Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (May 28, 2017)

While Trump was busy stirring up controversy on his first international trip as president, the ongoing Russian probe seeps into the family.

Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (May 28, 2017)

Since the day Donald Trump was elected president, it seems like there’s been a new controversy for every day of the week. But over the last few weeks, the highly scrutinized White House has descended deep into a giant political shitstorm centered around the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russia. As the Donald took off for his first international trip as president this past week, suspicion from the intensifying Russian investigation has finally found its way to the Trump family. With a never-ending barrage of breaking news flooding the airwaves, it’s tough to keep track of everything the president and his cronies have been up to. To help keep you informed, we’ve compiled a quick recap of the latest happenings in Trump’s America.        

Trump Plays Bully On International Stage

  • Afterwards, Trump met with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom for the Group of 7 (G7) summit in Italy. Although the president reluctantly backed a pledge to help fight against protectionism, he refused to endorse the global Paris climate change agreement that aims to curb global carbon emissions. Trump claimed that he needed more time to decide, but reports are already surfacing that he told Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, that he plans to pull the U.S. out of the monumental pact. On top of that, Trump is receiving criticism for riding around in a golf cart while the six other G7 leaders walked 700 yards together to take a group picture, giving credence to the reports of his isolated and boorish attitude.

Kushner’s Questionable Russian Connection

FBI Russian Probe Continues to Gain Traction

  • Prior to the recent accusations leveled against Kushner, the Russian investigation seemed primarily focused on Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn. The disgraced advisor was fired after the public learned about his failure to disclose financial ties with foreign entities from Turkey and Russia. Since then, Flynn’s request for immunity has been rejected by Congress, and the disgraced General decided to invoke the 5th amendment and declined to comply with a Senate Intel committee subpoena ordered against him

  • On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the former Alabama Senator who has advocated for a strict crackdown on  legal cannabis, had also failed to disclose meeting he had with Russian officials last year. Reports claim that Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times, and failed to note those interactions on a form that required him to divulge personal contacts with foreign governments over the past seven years.

  • According to congressional officials, a Russian oligarch with business ties to Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Oleg V. Deripaska, recently offered to cooperate with Congress's investigation into Russian meddling. However, lawmakers have declined his request for full immunity.

  • Although there was no highly touted testimony from former FBI Director James Comey or former acting Attorney General Sally Yates this past week, former CIA director John Brennan shared some interesting insight before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. The former intelligence chief candidly told lawmakers that back in 2016, he reviewed evidence of “contacts and interactions” between Russian actors and the Trump campaign. Brennan also added that he was “convinced” that Russia was aggressively engaged in an effort to interfere in the U.S. election, concluding that the FBI’s investigation is sufficiently justified.  

The President’s Big Mouth Gets Him Into Trouble

  • While the president grows weary of leaks coming from within his administration, Trump is having just as much trouble keeping his own foot out of his mouth. At the start of the week, reports surfaced that Trump had asked two of the country’s top intelligence officials to help him push back against the FBI’s Russia investigation. Both Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, refused to comply with the president’s request, that could hint at a possible attempt to obstruct justice.   

  • Just a week after being accused of sharing classified information with visiting Russian diplomats in the Oval Office, Trump told Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, that the U.S. had two nuclear submarines stationed off of the Korean peninsula. The top secret information was shared during a phone call that took place in April and alarmed Pentagon officials. Duterte has been under international scrutiny for his harsh anti-drug stance that has led to the killing of almost 9,000 Filipinos. Instead of criticizing his counterpart’s harsh and violent laws, Trump instead congratulated him for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem."  

As Trump Grabs Headlines, GOP Rams Agenda Through Congress

  • With all eyes focused on the president’s international travels, the GOP-controlled Congress has been moving silently to implement their agenda. Among the controversial legislation being worked on is Trump’s budget plan, a package of massive tax cuts for businesses and households that the White House has promised will spark growth throughout the country. But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney don’t seem to agree on how the administration prepares to pay for these alarming cuts.The administration has included an estimated $2 trillion tax revenue increase in the budget plan, but have apparently planned to allocate that money to both tax cuts and toward paying down the deficit, drawing criticism from Democrats and economists alike.

  • Additionally, the Trump budget plan is expected to include $800 billion worth of cuts to Medicaid, the federal program that ensures healthcare to over 70 million low-income Americans. These cuts assume that the GOP health care bill is passed in the Senate and implemented into law.

  • Speaking of health care, GOP members of the Senate have reportedly been preparing their rework of the House health care bill in private without any experts involved. The Republican party has shunned Senate Democrats from these meetings, and seem determined to work as slyly as possible while all of the media attention is fixed on Trump. As for the health care bill that passed in the lower chamber, The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated that the House-approved American Health Care Act act would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health insurance by 2026.

  • Trump’s controversial travel ban has continued in its struggles against the judicial branch. On Thursday, the Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the executive order that would ban travellers from six countries, stating that they were “unconvinced” that the ban was more about national security than a religious ban on Muslims.

  • This past week, Montana held a special election between Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist for the state’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The day before the election, Gianforte reportedly assaulted a reporter from The Guardian named Ben Jacobs for asking about the recent CBO report on the GOP health care repeal. The Republican candidate has been accused of body slamming Jacobs and punching him while screaming “I'm sick and tired of this!” Despite attacking a member of the press before election day, Gianforte went on to beat Quist by a 5-percent margin, showcasing the GOP's relentless grip on the middle of the country.   

Written on May 28, 2017 by

Tyler Koslow

Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.