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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Five issues loom large as Trump’s first 100 days tick down

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017. Credit: AP

President Donald Trump completes his first 100 days in office at month’s end. For him, and for now, the biggest topics of public discussion are widely expected to break into five broad areas:

Foreign affairs: By month’s end the impact of Trump’s Syrian intervention and plans regarding North Korea should become apparent. So should his administration’s wider approach to the Mideast. Policies on trade and investment also await fleshing out, as his Florida visit this week from Chinese President Xi Jinping showed.

Taxes: Tax cuts and new revenue raisers are envisioned. Some expect the whole tax code to be overhauled for the first time in three decades.

On the table are lower corporate and individual rates, a tax on imports and a crackdown on long-standing loopholes. The prospect of killing the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal returns would especially affect New York.

Given its complications on a par with health care, revamping tax codes most likely takes time — well past the 100-, 200- or even 300-day mark.

Infrastructure: Trump’s call for a trillion-dollar repair and replacement of roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure still shows no tangibility so far. He’s talked about a public-private partnership on a grand scale. Further word is awaited.

Trump told The New York Times this week: “I’m setting up a commission of very smart people that know how to spend money properly,” to be headed by New York City developers Richard LeFrak and Steve Roth.

But his office reported that three months ago.

White House: Presidential aides have done little or nothing to stanch a stream of reports about serious divisions within the top rungs of the administration. So some time before April is over, the public may know whether adviser Stephen Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus or others will stay in their current posts.

The full effect of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s recently added duties will also become clearer. The exact role of Vice President Mike Pence may also come into sharper public focus.

The big question is whether reports of tension between “nationalists” and “establishment Republicans,” and between campaign loyalists and government professionals, prove significant or overblown.

Russia and leaks: The Trump camp’s claims of wrongdoing by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice regarding surveillance have not stopped congressional and FBI investigations into contacts between the president’s campaign personnel and Russian officials. As with past inquiries about ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, FBI Director James Comey hasn’t issued a hard deadline for completion.


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