US Politics in Trump era
hen the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.
Immediately after signing the historic $2 trillion coronavirus aid package, President Trump sought to curb oversight provisions in the bill by asserting presidential authority over a new inspector general’s office.The move could presage a major battle between the White House and Capitol Hill as the Trump administration moves to implement the new law.
The emergency coronavirus legislation that the Senate agreed to on Tuesday can only be described as an outrage. It is not an economic rescue package, but a sentence of unprecedented economic inequality and corporate control over our politics that will resonate for a generation.
In her floor speech in the House today, before the chamber votes on the $2.2 trillion relief bill, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a self-described democratic socialist, said the legislation was "shameful" and laced with "greed."
President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic sparked uproar and alarm among governors and mayors on Sunday as Trump and his administration’s top advisers continued to make confusing statements about the federal government’s scramble to confront the crisis, including whether he will force private industry to mass produce needed medical items.
President Trump was getting ready to declare the coronavirus a “national emergency,” but inside the White House last Thursday, a tense debate erupted among the president and his top advisers on a far different subject: whether the United States should escalate military action against Iran, a longtime American rival that has been devastated by the epidemic.
The Trump Department of Justice has asked Congress to craft legislation allowing chief judges to indefinitely hold people without trial and suspend other constitutionally-protected rights during coronavirus and other emergencies, according to a report by Politico’s Betsy Woodruff Swan.
While the president says he wants to help Americans workers through the coronavirus pandemic, behind the scenes his party is crafting legislation that would leave the least fortunate behind.
As the United States enters a critical phase in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s leading public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears to be on the sidelines, with its messages increasingly disrupted or overtaken by the White House.
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, has created his own team of government allies and private industry representatives to work alongside the administration’s official coronavirus task force, adding another layer of confusion and conflicting signals within the White House’s disjointed response to the crisis.
Once again, the Russians out-trolled us, but this time they turned their sites on America’s judicial system. Yesterday the Justice Department moved to dismiss charges against “Putin’s Chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin, who funded a squad of Russian hackers that flooded social media with divisive, anti-Clinton propaganda during the 2016 election.
The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog division has been so weakened under the Trump administration that it is failing to provide basic oversight of the government’s third-largest federal agency, according to whistleblowers and lawmakers from both parties.
The culture that President Trump has fostered and abided by for more than three years in the White House has shaped his administration’s response to a deadly pandemic that is upending his presidency and the rest of the country, with dramatic changes to how Americans live their daily lives.
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, repeatedly told the president that the media was exaggerating the threat posed by the coronavirus, The New York Times reported Monday. In the early weeks of the outbreak Trump attempted to downplay the severity of the illness, comparing it to the common flu, describing it as a "hoax" concocted by Democrats at a campaign rally in February, and assuring Americans that the outbreak would "disappear."
German officials will discuss a reported U.S. attempt to secure the rights to any coronavirus vaccine developed by a German pharmaceutical company in crisis meetings on Monday, the country's interior minister said, amid concerns that the Trump administration was trying to monopolize the market.
Donald Trump made one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency in the spring of 2017, when he offered an unconditional embrace to the then-emerging 31-year-old ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and adopted his agenda of aggressively confronting Iran. Three years later, as Trump grapples with the greatest crisis he has faced, that choice is costing him dearly.
When President Trump took office in 2017, the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact. Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014. One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19.
In the U.S., we are grossly underprepared for COVID-19 (coronavirus), now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The federal government has failed to protect its citizens by not responding in a timely and adequate manner.
President Donald Trump’s address from the Oval Office on coronavirus Wednesday night didn’t just send markets plunging (again) — it also required some immediate clean-up from the President and others because of numerous significant errors.
Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned President Donald Trump and his administration last year that a pandemic could lead to serious problems if they didn’t take public health preparedness more seriously.
President Trump’s company charges the Secret Service for the rooms it uses while protecting Trump at his properties. The charges have been as high as $650 per night for a Mar-a-Lago Club hotel room, or $17,000 a month for a cottage at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
The moment we feared has come: in a real emergency, the president’s inability to stay with reality and to resist the need to conform the world to what is in his head will now result in a tangible loss of lives. People are asking: Is the president capable of functioning in a crisis?
Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and others have less to say about the spread of the virus than concern for how the news coverage of it affects President Trump. In fact, many conservative commentators have expressed less interest in the spread of the virus or efforts to combat it than in the story of the virus — a story they are convinced shows bias designed to harm President Trump.
Johnny McEntee, an ex-college quarterback, heads a sweeping White House effort to purge the civil service and install loyalists. McEntee summoned cabinet liaisons to the White House last week to tell them to root out Trump critics in their ranks, according to reporting by Axios. McEntee has also put a freeze on political appointments and told colleagues that the White House would be selecting cabinet deputies from now on, according to the New York Times.
For at least 10 years, Mr. Kerik had been seen as a fallen figure from a distant tough-guy era in New York, banished to the margins of power. But with the rise of Mr. Trump, Mr. Kerik’s fortunes changed. His brand — brashly conservative, critical of federal prosecutors and close with right-wing media — precisely fit the jaw-jutting mold favored in the White House.
Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.
Ignoring appeals from his attorney general to stop tweeting about the Justice Department, President Trump on Wednesday renewed his attacks on the agency, demanding “JUSTICE” for himself and all future presidents.
First he went after the prosecutors who recommended a multiyear sentence for his friend Roger Stone. Then President Trump turned his Twitter ire to the “witch hunt disgrace” of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, which led to Stone’s indictment. But perhaps most surprising was Trump’s decision to target U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson — who will determine Stone’s fate when he appears in her courtroom next Thursday.
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell told Congress on Tuesday that now would be a good time to reduce the federal budget deficit, which is expected to top $1 trillion this year.“Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path when the economy is strong would help ensure that policymakers have the space to use fiscal policy to assist in stabilizing the economy during a downturn,” Powell said in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee.
Some of the biggest recent increases in consumer confidence have come from independent voters and less affluent households, according to Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. His team always asks people to explain why they feel confident, and lately they are hearing near-record levels of people saying their income and wealth are rising.
Trump Quietly Slashed Pay Raise for Federal Workers a Day Before Claiming US Economy Is Best ‘In History’
In a move that drew outrage from labor unions and progressives, President Donald Trump this week quietly took steps to slash a scheduled pay raise for millions of federal workers from 2.5% to 1% due to supposed concerns about "keeping the nation on a fiscally sustainable course."
President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday that includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps and Medicaid, reflecting Mr. Trump’s election-year effort to continue shrinking the federal safety net.
Americans increased their borrowing for the 22nd straight quarter as more households took out loans to buy homes or refinance existing mortgages, according to a report released today from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.Total U.S. household debt rose by $601 billion in the fourth
The decision to move Colonel Vindman out of the White House complex, reported previously by Bloomberg News and The Washington Post, came as Mr. Trump and his allies have made clear that they will seek to exact payback against those he blames for triggering his impeachment and trial.
President Trump’s company charges the Secret Service for the rooms agents use while protecting him at his luxury properties — billing U.S. taxpayers at rates as high as $650 per night, according to federal records and people who have seen receipts.Those charges, compiled here for the first time, show that Trump has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government.
President Trump fired two of the most prominent witnesses in the impeachment inquiry within hours of each other Friday evening, moves that amounted to retribution against those he holds responsible for his attempted removal.
Forget “Saturday Night Live.” The best comic relief on television this weekend was Jared Kushner’s performance on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show.The 39-year-old senior adviser to President Trump was contemptuous of John Kelly, John Bolton, Rex Tillerson and other former officials with decades of experience in fields such as business, the military and government who have been scathing in their recollections of the Trump administration.
The claims of electoral fraud were false, proved untrue by public data and the state’s top election official. That didn’t stop them from going viral, as right-wing activists took to Twitter over the weekend to spread specious allegations of malfeasance on the eve of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. The episode showcased the perils of conducting elections in the age of social media, where volume is more important than veracity.
The move came days after the White House announced the deal, which allows Israel the right to continue settlements and annexation while leaving Palestinians with vague promises of statehood at an undetermined future date.
The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to cap Medicaid spending for many poor adults, a major shift long sought by conservatives that gives states the option of reducing health benefits for millions who gained coverage through the program under the Affordable Care Act.
A Democratic super PAC will begin airing attack ads in Iowa against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Wednesday, marking the first time a Democratic organization has run a negative campaign spot targeting Mr. Sanders by name in either of his two primary campaigns.
President Trump called the plan, which would discard the longtime goal of granting the Palestinians a full-fledged state, a “win-win” for both sides. The event in the East Room of the White House had a Kabuki-theater quality to it as Mr. Trump ended years of suspense over a highly anticipated peace plan. But rather than viewing it as a serious blueprint for peace, analysts called it a political document by a president in the middle of an impeachment trial working in tandem with a prime minister under criminal indictment and about to face his third election in the span of a year.
President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
The number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 7 million since President Donald Trump took office, new Gallup data released Wednesday shows. The country’s uninsured rate has steadily ticked upward since 2016, rising from a low of 10.9 percent in late 2016 to 13.7 percent — a four-year high.
‘Biggest Loss of Clean Water Protection the Country Has Ever Seen’: Trump Guts Safeguards for US Streams and Wetlands
The Trump administration is set to continue its corporate friendly assault on U.S. environmental regulations Thursday by finalizing a rule that will allow companies, landowners, and property developers—including golf course owners like the president—to dump pesticides and other pollutants directly into many of the nation's streams and wetlands, potentially threatening the drinking water of millions of Americans.
The contamination of US drinking water with manmade “forever chemicals” is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group.
If this week is the “Super Bowl” of trade policy—as Republican Senator Rob Portman called it Wednesday—the planet won’t be getting a ring. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Nafta replacement that passed 89-10 through the Senate on Thursday, never mentions the climate crisis. It will do plenty to fuel it.
David Wurmser was a longtime advocate of war with Iraq in the Bush administration. Eventually, he got what he wanted, and it was a total disaster. Now, Wurmser again has the ear of a president — this time, Donald Trump — and his sights are set firmly on Iran.
Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who played a central role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of President Trump, completed his break with the White House on Wednesday, asserting for the first time in public that the president was fully aware of the efforts to dig up damaging information on his behalf.
For 10 days, President Trump and his team have struggled to describe the reasoning behind the decision to launch a drone strike against Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite security forces, propelling the two nations to the brink of war. Officials agree they had intelligence indicating danger, but the public explanations have shifted by the day and sometimes by the hour.On Sunday came the latest twist. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he was never shown any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on four American embassies, as Mr. Trump had claimed just two days earlier.
On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen
On the day the U.S. military killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, U.S. forces carried out another top secret mission against a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to U.S. officials. The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated.
Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.
The White House on Thursday introduced major changes to the nation’s benchmark environmental protection law, moving to ease approval of major energy and infrastructure projects without detailed environmental assessment or consideration of climate change.
Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to provide $3.3 billion in annual aid to Israel, seeking to put into law an aid agreement between the two countries reached in 2016 amid concern over rising Middle East tensions. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Coons co-sponsored the bill, a standalone provision of a broader measure that stalled a year ago, according to a text of the bill seen by Reuters.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general. This week, he is back in his role as the nation’s top diplomat, trying to contain the international crisis the general’s death created.
President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran on Wednesday and called for a new diplomatic effort as the bristling confrontation of the last six days appeared to ease after Iranian missile strikes that proved more symbolic than deadly.
Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are based, the Pentagon said Tuesday. “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.
The skepticism expressed by some leading Democrats and the mainstream media regarding the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has been refreshing, after decades of bipartisan support for disastrous U.S. policies in the region. However, the claim that Soleimani and the Iranian government are somehow responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—which has been repeated by leading Democrats and the mainstream media—appears to be groundless.
President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, and threatened “very big sanctions” on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave the country.
Following the killing of a senior Iranian commander, Iran announced it is suspending all its commitments under the nuclear agreement it struck with world powers in 2015, although it will continue to cooperate with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
In an extraordinary parliamentary session on Sunday, parliament called on the government to end all foreign troop presence in Iraq and to cancel its request for assistance from the US-led coalition which had been working with Baghdad to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
President Trump ordered the killing of the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in a drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport early Friday, American officials said. General Suleimani’s death was confirmed by official Iranian media.
The United States military on Sunday struck five targets in Iraq and Syria controlled by an Iranian-backed paramilitary group, in response to a rocket attack on Friday that killed an American contractor, the Pentagon said. The airstrikes, carried out by Air Force F-15E fighter planes, hit three locations in Iraq and two in Syria, all controlled by the paramilitary group, Kataib Hezbollah.
Clark can be heard on tape at the event saying, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places. Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are. ... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
An official from the White House budget office directed the Defense Department to “hold off” on sending military aid to Ukraine less than two hours after President Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to internal emails.
The family foundation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her billionaire husband, Dick, gave more than $1 million to purportedly “independent” right-wing groups that have helped boost her assault on public education, according to a recent tax filing obtained by the government watchdog group Allied Progress and shared with Salon.
This week, a federal judge allowed the secretary of state’s office to remove about 4 percent of registered voters from the rolls, a move officials said was aimed at those who have recently died or left Georgia. But there were also more than 120,000 people included in that cull simply because they hadn’t voted since 2012 or responded to mailings from the state, according to a lawsuit filed to halt the purge.
This is the letter President Trump sent to Nanci Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote in the house of representatives. The editorial board has fact checked Trump's assertions and defense and found 19 false, misleading and exaggerated statements and called it a rambling angry letter.
The child tax credit, begun in 1997 as a tax cut, has become an anti-poverty program. But more than a third of children don’t receive it because their parents earn too little. The 2017 tax bill, President Trump’s main domestic achievement, doubled the maximum credit in the two-decade-old program and extended it to families earning as much as $400,000 a year (up from $110,000). The credit now costs the federal government $127 billion a year — far more than better-known programs like the earned-income tax credit ($65 billion) and food stamps ($60 billion).
President Trump campaigned in 2016 on a pledge to restore jobs — manufacturing jobs, specifically — to long-struggling Midwestern communities, and he has made the economy a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. But job growth has slowed sharply this year in Michigan, Pennsylvania and other states that were critical to Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016, as well as in states like Minnesota that he narrowly lost.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler accused Senate Republicans of violating their oath to be impartial jurors in an impeachment trial, as GOP senators defended their right to work for President Trump’s acquittal. Senators take an oath to “do impartial justice” at the start of any impeachment trial — but several Republican senators argued that impartiality doesn’t cover politics.
Federal Reserve officials believed that the labor market was about as good as it could get. They were wrong. It seems like there are many people on the sideline that are trickling back into the job force and who are not counted as unemployed since they have been out of the job market for over 6 months or more. Furthermore, the wages have remained stagnant which also signals a weaker economy than projected.
House Democratic leaders on Tuesday formally called for President Trump’s removal from office, asserting that he “ignored and injured the interests of the nation” in two articles of impeachment that charged him with abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
One quarter of American adults say they or a family member has put off treatment for a serious medical condition because of cost, according to data released this week by Gallup. That number is the highest it’s been in nearly three decades of Gallup polling. The report also shows a growing income gap in cost-related delays.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President Trump’s wrongdoing strikes at the heart of the Constitution and asked House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, saying lawmakers have “no choice but to act.”
House Democrats on Tuesday asserted that President Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election, releasing a 300-page impeachment report that found that Mr. Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States.”
As Nation Transfixed by Impeachment, Trump Quietly Provides Offshore Drilling Industry ‘Sweetheart Giveaway’
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was condemned Monday for a proposed policy shift on offshore drilling panned as a "sweetheart giveaway" for a former client. The new extraction-encouraging proposal was announced last month in a report by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), two agencies within the Interior Department and occurred, according to transparency group Western Values Project, "under the cloud of impeachment."
“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the report states. “The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected president based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”
The refusal to send lawyers Wednesday continues a pattern of stonewalling by Mr. Trump, who has sought to block witnesses and documents, as he and his allies call the proceedings “deranged” and a “witch hunt.” People familiar with the president’s legal strategy have said privately that his lawyers are deeply suspicious of taking part in a process they view as unfair to Mr. Trump.
With his Thanksgiving vacation, President Donald Trump’s golf hobby has now cost Americans an estimated $115 million in travel and security expenses ― the equivalent of 287 years of the presidential salary he frequently boasts about not taking.
The White House’s former top Europe and Russia expert sharply denounced what she called a “fictional narrative” embraced by President Trump and his Republican allies that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 elections, testifying that the claim at the center of the impeachment inquiry was a fabrication by Moscow that had harmed the United States.
Secret Service spent quarter of a million dollars at Trump’s properties in first five months of his term, records show
The U.S. Secret Service paid more than $250,000 to President Trump’s private businesses in just the first five months of his presidency - paying Trump’s company an average of nearly $2,000 per day, according to Secret Service records.
When the Keystone Pipeline burst last week, half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool’s worth of a particularly dirty fossil fuel spilled into wetlands in North Dakota. And the thick liquid, known as tar sands oil, will be nearly impossible to clean up.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Monday that Israeli settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law.Pompeo said the Trump administration, as it did with recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, had simply “recognized the reality on the ground.”
The United Nations has condemned the United States for having the world’s highest rate of children in detention. The U.N. experts particularly condemned the Trump administration’s policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border and then detaining children away from their parents or family members.
Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers Friday that when she read how President Trump had talked about her to his Ukrainian counterpart in a July phone call — saying ominously that “she’s going to go through some things” — the color drained from her face.“It sounded like a threat,” she said.Even as Yovanovitch testified, the president continued to go after her, writing on Twitter, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.”
A top diplomat on Wednesday tied President Trump more directly to the effort to pressure Ukraine to probe his political opponents, describing a phone call in which Trump sought information about the status of the investigations he had asked Ukraine to launch one day earlier.
Senate Confirms Controversial Judicial Nominee, Flipping Court That Will Decide Trump Subpoena Cases
The Senate confirmed Steven Menashi to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday by a vote of 51–41. Every Republican present except Sen. Susan Collins supported Menashi; every Democrat present opposed him. With this confirmation, Donald Trump has flipped the 2nd Circuit to a majority of Republican appointees—a momentous shift in the balance of power that could help the president shield himself from criminal liability and congressional scrutiny in a jurisdiction, New York, which he previously called home.
Candidate Donald Trump railed against America’s chronic trade deficits, vowing to eliminate them if he became president. So, how’s Trump doing? Awful. Trade deficits are growing on his watch. The overall trade deficit in September was 21% larger than during his first full month in office.
Trump adviser Stephen Miller injected white nationalist agenda into Breitbart, investigation reveals
Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller shaped the 2016 election coverage of the hard right-wing website Breitbart with material drawn from prominent white nationalists, Islamophobes, and far-right websites, according to a new investigative report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).