Here’s What You Missed in American Politics


Be it President Trump’s decision to reinstate the June 12 meeting with North Korea or more tariffs for American allies, here are six of the biggest stories in politics this week. (And links if you’d like to read further.)

It’s on again: President Trump rescheduled the summit meeting with North Korea on June 12.

The president, who canceled a planned summit meeting a week ago, made the announcement after meeting a top North Korean envoy and receiving a personal letter from Mr. Kim.Published OnCreditImage by Tom Brenner/The New York Times

President Trump said on Friday that the summit meeting with North Korea on June 12 in Singapore had been rescheduled after a week of meetings and scrambling between American and Korean officials.

The president made the announcement after a North Korean envoy, Kim Yong-chol, personally gave him a letter from Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. Mr. Trump said he had not yet opened the letter, but felt the meeting — “really a get-to-know-you kind of a situation,” he said afterward — went well.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim Yong-chol, one of the highest-ranking North Korean officials, on Thursday in New York and had expressed optimism this week about the potential talks.

But that same day, Kim Jong-un met with a top Russian official, Sergey V. Lavrov, in North Korea. Mr. Lavrov’s welcome in Pyongyang, the capital — and the invitation he brought from President Vladimir V. Putin for Mr. Kim to visit Moscow — was a reminder that competing powers could still upend efforts to hold the summit meeting.

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The president renewed his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions — as he bypassed the usual Justice Department protocols to issue another pardon.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump during the wreath-laying ceremony on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

Mr. Trump again attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, posting on Twitter that he wished he had selected another lawyer to lead the Justice Department. The attacks came after The New York Times reported how Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Sessions last year to reverse his recusal from the special counsel’s investigation.

This week, Mr. Trump also pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author, commentator and filmmaker who pleaded guilty in 2014 to illegal campaign contributions. He said on Thursday he was contemplating leniency for former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, Democrat of Illinois, and Martha Stewart, the lifestyle mogul.

In flexing his power to issue pardons, the president could potentially offer more clemency to people convicted of crimes that parallel charges that have been made or mentioned in connection with allies of Mr. Trump in recent weeks. He also bypassed the traditional Justice Department protocols for issuing pardons and clemency.

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The administration announced its intention to enforce tariffs on China and American allies, including the European Union.

The United States announced it would impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from allies like the European Union, Canada and Mexico. CreditLukas Schulze/Getty Images

Mr. Trump, stung by criticism that he had gone soft on China, said on Tuesday that the United States would proceed with tariffs and other punitive measures on the country. The tariffs, which include 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, are to be imposed by the end of the month.

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Days later, the Trump administration announced that it would enforce heavy steel and aluminum tariffs on some of its closest allies. The European Union, Canada and Mexico, which now face 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, drew up retaliatory measures in part to target areas of the United States where Mr. Trump enjoys the strongest support.

The decision came after months of uncertainty about exemptions and whether American officials would follow through with an aggressive trade tactic.

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Despite concerns about tariff retaliations, the economy is still doing well.

The net increase of 223,000 jobs reflected healthy gains in a broad range of industries, like manufacturing, transportation, health care and retailing.CreditSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The United States economy had its strongest job gains since February, according to numbers released on Friday by the Labor Department.

In May, 223,000 jobs were added (higher than Wall Street’s expectation of about 190,000) and the unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, down from 3.9 percent in April and the lowest since early 2000.

Before the numbers were made public, Mr. Trump broke with protocol and posted on Twitter about the jobs report. The language in his Twitter post seemed to signal notable gains, and economists said they were stunned at the prospect of Mr. Trump offering hints about the report’s content that could affect the markets and trading.

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Two TV stars faced backlash over offensive remarks, but the consequences for each differed.

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Roseanne Barr posted a comment about Valerie Jarrett, a black woman who was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.CreditJordan Strauss/Invision, via Associated Press

Roseanne Barr, whose ABC sitcom had attracted high ratings and personal praise from Mr. Trump, had her show canceled Wednesday after she posted a racist remark on Twitter about Valerie Jarrett, a black woman who was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

But when Mr. Trump weighed in on the backlash, he focused instead on the apology that ABC officials made to Ms. Jarrett and did not condemn the tweet. It is not the first time the president has found equivalence or diverted attention when confronted with divisive events.

A day later, Samantha Bee, a comedian on TBS, apologized for using a vulgar epithet to describe Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, on her show. But while TBS also offered an apology, the network did not take disciplinary action against Ms. Bee.

The difference in consequences offered conservatives a new opportunity to criticize the news media for what they described as a liberal bias.

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With more primaries this month, Mr. Trump has begun to campaign more frequently for midterm elections.

President Trump at a rally on Tuesday in Nashville. He plans, for now, to campaign where he can have an immediate effect.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

Mr. Trump is planning to focus his midterm campaigning in conservative states with competitive Senate races where he has strong support and can take advantage of his star power. On Tuesday, that strategy was evident as he campaigned in Nashville on behalf of Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, who is running to succeed Senator Bob Corker.

Republican officials are hoping the president can motivate core Republican supporters without encouraging Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans to go to the polls and vote against Mr. Trump and his chosen candidates.

And Mr. Trump, who has flaunted his outsider appeal in Washington, has declined to endorse the insurgent conservatives looking to challenge Republican incumbents in primary fights. He has instead publicly sided with every incumbent Republican senator.

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