Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (March 5, 2017)
Despite nearly derailing itself on a daily basis, the Donald Trump crazy train keeps rolling on into March.
Published on March 5, 2017

As Donald Trump and his cronies takes the country on a reckless joyride teetering on the edge of authoritarianism, the unhinged president and his administration seem to be breaking at the seams. This past week, we’ve seen the President’s shady connections with Russia become stronger, more private email server controversy with Vice President Mike Pence (sound familiar?), Trump’s mostly phony address to Congress, and more. Needless to say, it’s critically important that you keep yourself up-to-date with every destructive and divisive move made by the Trump administration. That’s why MERRY JANE is bringing you a recap of every blow delivered by the orange-tinted demagogue and his swamp buddies.  

The Russian Affair

  • Just a few weeks after former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign due to his illegal discussion with a Russian official about U.S. sanctions, the administration’s ties with the Vladimir Putin-led country is as worrisome as ever. Earlier this week, it was revealed that U.S. District Attorney Jeff Sessions had spoken with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice last year, while he was still serving as Alabama’s Senator.

  • During his confirmation hearing back in January, while under oath, Sessions vehemently denied being in contact with the Russian government during the height of the country’s alleged interference with the U.S. election. But reports recently showed that the then-Senator had two private meetings with Kislyak, both of which he did not disclose. Thus far, Sessions has defended himself by stating that he did not remember in detail what was discussed with the Russian ambassador.

  • On Thursday, Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russia after heeding the recommendation to step away from the Justice Department. The decision, clearly a result of the exposed conversations from a couple of days prior, reportedly infuriated Trump. On Saturday morning, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted that Trump left the White House "in a fury" due to Sessions decision to recuse himself. The President’s temper tantrum follows suit with his tendencies to lash out anytime Russia is mentioned in connection to him.

  • Many Democrats have collectively called for Sessions to resign from his position as U.S. District Attorney, citing that he lied under oath during his confirmation hearing. The call to step down has been spearheaded by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who stated that “AG Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign.”   

  • In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is also pushing for an investigation into whether or not Sessions perjured himself during the confirmation hearing.   

  • Sessions isn’t the only member of Trump’s team under fire for taking part in undisclosed communication with Russia. It was also revealed that Trump’s son-in-law and high-ranking senior advisor Jared Kushner had also taken part in meetings with Mr. Kislyak alongside former National Security Advisor Flynn. While it’s technically not illegal for transition team members to speak with foreign officials, his role in the discussions will likely be scrutinized by the FBI during their ongoing investigation on Russia’s potential interference in the recent election.

  • While you would think that this investigation is something any country-loving politician could get behind, well, the GOP continues to tow their slimy party line. House Democrats have called on the Department of Justice to share the information gathered on the Russian investigation and potential ethics violations by Trump. But Republican lawmakers struck the motion down, keeping the investigation hidden from the House and public.

The Fight for Legal Marijuana Rights

  • After Sessions came out with spine-chilling remarks about an intensified crackdown on recreational cannabis last week, the resulting outrage seems to have the administration second-guessing their war against legalized marijuana. On Monday, the leading law enforcer correlated statewide legalization with an increase in violent crime, and that those states could be susceptible to strict federal enforcement. But Sessions also backtracked a bit on his tough stance, stating that “We're going to look at it...and try to adopt responsible policies."

  • Regardless of Trump’s plan of attack on legalized cannabis, the recently formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus remains certain that they will “prevail” against the U.S. Department of Justice’s potential crackdown on marijuana.

  • Although the pro-cannabis government organization has a positive outlook on the future of legalization, the harsh position taken by Sessions has caused pot stocks to suddenly dip in both the recreational and medical market. The widespread panic has already caused glaring losses for businesses that build and lease property to marijuana cultivators.  

  • With all the hoopla about cannabis persecution, a light appeared at the end of the gloomy tunnel when federal lawmakers announced that the DOJ will focus on stopping drug cartels, not legal marijuana commerce. According to Republican members of Congress, Sessions has privately expressed that he intends to stick to former President Obama’s hands-off approach on state-approved cannabis.  

Trump’s First Congressional Address: Presidential or Mental?

  • This past week, Trump held his first-ever Congressional Address, a speech that was surprisingly commended by some pundits and questioned by more seasoned journalists. Instead of addressing the laundry list of controversies that have built up during his first month-and-a-half as Commander-in-Chief, Trump instead reverted back to his divisive campaign rhetoric, while also asking Congress to end their “trivial fights” and work together and compromise on various policies, particularly with immigration.

  • Despite his surprisingly coherent speech to Congress, The Center for American Progress reported that out of the 61 statements Trump made during the address, 51 of them were considered to be flat out incorrect or drastically misleading.    

But...But...Her Emails!

  • Throughout last year’s election, there was no escaping discussion of Hillary Clinton and her illegal private email server, a point that Trump constantly used to push himself ahead during his campaign for the presidency. But it seems like Trump administration is now having some email problems of its own. On Thursday, it was revealed that during his stint as Indiana’s governor, Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct public business, including homeland security matters. Using an AOL email account, Pence discussed a wide range of highly sensitive topics, raising serious concern from cyber-security experts.

  • On top of that, Trump’s highly controversial cabinet member Scutt Pruitt, the director of the Environmental Protection Agency, also used a private email to conduct state business while he was attorney general in Oklahoma. The reports contradict Pruitt’s testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month, where he claimed that he had never done such a thing during his political career. Republicans, in a typical fit of hypocrisy, have largely remained silent on the issue thus far.       

Protecting (White) Americans From “Carnage”

  • Trump has made it a point to expose crimes committed by illegal immigrants, so much so that he’s decided to have the Department of Homeland Security launch a new immigration crime agency. The office, called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), will publish an extensive list of crimes committed by so-called “aliens." The announcement, which took place during his recent Congressional Address, was followed by bringing four U.S. citizens on stage that have been victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

  • But when it comes to hate crimes committed by white extremists, Trump has completely avoided the issue altogether. Outrage ensued this past week due to the president’s silence after a racially-charged shooting in Kansas killed 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured two others. The attacker, a 51-year-old man named Adam Purinton, reportedly mistook the men for Muslims and shouted “get out of my country” before opening fire.    

Dear Trump, Show Us Your Damn Tax Returns

  • In the ongoing fight to get Trump to release his tax returns, a couple of Republicans have bravely broke with party lines by calling on the President to show his highly suspect financial information. House Republicans Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) came out to support the Democratic effort to request copies of President Trump’s tax returns.

  • Unfortunately, those two Republicans are vastly outnumbered by the 229 party members who voted to to block a resolution that would have forced Trump to turn his tax returns. The President is the first in decades to refuse to release his returns, citing that an ongoing audit by the IRS is the reason he continues to conceal his shady financial information.

No Evidence Needed: Obama Wiretapping

  • In a hilariously baseless claim this past weekend, Trump accused former President Obama of wiretapping the phones in the Trump Tower back in December. Although there is absolutely no evidence to back up Trump’s allegation, he went on a Twitter rampage to blame Obama for setting up the recent controversy involving Russia and his administration.

War Against Freedom of Press & Protest Intensifies

Stirring Trouble Around the Globe

  • European Union: The United States' longstanding refusal to allow citizens from five specific European countries to visit without an approved visa has caused EU lawmakers to call for the same restrictions on Americans. Currently, citizens of Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, and Cyprus are required to obtain visas before entering to the U.S., which could lead to similar enforcement on American tourists over the next couple of years.

  • Peru: Standing up to Trump’s controversial plan to build a border wall across the America-Mexico border, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told the president during their first official meeting that he prefers building “bridges to walls." He also took a strong stance against Trump’s “America First” rhetoric. While other leaders in Latin America have mostly remained silent on the issue, Kuczynski has emerged as an unlikely leader against Trump and his divisive policies.  

  • Canada: As the President continues to ostracize refugees, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants, dozens have started to migrate to Canada in search of a safe-haven. Reporter Justin Giovannetti and photographer Ian Willms recently followed 22 asylum seekers as they crossed the American border into Canada due to fears that Trump’s increased immigration security will lead to deportation.   

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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