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 gap 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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Election Recount

    The Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein, announced that she would pay for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Stein explained why she wanted a recount, stating, “This has been a hack-riddled election. We have going machines that are extremely hack-friendly in an election that’s been very contentious.” Stein’s goal to raise $2.5 million was then turned into a goal of raising $4.5 million. Jill Stein explained the total cost, estimating $2-3 million in attorney’s fees with additional money for the actual recount, totaling about $6-7 million. This is particularly a lot of money for the Green Party since this year’s election was a record high for the amount of money raised from donors, $3,509,477. As of November 24th, it was reported that the Green Party had raised $3,875,502 towards recount efforts.

     Wisconsin is now the first state to start the presidential election recount. Polls predicted that Clinton would win Wisconsin; however Trump took this victory with less than a percentage point. Mike Haas, Wisconsin’s chief elections administrator, stated, “This is certainly not Bush v. Gore.” Stein was pushing for all recounts to be done by hand; however she lost the court challenge although many counties will recount ballots manually. Milwaukee county, the biggest county in the state, will feed the ballots to the same machines used on election night. In Dane County, the ballots will be counted by hand where Clinton won 71 percent of the vote. Dane County workers are now being paid $20 an hour, working two shifts for 12 hours a day, to have the recount done by December 12, 2016. County Clerk Scott McDonell stated, “ I think we will be very close to what was reported on election night.” Donald Trump won with 47.9% (1,409,467), Hillary Clinton with 46.9% (1,382,210), Gary Johnson with 3.6% (106,442), and Jill Stein with 1.1% (30,980).

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Trump Wins!

    Donald Trump has been deemed our 45th President of the United States! Trump is schedules to take office on January 20, 2017. This election was a very close one by popular votes, Clinton with 59,487,288 votes (47.7%) and Trump with 59,297,587 votes (47.5%). Donald J. Trump took 279 electoral votes while Hillary Clinton only took 228 electoral votes. Everyone was nervous regarding major states, such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and whether or not they would be deemed Democratic or Republic. Blue states, since the 2012 election, have now turned red under the influence of Trump. For example, Michigan has turned to a red state, the first time since 1988. After winning, Trump tweeted, “Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before.” In his speech he added to this, believing, “It is time for us to come together as one united people.” President Barack Obama was “heartened” by Trump’s words and believes that, now, everyone is rooting for Trump’s success.

    Trump supporters and Clinton supporters have been rooted against each other since the very beginning of the presidential campaign; however the divide has never been this strong before. Clinton supporters took to social media to express their sadness over the outcome of the election. #NotMyPresident and #StillWithHer have been trending on Twitter, taking the #1 and #2 spots for most popular topics or trends on Twitter. In Clinton’s concession speech she tried to console her supporters, stating that Trump “must be given the chance to lead.” In addition to, Clinton has even offered her help to Trump throughout his presidency. Also, celebrities endorsing Clinton have publicly stated that if Trump was elected, they would move to Canada or other nations to get away from his authority. On Tuesday (November 9) night, the Canadian immigration website crashed due to the heavy amount of people logging onto their website. Trump supporters have taken to social media stating, “Start packing!” to pro-Clinton celebrities. In addition to Trump’s victory, Republicans were able to keep majority control over the Senate and the House. Overall, no matter every person’s personal political belief, the nation must come together and achieve success.

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Reopening of Clinton’s Email Investigation

    On October 28, 2016, James Comey, FBI Director, declared that he is reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation now that “the FBI learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.” In a letter to Congress, Comey states, “I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails and determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” It is not known how long this investigation will take until completed; however this scandal has arisen just 11 days before the final battle between Clinton and Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.

    Earlier in the year the FBI cleared Clinton of any criminal action regarding her emails. The politician used her personal email account and personal servers for work obligations during her time as Secretary of State. Now, new emails have come up after the FBI took an electronic device from former U.S. Representative, Anthony Weiner, and his wife Huma Abedin who serves as Clinton’s Vice Chairwoman. The FBI was investigating illegal messages between Weiner and a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina. According to the bureau, new emailed related to Clinton’s case were revealed. One member of the FBI states that the emails “numbered in the tens of thousands.” This is rekindling an issue that has been vital in the presidential election and definitely something that Trump will use to his advantage.

    Donald Trump has been falling behind in majority of national polls and in key states. Trump believes, “Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.” After finding out about the reinvestigation, Trump went on to praise the FBI. Trump stated, “I have great respect for the fact that the F.B.I. and the D.O.J. are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.” Many believe that the FBI’s decision to reopen the investigation just 11 days before the election shows the severity of the situation. On the other hand, others believe that it was a tactic to lure Trump voters in at the last minute.

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