There was no deal on DACA or gun control as the revolving door at the White House spun. The year in politics
No deal on
During a televised meeting at the White House in January,
Futile talk of gun restrictions after Parkland school massacre
After a gunman killed 17 students and teachers and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., President Trump held televised “listening sessions” on school safety. Two weeks after the Feb. 14 massacre, he urged Congress to come up with a gun control measure and openly chastised lawmakers of both parties at a White House meeting for not standing up to the
Trump fires his top diplomat
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had served just 14 months when President Trump fired him in March — with a post on Twitter. (He was replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was, in turn, replaced by Gina Haspel.) The former Exxon CEO had challenged some of Trump’s foreign policy priorities, including his decisions to withdraw from both the
U.S. attacks targets in Syria
Backed by the Britain and France, U.S. warships and planes fired 105 cruise missiles at targets in Syria in April to punish President
Trump dumps the Iran nuclear deal
After months of denouncing the Iran nuclear accord, on May 8, President Trump announced he was withdrawing from it and would re-impose U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran. The other signatories —England, France, Germany, China and Russia, as well as Iran — said they would continue to honor the 2015 deal, which saw Iran give up its nuclear development program in exchange for easing of international sanctions. Trump later sought to tighten the noose on Tehran by trying to cut off Iran’s oil exports, but the administration was forced to grant waivers to Iran’s six largest customers. Trump has said he wants to cripple Iran’s economy and force the government in Tehran to end support for militant organizations in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
G-7 summit and other global gatherings
Major international summits normally are carefully scripted and staged. Not in the Trump era. In June, President Trump arrived late at the Group of 7 summit in Quebec, Canada, and left it in acrimony, sending angry tweets against the leaders of France, Canada and the
Trump meets Kim Jong Un
After months of trading threats and personal insults, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un clasped hands at an opulent Singapore resort and eased global fears of a nuclear war. The one-day summit between the president and the autocrat, held on June 12, ended with a bizarre U.S. propaganda film that appeared to be aimed at showing Kim the benefits of giving up his nuclear weapons and allowing foreign investment. After the meeting, Trump declared victory, tweeting that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” But the vague statement the two leaders signed had no substantive commitments or timeline and the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said several months later that Kim’s government was continuing to expand its nuclear enrichment and ballistic missile programs.
An acrimonious confirmation process
Mueller indicts Russians for meddling in 2016 election
In July, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III produced a criminal indictment that cut to the core of the Kremlin’s support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election — and Trump’s subsequent denials that it occurred. A dozen Russian military intelligence officers were charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee and
Trump meets with Putin in Helsinki
After meeting privately for more than two hours with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in July, President Trump said he believed Putin over U.S. intelligence officials and two detailed grand jury indictments when it came to the Kremlin’s involvement in the 2016 election. “He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump told reporters. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.” An immediate and bipartisan uproar — former CIA Director John Brennan called it “treasonous” — forced Trump to backtrack a day later and say he had misspoken. The Helsinki news conference, in which Trump again criticized the special counsel investigation as a “witch hunt,” only led to more questions about the president’s support for Putin and a drop in his approval ratings.
A one-two punch for the president
First, a federal jury in Virginia convicted Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, of eight counts of fraud, tax evasion and other charges in a massive criminal scheme that extended through the 2016 campaign. Moments later, Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, delivered a more dangerous blow to his former boss in a federal courtroom in New York. While pleading guilty to eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud, Cohen implicated the president in a crime by saying Trump had approved hush money payments to two women — Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal — in an effort to influence the 2016 election. Both women claimed they had sexual relations with Trump years ago, which he denied. Cohen doubled down in November, pleading guilty in Washington to lying to Congress about Trump’s efforts to build a hotel and condominium complex in Moscow for eight months after he announced his White House bid. The bombshell case marked the first time the special counsel’s investigation had touched upon Trump’s business interests. (In late November, the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said, in a court filing, that Manafort had lied — repeatedly — to prosecutors in violation of a plea agreement he'd signed to avoid a second trial. )
John McCain dies
President Trump never apologized for saying during his presidential campaign that John McCain, who was tortured and imprisoned for five years after his Navy plane was shot down in Vietnam, was not a war hero because he was a prisoner of war. McCain went on to become a six-term U.S. senator from Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, and to many, a conscience on Capitol Hill. After his death in August, McCain lay in state at the United States Capitol Rotunda, and his funeral was televised from the Washington National Cathedral. All of official Washington attended and former Presidents George W.
Journalist killed in Saudi consulate; president defends Saudi allies
Jamal Khashoggi was a complicated figure, an erudite Saudi journalist who had close ties to the Saudi royal family but then broke with them. He moved to Virginia and was writing a column for The Washington Post when he traveled to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain documents he needed to marry. He entered the building on Oct. 2 but never came out alive. Turkish officials said Khashoggi was strangled and cut up with a saw. The CIA concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, most likely had approved the murder. Trump disagreed, saying “maybe he did, maybe he didn’t,” and refused to sanction Saudi Arabia for killing a legal U.S. resident, saying U.S. weapons sales to Riyadh were more important.
Military sent to Southwest border
In October, the White House ordered about 5,800 active duty Marines and Army troops to the border with Mexico, claiming they were needed to help the Border Patrol block thousands of Central American migrants from entering the country. President Trump characterized approaching civilian caravans as a looming “invasion” and falsely claimed it included terrorists and was organized by Democrats. Critics accused him of using the Pentagon as a political prop and exaggerating the threat to fire up supporters a week before the Nov. 6 midterm election. The troops initially installed razor wire and barriers near crossing points, but after several weeks the White House expanded their role to include use of deadly force if necessary.
Suspicious packages, panic and an arrest
The packages, with suspicious, potentially explosive devices, were sent to Financier George Soros, Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, former President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and Robert De Niro, among others. The mailings spread waves of fear among politicians and media figures a couple of weeks before the midterm election. A few days after the first one was discovered, a suspect, Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., 56, was taken into custody in Florida and charged with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive and threatening a former president.
Democrats take the House
A “blue wave” propelled Democrats to recapture control of the House in November’s midterm elections, led by suburban women frustrated with President Trump’s policies and behavior. In all, Democrats netted 40 seats, far more than the 23 they needed. Come January, Democrats will lead several House committees – including intelligence, judiciary and oversight – that are expected to investigate Trump’s business affairs and other sensitive issues. The new Democratic majority also wants to push legislative priorities such as infrastructure projects and reducing healthcare costs — although they must deal with a Republican-backed Senate that has its own agenda.
Obamacare wins big in the midterms
The midterm election is likely to be recognized as the moment that cemented the Affordable Care Act’s place alongside other pillars of the American healthcare system, such as Medicare. Most immediately, the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives precludes any new Republican campaign to repeal the law. More profoundly, the elections revealed the depth of public support — in red states and blue — for core parts of the 2010 law, including Medicaid expansion and protections for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.
Sessions gets the boot
For more than a year, President Trump had mocked, taunted and criticized Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. The president had never forgiven Sessions, a former four-term conservative senator from Alabama, for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia investigation because he had been deeply involved in Trump’s presidential campaign. In angry tweets and cruel comments, Trump described Sessions as “beleaguered,” “VERY weak” and “DISGRACEFUL,” insults Sessions mostly endured in silence. He finally forced Sessions out the day after the midterm election — and named an avowed political loyalist,
Nov. 30 – George H.W. Bush dies
George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd, died Nov. 30 at his home in Houston at the age of 94. He was the last World War II veteran to serve as president, but his broader legacy was as a statesman who helped guide an anxious nation — and the world — out of the Cold War without firing a shot. As president, he took America to war to push Iraqi troops out of Kuwait, helped reunite Germany after the Berlin Wall tumbled and declared a “new world order” after the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving the United States as the only global superpower. But he was less surefooted in domestic politics, especially after the economy stumbled, and he lost the White House after only one term. He is remembered as much for his personal modesty and ethics as his political achievements, a clear contrast to today’s political schisms and harsh rhetoric.