Despite the constant claims of “winning,” last few weeks have been quite trying for Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. The president has kept busy attacking the mainstream media via Twitter, while Republicans have continued to struggle in passing their highly unpopular health care reform bill.
Now, all eyes have been focused on Mr. Trump’s big trip abroad, as he flew to Europe to take part in the G20 Summit. Although most world leaders put their efforts towards climate change and other worldly issues, the president was busy getting chummy with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the first meeting between the two since Trump was elected. In the face of the intelligence community’s claims that Russia interfered with the 2016 US election, Trump has continued to ignore the allegations.
All in all, it was another week of controversial tweets, undermining American institutions, and embarrassing the country on the international stage. To keep you up-to-date with everything that went down, here’s another gut-wrenching edition of Taking it in the Trump.
Trump Spews Confounding Speech in Poland Prior to G20 Summit
Prior to the highly anticipated G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump made a pitstop in Poland to give a speech to crowds of supporters that were literally being bussed in to cheer for him. In one of the few European countries that have a nationalistic agenda similar to Donald’s, the Polish government also expressed excitement for the U.S. president’s visit. However, unsurprisingly, his speech in Warsaw took a turn when Trump started lambasting the American media and denied Russia’s involvement in interfering with the US election, despite the fact that the intelligence community has unanimously confirmed this. While standing alongside Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, Trump stated, “We want to see fair press. I think it’s a very important thing. We don’t want fake news. By the way, not everybody is fake news, but we don’t want fake news. Bad thing. Very bad for our country."
G20 Summit: Trump and Putin Meet, Ivanka Fills In For Her Father
After his speech in Warsaw, the president headed to Hamburg to meet with world leaders at the G20 Summit. Before the event even began, it was revealed that Trump would be holding a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. To add injury to insult, the highly scrutinized conversation was scheduled around the same time as the working session on energy and climate change. Although the meeting was conducted behind closed doors, Russia’s foreign minister claimed that Trump accepted Putin’s assurances that his country did not meddle in the U.S. presidential election. However, a White House official later refuted this, stating that the president had in fact not accepted the Russian president’s claim as the truth. To make matters worse, Trump even discussed the possibility of forming a cyber security unit with Putin to help prevent election hacking. The president headed to Twitter after the G20 Summit to explain the details of his meeting with the Russian leader.
Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
...and safe. Questions were asked about why the CIA & FBI had to ask the DNC 13 times for their SERVER, and were rejected, still don't....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
...have it. Fake News said 17 intel agencies when actually 4 (had to apologize). Why did Obama do NOTHING when he had info before election?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
At one point during the G20 Summit, the president sent his daughter Ivanka Trump to sit in on working sessions, a highly questionable move that has raised eyebrows and drawn allegations of unethical nepotism. The talk she attended was about issues regarding Africa and immigration, while she also stood front and center for a photo after a session on women and entrepreneurship.
Russia’s Meddling and Trump’s Abetting Rages On
While the president was busy dismissing the intelligence community’s claims that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, the Kremlin continues to commit cyberattacks against American interests. U.S. officials recently confirmed that Russian government hackers intruded into the systems of various American nuclear power and energy companies. Although there is no evidence the hackers breached or disrupted the core systems that control the operations at these nuclear plants, they did break into networks that deal with certain business and administrative tasks.
Although the onslaught of undisclosed meetings between the Trump team and Russian officials seems to have simmered down over the last month or so, another report has surfaced this past week that shows more possible evidence of collusion. The New York Times reported that after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his son Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer that has close ties to the Kremlin. The previously unrevealed meeting was also attended by former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, both of whom have been focal points of the special counsel's investigation into Russia’s connection with the Trump campaign.
Trump's Intensified War Against The Media
Last week, the president went on a scathing and completely uncalled for Twitter rampage against Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC's show Morning Joe. Now, Trump is trying to use his clout to force CNN to stop covering his actions in an unfavorable light. As the news network’s parent company Time Warner is in the midst of an $85 billion merger with AT&T, White House advisers have discussed using their leverage to block the business deal unless CNN eases up on their coverage of Trump. While the president has been at odds with CNN since the election, constantly labeling them as “fake news,” the battle has escalated after the Commander-in-Chief retweeted a video depicting him pummeling a wrestler with the CNN logo superimposed over his face. The original video was taken from Trump's appearance at WWE's WrestleMania in 2007.
Country Battles Back Against Trump Administration Policy
Thankfully, many of the president’s unfavorable actions have been met with heavy opposition from the state and judicial level. After Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is also now the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, requested sensitive voter data from all 50 states, 44 of them have refused to fully comply with the committee's requests. The commission was created through an executive order back in May after Trump made the baseless accusation that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election. The new council is seeking various information on voters, including full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, the last four digits of their social security numbers, a list of the elections they voted in since 2006, and more.
On Thursday, 18 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her delay of implementing regulations that aim to protect federal student loan borrowers that are defrauded by their schools. These states accuse DeVos of illegally delaying regulations that aim to make it easier for defrauded student loan borrowers to seek debt forgiveness from predatory colleges. This directive was finalized by Obama and scheduled to go into effect starting July 1, but the Trump administration has delayed it thus far.
This past week, Hui Chen, a leading corporate crime watchdog in the Justice Department, resigned from her position with the Trump administration. The former Pfizer and Microsoft lawyer and federal prosecutor claimed that she felt unable to enforce ethics laws against companies while the president and his cronies have been engaging in conduct that she would never tolerate from others. Although she quietly slipped away from the department back in June, Chen recently broke her silence in a scolding LinkedIn post that called out the behavior of the Trump administration.
The Remainder: What Else Has Trump Been Up To This Past Week?
Outside of Trump’s international travels and the Russian collusion investigation, there were a number of other noteworthy headlines regarding the president this past week. For starters, old court documents that were recently discovered show that the real estate mogul exploited undocumented Polish workers to help demolish an old building where the Trump Tower currently stands. The transcript and court brief were part of a lawsuit filed in 1983 by a union worker who accused Donald of taking advantage of undocumented labor, refusing to address unsafe working conditions and unfair wages. The workers also alleged that the now-president also threatened to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and have them deported. Although these documents were previously believed to have been lost, they may soon be made available to the public pending approval from a lower court judge.
Finally, the president is continuing to throw low-income Americans under the bus with his controversial budget cuts. This time around, Trump is proposing the elimination of heating aid, stating that this critical program is both unnecessary and rife with fraud. The program distributed $3.4 billion to about 6 million households during the past year, and is expected to be met with opposition in Congress.