It’s been quite the week. Here are the most important things you need to know!
Michael Cohen, former personal counsel and fixer for President Trump, testified publicly on Wednesday in a Congressional hearing. His description of Trump as a racist, conman, and criminal essentially sums up the entire event. But here are a few of the other main takeaways:
- Trump directed Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels and brought the reimbursement check to prove it.
- Trump inflated his net worth in order to be on Forbes’ list of richest people but deflated it to avoid paying more in taxes.
- Trump knew that Roger Stone spoke to WikiLeaks about the hacked Hillary Clinton emails before they were released.
- Trump told Cohen to threaten schools so that they would never release his grades or SAT scores.
- Trump once asked Cohen to “name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a shithole” (while Obama was still President of the United States).
- Trump lied about the negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow during his 2016 campaign because he never actually expected to win the presidency.
- Cohen does not know of any direct evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia.
None of these things were enough to sway Republicans and Democrats aren’t quite ready to prep articles of impeachment. Regardless, it made for interesting television.
While Cohen vented to Congress, President Trump was in Vietnam to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In an unprecedented event, the White House actually barred American journalists from witnessing the dinner between the two leaders. This was to avoid any questions regarding Cohen. A ceremony to sign a “joint agreement” was to take place on Thursday, however the summit ended early. According to the President, the talks concluded without a deal after Kim insisted that the United States lifted sanctions on North Korea. “Sometimes you have to walk,” the President later said. The North Korean foreign minister contradicted Trump’s story, saying that Kim only asked for some sanctions to be lifted in return for the dismantling of a nuclear facility.
Immigrant Detention Centers
The Justice Department has revealed that thousands of children said that they were abused in United States detention centers. Over the past four years, the government had received 4,500 complaints. Complaints rose during the Trump administrations family separations. The records detail allegations that adult staff members fondled and kissed minors, watched them shower, and raped them. Some reports were of abuses by other minors as well. While the records do not detail the outcome of every complaint, some were proven to be unfounded or stated as lacking enough evidence to prosecute.
The House passed the first major gun control law in centuries on Wednesday. In a 240-190 vote, the majority agreed to require background checks for all gun purchasers, including those at gun shows and on the internet. While a huge win for Democrats, Republicans didn’t lose completely. A provision requires that the FBI alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if an undocumented immigrant tries to obtain a firearm.
The House also passed the “Charleston loophole” bill on Thursday. This aims to fix a loophole in current law that allows some firearms to be transferred by licensed gun dealers before required background checks have been completed. This loophole allowed Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who killed nine people at a church in South Carolina in 2015, to obtain the weapon he used despite a drug possession charge.