Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (May 14, 2017) - News | MERRY JANE
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Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (May 14, 2017)

This may have been the most explosive week in the Trump White House to date.

by Tyler Koslow

Since Donald Trump was inaugurated back in January, it feels as if each week comes equipped with another shocking revelation or potentially unconstitutional executive order. While we’ve certainly had a fair share of unprecedented moves by the president and his administration, the past few days have truly taken things to a whole new level. Just as the ongoing investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia escalated on the heels of a public testimony from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, the president announced that he was dismissing FBI Director James Comey from his duties. The sudden decision has sent a shockwave through an already unstable Congress, causing the GOP to scramble while the Democrats cry foul play. Needless to say, it’s been a hectic time in Trump’s White House, and we’re here to keep you up-to-speed with every happening from the past week.         

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

  • On Tuesday, Trump announced that he was firing FBI Director James Comey based on a recommendation by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The reason given for the dismissal was grounded on the intelligence agency leader’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, claiming that he treated the former Democratic nominee unfairly. However, Democrats and fellow FBI agents reject this notion, instead believing that Comey was fired because he refused to end the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s campaign team and Russia.  

  • In a bizarre letter that was hand-delivered to Comey’s office, the president felt it was necessary to mention that he was not under investigation for ties to Russia. “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote.  

  • Shortly after the startling termination, it was revealed that Comey had requested more prosecutors and additional personnel to help speed up the FBI’s investigation just a few days before he was fired. This is considered the first clear-cut sign that the intelligence agency felt that they needed more firepower to handle this probe. Although there’s no evidence that this request to the Justice Department played a role in Comey’s dismissal, the suspicious timing has certainly raised eyebrows in Congress.

  • Reports also surfaced that during a dinner between Trump and Comey back in January, the president questioned whether or not the former head of the FBI would pledge his loyalty to him. Comey denied to make that promise, which he believes played a factor in his recent dismissal. According to Trump, the question of loyalty was never raised during the meeting, and that Comey told him that he was not under investigation. These rumblings about the pair’s dinner conversations has apparently startled the president, who threatened Comey through Twitter about having a possible recording of the discussions they held.

Yates and Clapper Testify; Trump’s Russian Paper Trail

  • Although the firing of Comey conquered the headlines throughout the week, there were other important happenings with the ongoing Russian investigation. For starters, on May 8, former acting attorney general Sally Yates and former director of national intelligence James Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. All eyes were on Yates, who was reportedly fired by Trump for refusing to implement his controversial Muslim ban back in February. The highly respected official revealed that she had told the White House that disgraced former national security advisor Michael Flynn was potentially compromised by the Russian government. According to Yates, the now-fired advisor stayed in the White House for 18 days after she provided this information to the Trump team, raising questions about whether they took Flynn’s unorthodox connection with Russia seriously.

  • While the Democrats who questioned Yates and Clapper were directly focused on the investigation into Flynn and the Trump administration, the Republicans were completely consumed with trying to find out how the former national security advisor was ousted. Some GOP members used their time to accuse Yates of going beyond her boundaries to prevent Trump’s executive order travel ban from going into effect. One memorable moment involved the former acting attorney general and Sen. Ted Cruz, who tried to intimidate her by citing a statute that gives the president the right to control which “aliens” are allowed into the country. After he also argued that Trump’s travel ban was approved by the Office of Legal Counsel, Yates diffused his tactic by pointing to a “further provision” of the law he had presented, which states that “no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality, or place of birth.”     

  • During the testimony, it was discovered that Yates was dismissed from her position the day after she offered evidence on Flynn to the White House. Although it’s assumed that she was fired for refusing to uphold the Muslim ban, the revelation raises other possibilities for her termination. She warned officials that Flynn had been compromised and “could be blackmailed” by Russia, but Trump found it more urgent to fire her than his potentially traitorous advisor.    

  • Just hours before Trump fired FBI Director Comey, it was revealed that federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Flynn. These court orders were written to acquire business records that relate to the ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year's election. These investigators are looking into how Flynn unlawfully failed to disclose payments from clients tied to both the Russian and Turkish government.      

  • As if Trump could make the situation even more sketchy, he followed up his FBI shakeup by meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov just one day after the controversial decision to dismiss Comey. A Russian state news photographer snapped a photo of a smiling Trump shaking hands with Lavrov, which was soon posted on Twitter without the knowledge of the White House. One Trump official claims that they were “tricked” by the visiting foreign country. The Russian official Lavrov was also videotaped joking about the FBI Director getting fired while he was with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

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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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