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This week in Trump’s America

This week in Trump’s America

Week 10, in one sentence: President Donald Trump blamed everyone but himself for the failure of the  GOP Obamacare replacement, which Speaker Paul Ryan pulled moments before its House vote; approved the Keystone XL pipeline; was sued by Seattle after Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to “claw back” federal funding from sanctuary cities; signed an executive order that begins the destruction of Obama’s Clean Power Plan; announced that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is also Trump’s senior adviser, would head a new office dedicated to innovation; turned his daughter Ivanka’s unofficial role with the White House into an official one, after criticism that Ivanka could avoid financial disclosure rules with an unofficial role; became the subject of another investigation, this time over his trips to Mar-a-Lago; shared scrutiny over Russia with Rep. Devin Nunes, who abruptly cancelled hearings; declared war on key members of his own party; and defended former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s request for immunity in exchange for Russia testimony.

Trumpcare implodes, Keystone, and “profound” concerns over RussiaDay 64 — March 24

Minutes before the GOP-controlled House was scheduled to vote on the party’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill. The legislation didn’t have enough Republican support to pass. Moments after the legislation’s collapse, however, Trump started calling reporters to blame the failure on Democrats.

Trump also announced the federal government’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing an Obama-era rejection of the proposal. It’s a controversial decision — pipelines can contaminate groundwater and may ultimately contribute to climate change — that Trump said will result in the “the greatest technology known to man or woman.” The 900-mile pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada into the U.S. every day, the government claims.

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Trump’s possible connections to the Russia took another dramatic turn. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, voiced “profound concerns” about the integrity of the investigation after Republican Chair Devin Nunes canceled a hearing scheduled for Tuesday where former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — whom Trump fired in late January — and former CIA Director John Brennan would testify. Committee members have criticized Nunes’ handling of the investigation on several occasions.

Trump: Watch Fox NewsDay 65 — March 25

One day after the Trumpcare debacle, Trump tweeted the promise of a follow-up effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. He also told his millions of Twitter followers to watch Jeanine Pirro on Fox News that evening. Although it’s unclear if the president knew what Pirro was going to talk about, the host began her show’s monologue by calling for Paul Ryan to step down.

“He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill, the one trumpeted to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Pirro said.

Trumpcare still isn’t Trump’s faultDay 66 — March 26

The president again deflected blame for the failed GOP plan to replace Obamacare — this time pointing a finger at the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Twenty-five of the group’s 35-40 members vowed to vote against the plan.

Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone offered to testify before a congressional committee about Russia. Stone has had contact with both Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for breaching the Democratic National Committee’s emails. “I reiterate again: I have had no contacts or collusions with the Russians,” Stone said on ABC.

Further indicating the Trump administration’s coming war on environmental protections, EPA chief Scott Pruitt called the Paris climate agreement “just a bad deal,” the landmark 194-nation deal that Trump vowed to “cancel” on the campaign trail.

Sessions threatens sanctuary citiesDay 67 — March 27

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to “claw back” as much as $4.1 billion in federal money from sanctuary cities, an unofficial term for cities that don’t always comply with federal deportation efforts. That puts roughly 110 cities in a tough spot: either comply with the feds or lose money that helps police officers do their jobs.

It was a big day for Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. The White House announced he’ll lead a new office called the Office of American Innovation, which sounds a lot like a pitch from “The Apprentice.” The office will use ideas from the private sector to retool how the government works and “spur job creation and innovation.”

Kushner also became the first White House staffer to volunteer to testify to the Senate about alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A government ethics watchdog plans to investigate Trump’s frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago, which raised national security concerns after guests in the dining room photographed the president reviewing reportedly classified information in February.

What’s coal is new againDay 68 — March 28

With the swoop of his pen, Trump set in motion the deconstruction of Obama-era environmental protections. Trump’s executive order requires the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, which sought to cut power plant emissions. The order also rescinded a moratorium of coal-mining leases on federal lands. It’s a gift to the coal industry that didn’t come cheap: Coal company executives donated $240,000 to Trump’s campaign and more than $13 million to Republicans.

Pruitt is under investigation by the Oklahoma Bar Association for allegedly lying under oath to Congress (aka committing perjury). Pruitt said that he didn’t use a private email account to conduct government business while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, but emails obtained by Associated Press reveal that he did. Pruitt is one of five members of Trump’s Cabinet who stand accused of lying under oath before Congress.

New details emerged about a bizarre midnight visit to the White House by House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes, who was also part of Trump’s transition team. He reportedly received a phone call on March 21 that prompted him to leave his car mid-trip, which, it turns out, was a summons to review intelligence pertinent to his committee’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. But Nunes claims he only went to the White House because it’s a secure location. The following day, Nunes held his controversial press conference that sparked concerns about his leadership of the investigation. (The Nunes drama continues below.)

After passing the House and Senate, a bill that will allow internet service providers to sell users’ online history to advertisers will likely get Trump’s signature.

Just kidding! Ivanka is a government employee nowDay 69 — March 29

Ivanka Trump, who has repeatedly said she wouldn’t be an official government employee, suddenly shifted plans and announced that, yes, she will have an official (albeit unpaid) government role as an adviser to her father. Ethical concerns popped up after the White House  announced that Ivanka would take on an unofficial role — complete with a West Wing office and security clearance.

After Jeff Sessions threatened to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, Seattle officials announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration, which argues its unconstitutional for the federal government to bully them into compliance. Earlier this year, Trump also signed an executive order to revoke grant money from sanctuary cities.

Storytellin’ time with Mike FlynnDay 70 — March 30

Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn “certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” according to a statement from an attorney representing the retired Army general. Flynn, who was forced to resign after his ties to Russia were made public, now wants immunity in exchange for his testimony to Congress.

Trump, using his Twitter account, declared war on some key members of his own party: the House Freedom Caucus. Twenty-five of the group’s 35-40 members vowed to vote against Trumpcare, perhaps the reason the legislation was pulled minutes before its scheduled vote.

Vice President Mike Pence, a longtime abortion opponent, cast the tie-breaking vote to put some Planned Parenthood funding on the chopping block. Senate Republicans deadlocked on whether to proceed to a vote to roll back an Obama-era rule that barred states from cutting off federal family-planning money to abortion providers.

Rep. Nunes has remained mum about who summoned him to the White House to tell him that U.S. spy agencies had “incidentally” collected communications from Trump and his allies while surveilling foreign targets, but we may be closer to an answer. The New York Times reported that two White House officials — the same White House that Nunes’ committee is supposed to be investigating — gave Nunes the intelligence reports, raising even more questions about his actions over the past week.

This week in POTUS’ tweets

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