Meanwhile, candidates’ moves to the left have given grass-roots organizers openings to push niche issues like reparations, court-packing and eliminating the filibuster.
Trump’s record-breaking budget proposal.
Mr. Trump began a fresh effort on Monday to pressure Congress to pay for a border wall. He requested $8.6 billion in his annual budget proposal, and another $3.6 billion to replenish military construction funds he diverted to begin work on the wall.
His budget proposal — totaling $4.75 trillion, a record — calls for cuts to domestic programs like education and environmental protection, while increasing military spending. It is a declaration of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign priorities and the starting skirmish in the 2020 race.
But presidential budgets are traditionally declared dead on arrival before the details even reach Capitol Hill, and with Democrats controlling the House, Mr. Trump’s was certainly no exception.
Here’s what else happened this week:
• The government grounded Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, the plane in the deadly crash in Ethiopia, after days of mounting pressure.
• Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, will serve seven and a half years in prison after a federal judge nearly doubled his sentence, denouncing him as having “spent a significant portion of his career gaming the system.” It’s still far less than he could’ve served.
• Even as the Trump administration pulls back from counterinsurgency operations elsewhere, American airstrikes in Somalia have soared. Last year, the strikes killed a record 326 people. In the first two months of 2019 alone, they have killed 225.
• Mr. Trump was forced to publicly acknowledge what intelligence officials have long been telling the White House: Even during eight months of diplomacy, North Korea was steadily adding to its nuclear infrastructure.
• Mr. Mnuchin signaled that he would block a congressional request to obtain Mr. Trump’s tax returns on privacy grounds, setting up a potential legal battle if Democrats follow through.
• Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that she would not bar religious organizations from providing federally funded educational services to private schools.
• Female veterans say they endure harassment, discrimination and exclusion in the Veterans Affairs medical system as they try to use the benefits they earned with military service.
• The United States is withdrawing all remaining diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Venezuela because of worsening conditions there. The withdrawal is a blow to Mr. Trump, who had resisted President Nicolás Maduro’s order for all American diplomats to leave.
Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Isabella Grullón Paz in New York.
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