Chief justice leaves the Republican Party. U.S. Steel Stock Has Dropped 57 Percent. Washington Post to run full-page ad on Khashoggi killing [r/politics, Episode #11]

#1

Chief justice of the California Supreme Court leaves the Republican Party, citing Brett Kavanaugh

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has quietly given up her Republican registration and re-registered as a no-party-preference voter, saying Thursday she had become increasingly uncomfortable with the GOP’s direction nationally and in the state.

In a phone interview with CALmatters, Cantil-Sakauye—who was a prosecutor before becoming a judge 28 years ago and California Supreme Court chief justice in 2011—said she made the final decision to change her registration after watching the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“You can draw your own conclusions,” she said.

Republican Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson appointed Cantil-Sakauye to the trial courts, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her first to an appellate court and then to the California Supreme Court as chief justice.

Until recently, the court had been divided, with four justices appointed by Republican governors and three by Democratic Gov. Brown. Brown’s fourth appointee, Joshua Groban, is expected to be confirmed at a hearing next week.

Decisions during Cantil-Sakauye’s tenure as chief justice, however, have generally conveyed cohesion, with the court regularly issuing decisions that are unanimous or near-unanimous.

#2

U.S. Steel Stock Has Dropped 57 Percent Since Trump’s Tariffs Were Announced

President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs were intended to prop up domestic steelmakers by raising the price of imported steel. American steelmakers were strong advocates for the tariffs and exercised significant influence over their implementation.

How’s all that working out?

As Charlie Bilello, director of research for New York-based Pension Partners, pointed out on Twitter this week, U.S. Steel’s stock price has collapsed by more than 50 percent since early March, when Trump announced plans to place new taxes on imported steel.

Since the tariffs were officially implemented on June 1, U.S. Steel has seen its stock price fall from $37 to less than $21 at noon on Wednesday. The current price represents a 17-month low.

Stock prices are affected by a wide variety of factors, of course, and trade policy is only one of those. Still, the dramatic fall of U.S. Steel’s value in the eyes of investors raises questions about the benefits of Trump’s attempt to boost American steelmakers at the expense of America’s steel-consuming industries, which are forced to pay higher prices due to tariffs.

In other words, if Trump is going to justify believes it is necessary to force automakers like Ford to pay $1 billion annually in tariff-related costs in order to benefit American steelmakers, shouldn’t the benefits of that policy outweigh the costs?

U.S. Steel is hardly alone in seeing its stock price slide despite help from the federal government. Here are the stock prices of five major American steel producers since March 8 of this year.

#3

Washington Post to run a full-page ad on Khashoggi killing

The Washington Post plans to run a full-page ad Friday drawing attention to the death of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, part of a broader push that publisher Fred Ryan told POLITICO would continue “until meaningful action is taken” over Saudi Arabia’s role in the killing.

The ad, which a Post spokesperson said is a precursor to a larger advertising campaign planned for early 2019, features an image of the Saudi journalist with his face illuminated by a candle and reads, “A life is gone. The principles of free expression endure.”

In a year-end memo to staff Wednesday, Ryan blistered the U.S. administration over its efforts to brush past Khashoggi’s killing, which U.S. intelligence believes was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Many people are frustrated and feel betrayed by the Trump administration’s apparent effort to sweep Jamal’s killing under the rug and its failure to stand up for America’s values,” Ryan wrote in the memo. “They can be assured that The Washington Post will not rest until justice is served on those who ordered Jamal’s killing, those who carried it out, and those who continue to try to cover it up.”

#4

Trump Considering Son-In-Law Jared Kushner For Next Chief Of Staff

Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and already an official White House adviser, met with Trump Wednesday about the job, a top Republican close to the White House told HuffPost. He and two others close to Trump or the White House who confirmed Kushner’s interest in the position did so on condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s staffing considerations freely.

Kushner has been pushing his own candidacy with Trump, citing his work on a criminal justice reform package and a claimed ability to work with Democrats, one person said. “I don’t know why he thinks that, when the Democrats are mainly going to be coming after Trump,” the source said.

The White House did not respond to HuffPost’s queries about Kushner’s prospects for the job.

Trump told reporters Thursday that he is down to five finalists. “We are interviewing people now for chief of staff,” he said at a photo opportunity with newly elected governors who were visiting the White House.

Kushner and his wife Ivanka known derisively by White House critics as “Javanka” face considerable opposition from both inside and outside the West Wing because of concerns about nepotism as well as worries about Kushner’s judgment. He has had to repeatedly file addendums to his financial disclosure forms since joining the White House. More recently, he has become a strong advocate for the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman who U.S. intelligence agencies believe ordered the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi after luring him to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.