President Donald Trump’s trade war has claimed its first victim.
Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic aide, said today he will resign in the coming weeks. It is a decision that comes days after Trump’s announcement that he would institute tariffs on steel and aluminum. One person close to Cohn called that a “breaking point” for the aide, POLITICO’s Ben White reports.
Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive and an avowed free trader, lost an important internal battle. As a result, Wall Street lost its biggest ally in the Trump White House.
“Cohn ... plans to stay on for at least a couple of weeks and continue to battle Trump and the White House nationalists to more carefully tailor the tariffs to avoid antagonizing allies and inviting retribution. But he’s given up hope of winning the battle completely, people close to him said.”
Cohn’s resignation has been rumored in the past and he drafted resignation letters last year after Trump’s response to a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va. But now it’s official.
For some White House aides, there’s a fear that Cohn’s departure will mark a return to the helter skelter early days of the Trump administration and further debilitate the White House’s policy apparatus, POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia and Nancy Cook report.
“Some worry the White House could return to the uncontrolled days immediately following Trump’s inauguration, when many West Wing jobs were still unfilled and former strategist Steve Bannon was writing executive orders with policy adviser Stephen Miller, including the disastrous travel ban that was ultimately knocked down by multiple courts.”
Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:
NO FLY ZONE: President Trump so far hasn’t visited American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan — marking a departure from President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.
EXTRA SPECIAL?: Top Republicans are asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate the FBI for overreach and inappropriate practices.
SANC YOU VERY MUCH: President Trump credited tough sanctions on North Korea with the hermit nation’s apparent willingness to negotiate on its nuclear position.
NO CONSPIRACY: A top Health and Human Services official who was suspended for two weeks for promoting conspiracy theories online was allowed to resume his work as the principal deputy assistant secretary for administration.
HATCH JOB: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act by advocating for Roy Moore during last year’s Alabama Senate race.
NUN YOUR BUSINESS: Former Trump aide Samuel Nunberg says he will cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller after all, one day after making a round of interviews promising to not cooperate with his investigation. (The Associated Press)
NOT A BANNON SHIP: Steve Bannon said that he “still loves” President Trump as he spoke in Europe to tout populist movements on the continent.
There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. That was Tuesday of this week in March.