UK Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a vote of no confidence triggered by members of her own party over her handling of Brexit. The results were announced by Graham Brady, a member of parliament who chairs the 1922 Committee, which represents Conservative lawmakers in the House of Commons. She defeated the leadership challenge after Conservative MPs voted to back her by 200 to 117. The prime minister's victory protects her from another leadership challenge from within her own party for 12 months.
But the result will not offer any assurances to May's supporters that she will be able to get her all-important Brexit deal through the UK's parliament.
On another front, the arrest of Chinese telecommunications CFO Meng Wanzhou has sent shock waves through the global markets. The context of the smartphone industry and the new challenges facing big western monopolies from Russia and China is vital background information for anyone who wants to understand these recent, dramatic events. She has been released on bail in Canada, setting her up for a lengthy legal fight over extradition to the United States. Now, US President Donald Trump suggests he may intervene in the legal saga if it would help his pursuit of a trade deal with China. What's really going on here? "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what's good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump told Reuters in an interview published shortly after Meng was granted bail by a judge in Vancouver. Her arrest in Canada at the behest of the US seems more like kidnapping, and Trump now saying that the US might intervene if it helps his trade negotiations with China sounds like extortion.
Today, US District Judge William H. Pauley III sentenced President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen to three years in prison and ordered Cohen to pay nearly $2 million in penalties for financial crimes and lying to Congress. Cohen pleaded guilty in two separate cases. One was brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, over Cohen's lies to Congress. The other was brought by federal prosecutors in New York over tax and bank fraud allegations and campaign finance violations. In a court filing asking for no jail time, Cohen's attorneys wrote that their client's misdeeds were a product of his "fierce loyalty" to Trump and put the wrongdoing squarely at the feet of the president and his close advisers. This is a much different guy than the brash and arrogant one we saw on TV early on in this game. Trump at first denied knowing anything about the payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, but then acknowledged that he had known about them. This week, he insisted that the payments were "a simple private transaction" — not election-related spending subject to campaign finance laws. He also maintained that even if the hush money payments were campaign transactions in violation of election regulations, that should be considered only a civil offense, not a criminal one.
The Senate was expected to vote today on a resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. It looks as though that vote won't take place until tomorrow. If successful, it would represent a significant shift for the Senate, which in March pigeonholed the same measure. So, where are we now with this Senate piece? The resolution, spearheaded by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), requires Trump to withdraw any troops in or "affecting" Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda. Is this a loophole? The vote comes after 14 Republicans, including Bob Corker (R-TN), voted to kick the resolution out of the Foreign Relations Committee late last month. Several of those senators, however, said they were advancing the measure to send a message to Saudi Arabia, not because of the substance of the measure. Also, Yemeni government sources confirmed today that a mass prisoner swap with the Houthis included Saudi soldiers fighting alongside state troops, as UN-brokered peace talks neared their end.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
Dr. Hisham H. Ahmed — Professor in the Department of Politics at Saint Mary's College of California.
Mac Hamilton — Executive manager at STAND: The Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities.
We'd love to get your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org