Eye on 45

A rundown of news out of the White House and Congress

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon

Photo courtesy of wikimedia

The CN&R’s latest installment of Eye on 45 attempts to keep up with the chaos stemming from the White House and Capitol Hill over the past two months. We’ll start with a tweet from POTUS that hits close to home.

Nov. 14: President Trump accidentally shares his condolences with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas, the site of a mass shooting in early November, instead of Rancho Tehama, the North State community in which a man shot 18 residents, killing five, during a series of shootings beginning on Nov. 13.

Nov. 15: Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore fires back at Sen. Mitch McConnell, who called for the wannabe senator to step down from his campaign based on multiple women accusing him of sexual harassment or assault. Moore’s response via Twitter: “Dear Mitch McConnell: Bring. It. On.”

Nov. 16: The Wall Street Journal reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, back in October, subpoenaed more than a dozen of Trump’s top campaign officials for documents related to Russia. A few days later, ABC News reports that he has sought documents from the Justice Department as well.

Nov. 17: The New York Times reports that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, failed to disclose to investigators an attempt by a Russian official to set up a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his father-in-law.

Nov. 21: Despite mounting reports of Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct, including a claim by a then-teenager, President Trump voices support for his candidacy.

Nov. 26: The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Senate’s tax plan reveals that America’s poorest citizens would be harmed, not helped, by the proposed law that largely stands to benefit those making over $100,000 annually.

Nov. 27: The president uses Twitter to lash out at the media—one of his favorite pastimes—particularly CNN. Among other things, POTUS called for a contest for networks that are “dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in their political coverage. … Winner to receive FAKE NEWS TROPHY!” he exclaimed.

On the same day, The Hill reports that Access Hollywood, the cable-TV show and source of the now-infamous tape on which Trump is heard bragging about groping women without permission, verified that the tape is indeed real. The move comes as reports surface that Trump—though he’d previously apologized for his comments—had recently implied the tape was fake.

Nov. 29: The Hill reports that White House counsel Kellyanne Conway is the subject of an investigation of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel due to comments besmirching Roy Moore challenger Doug Jones. Doing so may have violated the Hatch Act—“a law prohibiting federal employees from using their offices to campaign for or against political candidates.”

Dec. 2: Trump tweets that he fired his onetime national security adviser, Michael Flynn, based on him having lied to the vice president and the FBI. The tweet sets off renewed calls for obstruction of justice charges against the president, since it was basically an admission that Trump knew Flynn was guilty when he pressed former FBI Director James Comey to go easy on him. The next day, Trump’s personal attorney claimed to have written that incriminating message. He further charged that the president cannot obstruct justice because he “is the chief law enforcement officer under (the Constitution’s Article II) and has every right to express his view of any case.”

Dec. 5: Mueller allegedly issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank seeking Trump’s financial records, reports Reuters.

Dec. 6: Trump formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, rather than Tel Aviv—a move denounced by both U.S. allies and adversaries.

Dec. 11: A trio of women who had previously accused the president of sexual harassment call on Congress to launch an investigation.

Dec. 12: Doug Jones, the Democrat in the race for the Alabama Senate seat previously held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, defeats the embattled Roy Moore.

Dec. 14: As feared, the Federal Communications Commission, led by its controversial new chairman, former Verizon executive Ajit Pai, votes to scrap net neutrality.

Dec. 19: Both the House and Senate vote to pass the so-called Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a $1.5 trillion tax bill that in the short-term will save most Americans money but will be costly to most—especially the poor and middle class—within a decade. The bill also further erodes the federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act, and primarily enriches the wealthy.

Dec. 23: CBS News reports that, during a party at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate, the president told his friends “You all just got a lot richer,” a reference to the recently passed tax bill.

Jan. 2: After North Korea leader Kim Jong Un noted that that the “nuclear button is always on the desk of my office,” Trump responded in a tweet that he has a “bigger” and “more powerful” button that “works!”

Jan. 3: The Guardian reports that Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, described Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” in a book by Michael Wolff.

Trump fired back the same day, saying Bannon was fired and has since “lost his mind.”