Each Friday, Torchlight Media will publish a summary of the major news that happened for that week: the announcements and events, the twists and turns of ongoing stories, and all of the other highlights in between. Our goal is to give you a big-picture look at the week’s news so that even if you can’t follow everything yourself, you can have a general sense of where things stand. We hope, too, that seeing the highlights laid out will help you separate the small, pointless stories that crop up over the week from the more impactful, ongoing stories.
Here’s what’s in the spotlight for this week.
Over the weekend:
- After a confusing series of events, Trump decided to treat a statement made by North Korea at a summit they had with South Korea as an invitation for talks. Trump immediately accepted, and then everyone started to try to figure out what exactly talks meant, what the conditions would be and basic foundational blocks that are usually negotiated far in advance in normal foreign policy. Secretary of State Tillerson had said that negotiations were still “a long way” off hours before.
- Trump’s universal tariff plan for Steel and aluminum will now have carve outs for Canada and Mexico. Australia, the EU, Brazil, and North Korea also seek exemptions
- Rick Scott, governor of Florida, signed a law including higher age restrictions on purchasing guns, among other regulations. Overall, the restrictions are a mixed bag (they include provisions for arming teachers, which neither the governor nor democrats were for), but generally a positive move. Naturally, the NRA has already sued the state of Florida. President Trump has backed down on what minor helpful regulations he has supported.
- Despite indictments, testimony, admissions on national television, and mountains of evidence, the House Intelligence Committee declared that there was no Russian meddling of American elections. Also, it contradicted the unanimous opinion of the American Intelligence Community.
- A former Russian agent living in the UK, Sergei Skripal was attacked with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by Russia. Also affected are his daughter, the first responding policeman, and approximately 30 others were examined for deleterious effects. Russia’s response is flippant.
- Trump started the day with the firing of the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, via tweet. Mike Pompeo, current CIA Director, is tapped to fill Tillerson’s place and current CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel, known notoriously for running “enhanced interrogation” torture sites, is to move into Pompeo’s position. Both of these are subject to Senate confirmation.
- Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein was also axed after contradicting the events surrounding Tillerson’s departure as laid out by the White House.
- Personal assistant to President Trump, John McEntee, was not spared the firing extravaganza on Tuesday. He is under investigation for financial crimes by the Department of Homeland Security. He was immediately hired by Trump’s reelection team as a senior adviser for campaign operations.
- Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) issued statement in contrast to his own committee’s majority finding on Russian Meddling. Gowdy says that the Russians clearly had a preference against Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election.
- The saga of Seth Rich took another turn as his family sued Fox News, investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman, and commentator Ed Butowsky for harm caused by their false reporting.
- Democrat Conor Lamb clinched the special election in Pennsylvania as final election returns came in. Lamb won in a district that had significantly supported President Trump in 2016, and is another in a long series of Democratic wins driven by an energized Democratic base coupled with a lethargic Republican base.
- In audio from a fundraising speech, President Trump admitted that he made claims during a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the trade balance between the United States and Canada despite not actually knowing whether or not the United States had a surplus or deficit with Canada.
- The Washington Post reported that President Trump is planning to remove National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.
Torchlight’s editorial staff are politically engaged citizens who stepped up to be journalists. (You could, too!) They participate in regular Roundtable discussions and work together to learn and write about the news.