ALL CAPS: President Trump blows up at Iran; Trade travails; and NASA’s birthday

  • Iran to the rescue! For days, President Trump has sought to move the spotlight off the Helsinki press conference and onto – well, anything. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, complied, warning that the U.S. would see the “mother of all wars” if it pursued conflict with Iran. Trump tweeted a response – in all caps – warning that Iran would suffer “CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED” if he continued to threaten the U.S. Good times!
  • The Iran imbroglio is likely to continue to be a subject of discussion when President Trump travels to the heartland this week to speak with voters. On Tuesday, he heads to Kansas City for the VFW national convention, then on Thursday he travels to Debuque, Iowa and Granite City, Illinois. In both places, the president is likely to hear some concerns about his recently launched trade war from manufacturers and farmers.
  • Trade is also expected to be a topic when the president meets on Wednesday with European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is hoping to head off a round of tariffs on foreign cars imported into the U.S.  White House aides who oppose the auto tariffs are worried that the aggressive trade measures will become a political anchor, weighing down the Republic party just as the midterm elections arrive.
  • And when those elections arrive, will they be free from interference by foreign actors? Now that Russia has shown that it can be done, other nations hostile to the U.S. might be planning similar escapades. On Tuesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform looks at “Cyber-Securing the Vote: Ensuring the Integrity of the U.S. Election System.” And on Wednesday, the same committee looks at the GAO’s “High Risk Focus: Cybersecurity,” while a House Homeland Security panel assesses “The State of Federal Cybersecurity Risk Determination.”
  • One prominent think tank that is usually a steadfast supporter of Republican administrations is raising sharp questions about the White House’s trade war. On Tuesday, the Heritage Foundation hosts “Trade Wars Are Bad and America Is Losing: Time to Ditch Section 232 Tariffs.” And on Wednesday, Heritage is back with “The Case for Free Trade.”
  • One of the problems with making a denuclearization deal with North Korea is that there are few windows into that closed society for the American government to see whether appropriate steps are being taken. Another is that the two sides have different ideas of just what is meant by denuclearization. On Monday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts “Verifying Denuclearization: Where Do We Go From Here?”
  • The Senate Banking Committee gets down to brass tacks on Tuesday with nomination hearings on four key financial regulators. The nominees include Elad L. Roisman to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Michael R. Bright to serve as president of the Government National Mortgage Association, better known as Gennie Mae; Rae Oliver to be Inspector General of H.U.D.; and Dino Falaschetti to be director of the Office of Financial Research.
  • Happy Birthday NASA! The space agency is celebrating its 60th anniversary on Monday as current NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and two former administrators address the Center for Strategic and International Studies. On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Rep. Lamar Smith join the Hudson Institute for a look at “The New Era in Space.” Wednesday, a Senate Commerce panel looks at “Destination Mars – Putting American Boots on the Surface of the Red Planet,” and on Thursday, the Federalist Society hosts “Modernizing American Space Policy.”
  • With all of the attention on North Korea and Russia and now Iran, China has gone largely unnoticed – except when they are responding with tit-for-tat trade tariffs. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week will embark on a major look at “The China Challenge,” on Tuesday hosting “Part 1: Economic Coercion as Statecraft.”
  • The four current commissioners of the Federal Communications Commissionwill appear before the Communications and Technology subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday for an oversight hearing, postponed since February, to discuss recent FCC actions, including closing the digital divide, supporting innovation and 5G, and enhancing public safety technologies and alerts.