Week in Review
- President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and later contradicted the official White House explanation for doing so. While voters are split on the issue, many Republicans have come around to support Trump’s decision.
- Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office, the highest-level meeting between Trump and Russian officials since he was sworn in. Though Russia has been criticized for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, more Americans said Comey’s actions surrounding the Hillary Clinton email investigation influenced the election outcome.
- For the second time, the White House delayed a meeting to discuss whether or not to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. The meeting has not been rescheduled, and the administration pushed back its self-imposed deadline for a decision.
- Trump’s top military and foreign policy advisers proposed a plan that would expand U.S. efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The proposal would delegate authority to the Pentagon, rather than the White House, to set troop levels.
- Trump signed an executive order that seeks to strengthen digital infrastructure to defend the United States from cyberattacks.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned an Obama-era policy concerning sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders.
- Trump’s decision to fire Comey rocked Capitol Hill, with Republican lawmakers showing skepticism about the timing but refusing to embrace Democratic calls for new investigations. Senate leaders asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the FBI, to brief all senators.
- The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for records relating to the panel’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible Trump ties. Flynn’s associates have been subpoenaed by a grand jury.
- The Senate voted 82-14 to confirm Robert Lighthizer to serve as the next U.S. trade representative. Heather Wilson was confirmed to be Air Force secretary on a 76-22 vote, and Scott Gottlieb was confirmed 57-42 to lead the Food and Drug Administration.
- House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) are working with the Trump administration to draft an immigration and border security bill – the most serious effort yet in the 115th Congress to address the issue.
- As the House Freedom Caucus worked with senators to draft a health care plan, a Morning Consult/POLITICO survey found that Obamacare is more popular than the House-passed measure.