This will be the last installment of “The Week in Trump” as a summary of each week’s Trump news. My apologies. I have taken the responsibility of posting this summary seriously, and am finding it overwhelming to locate and determine the most accurate information on each given story, amid a regular flow of “alternative facts” from the Trump Administration, countered with at times exaggerations, mischaracterizations, and flat out inaccuracies from even the most reputable news media.
I will continue to post links to important articles and editorials here on the home page as I find them, and will continue to regularly update the lists of nationwide protests, events, resources and organizations. Thank you for reading, and thank you for resisting.
The four stories that I consider most important to continue following are the actions of Steve Bannon, indications of Trump’s mental health, Trump’s many conflicts of interest, and the connections/communications between Russia and the Trump Administration/the 2016 Trump Campaign.
Articles and Editorials:
The major pieces of Trump news this week were:
- General Flynn’s Contact With Russia
- Immigration Update
- Conflict of Interest: Nordstrom
- Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearing
- Internal White House Dynamics
Flynn and Russia
Another questionable Russia connection has surfaced in the Trump Administration. In December 2016 – after the election but before the Inauguration– Trump’s National Security Adviser, retired General Michael Flynn, communicated with Sergey Kislyak, a Russian Ambassador to the US.
Of concern is the substance of the conversation.
At the time, it was widely anticipated that then-President Obama would soon retaliate in some way – likely with sanctions – for Russia’s actions in our election. For Flynn and Kislyak to have discussed sanctions (and the possibility of lifting them) while Obama was the President is not only inappropriate, but potentially illegal. (Full Article – NPR)
Flynn initially denied to reporters that he had discussed the topic of sanctions (Full Article – Politico). He later stated that he might have discussed sanctions, that he wasn’t sure. The Washington Post and New York Times claim to have information from “current and former American officials” that Flynn did in fact discuss the easing of sanctions with the Russian Ambassador while Obama was President (Full Article – New York Times).
The relationships of Flynn and others in the Administration to Russia are coming under increased scrutiny as the timeline of their past actions are found to line up with information in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer (Full Article – Business Insider).
Last Sunday, 97 major companies filed suit over President Trump’s executive order on immigration, asserting that immigrants are important to the success of their businesses (Full Article – The Independent UK).
This followed a suit on Friday (2/3) by the Attorneys General of Washington State and Minnesota, in which a federal judge had placed a temporary nationwide hold on the executive order (Full Article – CNN). Trump referred to that judge as a “so-called judge,” but his judgment was unanimously upheld this Friday (2/10) by a three-judge federal appeals court. Further, when a representative of the Trump Administration told the three judges that they had no authority to review the executive order, the judges stated that “there is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our democracy” (Full Article – NPR). Trump vowed to continue fighting for his executive order, then later suggested that he might just “file a brand new order.” (Full Article – Bloomberg).
Conflict of Interest-Nordstrom
After Nordstrom stopped carrying Trump’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line, the President criticized the retailer Wednesday on Twitter for “unfair” treatment of her (Full Article – Daily News). On Thursday, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway went on Fox and encouraged Americans to buy Ivanka’s products, a move that prompted the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to respond “that is absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong.” (Full Article – NPR). Some Democrats also believe that the President’s tweet demonstrates a conflict between the President’s financial interests and his responsibilities as an elected public official.
Elizabeth Warren at Sessions Confirmation: “Nevertheless, She Persisted”
On Tuesday, during Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) confirmation hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) read a 1986 letter that Coretta Scott King (wife of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) had written in 1986 when Sessions went before the Senate for confirmation as a US District Judge. At that time, allegations of racism against Sessions ultimately prevented him from being confirmed.
But as Warren read the letter, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the majority in the Senate voted to silence her (Full Article – New York Times). McConnell later said that “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” – the last three words quickly becoming a rallying cry for women on social media (Full Article – The Atlantic). Later, several male Senators – Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – each read some or all of the letter to the Senate uninterrupted (Full Article – CNN). On Wednesday, the majority of the Senate confirmed Sessions as US Attorney General (Full Article – NPR).
Internal White House Dynamics
The White House inner circle have begun to rethink their strategy after significant resistance to their current approach. More upsetting to Trump than the pushback on immigration, however, was the fact that he hadn’t realized that one of the executive orders that he had signed included an appointment of his advisor Steve Bannon to the National Security Council (Full Article – New York Times). If the stories coming from concerned White House staffers are true, there are worrisome indications of an erratic President who is having trouble adjusting to his new responsibilities and to the basic processes and functions of government. In one such story, Trump called his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, at 3am to ask him if it was a strong dollar or a weak one that is good for America’s economy. Flynn suggested that Trump contact someone with a background in economics (Full Article – Huffington Post).
“I’ve been in this town for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this. I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy President.”
Former State Department Official under George W. Bush
(Full Article – Huffington Post)
Keeping Track of the Basics:
Other Stories That You Should Know About
FEC Commissioner Friday Calls on Trump to Show His Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud
(Full Article – CBS News)
Trump Accuses Media of Downplaying Terrorist Attacks
(Full Article – New York Times)
Department of Defense (in Addition to Secret Service) Looking to Rent Space in Trump Tower: Conflict of Interest?
(Full Article – Washington Post)
Saudis Pay for Stay at Trump Hotel in DC: Conflict of Interest?
(Full Article – Politico)
Donald Trump Is Not Welcome to Address British Parliament
(Full Article – The Independent UK)
Betsy Devos Was Confirmed as Secretary of Education, With VP Mike Pence Casting Deciding Vote Amid Senate Tie
(Full Article – CNBC)
Rosie O’Donnell May Portray Steve Bannon on SNL
(Full Article – CNN)
Whatever Happened to Trump-Russia Story?
Playing into Milo’s Hands
(Full Article – The Observer)
Trump’s Relationship with Roy Cohn
(Full Article – New York Daily News – From October 1, 2016)
This Philosopher Predicted Trump’s Rise in 1998 — and He Has Another Warning for the Left
(Full Article – Vox)
Anti-Intellectualism in America
(Full Article – Psychology Today – from 2014)
Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe
Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.
To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.
NOTE: Some profanity in this one, but it’s worth watching anyway – you can turn the sound off and read.
Cartoons, Images & Videos
Posted on Facebook by Occupy Democrats:
Coretta Scott King’s letter, the reading of which on the Senate floor resulted in Elzabeth Warren being silenced:
Meme from The Daily Show
Graffiti by Banksy, Photographer unknown
Two major nationwide protests coming up:
- Monday, February 20, 2017: “Not My President’s Day Rallies” across the country – find your nearest rally here!
- Saturday, April 15, 2017: Trump Tax Day Marches across the country to let him know that it’s not just reporters who care about his undisclosed tax returns – find your nearest rally here!