Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (June 25, 2017)
The Russian investigation looms larger than ever, but don’t let that distract you from the detrimental health care reform that the GOP is trying to sneak through the Senate.
Published on June 25, 2017

It’s been just over five months since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, and not a day has gone by without some sort of controversy (usually self-inflicted) stemming from White House. From the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, to the newly drafted GOP health care bill that could leave millions without insurance, the scandalous nature of this administration has sent the country spinning in a divisive political whirlwind. With the media scrambling to cover every newsworthy moment that arises from Trump and his administration, it can be a tall order to stay fully informed on the latest happenings from inside the Oval Office and GOP-controlled Congress. We’re here to keep you up to speed with a comprehensive recap of everything the president and his team have been up to over the past week.

Reports Prove That President Putin Was Directly Involved in Election Meddling

  • There have been a number of revelations relating to the FBI’s probe into Russia's meddling with the 2016 election, but the most jarring news of the week came in the form of an extensive investigative report by The Washington Post. The lengthy story alleges that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave direct instructions to help Donald Trump get elected, and also showcased the meticulous steps taken by former President Barack Obama to retaliate against the foreign government’s actions. The Post claimed that an official CIA report “captured Putin's specific instructions on the operation's audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.” In response to these findings, Obama jumpstarted a secret program that authorized the deployment of "implants" in Russian networks, but these measures seem to have been undermined by the Trump administration.  

  • In a typical Twitter attack against his predecessor, Trump seemed to unwittingly admit that Russia did in fact meddle in the presidential election. The tweet aimed to criticize Obama for not taking the necessary steps to handle the cyberattacks against the country’s electoral system, but in turn seemed to openly acknowledge the foreign government’s role in getting him elected.

Obstruction of Justice Allegations Against Trump Gain Credibility

  • Not only is Trump reeling from the pressure of the independent investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he’s also been heavily scrutinized over what comes out of his own mouth. Last month, after firing former FBI Director James Comey, the president headed to Twitter to threaten the intelligence chief by claiming that he had “tapes” of their previously held private conversations. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, Comey shared the contents of their meetings in great detail during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, effectively calling the White House’s bluff and pressuring them to release these so-called recordings. This past week, the president suggested that his “tapes” tweet was meant to influence Comey’s testimony before Congress. During an interview on Fox & Friends, Trump stated that by claiming he had recorded the conversations between Comey and himself, the former FBI director’s “story may have changed” during his congressional testimony.

  • Special Counsel Mueller and his team seem to be quite busy digging up the dirt on the Russian matter. Last week, the former FBI Director interviewed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers about their interactions with Trump. According to multiple sources, both intelligence chiefs stated that the president suggested they publicly admit there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. Although they refused to state that Trump gave them direct orders to interfere with the FBI probe, they did describe their interactions as odd and uncomfortable.

  • Before leaving the Oval Office, Barack Obama employed a number of actions to punish Russia for their alleged election meddling, one of which was closing down Russian compounds located in the U.S. On Friday, a CBS News report revealed that officials found destroyed evidence inside these of compounds that would have been useful in Mueller's ongoing investigation.

  • Meanwhile, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has also found himself in the investigative spotlight due to a number of undisclosed meetings he held with Russian diplomats prior to the president's inauguration. His failure to disclose these conversations have caused House Democrats to raise concern over Kushner’s security clearance, claiming that his access to sensitive information should be suspended over his alleged connection with Russia.

White House Stonewalls Media From Reporting on Press Briefings

  • As the constant bombardment of criticism strikes the walls of the White House, the Trump administration has been doing its best to keep the media from doing its job properly. Throughout the week, the press were told that no recording equipment would be allowed in daily press briefings. According to CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, these rules were enforced to keep press secretary Sean Spicer’s “evasive answers” to questions from being documented on tape. In fact, the Trump administration even went so far as to warn reporters not to report on the camera ban put in place during this week’s press briefings.

  • The Trump administration seems to be promoting this type of secrecy in their everyday actions as well. On Thursday, a federal lawsuit was filed by two Washington watchdog groups, both of which accuse Trump and his staffers of breaking federal law by using confidential messaging apps that keep their conversations from entering public records. According to the charges, deleting these messages could be a direct violation of the Presidential Records Act, which states that all internal communications from the White House must be preserved.

GOP Trying to Sneak Healthcare Reform Through Senate

  • While all eyes are centered on the ongoing Russia investigation and obstruction of justice allegations against Trump, a select handful of GOP senators have been working silently behind closed doors to draft up their health care reform bill. In fact, the process has been so secretive that a number of Senate Republicans, including John McCain and Mike Lee, claimed that they weren’t even allowed to see the bill while it was being created. On Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally released a "discussion draft" for the bill, giving Congress little time to look over the legislation before it goes to the floor for a vote "likely next week."

  • However, the bill already seems to be in jeopardy due to differences within the Republican party. On Thursday, Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) came out against the GOP-drafted health care legislation, claiming that it doesn’t go far enough to eliminate the provisions set by the Affordable Care Act. The following day, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) delivered a critical blow to the proposed legislation, stating that he would vote against the measure because it would deprive millions of health care and wouldn’t lower insurance premiums.

  • Now that the details of this health care reform bill have started to surface, it’s becoming quite clear why the GOP was so careful to keep this legislation under wraps. According the MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, the Senate’s Obamacare replacement could cause up to 23 million Americans to lose their insurance. The 142-page proposal would also lower taxes for the wealthy, strip funding from Planned Parenthood, and would lead to drastic Medicaid cuts.  

  • Even before Senate Democrats were allowed to see the health care bill, Trump was at rally in Iowa blaming the party for blocking the measure from passing in Congress. The president has consistently labeled the Dems as obstructionists to his agenda (despite the fact that they hold a minority number of seats in both the House and Senate). “If we went and got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world, we would not get one Democrat vote, because they’re obstructionists. If we came to you and said, ‘Here’s your plan, you’re going to have the greatest plan in history, and you’re going to pay nothing,’ they’d vote against it, folks,” Trump stated at his rally on Wednesday night.  

  • The GOP health care debacle isn’t the only issue being swept under the rug by the presidents and his Republican colleagues. Before he was sworn into office, Trump won over a bunch of supporters by boasting that he “saved” jobs at the manufacturer Carrier, stopping from going overseas through $7 million in incentives spread over 10 years. However, more than 600 employees at the Indianapolis-based facility are now preparing to be laid off next month, as the company apparently took the money from that deal and invested it into automation.  

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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