Trump Denies Rumors of Tapes with Comey

     After weeks of speculation, President Donald Trump ends the rumors that he recorded his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. In Trump’s tweet, he stated, “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.” Comey hopes that there are recordings of their conversations. Trump suggested in previous tweets that it is possible that there was some surveillance; however he is not aware of any attempts. Numerous government agencies have agreed with the president, telling news outlets, like CNN, that there are no official recording devices. In a tweet published on May 12, Trump declared that Comey “better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

     Trump and his aides have played the situation down over the possibility of White House tapes. A senior administration official believes that Trump has tapes and has to come clean about his involvement. This administration official, a Republican, believes that this is one of the worst things that Trump has done so far in his administration. The Republican associate believes, “If he doesn’t regret this, he should.” Sarah Hucabee Sanders said that she will “try to look under the couches” to check for a recording system when talking to reporters about the issue. For weeks, White House officials have been unable to confirm the existence of such recording devices; however Trump believes that reporters would be dispirited by the answer.

 

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Sally Yates Testifies on Flynn’s Russia Ties

    Former Attorney General Sally Yates testified today, May 8, in front of a Senate subcommittee about what and when she exactly told the White House regarding Flynn’s communication with Russia. This testimony will push headlines back into the news regarding Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. According to Yates, she assures that she told the White House that Flynn could be blackmailed for lying over Russia meetings. She, also, claims to have had numerous meeting with Trump’s White House lawyer regarding the matter. Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff, and Sean Spicer, press secretary, agree that Yates passed along information regarding Flynn and Russia; however they have stated that the White House counsel checked and found nothing. Despite this major controversy, Trump continues to call the Russian investigations on Capitol Hill “fake news.”

    President Trump has commented on the Obama administration and Flynn stating, “General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration- but the Fake New seldom likes talking about that.” He added, “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers after she explained it to the W.H. (counsel).” In Yate’s hearing, she claims to not know how this classified information was leaked to the press. Trump has had problems his whole presidency regarding ties with Russia, and it appears each time that Flynn is at the center of it all. Regardless of Yate’s testimony and new headlines regarding Russia, the Russia story isn’t going away anytime soon.

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Obama’s Warning to President Trump

    Barack Obama, then-president, warned Donald Trump, president-elect, about hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, according to many officials from the former Obama administration. Allegedly, Trump was warned by Obama in their Oval Office meeting on November 2. Obama’s concerns don’t come from the Defense Intelligence Agency, instead they come from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. A senior Obama administration source revealed that Flynn’s name came up numerous times throughout their conversation. The White House has recently confirmed these rumors. Sean Spicer, press secretary, stated, “It’s true President Obama made it known he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn.” Despite this, Spicer believes that Obama disliked Flynn due to him being an “outspoken critic” of the Obama administration. Spicer reassured some by stating that if Obama was “truly concerned” there were steps he could’ve taken during his term, including the suspension of his security clearance. Under the Obama administration, Flynn served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency until he was forced out of his position for internal alterations on management in 2014.

    Regardless of Obama’s advice, Trump took the actions that he wanted. President Trump fired Flynn 24 days after news broke of Flynn’s talks with the Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House on January 26 that Flynn was lying when he refused to have any contact with Kislyak regarding US sanctions on Russia. Weeks passed before Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, only letting him go after stories leaked about Flynn misleads Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Kislyak. Attorney General Sally Yates it to testify before Congress on Flynn’s contact with Russian officials.

 

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Syrian Missile Strike

    On April 6, 2017, the United States initiated a military strike on a Syrian government airbase to respond to the week’s earlier chemical weapons attack, killing dozens, including children. Listening to Trump’s orders, 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at the airbase that was responsible for holding the warplanes that performed the chemical attacks. Over the course of this six-year Syrian civil war, this is the United States’s first military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Allegedly, six people were killed in the airstrike.

    Russia, disagreeing heavily with the United States, saw the strike as an “act of aggression.” Assad’s office described the attack as “a disgraceful act” that “can only be described as short-sighted.” Trump stated, ““There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.” Trump has drastically changed his viewpoint on the decision to involve the United States in military action against the Syrian President’s regime.

    Many, out of all of the chaos, are worried about one main thing: the effect of US relations with Russia, Syria’s biggest ally. It was confirmed that Russians were at the base when the US attacked, the US giving Russia a one-hour heads up. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that the US strike has “dealt a serious blow to Russia-US relations.” Overall, majority of US lawmakers have supported Trump’s decision to strike Syria. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, often critics of Trump, stated, “Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs.” Many are happy that something has finally been done to attempt change at the direct violation of human rights in Syria, while others were shocked at Trump’s decision to switch viewpoints. For majority of people, they wonder if this is a stepping stone to Trump changing his views on letting Syrian refugees enter the US.

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The Battle Between Donald Trump and Preet Bharara

    Preet Bharara is an American lawyer who has served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2009 to 2017. Bharara, a graduate of Harvard and Columbia Law School, has received the reputation of “the Sheriff of Wall Street” due to his takedowns of corruption on Wall Street, gangs, terrorists, and cyber bullies. After a denied request from the Trump administration to resign, he was fired. Bharara took to Twitter stating, “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired.” After his nomination by President Barack Obama in 2009, he swiftly gained a status of pointing out financial frauds of prominent Wall Street firms or at hedge funds. Famously, his department received about $500 million in settlements from practices, such as Deutsche Bank and CitiMortgage. In addition to, he brought down huge cyber hacking groups, like LulzSec and Anonymous.

     On his campaign trail, Trump had made a promise to “drain the swamp”, or drain corruption out of Washington, D.C. Supporters of Prosecutor Bharara say he was doing exactly that. New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Preet Bharara has shaken the foundations of our capital — whether you’re a Republican or Democrat he’s been an equal opportunist when it comes to rooting out corruption.” Even supporters of Trump, Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, who agreed to “drain the swamp”, declared that the firing of Bharara was “definitely not a wise move at all.” Former attorney general Alberto Gonzales said that “there’s nothing at all unusual” about the Trump administration asking all existing U.S. attorneys to resign. However, the public seems to have a huge problem with this, believing that Trump is doing wrong under his “drain the swamp” pledge. Regardless, many believe Bharara’s refusal to resign can be looked upon as a method to send a message to the American public and put into perspective Trump’s administration and their future objectives.

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Is Trump Hitting the Reset Button?

    Almost a month into a rocky presidency, Trump has decided to meet with his supporters at a campaign-style rally in Melbourne, Florida. The first 45 minutes included no mention of Trump’s failure to receive approval with the American public, instead he focused on it becoming “a new day in America.” Trump bolstered to the 9,000 people in the crowd, “This will be change for the ages, change like never before.” Many believe this is a ploy to protect Trump’s administration after four weeks that have been filled with more dissension than coherence. While Trump declares that his administration is “running like a fine-tuned machine”, liberals believe he is just blaming all of the problems on “fake news” and the Left.

    Many believe this rally will mark a fresh start on behalf of the Trump administration. A historian at New York University, Timothy Naftali, states, “Except for the fact that he doesn’t have a big plastic button, this certainly looks like a reset.” Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, guides the President, “all new presidents go through a series of resets because the initial transition from campaign to governing is too enormous and complex. . . . Trump’s challenge is compounded because he is a genuine outsider trying to build a new system.” Trump doesn’t exactly believe it was pushing the reset button because he is “quite proud of a lot of the achievements over the past four weeks”; however he does promise a new version on his executive order on immigration. Trump continues to stand firm in his beliefs on what made him popular from the start: the creation of employment, trade limitations, and the prioritization America. No matter what, Trump is determined to put the “forgotten man” and America first.

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The Aftermath of The Inauguration

On Friday, January 20, 2017 the 45th President was brought into office at the United States Presidential Inauguration. Donald Trump made a vow to put “America first” and take power out of the hands of Washington elite. The gender hap in the election was huge: among men, Trump won to Clinton 53 percent to 41 percent; however, among women, Clinton won 54 percent to 42 percent. In contrast, among white women. Trump beat Clinton 53 percent to 43 percent. The Women’s March held millions upon millions of protestors in numerous cities, including: Washington D.C. , New York City, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Oakland, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, and Seattle. Many protestors held signs going against the plans of the new administration and chanted, “Welcome to your first day, we will never go away.” Trump tweeted on the issue, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” Shortly after, he tweeted, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”Women's March

Russia’s Influence in the 2016 Election

     The Obama administration has come to a decision to begin a series of acts of retaliation against Russia due to their actions in the US election. Citizens should expect sanctions and diplomatic procedures, according to officials, who belief this is an appropriate response to cyber hacking. Many Senators agree with the Obama administration and their decision to go against Russia. Senator Amy Klobuchar stated, “We have to sanction Russia for these cyberattacks (and) send a clear message to the incoming administration that there is a lot of bipartisan support in Congress for going after this.” Russia has denied allegations that they are to blame for the hacking and, according to the representative for the ministry, they will answer to any “hostile steps” on behalf of the US. Members from the United States Central Intelligence Agency aim to get names of individuals who were involved in the Russian hacking which, many guess, to be focused on attacking the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

     Supporters of Trump believe this is a last resort for Democrats who were upset over losing the election. Donald Trump tweeted, “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waited so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Although two senior intelligence officials believe Vladimir Putin was involved directly in the hacking, allegations are being denied. A representative for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, stated, “If Washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered … any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the US will immediately bounce back on US diplomats in Russia. … frankly, we are tired about the lies about Russian hackers — it’s misinformation by Obama administration aimed at providing an excuse for its own failure.” Republicans believe that Democrats have used every excuse to not accept their loss in the election from blaming the electoral college to saying that social media had too much of an influence on the election and, now, blaming the Russians. While everyone can agree, if the Russians did hack, it is obviously wrong; however Russians were not creating DNC scandals, instead they were exposing them. Majority of people who polled believed that Russia’s hacking had no effect of the winning of the election.

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Obama’s National Monuments

     Two national monuments have been delegated for Obama in Utah and Nevada to try to protect the president’s environmental efforts; however some believe this was done to prevent Trump from doing specific things during his term. The first monument will be The Bears Ears National Monument in the Four Corners region in Utah, covering 1.35 million acres. This monument is viewed as a triumph for Native American tribes and environmentalists who believe the territory is sacred; however this triggered hostility among Republicans. Senator Mike Lee, a Republican representing Utah, stated, “This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand.”

     In addition to, there will be a placement of a 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument not far from Las Vegas, guarding a delicate area that holds organic remains, artifacts, and rock art. Obama stated, “Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.” Democrats, like Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, believes, “President Obama is a courageous man. I could not be more grateful to him and his team for working with me to make this happen, and for everything he has done to protect public lands in Nevada. By designating Gold Butte a national monument, President Obama has shown once again why he is one of greatest environmental presidents in American history.” Republicans, all across the board, disagree heavily.

     Republicans in Utah believe that these monuments will only add further federal control and would demand a new energy development. Republicans are not against the idea of conservation; however they believe it interferes with energy development and the availability of the area for citizens to camp, hike, etc. Many, like Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, believe that Obama has violated a bipartisan compromise that was in process. He said, “After years of painstaking negotiations with a diverse coalition, Utah had a comprehensive bipartisan solution on the table that would have protected the Bears Ears and provided a balanced solution. Instead, the president’s midnight proclamation cherry picked provisions of the Public Lands Initiative and disregarded the economic development and multi-use provisions necessary for a balanced compromise.” Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes, believes that Obama is not paying attention to the voices of many people, claiming that his office is preparing a lawsuit over this situation. He expressed, “By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit.” On the other hand, some are extremely grateful and overjoyed by Obama’s decision. Russel Begaye, Navajo Nation President, spoke on behalf of Native American groups and expressed how happy they were. He informed, “We have always looked to Bears Ears as a place of refuge. The rocks, the winds, the land — they are living, breathing things that deserve timely and lasting protection.”

     Many believe this is one of Obama’s last attempts to try and perfect his legacy before Trump’s inauguration. Trump has spoke about his opposition to Obama’s environmental plans and has even shown his yearning to remove many of the regulations. Very recently, Obama has been making major decisions like making the Arctic Ocean and some of the Atlantic Ocean unavailable for oil and gas leases in the future. Also, mining outside of Yellowstone National Park has been blocked. The monuments were put into motion by executive action; however it may take Congress to undo it. The White House Council on Environmental Quality informed the press that the president is allowed to create monuments; however he cannot undo them. Representative Chaffetz looks forward to undoing these monuments by stating, “We look forward to working with President-elect Trump to follow through on his commitment to repeal midnight regulations. We will work to repeal this top-down decision and replace it with one that garners local support and creates a balanced, win-win solution.”

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