Trump Watch: Day 26 Wrap-Up

Good evening, Trump watchers. Here are the biggest Trump-related stories from Wednesday, February 15, as well as one from Tuesday:

— I’m sure you all saw the news late Monday night or early Tuesday morning that Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, resigned amidst the news that he illegally discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian official. If you need more information on that story, this link from the Washington Post should help you to catch up: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/michael-flynn-resigns-as-national-security-adviser/2017/02/13/0007c0a8-f26e-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html?utm_term=.f9b174354677

— While the White House has yet to confirm this, Reuters reported today that two unnamed U.S. officials told reporters that Trump has offered the national security adviser position to Vice Admiral Robert Harward, “a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command who has Navy SEAL combat experience”. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-harward-idUSKBN15U29C

— U.S. intelligence officials reported that during the 2016 Presidential campaign, Trump’s advisers (including Flynn and Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort) were “in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence” according to CNN. This was a particularly interesting segment of the CNN article: “Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.” http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/donald-trump-aides-russians-campaign/index.html

— In relation to the previous story, the Washington Post reported this evening that Senate Democrats agreed to a bipartisan congressional investigation of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-democrats-reject-push-for-outside-probe-of-trump-russia-links/2017/02/15/5dee838c-f390-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-banner-main_pp-probe-450pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.eb9356355e69

— Meanwhile, Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder (the Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. guy) withdrew himself from the nomination today as it became apparent that he would not be confirmed by the Senate. Reports indicated that between 4 to 12 Republican Senators were prepared to vote against him. It is not yet known who Trump will nominate next. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-15/ap-newsalert-in-statement-andrew-puzder-says-he-s-withdrawing-his-nomination-for-labor-secretary

— Today Trump met with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. In a joint press conference, Trump said that the U.S. “would no longer insist on a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, backing away from a policy that has underpinned America’s role in Middle East peacemaking since the Clinton administration” according to the New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/world/middleeast/benjamin-netanyahu-israel-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

— It appears that the Trump administration is working on Obamacare. Reuters reported that the administration proposed a new rule that would “tighten enrollment processes and allow insurers to collect unpaid premium payments, making it tougher for people to move in and out of insurance plans.” The article reported that insurers welcomed this proposed rule as a good start to revising the healthcare law, but it could result in higher out-of-pocket costs for the American people. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-obamacare-idUSKBN15U25J

— Planning to spend yet another weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump will hold a campaign-style rally in Melbourne, Florida this Saturday as part of a “thank-you tour”. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-rally-melbourne-florida-235061

— Have you felt more stress since the election? You’re not alone. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that Americans’ stress levels are higher now than they were last August. It is the first significant increase in stress levels since the APA began conducting these surveys 10 years ago. Of note, both Republicans and Democrats reported feeling stressed about the future of the nation, with 59% of Republicans and 76% of Democrats reporting this stress in the age of Trump. You can read more about the survey results here: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/15/515366975/feeling-way-more-stressed-out-youre-not-alone

That’s all for tonight. I will post links to any important breaking news stories to the Facebook page tomorrow, and will be back with another wrap-up post on Friday!