Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did Last Week (July 25th, 2017)
From Sean Spicer’s resignation to Kushner’s limp assertion that he did “not collude” with Russia, the past week has been packed full of controversies for Trump’s increasingly unstable administration.
Published on July 25, 2017

Last week, Donald Trump desperately tried to woo the country’s attention away from the ensuing Russian probe and back onto his divisive agenda by announcing “Made in America Week.” This seven-day celebration sought to showcase homemade products from each of the 50 states, but the president and his administration were unable to shake the pressure that has mounted from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. As the president has tried to intimidate the former FBI director in an attempt to keep him from peering too closely into his financial and political affairs, the continuous downpour of information continues to paint Trump in a damning light. Below, we've gathered a handful of updates from over the past week that continue to underscore just how insane the 45th president's adminstration truly is.

Russian Roulette: Kushner & Trump Jr. to Testify, Putin Meets Trump in Secret

  • In what has come to be expected from this bizarre political climate, the past few days revolved around the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government. Last week, Donald Trump Jr. set headlines ablaze after he released an email exchange that essentially spilt the beans about a secret Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer that took place in June 2016. According to the subject header of the email, the secret gathering was scheduled so that the Trump campaign could receive damaging information about his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Slowly but surely, the media has identified the eight different people who were in attendance, including one mystery person. The eighth participant was revealed to be Ike Kaveladze, who attended as a representative of Aras and Emin Agalarov, the father-and-son Russian developer duo that has long standing business ties with Trump.

  • It seems likely that this coming week will also come equipped with a few bombshell stories, seeing as three of Trump’s closest advisors are preparing to testify before Congress. This week, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his son Trump Jr., and former campaign manager Paul Manafort will take the stand at a private hearing before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, which will focus on the aforementioned meeting with the Russian lawyer who promised incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

  • Earlier this week, Kushner released an 11-page opening statement attempting to exonerate himself from the administrative clusterfuck, writing “I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.” However, the public statement also offered insight into four key meetings involving Russian foreign nationals, many of which shared details that contradict previous remarks from the White House.

  • While Trump Jr. seems determined to accidentally implicate himself in the Russian investigation, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions has succeeded in looking like the most guilty member of the Trump team. According to conversations intercepted by the U.S. intelligence community, it was discovered that the former Alabama senator held yet another unreported conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sessions has been under fire for failing to disclose his contact with the foreign official, and went on to deny that these meetings had anything to do with the presidential election. However, the intercepted transcripts reveal that Kislyak told fellow officials in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related issues with Sessions, including policy issues deemed important by the Russian government.  

  • Nonetheless, Mueller's special investigation is casting a wide net that peers beyond those involved with the Trump campaign. This past week, third party candidate Jill Stein became another focal point in the congressional probe into Russian election interference. Investigators reportedly asked Trump Jr. to submit “all communication to, from, or copied to you relating to” a long list of individuals that include Stein's name. The Green Party candidate has vehemently denied her involvement, stating on Twitter that “the notion I communicated with Trump Jr is laughable.”

  • Earlier this month, the president received a massive amount of flack for holding a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. While the timing and secrecy of the interaction was already considered suspect, it appears that the two leaders had another unreported conversation at the global summit. On Tuesday, the White House admitted that Trump held another informal rendezvous with Putin just hours after the two sat down for their first lengthy chat.

Special Counsel Muller Expands Scope of Russian Investigation

  • As more and more information emerges about the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russian officials, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his growing investigative team seem to be quietly putting the pieces together. This past week, it was revealed that the former FBI Director is now examining a broad range of financial transactions involving business dealings between Trump and his associates. The widening purview includes the president’s past involvement in a controversial New York City development project alongside Russian associates, his role with the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, as well as the sale of Trump’s Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch back in 2008.

  • Apparently, the independent investigation seems to be digging up something that Trump would rather keep buried. While Mueller moves closer to discovering the truth, the president’s lawyers have been exploring ways to limit or undercut the special counsel’s probe into Russian. According to sources close to the matter, Trump’s attorney’s have been constructing a case alleging a number of conflicts of interest against the former intelligence chief.

  • Mr. Trump is undoubtedly alarmed by the way this investigation has amplified, so much so that he’s even vaguely threatened to fire Mueller for getting to close to his personal dirt. On Wednesday, during an interview with The New York Times, Trump expressed that Mueller would be crossing a red line if he looked into Trump family finances beyond ties to Russia. The following day, The Washington Post reported that the president became extremely dismayed to learn that the Special Counsel would be allowed to access his personal tax returns, which Trump has refused to release to the public despite constant pressure to do so.  

Pardon Me, I’m The President

  • With Mueller probe breathing down the White House’s neck, Trump seems to be preparing himself for the worst of outcomes. In a shockingly candid way (yes, even for Trump), the president went on yet another Twitter tirade over the weekend, stating that he has the “complete power to pardon” relatives, aides and even himself from the Russian investigation. Just a few days prior, The Washington Post reported that Trump and his advisers had been discussing the possibility of using pardons amid the intensifying special counsel investigation. However, those conversations seemed to be at the forefront of the president’s worried mind, as spilt out his possible intentions in a lengthy social media shitstorm. Check it out below:

A Fond Farewell to Sean Spicer

  • While there have been many contentious and despicable moments that have derived from Trump’s time in the Oval Office, both the press and public always received a bit of comic relief in the form of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Unfortunately, the president’s bumbling spokesman announced that he would be resigning from his position, stating his disagreement with the recent hiring of former New York hedge fund executive Anthony Scaramucci as the administration’s new communications director. Spicer saw his role dissipate over the past month, as he appeared in front of reporters less and less often. Reports state that Trump’s choice to bring Scaramucci onboard was also opposed by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, among others. With this news, we bid a fond farewell to the Spicey Show (as well as Melissa McCarthy’s hilarious impression of him on Saturday Night Live).  

  • There's no doubt that Spicer will sorely be missed by those who tuned in to watch him stumble around question after question, but he isn’t the only member of Trump’s team to jump ship this past week. On Thursday, Mark Corallo, the chief spokesman for the president’s personal legal team, resigned from his post due to growing frustration over disputes within Trump’s inner circle, as well as concerns about whether or not he was being told the truth about certain matters.

  • In addition to the recent resignations, sources claim that Trump has been mulling over whether or not he should fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The president is reportedly still angry at the former Alabama senator for recusing himself from the Russian investigation earlier this year, and has allegedly discussed the dismissal of Sessions with advisors. While the staunch anti-cannabis politician remains on the Trump train for the time being, the president made his frustrations at the A.G. known this past Monday on Twitter. 

Congressional Recap: Health Care Overhaul Fails, Russian Sanctions Passed

  • As the president struggles to navigate his way around Mueller’s investigative eye, the GOP-controlled Congress is putting Trump in a difficult position regarding his alleged Russian relations. Over the weekend, Capitol Hill lawmakers reached an agreement on sweeping sanctions legislation against Russia in response to meddling in the 2016 election and also being overly aggressive towards neighboring countries. The measure would strip away Trump’s ability to modify the current slew of sanctions leveled upon Moscow. The move will force the president into a difficult position; he can either veto the bill and draw accusations that he’s a stooge for Vladimir Putin, or sign the legislation and risk upsetting the foreign adversary.  

  • Despite the fact that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, the party has failed miserably in its attempt to overhaul and replace Obamacare, something they’ve promised to do over the last seven years. After Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced that they would not support the bill last week, two more Republican senators, Sen. Mike Lee (UT) and Sen. Jerry Moran (KS) pulled their support from the measure, effectively killing the replacement bill for the time being. Although the GOP failed to muster up enough votes to jam its measure through Congress, Trump called on his party to repeal the bill now and figure out a replacement later on.

  • Meanwhile, the Democratic party has been fighting to fix the flaws that enabled Donald Trump’s victory back in November. This past week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who has played an instrumental role in the Russian investigation, introduced a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United and increase regulation of campaign contributions and spending.   

  • The president has also found some time to make some diplomatic decisions despite the dark cloud of collusion that looms above the White House. For starters, Trump announced his decision to end a CIA program that was developed to arm and train Syrian rebels that are battling against the country’s cruel president Bashar al-Assad. The plan was originally put in place by the Obama administration to pressure the Syrian leader to step down. Unsurprisingly, Donald’s decision to dismantle the CIA’s covert program was one that Russia has sought and will likely be pleased by. Although the president has seemed set on eroding away the accomplishments of his predecessor, he made an unexpected move by confirming that Iran has complied with the nuclear deal that was previously reached under Obama. Since his time on the campaign trail, Trump has spoken out against the agreement, and even though he preserved the deal for now, he also added in his message to Congress that the Middle Eastern country was also “unquestionably in default of the spirit” of the deal.  

  • The week wrapped up on a sad note after it was reported that Republican Sen. John McCain (AZ) had been diagnosed with brain cancer, causing him to temporarily step away from his seat in the Senate. Doctors discovered the aggressive form of cancer, called Glioblastoma, during a minor operation. The six-term senator’s office announced that his return to Congress will depend on the future diagnosis of his condition. 

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.
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