Friday US briefing: Trump escalates feud with Pelosi amid shutdown

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How the president’s two years in power have changed key US policies … North Korean envoy to meet Pompeo … Democrat takes charge of Flint water crisis investigation

Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

PR stunt. In his letter to Pelosi, Trump wrote that, due to the shutdown, “postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate”. He added: “It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me.”

‘Utterly irresponsible.’ The Democratic House intelligence chief, Adam Schiff, criticised Trump for publicising Pelosi’s travel plan, which would not normally be made public.

Little things. While Trump’s climate change denial and EPA corruption allegations make headlines, it is “the more mundane unspooling of arcane regulations” that is likely to do deeper, long-term damage to the environment, writes Oliver Milman.

Missile strategy. The visit comes a day after Trump unveiled plans for a new US missile defence strategy aimed at deterring attacks by “rogue states” including North Korea.

‘Show trials’. During her 2018 campaign, Nessel described the prosecutions over the Flint crisis as “politically charged show trials” staged by her predecessor, Republican Bill Schuette, who ran for governor and lost to the Democrat, Gretchen Whitmer.

The Sri Lankan president has praised his Philippines counterpart Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs as “an example to the world”. On a visit to the Philippines this week, Maithripala Sirisena said he intended to emulate Duterte’s ruthless strategy.

Authorities in Tokyo are investigating whether a graffiti picture of a rat in the city centre is a genuine Banksy. Meanwhile, a Banksy work found on the side of a garage in Port Talbot, Wales, has just been sold for a six-figure sum.

Israel has accused the Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, of “rabid antisemitism” after he denied visas to Israeli athletes due to compete in a Paralympics qualifying event, to demonstrate his country’s solidarity with Palestine.

The Queen’s 97-year-old husband, Prince Phillip, has escaped unscathed from a car accident on the Sandringham estate. Both he and the driver of the other car involved were breathalysed at the scene and found not to have been drinking, police said.

There are those in politics and in the media who have not learned from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. In Clinton’s and her feminist friends’ appeals to women, they overlooked just how many women’s lives had been damaged by Clinton’s policies.

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