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We start today with a possible constitutional clash over President Trump’s border wall and Amazon’s decision to scrap its plans for a campus in New York. The U.S. also has a new attorney general.
President Trump plans to bypass Congress
The president is preparing to declare a national emergency that would let him divert funds to build a wall on the southwestern border, White House officials said, after he agreed to sign a bipartisan spending measure that doesn’t include funding for the wall. He is scheduled to speak from the Rose Garden at 10 a.m. Eastern today.
Mr. Trump’s plan would then be to combine money from other programs with funds included in the spending package that Congress passed on Thursday and that would avert another government shutdown.
The impact: Legal experts said the decision to circumvent Congress would violate constitutional norms and set a precedent of presidents acting unilaterally to achieve their policy goals.
What’s next: Lawmakers could override the emergency declaration, but they most likely wouldn’t have the votes to overcome a presidential veto. They could also challenge the decision in court.
The Daily: Today’s episode is about the dispute.
Amazon’s retreat forces a reckoning in New York
The company’s announcement on Thursday that it was scrapping plans for headquarters in Queens exposed deep disagreements within the Democratic Party in New York and beyond. It also highlighted how cities try to lure wealthy companies with lavish incentives financed by taxpayers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio had promoted the deal, which Amazon said would create 25,000 jobs. But activists and other elected officials, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said the company didn’t deserve nearly $3 billion in tax breaks. Read more about the political fallout.
The background: Polls showed that New Yorkers largely supported the plan, but Amazon learned that “happy customers don’t necessarily translate to political power,” our technology columnist writes.
Europe’s shrinking middle class
Since the recession of the late 2000s, the middle class has shrunk in more than two-thirds of the countries in the European Union. It’s a decline similar to one in the U.S., and while middle-class households are more prevalent in Europe, they face new levels of vulnerability.
Our correspondent reports on the trend from Spain, which made great progress after the financial crisis but where economic uncertainty persists.
Another angle: Germany’s economy barely avoided sliding into a recession in the final quarter of last year, data released on Thursday showed. One reason is the global trade conflict.
Blaming politics, Trump Organization scraps hotel plans
The Trump family business, which faces scrutiny from federal prosecutors and congressional investigators, is shelving plans for two hotel lines.
Eric Trump, who runs the business with his brother Donald Trump Jr., said in a statement on Thursday: “We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in presidential harassment and wasting everyone’s time, barraging us with nonsense letters.”
The details: An ethics code that President Trump was encouraged to adopt has prevented the company from doing new business abroad while he’s in office. In the U.S., the firm has called off plans for a new hotel in the Mississippi Delta.