The WatchHawk: Week six of Trump’s administration
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself
The Trump Administration has yet to escape allegations in regards to contact with Russia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to recuse himself from any investigations related to President Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, reported CNN.
Sessions decided this after it was discovered that he had neglected to mention two pre-election meetings with Russia’s ambassador to Washington at his Senate confirmation hearing. This occurred at a time in which Moscow was being accused for interfering with the presidential race, making this potential dangerous for Sessions.
While Sessions is recusing himself from all investigations, he did state to Fox News that he would be involved with investigations into Russian hacking “on a case by case basis.” The controversy surrounding this has hit an all-time high as Democrats have called for Sessions to resign, stating that he lied to Congress, reported CNN.
However, not everyone is feeling the Sessions heat, as President Trump stated he had “total” confidence in Sessions. CNN also reported that when asked if Sessions should recuse himself, Trump stated, “I don’t think so.”
If one thing has been made clear throughout the past six weeks of Trump’s presidency, it is that issues surrounding Russia are not going to fade soon. Trump’s questionable attitude toward Moscow leaves many with more questions. Sessions is not the first Trump associate to be accused of having connections with the Russians. However, Sessions is not taking these allegations lightly, as he stated, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false,” reported CNN.
Trump plans to increase military spending
President Donald Trump recently visited a soon-to-be commissioned Navy aircraft carrier to discuss his multi-billion dollar military investment, reported CNN. His plan to “beef up” United States military forces will not come free, however. While Trump expressed that he felt military buildup was both needed to prevent and win war, his military plans are coming with a big price tag.
According to CNN, President Trump has planned an increase of $84 billion in the defense budget, which he hopes to partly use to perform a “major expansion of our entire Navy fleet.” In his first budget proposal, Trump is looking to increase defense and security spending by at least $54 billion. Trump also plans to use $30 billion in supplemental defense money, along with other funding to work on the controversial US-Mexico border wall.
Revamped travel ban takes a back seat
CNN reported that President Trump will be delaying his plans to sign a reworked travel ban due to positive feedback as a result of his first address to Congress. This decision was made late on Tuesday night after a fairly optimistic tone followed the President’s address to Congress.
A White House official was unable to deny that the move to push back the ban was due to favorable coverage following the address. The executive order was originally scheduled to be signed on Wednesday, but many feel if it had been signed it would have drastically cut into the positive coverage Trump is receiving.
The new ban is planned to exclude legal permanent residents and existing visa owners from the ban all together, but sources of CNN state that the ban has not been finalized. However, many are still questioning what other aspects of the ban will remain or be written out.
Trump fights the news
Many are familiar with President Trump’s dislike for supposed “fake news.” His administration’s dislike for the news, who they believe has not represented their administration accurately, went to a whole new level. According to The Washington Post, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, banned reporters from multiple news organizations such as CNN, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Politico and BuzzFeed from attending a non-televised briefing.
The White House claims that barring these organizations was not with intentions to exclude journalists from organizations that have been fairly critical of Trump. While many are accusing the administration of “picking favorites,” other organizations that where both sympathetic and unsympathetic to the administration were approved such as Fox News, CBS, NBC, The Wall Street Journal and many others.
However, the media organizations did not take being barred lightly. Reporters from Time and Associated Press refused to attend the briefing to protest the exclusion of other news organizations, reported The Washington Post.
Many seemed to not be surprised by this ban. Trump has made it well known he is not a fan of the media since various news outlets were “the enemy of the American people,” in his opinion. He also Tweeted that news organizations such as The New York Times and CNN were a “joke” and of “great danger to our country.” However, as more new organizations expressed frustrations, the White House remained firm in that the ban was “not exclusionary,” reported The Washington Post.
While it is not uncommon for the White House to pick certain reporters and groups for certain meetings, many are stating this ban by the Trump administration is his way of fighting the media.