June 23, 2017

Off-Campus Beat: Updates on the Trump Administration

Photo courtesy of wiseyoungman.com

by Sarah Gianni ’18

News Staff

President Trump Accuses Barack Obama of “Wire Tapping”

Donald Trump posted a string of tweets in the early morning of March 4, claiming that former President Barack Obama had “wires tapped” in Trump Tower prior to Trump’s victory. There is no official evidence to support Trump’s claims of any Obama surveillance.

Obama administration spokesman Kevin Lewis dismissed these allegations stating “a cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Fired by Trump Administration

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a tweet that he was fired after refusing to resign as requested by the Trump administration.  This request made by Trump was an effort to remove remaining Obama administration prosecutors at the Justice Department, as 46 U.S. attorneys were asked to resign immediately.

According to CNN, Bharara said he felt blindsided by the request for his resignation, as he had been told in a meeting with Trump back in November that he would be able to keep his position.  Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, stated that this action was taken in order to “ensure a uniform transition.”

Meetings between Trump Advisors and Russian Ambassador Disclosed

Jared Kushner, senior aid to President Trump, met with the Russian Ambassador to the United States along with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The meeting between Kushner, Flynn, and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak occurred in December, during a time of concern regarding the relationship between the Trump administration and Russia.

An additional national security advisor J.D. Gordon also disclosed that he had met with Kislyak back in July, along with Attorney General Jeff  Sessions. Sessions told Fox News, “I don’t recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way,” adding, “I don’t believe anybody that was in the meeting would have seen or believed I said one thing that was improper or unwise.”

Trump’s New Budget Projected to Be “Historic”

President Trump shared his budget proposal today. It was predicted to cover projected cuts to housing, foreign aid, and environmental programs, among others. Homeland security and military spending were also predicted to be prioritized in the budget.

These cuts in the planned proposal are also expected to lead to layoffs among federal workers. As the Washington Post reports, “Trump’s proposal comes at a time when the federal budget is facing massive structural shifts in society and the economy.”

Intruder Breaches White House Grounds

A man carrying a backpack with two cans of mace and a letter for President Trump was arrested on Friday, March 10, breaching White House grounds.  The incident occurred just before midnight while the President was inside of the White House.

The intruder, who was identified as Jonathan T. Tran, is a 26-year-old from California. He “jumped the fence” to enter.  When approached by an officer, Tran stated that he was a “friend of the President” who “had an appointment.”

Tran, who is facing unlawful entry charges, appeared in a Washington federal court on Monday where it was ruled he will remain free while awaiting his April 13 trial. Tran, unemployed and allegedly living in his car, must wear a GPS monitor, stay within 100 miles of his hometown, and undergo a mental health evaluation in the meantime. After security breaches in recent years, the White House plans to expand the perimeter fence from seven to twelve feet in 2018.

 

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