This week in Trump: taxes, travel ban and the federal budget
Not to jinx anything here, but the start of President Trump’s eighth week in office has been remarkably more calm than the start of his previous seven. Now that we’re past the halfway mark of his first 100 days, we all could use a reprieve. Enjoy it while it lasts:
- U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara of New York was fired after refusing Jeff Sessions’ request that he resign. Bharara said he had been previously assured by Trump and Sessions that although he was an Obama administration appointee, his job would be safe.
- A California man was arrested for jumping the fence at the White House. Trump was inside at the time.
- More members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), are calling on Trump to provide evidence of his unsubstantiated claims that President Obama wiretapped his phones.
Monday, March 13
- When asked about Trump’s wiretap claims, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway gave us a head-scratcher when she spoke about surveillance tactics and referred to the watchful eyes of microwaves. “There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera,” she said in an interview with New Jersey newspaper the Bergen Record.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that under House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan, 14 million people would lose healthcare coverage by next year and a total of 24 million by 2026. The White House disagrees.
- California joined six other states – Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon – in a lawsuit against Trump’s travel ban. Hawaii has filed a separate suit. The ban is set to go into effect Thursday.
- The Justice Department asked for more time to provide evidence to confirm Trump’s wiretapping claims.
- Seema Verma, a healthcare consultant and protégé of Vice President Pence, was confirmed to head Medicare and Medicaid. Verma is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from India.
Tuesday, March 14
- The White House is shifting gears. Originally, Trump’s stated goal was to provide “insurance for everybody.” But during a news briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer changed his tone and said the healthcare plan offers “more people the option to get healthcare.”
- Trump released his 2005 federal income tax return after Rachel Maddow announced on Twitter that she had a copy. He paid more than $35 million on $150 million in income, an effective rate of 24%.
Wednesday, March 15
- Travel ban 2.0 is a no-go. A federal judge in Hawaii blocked the major parts of Trump’s revised travel ban hours before it was supposed to go into effect. Trump says he’ll fight it — or maybe bring back his first ban.
- There’s no evidence to support Trump’s claim that President Obama wiretapped him, the House Intelligence Committee said. In case you were wondering, the committee is made up of Republicans and Democrats.
- We’re getting a new national intelligence chief. The Senate approved the nomination of former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats.
- A war on mainstream media? It could be seen that way. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is traveling to Asia with only one reporter, and she’s writing for a conservative news site.
Thursday, March 16
- It’s budget day! Here’s how Trump’s proposed budget affects:
- Military and border security
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Sanctuary cities
- State Department
- Health services and health research
- 19 other agencies, your favorite NPR and PBS stations and the National Endowment for the Arts
- Or you can just read this handy CliffsNotes version.
- If you’re worried, don’t be. Trump’s dramatic cuts aren’t likely to be enacted intact. Congress holds the purse strings.
- Travel ban 2.0 was supposed to go into effect today. It didn’t. (See Wednesday for why not.) But the story didn’t end there. A second federal judge — this time in Maryland — ruled against the travel ban too.
- A Senate Intelligence Committee backed up its House counterpart and found no evidence of Obama wiretapping Trump. Spicer says the president is standing by his accusation.
- Going through the process: the controversial GOP healthcare bill eked its way through a House panel. It’s expected to go before the full House next week.
- And to top it all off, the U.S. hit its debt limit — a whopping $19.9 trillion.
Friday, March 17
- Trump meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel face-to-face for the first time.
- The wiretapping claim that never ends. At a news conference with Merkel, Trump made a joke about his unproven claim that Obama wiretapped him. In a separate news conference with reporters, Spicer read a series of news stories to again defend the claim, including one that accused Obama of using British spies to snoop. Let’s just say the British government wasn’t happy.
- During his Asia trip, Tillerson warned that “all options,” including military action, were on the table if North Korea continued to push for nuclear weapons.
- If at first you don’t succeed, appeal. The Trump administration filed a notice that it plans to appeal the order halting his second travel ban.
Grade the president
Now that you’re all caught up, here’s your chance to tell us what you think of Trump as we track his major moves in the first 100 days.
Grading opens every Friday and closes at the end of Monday. We’ll be posting your responses, so subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when they go up.
Need a recap of Trump’s first 100 days so far? Look no further:
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