Remember Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in disgrace? He’s back in the headlines with what looks like a desperate attempt at obtaining immunity from prosecution. What’s going on? Flynn was Trump’s National Security Advisor for a few weeks, until it came to light that he’d had possibly unlawful communications with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office. Over the past 24 hours, it became public that Flynn was seeking immunity in exchange for what he knows about the Trump administration’s connections to Russia.
Beating Trump is a lot easier when he’s busy fighting fellow Republicans. What’s going on? Republicans have had a hard time uniting ever since the Tea Party insurgency swept into Congress in 2010. The only thing they could agree on was stopping Obama and the Democratic Party from accomplishing anything–a strategy on which they were at least partly successful. But they’ve had problems working together for years. Under House Speaker John Boehner, it was impossible to get a budget passed with full GOP support.
You could be forgiven for being confused about what’s going on with the Russia investigation. Hopefully I can help clear it up. This piece from the Washington Post gives a rundown but doesn’t offer a lot of context. The latest development is that it has now emerged that the Trump administration kept former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee as part of their investigation into links between the Trump administration and Russian officials.
Trump’s latest executive order targets Obama-era policies designed to combat climate change. The Republican war on the environment–and the entire planet–continues. What’s going on? According to Mother Jones: The wide-ranging order, which will be accompanied by other environmental directives, targets Obama-era policies across the government, including in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, and the Department of Defense. It directs the EPA to revisit the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon pollution from power plants and was considered the center-piece of former President Barack Obama's climate policy.
The Republicans’ effort to dismantle Obamacare fell apart. But that doesn’t mean the Affordable Care Act is safe. Over the past couple weeks, a Republican effort spearheaded by Paul Ryan attempted to push through the American Health Care Act, which was designed to strip away many of conservatives’ least favorite aspects of Obamacare, while changing the rules to benefit the wealthy and kick the poor and sick off of their insurance, especially if that insurance is subsidized (or outright paid for) by taxpayers.
Not even a meeting with Trump could save the GOP’s thus far ill-fated “repeal and replace” for Obamacare. What’s going on? As you may know, Republicans unveiled the American Health Care Act recently, to much fanfare and quite a bit of criticism. After years of attempting to simply repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, it turns out that Republicans never really had a plan for replacing it, as evidenced by the fact that they can’t even come close to agreeing on a proposal now.
Trump has been exposed as a liar yet again, as the Russia scandal deepens. What’s going on? On Monday, Trump tweeted that Democrats made up the Russia scandal to distract from their own failures, and that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated there’s no evidence Trump colluded with Russia prior to the election. But in fact, the FBI has been investigating these possible links since last summer, according to the Washington Post.
Today marks the second day of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearings. In case you didn’t know: he’s a radical reactionary. What’s going on? When Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a moderate who would not have significantly upset the liberal/conservative balance of the court. The Republican Congress refused to consider him at all, deciding that the issue should wait until after the election, hoping that they would win–which they did.
As of today, we’re two months into Trump’s Presidency. Has he really accomplished all that much? The early days of a Presidential administration are usually formative, sometimes transformative. A new President must learn the ropes while the country, the world, the Congress, and the vast executive apparatus all have to figure out how to deal with the newcomer. The first two months of the Trump administration have been rockier than most, in both directions.
Trump’s administration claimed that British intelligence agency GCHQ spied on him for President Obama during last year’s election. Thus ensued a painful diplomatic incident. What’s going on? It all began when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quoted a Fox News commentator that GCHQ helped Obama spy on Trump during the election. GCHQ immediately denied it. British politicians quickly jumped on board to condemn the accusations. Why is it important?