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Inside Trump (Mar 6th, 2018)

On Twitter, President Trump expressed guarded optimism about the potential for negotiation with North Korea. On Tuesday, South Korean officials said that they had been in touch with leadership from the North, who in turn expressed a willingness to talk with the US about abandoning their nuclear program. North Korean officials would also, according to the report, be willing to suspend all nuclear and missile testing activity while the negotiations are taking place. On Twitter, Trump cheered that "for the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned,” but cautioned that it "may be false hope." Officials from both North and South Korea will begin outlining the terms of the summit during meetings in the "truce village" of Panmunjom. As well, a hotline will be installed so that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in can speak before meeting face to face. – NYT

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After vowing to ignore a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller in a string of high-profile media interviews on Monday, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg told the Associated Press he will likely comply with the order. The subpoena from Mueller's team would require Nunberg to appear before a grand jury on Friday, and also provide all of his documents and communications relating to Trump and nine other campaign staffers, including Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Rick Gates and Roger Stone. Over the course of several defiant cable news interviews, including multiple appearances on CNN, Nunberg called the investigation a "witch hunt" and challenged Mueller to have him arrested. He also referred to President Trump as an "idiot," and theorized that Mueller likely has uncovered some evidence of illegal activity. (At one point, CNN anchor Erin Burnett asked Nunberg if he'd been drinking, which he denied.) Nunberg had served as a political adviser for Trump, but was terminated in 2015 when several of his offensive Facebook posts were made public. – BBC

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On Tuesday, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI) implored President Trump to make his proposed steel and aluminum tariffs "more surgical and more targeted." Trump has proposed a 25% tariff on all imported steel and a 10% tariff on all imported aluminum, stoking fears of a trade war and sparking criticisms from industry leaders. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ryan said that - following extensive conversations with other Congressional Republicans - the consensus is that the President should go after "true abusers" of unfair trade policies, while working harder to avoid "collateral damage." Though Trump has remained steadfastly behind the tariff proposals, despite pushback, on Monday he said he was open to exempting Canada and Mexico, should a new compromise on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be reached. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office subsequently released a statement saying that the tariffs "would not be helpful to reaching a deal in NAFTA." – LAT

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Washington has become the first state to enact a law preserving net neutrality regulations, in defiance of President Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The law, which was signed on Monday by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, prevents broadband providers from throttling or blocking legal content or offering preferred service to customers willing to pay more. It does not, however, prevent companies from imposing data limits selectively on certain kinds of content. The FCC eliminated its own net neutrality laws in December, setting up a potential legal challenge to the new state law. Though Washington is the first state to take this step, the governors of Montana, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Vermont have signed executive orders which ban state agencies from doing business with companies that don't uphold basic net neutrality principles. – WIRED

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President Trump will consider attending the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem this May. On Monday, while welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, Trump told reporters "They have started, as you know, construction and I may" attend the opening. After announcing the embassy move in December, the Trump administration had offered that it could take years to completely move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Instead, while the years-long process of constructing a new building takes place, a US consular facility in Jerusalem will be re-designated as the US embassy this summer. Trump compared the $250,000 required to update the consular facility favorably with the $1 billion that a new embassy would reportedly cost, though plans for the new site are also ongoing. – CNN

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The majority owner of the Trump International Hotel Panama has ordered the President's name removed from the property. Though the Trump Organization has a management contract with the property through 2031, Cypriot businessman Orestes Fintiklis - who purchased 202 of the hotel’s 369 room units last year - has sought to terminate the deal early. After meeting with a Panamanian legal official on Monday, behind closed doors, Fintiklis declared that the dispute had been settled and he had "won" the confrontation. In a statement, the Trump Organization disagreed, claiming "there has been absolutely no determination whatsoever by any court or other tribunal as to the status" of the property. Nonetheless, Fintiklis has taken physical control of the property, and had Trump's name removed from the hotel's entrance as reporters looked on. – WAPO

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According to Forbes, President Trump's net worth dropped by about $400 million during the first year of his presidency. The latest edition of the Forbes Billionaires List estimates the President's current fortune at around $3.1 billion. Forbes largely blames a bad year for the New York real estate market for Trump's losses. (Trump Tower, on Manhattan's 5th Avenue, has less appeal now that e-commerce has largely supplanted shopping districts.) There are suggestions, however, that his divisive personality or politics may shoulder some of the blame; revenues at Trump golf courses in states that vote Republican were up, while those in states that supported Hillary Clinton (as well as those in Scotland) were down. – FORBES

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