A mysterious price spike preceded the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting at one of the President’s resorts today. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in Republican donor money was already destined for the President’s pockets when Trump Doral in Miami was booked to host the RNC winter convention this year, but it gets worse. According to HuffPost, in the days before the White House announced that Trump would be attending the event earlier this month, the resort more than doubled the cost of its cheapest rooms, from $254 to $539.
Notably, the new, higher rate was just under the limit allowed for federal officials. And even though Trump will likely only be at his own resort for a few hours, HuffPost noted, “at least two dozen staff typically need to get there a few days ahead of time to prepare for his arrival.” That’s government money in Trump’s pocket.
This isn’t the first time: We noted in November that rates at Trump’s D.C. hotel nearly tripled their average price on the day the National Republican Senatorial Committee was set to hold its annual retreat there. The watchdog group that flagged the price hike, CREW, subsequently noted a gargantuan 13-fold price spike on Dec. 14 — the day of the Trump Victory Committee’s winter retreat there.
Despite the advice of the President’s own EPA science advisors, the Trump administration is set to eliminate the Obama-era “Waters of the U.S.” regulation. The rule widened the definition of waters that ought to be governed under the Clean Water Act, to include wetlands, streams and other waters.
According to The New York Times, the change will remove federal protections on hundreds of thousands of small waterways and more than half of the country’s wetlands. The change is coming despite criticism from the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, which said the change “neglects established science.”
Speaking of bad science, the Trump administration has insisted that slashing Obama-era fuel standards will encourage people to buy new, safer and more efficient cars. But after scientists and economists trashed the administration’s original math, the EPA and Department of Transportation put out a new analysis. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), The Washington Post noted, called out some big differences on Wednesday: Under the new analysis, new cars with worse fuel efficiency aren’t worth all the extra gas money you’ll spend on them. And the Trump standard will also lead to nearly a billion metric tons more of CO2 emissions over the Obama standard.
Border agents deported an Iranian student with a visa to study in the U.S. despite a judge’s order. The feds say the student, Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein Abadi, was already on his plane out of the country at the time the emergency order to stay his removal was issued. (The petition was granted at 9:27 p.m., The New York Times reported, and his flight left 7 minutes later.) But Dehghani is one of at least 13 Iranian students with valid visas to be turned away at the border. The judge who granted the order said the feds should let Dehghani back in to the country but added, “I don’t think they’re going to listen to me.”
Trump heralded an initial “phase 1” trade deal with China. But farmers will likely still get a promised third tranche of billions in subsidies as the result of the trade war Trump started.
Did Jared Kushner get hacked by Mohammad bin Salman, too? We know what the UN has said about Jeff Bezos’ phone, but Kushner messaged with MBS using Whatsapp as well. Kushner’s lawyer claims he screenshots all of his Whatsapp conversations to ensure they are kept for presidential record-keeping purposes — otherwise, the app can delete messages after a short time and make them inaccessible for historians or investigators. But CREW and other groups sued for those and other records months ago — they’re still waiting on answers.