Regain Hold on House Begins in California [New York Times]