Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (May 21, 2017) - News | MERRY JANE
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Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (May 21, 2017)

With leaks flooding in from every direction, Trump's White House is starting to buckle under the pressure of the ongoing Russian investigation.

by Tyler Koslow

Ever since Donald Trump decided to dismiss FBI Director James Comey about two weeks ago, the president's administration has been rocked by leaks. This past week, The Washington Post and The New York Times seemingly revealed bombshell story after bombshell story, from Trump’s chilling conversations with Comey to his sharing of classified information with Russian officials. With the recent appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to preside over the case as a special prosecutor, the White House walls seem to be crumbling all around Mr. Trump and his cronies. As impeachment seems to grow more possible by the day, it’s critical to stay up-to-date with the latest news regading the Oval Office. Here’s a recap of everything that went down this past week involving the Trump administration.              

Comey’s Paper Trail

  • Unfortunately for Trump, his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey didn’t make the investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia go away. If anything, the jarring dismissal has only intensified scrutiny and led to mounting evidence against the president. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Comey kept a number of memos detailing his meetings with the president, some of which have started to leak out to the press. On Tuesday, it was reported that Trump asked Comey to shut down the FBI investigation on disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn. During the alleged February meeting, Trump called Flynn “a good guy” and urged Comey to “let this go,” raising plausible concerns about obstruction of justice. A couple of days later, the president nervously denied the allegations without much explanation, responding to a reporter’s question on the matter by stating “No. No. Next question.”  

  • Trump’s insistence that the former FBI director drop the Russian investigation wasn’t the only major story pertaining to the Comey memos. According to The New York Times, the president told Comey that he should consider imprisoning reporters for publishing classified information. The alleged statement alarmed journalists across the country, causing The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to respond by publicly stating that the "President doesn't get to jail journalists."

Leaks Flood The White House

  • It turned out that the Comey memos were just the beginning of leak week, as both The Washington Post and The New York Times continued pulling one-two punches on the Trump administration as the week went on. For starters, it was revealed that Flynn told the Trump transition team before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a foreign agent for Turkey. This revelation pokes holes in the administration's argument that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and others were unaware of Flynn’s ties to the Turkish and Russian governments.

  • A private conversation between GOP leaders from back in 2016 also surfaced this past week, proving that the party had been discussing the possibility of Trump being compromised by Russian President Vladimir Putin before he had even cinched the Republican nomination. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made an explosive statement that the then-candidate Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Putin. The recording shows that a handful of lawmakers laughing at the startling comment, prompting McCarthy to respond seriously by saying “Swear to God.” House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately interrupted the conversation, calling on the GOP to keep their concerns private. “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here,” Ryan stated.    

  • As the president becomes consumed with the onslaught of leaks against him and his administration, it seems that he himself has a problem with opening his mouth. During an Oval Office meeting last week with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, US officials claimed that Trump willingly shared classified information with the foreign visitors. It was later revealed that the disclosed material was given to the US by Israel, potentially hindering cooperation between the longtime allied country. Trump had not been given permission to share the material, which reportedly detailed the inner workings of ISIS, with the visiting Russian officials.

  • Reports have also surfaced claiming that Trump told the Russian officials that firing James Comey relieved “great pressure” that has come from the FBI probe. He also called the former FBI director a “nut job,” and added that he was not under investigation. The leaked conversation hints that Comey was fired due to his refusal to end the investigation into Russian election interference, instead of the White House’s explanation that he was dismissed on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for botching up Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.    

  • Additionally, CNN reported that intercepted conversations between Russian officials showed that they were bragging that they could use Flynn to influence Donald Trump and his administration. The news has alarmed a number of US intelligence officials, who fear what Flynn might have shared with Russia while he was acting as Trump’s national security advisor.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller Appointed as Special Prosecutor

  • After Democrats pushed for weeks to get a special prosecutor onboard for the ongoing Russian probe, the Department of Justice finally caved under pressure and put former FBI director Robert Mueller in charge of overseeing the ensuing federal investigation. The appointment will give Mueller full authority to investigate whether Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the election, and also allows him to prosecute any crimes uncovered during the probe. Mueller had led the FBI during the September 11 attack, and has worked under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

  • Just after Mueller was appointed, it seems like the probe is already picking up speed. On Friday, a current White House official was reported to be a significant person of interest in the Russian investigation. This person was later speculated to be Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close advisor, who has previously been under fire for failing to disclose his multiple meetings with Russian officials. Yashar Ali, a contributor to New York Magazine, stated on Twitter that “It’s Jared Kushner. Have confirmed this with four people. I’m not speculating.”  

Comey Set to Testify in Public

  • After the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Comey to testify after he was fired by the White House, the former FBI Director claimed that he would only participate if the hearing was held in public. This past Friday, the committee accepted this request, and have scheduled a hearing for Comey to take place after Memorial Day on May 29. The decision comes after the memos written by the former intelligence community leader were leaked to the media, stacking on top of the other concerning revelations that have stemmed from Trump’s ties to Russia.    

Reactions From a Concerned Congress

Other Happenings in Washington D.C.  

  • While it might seem like the Russian investigation has completely consumed both the media and Washington, D.C. as a whole, there are still other battles being fought on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, a bipartisan bill was introduced to prevent members of Congress from working as lobbyists after they leave their position on Capitol Hill. The legislation is being introduced by Republican Senator Cory Gardner and Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and Al Franken, aiming to stop the so-called "revolving door" practice that allowed Senate and House members to get involved in the lucrative lobbying game.

  • Meanwhile, Franken has also been fighting against the recent vote to kill net neutrality, claiming that “the FCC just took a major step toward destroying the internet as we know it.” Many fear that the new proposal, ironically called “Restoring Internet Freedom," would put the interests of internet providers above the American people and the right to free speech.     

  • Although the Trump administration might have its hands full with the intensifying Russian investigation, this isn’t the only controversy stewing around the president. On Saturday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lambasted Trump for ignoring a court order demanding that the White House release a memo about how to implement the controversial Muslim ban without making it seemed directly aimed at religion. This document was drafted under the guidance of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and was ordered to be turned over by a federal judge in Detroit.

  • Earlier this week, a group of peaceful demonstrators gathered to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to the United States. In a despicable fashion that was captured on film, the protesters were attacked and beaten by members of Erdogan’s security team, causing outrage across the country and in Congress. It was later reported that the Turkish leader had given his detail to command to attack the protesters on U.S. soil, a reprehensible action that Trump has yet to publically acknowledge or speak out against. 

Trump Takes First Presidential Trip Abroad

  • Meanwhile, while the media continues to level leak after leak upon the president’s plate, Trump has been occupied preparing for his first international trip as Commander-in-Chief. He departed on Friday for his first stop in Saudi Arabia, which the U.S. just struck up a $110 billion arms deal with. Back in 2012, Trump criticized former president Barack Obama for appearing to bow when greeting the Saudi king. But video from the first day of his trip shows that Donald might have given a little awkward bow himself, drawing mockery and criticism for his hypocritical tendencies.     


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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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