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The Week in White House Drama – Shady Summits and Cohen’s Tape

There’s so much Russian spin, you’d think this was the Moscow ballet.

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This week in White House drama, the President has managed to anger his own party – and the rest of America – by meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other scandals include a recording made by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and more debates surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Big Drama

 Since President Trump was elected there has been a major shadow over his administration – Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, and the President’s possible collusion. Considering the circumstances, the decision to have a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki this week was odd and immediately threw the White House into damage control mode.

The most damage from the Helsinki summit came from the President’s continuous refusal to state that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and worked behind the scenes to get him elected, despite intelligence officials claiming otherwise. Trump sent a message: he believes Putin over his own intelligence officials. This, as well as a suspicious meeting alone with Putin, had many Americans and even intelligence chief Dan Coats speaking out against the President. Although the President has since somewhat confirmed the intelligence report, the press conference with Putin and Trump’s statements on Russia continue to shake Americans’ confidence in his leadership.

Beyond the absolutely unbelievable scene of Trump shaking hands with the Russian President – mere days after evidence was released that Putin’s intelligence officials staged a plot to interfere in our election – Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that Putin would be coming to the United States for another summit. After the disastrous Helsinki press conference, this new summit should be interesting, to say the least. For now, it merely sends a message: instead of punishing Russia’s actions, this administration is willing to let them spin their own story on national television. Twice.

More Drama Bombs

The Helsinki summit not only gave Putin some positive airtime, but it also made President Trump consider giving Russia a gift: sending in Americans to Russia for questioning. Trump now “disagrees” with sending in former American Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul for questioning, but the damage has already been done. What else will the President do for Russia? The prospect of handing over a former Ambassador for the United States has prompted outrage from Former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton, along with other politicians, and goes against the convention that ambassadors are granted diplomatic immunity. Then again, when has the Trump administration ever followed conventional wisdom?

Trump has not acted like any other President before – and never has this been more evident than when another scandal breaks. This week, the President dealt with the ongoing Russia scandal and yet another breaking affair. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who is currently under investigation, recorded then-candidate Trump discussing a payment with a former Playboy model to cover up their affair. This is the first of several tapes seized by the FBI in a raid and is the second affair allegation levied against the President since he has been in office, joining the Stormy Daniels controversy. Considering the tape deals with hush money during a campaign, there could be future trouble concerning campaign finance laws. Yet another misstep from the ever-turbulent Trump campaign and administration.

 

Other Major Players

  • Mariia Butina was arrested this week on allegations of being a Russian spy. Butina is a gun rights activist and was only able to secure a visa on the third attempt due to her official role within the NRA. This role within the NRA also seems to be the way she was able to influence American politics.
  • Mitch McConnell is at it again. This week McConnell threatened Democrats that he would squeeze in a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh right before the Midterm elections, taking them away from the campaign trail and blocking proper confirmation proceedings. The Senate Majority Leader’s threat is in response to allegations that Democrats are asking for too many documents for the confirmation, and are trying to stretch the proceedings. McConnell himself employed similar practices during the Obama administration, and successfully blocked the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland, claiming it was too close to an election. Hypocrite much?

 

 

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Rachael Blandau is a senior political science major at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky. She enjoys writing about the news and her favorite topic - politics.

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