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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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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The Most Powerful Women in American Politics

Throughout the whole entire world, women hold vital positions in key government jobs. Each of these women are a true inspiration to me and encourage me to go after my dreams of having a career in politics and law. However, it saddens me to see how far behind the United States is lacking with their representation of women in politics. To this day, less than 20 percent of congressional seats belong to women. The United States ranks 98th in the world for the amount of women in its national legislature. I hope that in upcoming years, representation of women will increase. In the meantime, there are many amazing female role models in politics and government.

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Michelle Obama:

Michelle Obama is an American writer, lawyer, and First Lady of the United States. Mrs. Obama broke boundaries when becoming the first African-American First Lady. She used her platform to help raise a healthier generation. “Let’s Move!” was developed by the First Lady to help battle the alarming epidemic of obesity in the youth.

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Kathleen Sebelius:

Kathleen Sebelius was the former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. She was the 21st person to serve in this position, serving from 2009 to 2014. Prior to this, she was the Governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009. She was only the second woman to ever hold that office.

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Janet Napolitano:

Janet Napolitano is best know for being the Former Governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009. In addition to, she is a lawyer and university administrator. She was the United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013.

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Michele Bachmann:

Michele Bachmann is a former member of the United States House of Representatives. She represented Minnesota’s 6th congressional district from 2007 to 2015 as a Republican politician.

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Mary Schapiro:

Mary Schapiro was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. She served as the 29th Chair of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, taking the position on January 27, 2009.