Quick Takes: Trump’s National Security Strategy Ignores Climate Change

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Today Trump issued his national security strategy. The most important part was what’s missing.

Going against scientific findings as well as the advice of his own military and intelligence agencies, President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled a national security strategy that omits global climate change as a threat to U.S. interests.

Trump’s security doctrine is in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s strategy, which in 2015 elevated climate change to a top “strategic risk” to the U.S., along with a “catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland or critical infrastructure” and other potential developments.

Whereas former president Barack Obama’s national security strategy contained 19 instances of the term “climate change,” Trump’s has zero, although there are 4 uses of the word “climate.”

* Given the way Trump and his legal team are fueling the attacks on Mueller’s investigation, this should be interesting:

President Donald Trump’s private lawyers are slated to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller and members of his team as soon as [this] week for what the President’s team considers an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of the next steps in Mueller’s probe, according to sources familiar with the matter.

While the lawyers have met with Mueller’s team before and might again, the sources believe the upcoming meeting has greater significance because it comes after the completion of interviews of White House personnel requested by the special counsel and after all requested documents have been turned over. Mueller could still request more documents and additional interviews. No request to interview the President or the vice president has been made, sources tell CNN.

* With all the focus on the Republican tax bill, there is another budget showdown looming this week.

Republican leaders in both houses of Congress face a sticky situation this week as they try to avert a government shutdown: Each side has promised its members things that will not fly in the other chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) he’d support passage of legislation by the end of the year to prop up Obamacare insurance markets — so long as she votes for tax reform. That addition, however, puts Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in a pickle: His members are loath to be seen as bailing out a health care law they hate.

Ryan, meanwhile, green-lighted a short-term spending strategy that funds the Pentagon but does nothing for Democratic priorities — and suggested House members could leave town to try to “jam the Senate” into accepting their bill. But McConnell needs eight Democrats to pass anything, so the House plan is sure to fail in his chamber.

“Right now, they’re just headed straight off a cliff,” one person familiar with the negotiations said of the House. “[The] Senate’s not likely to jump with them.”

* It looks like McConnell will have one less vote to work with in the Senate.

Republican Sen. John McCain returned home to Arizona after spending several days in a Maryland hospital recovering from side effects from chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer, CBS News has learned. He will spend the holidays with his family and will not be on hand for the final vote on the GOP tax passage expected this week. He’s expected to return to Washington in January.

* When we talk about rural voters, here’s something we should all keep in mind:

The 2016 CDC study of approximately 40,000 suicides reported in the US in 2012 — the most recent year for which statistics are available — showed that the rate for agriculture workers is 84.5 per 100,000. The next occupation most at risk were construction, extraction, installation, maintenance and repair workers who had a suicide rate hovering around the 50 per 100,000 mark. Meanwhile, the suicide rate among American male veterans is 37 per 100,000, according to a 2016 study by the Veterans Affairs department…

…constant pressure of financial ruin and a cultural mindset that you should tough something out rather than seek mental-health treatment all contribute to the problem.

Societal changes, leading to a sense of isolation, are also to blame. It used to be that people knew their neighbors and went to church together while their kids attended the same schools.

“That sense of community — physically, spiritually and culturally — has sort of gone out the door,” Menn said.

* Finally, how can you not love LaBron James?

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.