Weekly Roundup, April 16th – 22nd

After the tensions with US/North Korea relations last week, all eyes have been fixed on relations with Asian officials. North Korean Vice Minister Han Song Ryol spoke in firmly military terms, noting that North Korea “will go to war if [the US] choose[s].” He also cited recent joint maneuvers between the US and South Korea as cause for alarm. In response, Vice President Mike Pence issued a counterstatement declaring the end to the “era of strategic patience” between the US and North Korea. He visited the area later in the week.

Some argue that it is legally impossible to engage in military action against North Korea without invoking retaliation from China, due to prior treaties.  This could be counterproductive in light of the administration’s recent attempts to soften relationships with the Chinese government.

The proposed border wall to separate the US and Mexico’s line has received a renewed discussion in light of budget proposals and funding allocation. Budget chief Mick Mulvaney has noted that the current priorities of the presidential administration are focused on “wall funding” and the hiring of additional immigration agents. This has prompted some to reassess what we know about the proposed costs of the wall project, which would appear to entail far more security than a monolith structure. Opponents are staunchly refusing to allow the level of funding to pass, threatening a potential government shutdown until the issue is resolved. President Trump has noted that the current state of healthcare might become a bargaining tool as this discussion progresses.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is currently under fire regarding comments made as a guest on the April 18th edition of Mark Levin’s radio show. During a conversation which ran for nearly two hours, he addressed the issue of the “travel ban” Executive Order, which is still pending appeal after being stopped by a federal judge in Hawaii. After presenting confidence that the Supreme Court will overturn the decision, he noted that “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.” The ensuing backlash has led to many responses reminding Sessions of both Hawaii’s statehood and the constitutional necessity of the United States’ separation of powers. The 9th Circuit will hear the travel ban suit in May.

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