What We’re Following Today
It’s Thursday, February 28. The Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, to be the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Michael Cohen also returned to the Hill—this time testifying behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee.
Throwing In the Towel: President Donald Trump’s talks with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, ended abruptly on Thursday, reportedly after Kim insisted that he wanted international sanctions lifted in exchange for dismantling only his Yongbyon nuclear-facilities hub. “Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said in a press conference. In so doing, Trump actually managed to follow his own advice, argues David Graham. Trump also said that he would “take [Kim Jong Un] at his word” that he knew nothing about Otto Warmbier, the American student detained in North Korea who died shortly after being returned to the U.S. Some Republican lawmakers have subsequently pushed back on Trump’s remarks. However, one party actually got what it wanted out of the summit—Vietnam.
It Doesn’t Change Much: Michael Cohen’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday might have seemed exciting. But both Republicans and Democrats say his appearance doesn’t actually change their political strategies—nor do they think it will lead to any major consequences for the president. “Cohen’s hearing was good TV, but I don’t know that it necessarily changes the ball game in any way,” said an aide to a senior House Democratic leader. And while Cohen’s allegations of Trump’s racism were dramatic, Vann Newkirk writes, the president has proved resilient against such allegations, “desensitizing voters with continued regular exposure to doses of racism.”