The Detroit Post
Wednesday, 01 December, 2021

Donald Trump Background

James Lee
• Monday, 23 November, 2020
• 20 min read

At age 13, Trump ’s parents sent him to the New York Military Academy, hoping the discipline of the school would channel his energy positively. Maryanne Trump Barry was a senior judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, but took an inactive stats soon after her brother became president.

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She was named vice president in charge of design in the Trump Organization and played a major role in supervising the renovation of the Commodore and the Plaza Hotel. The Trump Organization required a massive infusion of loans to keep it from collapsing, a situation that raised questions whether the corporation could survive bankruptcy.

Trump ’s net worth was questioned over the course of his 2016 presidential run, and he courted controversy after repeatedly refusing to release his tax returns while they were being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. In April 2019, Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, requested six years' worth of the president's personal and business tax returns from the IRS.

In September 2019, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenaed the accounting firm Majors USA for Trump's personal and corporate tax returns dating back to 2011, prompting a challenge from the president's lawyers. A few days later, that same appeals court rejected Trump's bid to block another subpoena issued to Majors USA, this one from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Later, in a separate incident related to Trump University, it was reported that Florida Attorney General Pam Bond decided not to join the existing New York fraud lawsuit. As a result of the improper donation to Bond's campaign, Trump was required to pay the IRS a penalty and his foundation came under scrutiny about the use of its funds for non-charitable activities.

By 2009, Trump had switched back to the Republican Party, although he registered as an Independent in 2011 to allow for a potential run in the following year’s presidential election. Defying polls and media projections, he won the majority of electoral college votes in a stunning victory on November 8, 2016.

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He went on to paint a bleak picture of an America that had failed many of its citizens, describing families trapped in poverty, an ineffective education system, and crime, drugs and gangs. The Women's March on Washington drew over half a million people to protest Trump's stance on a variety of issues ranging from immigration to environmental protection.

Several of Trump ’s key policies that got rolling during Trump ’s first 100 days in office included his first Supreme Court nomination; steps toward building a wall on the Mexico border; a travel ban for several predominantly Muslim countries; the first moves to dismantle the Affordable Care Act; and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. The budget outlined his plans for increased spending for the military, veterans affairs and national security, including building a wall on the border with Mexico.

It also made drastic cuts to many government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, as well as the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Community Development Block Grant program which supports Meals on Wheels. The 49-year-old conservative judge was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver.

Judge Gorsuch was educated at Columbia, Harvard and Oxford and clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. The nomination came after Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia, was denied a confirmation hearing by Senate Republicans.

As Gorsuch's legal philosophy was considered to be similar to Scalia's, the choice drew strong praise from the conservative side of the aisle. Democrats mostly held firm to deny the 60 votes necessary to proceed, resulting in the first successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.

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But Republicans quickly countered with another historic move, invoking the “nuclear option” to lower the threshold for advancing Supreme Court nominations from 60 votes to a simple majority of 50. Following the death of liberal favorite Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump nominated conservative Judge Barrett, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, on September 26, 2021.

However, in an October 2018 interview on Fox News, Trump accused climate scientists of having a “political agenda” and said that he was unconvinced that humans were responsible for rising temperatures. The accord requires all participating nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to curb climate change over the ensuing century and also to allocate resources for the research and development of alternative energy sources.

Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelly Warren also contributed to Trump ’s presidential campaign, raising concerns over conflict of interest. On March 28, 2017, the president, surrounded by American coal miners, signed the “Energy Independence” executive order, calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back Obama's Clean Power Plan, curb climate and carbon emissions regulations and to rescind a moratorium on coal mining on U.S. federal lands.

One of Trump ’s first executive orders in office was calling on federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” aspects of the Affordable Care Act to minimize financial burden on states, insurers and individuals. However, the controversial bill ultimately didn't have enough Republican votes and was withdrawn a few weeks later, representing a major legislative setback for Speaker Ryan and Trump.

After intense negotiations among party factions, a new Republican health care plan was brought to a vote in the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017, and passed by a slim margin of 217 to 213. Almost immediately after a draft was unveiled on June 22, conservative senators such as Ted Cruz declared they could not support the bill's failure to significantly lower premiums, while moderates like Susan Collins voiced concerns over its steep cuts to Medicaid.

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On December 2, 2017, Trump achieved the first major legislative victory of his administration when the Senate passed a sweeping tax reform bill. Approved along party lines by a 51-49 vote, the bill drew criticism for extensive last-minute rewrites, with frustrated Democrats posting photos of pages filled with crossed-out text and handwriting crammed into the margins.

Among other measures, the Senate bill called for the slashing of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, doubling personal deductions and ending the Obamacare mandate. It also included a controversial provision that allowed for “unborn children” to be named as beneficiaries of college savings accounts, which critics called an attempt to support the pro-life movement.

Despite estimates by the Congressional Budget Office that the bill would cost $1.5 trillion over a decade, GOP senators insisted that charges would be offset by a growing economy. Thank you to House and Senate Republicans for your hard work and commitment!” On December 20, the final tax bill formally passed both chambers of Congress.

He spoke at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in 2019, and he promised to veto a measure passed in February 2019 by House Democrats to strengthen background checks. His administration also banned bump stocks in October 2017 after a mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival left 58 people dead.

The Valentine's Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stone man Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left a total of 17 students and faculty dead, sparked a strong response from Trump. He ordered the Justice Department to issue regulations banning bump stocks and suggested he was willing to consider a range of measures, from strengthening background checks to raising the minimum age for buying rifles.

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The president remained invested in the issue even as the usual cycle of outrage began diminishing: In a televised February 28 meeting with lawmakers, he called for gun control legislation that would expand background checks to gun shows and internet transactions, secure schools and restrict sales for some young adults. At one point he called out Pennsylvania Senator Pat Thomas for being “afraid of the NRA,” and at another, he suggested that authorities should seize guns from mentally ill or other potentially dangerous people without first going to court.

His stances seemingly stunned the Republican lawmakers at the meeting, as well as the NRA, which previously considered the president as a strong supporter. Within a few days, Trump was walking back his proposal to raise the age limit and mainly pushing for arming select teachers.

In June 2019, Trump said he would “think about” a ban on gun silencers following the deaths of a dozen people, who were killed by a gunman at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. Two months later, after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the president suggested tying expanded background checks to immigration reform legislation.

Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to the crowd on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. In his first televised interview as president, Trump said the initial construction of the wall would be funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars, but that Mexico would reimburse the U.S. “100 percent” in a plan to be negotiated and might include a suggested import tax on Mexican goods.

In response to the new administration's stance on a border wall, Mexican President Enrique Peña Into canceled a planned visit to meet with Trump. In December 2018, shortly before a newly elected Democratic majority was set to take control of the House, Trump announced he would not sign a bill to fund the government unless Congress allocated $5.7 billion toward building his long-promised border wall.

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With Democrats refusing to give in to his demand, a partial government shutdown ensued for a record 35 days, until all sides agreed to another attempt at striking a compromise. After indicating that he would sign the bill, the President made good on his threat to declare a national emergency the following day, enabling him to funnel $3.6 billion slated for military construction projects toward building the wall.

“Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured 'crisis' of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border,” the lawsuit said. In late July 2019, the Supreme Court overturned an appellate decision and ruled that the Trump administration could begin using Pentagon money for construction during the ongoing litigation over the issue.

As children were legally not allowed to be detained with their parents, this meant that they were to be held separately as family cases wound through immigration courts. A furor ensued after reports surfaced that nearly 2,000 children had been separated from their parents over a six-week period that ended in May 2018, compounded by photos of toddlers crying in cages.

The president ultimately caved to pressure from the bad PR, and on June 20 he signed an executive order that directed the Department of Homeland Security to keep families together. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” he said, adding that it remained important to have “zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally” and for Congress to find a permanent solution to the problem.

The president's executive order was put into effect immediately, and refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries traveling to the U.S. were detained at U.S. airports. After facing multiple legal hurdles, Trump signed a revised executive order on March 6, 2017, calling for a 90-day ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries including Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

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However, on June 26, 2017, Trump won a partial victory when the Supreme Court announced it was allowing the controversial ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lacked a “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States.” On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court allowed the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect despite the ongoing legal challenges.

Citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, along with some groups of people from Venezuela, would be unable to emigrate to the United States permanently, with many barred from also working, studying or vacationing in the country. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that Trump had the executive authority to make national security judgments in the realm of immigration, regardless of his previous statements about Islam.

In a sharply worded dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the outcome was equivalent to that of Korematsu v. United States, which permitted the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Known as the “public charge” rule, for people who are dependent on Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits, the policy tightened requirements for legal immigrants seeking to become permanent residents by focusing on factors like education, assets, resources and financial status.

Around the same time, the North Korean state news agency said they were “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around the U.S. territory of Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles. U.S. experts estimated North Korea’s nuclear warheads at 60 and that the country could soon have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

Two days later, Trump widened American economic sanctions; three days later North Korea threatened to shoot down American airplanes even if they were not in its airspace, calling Trump ’s comments “a declaration of war.” A week later, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. and North Korea were in “direct communication” and looking for a non-militarized path forward. On October 20, CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned that North Korea was in the “final step” of being able to strike mainland America with nuclear warheads and the U.S. should react accordingly.

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However, negotiations abruptly ended the second day, after North Korea reportedly asked for sanctions to be lifted in exchange for dismantling its main nuclear facility but not all elements of its weapons program. On June 30, 2019, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he met with Kim for informal discussions at the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries on the Korean peninsula.

Throughout the 2016 presidential election, Trump vehemently denied allegations he had a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was tied to the hacking of the DNC emails. In January 2017, a U.S. intelligence report prepared by the CIA, FBI and NSA concluded that Putin had ordered a campaign to influence the U.S. election.

“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. However, in subsequent comments he again refused to condemn Russia for such activity, notably saying on multiple occasions that he believed Putin's denials.

In March 2018, the Trump administration formally acknowledged the charges by issuing sanctions on 19 Russians for interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged cyberattacks. In July, days before Trump was to meet with Putin in Finland, Deputy Attorney General Rod Eisenstein announced additional charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

The White House announced that Trump would hold his first formal discussions with Russian President Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. The two men met on the heels of Trump's heavily scrutinized summit with NATO leaders, and shortly after the Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian operatives for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Prompted to address the issue of election hacking in a joint news conference for the two leaders, Trump refused to point a finger at his counterpart. The comments drew a harsh response stateside, with several notable Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues to question why the president was siding with Putin over his intelligence agencies.

Trump sought to quiet the furor after returning to the White House, insisting that he had misspoken when saying he didn't see why Russia should be blamed and reminding that he has “on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections,” though he again suggested that other parties could be responsible. Bolton soon disclosed that he would postpone the invitation until the conclusion of the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Despite Trump's overtures to Putin, his administration in February 2019 announced the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, due to the Eastern power's repeated violations of the agreement. In December 2018, Trump announced that U.S. military troops would be pulled from Syria, before changing his mind when that decision was denounced as one that would primarily benefit Assad and his government's main ally, Russia.

Shortly afterward, he announced he was imposing sanctions on Turkey for a military offensive that was “endangering civilians and threatening peace, security, and stability in the region.” In late October 2019, Trump announced that the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was dead following a daring American commando raid in Syria.

According to the president, the militant leader was chased to the end of an underground tunnel, “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” before detonating a suicide vest. The announcement came amid the controversy over the withdrawal of troops from the region, with critics pointing to the American military presence and intelligence contributions from Kurdish allies as factors that led to the success of the mission.

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He ultimately left the summit early, making headlines on the way out by announcing he would not sign a communiqué between the seven nations and taking shots at Trudeau on Twitter. In July, Trump again had harsh words for allies at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, including accusations that Germany was “captive” to Russia for its dependence on Russian natural gas, and followed with criticism of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May for her handling of Brexit.

Back home, the president attempted to head off the political fallout of a potentially costly trade war with the announcement that the administration would provide up to $12 billion in emergency relief funds for U.S. farmers. In April 2018, the Trump administration announced it was adding a 25 percent tariff on more than 1,000 Chinese products to penalize the country for its trade practices.

The trade war with China escalated in May 2019, when the president gave the go-ahead to raise tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The following month, after Trump used the threat of tariffs to obtain expanded border-security measures from Mexico, the president turned his attention back to China with the suggestion that another $300 billion in Chinese goods would be taxed should trade talks continue to stall.

In October, the president gushed about the “very substantial phase one deal” reached with China, saying a final agreement on matters related to intellectual property, financial services and agriculture would take three to five weeks to put in place. Signed in mid-January 2020, the deal included commitments from China to purchase an additional $200 billion of U.S. products over the next two years and to refrain from currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.

In June 2019, Trump announced that the U.S. would be selling more than $2 billion in tanks and military equipment to Taiwan, one of its largest sales in recent years. The U.S. does not officially recognize Taiwan, a de facto independent island that the communist Chinese government plans to bring back under its control, with force if necessary.

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In 2018, to the ire of Chinese officials, the Pentagon began ordering naval ships to sail through the Taiwan Strait as a show of military power. On December 6, 2017, Trump announced that the U.S. was formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and would move the American embassy there from its current location in Tel Aviv.

The announcement was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but not as warmly received by American allies France, Britain and Germany, which called it disruptive to the peace process. Leaders of the predominantly Muslim countries Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon all condemned the move, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the U.S. could no longer be considered a mediator in the region.

After dispatching Vice President Mike Pence to help smooth things over with Arab leaders in the Middle East, Trump sought to reestablish ties with American allies at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2018. Continuing with a recalibrated approach to relations with its Middle Eastern ally, the Trump administration announced in November 2019 that it no longer considered Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law.

A few weeks later, the president sought to bolster support among American Jews by signing an executive order aimed at cracking down on anti-Semitism at college campuses. In May 2018, over the objections of European allies, Trump announced that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal enacted by his predecessor and reimposing sanctions in the Middle Eastern country.

After protesters responded by breaching the outer wall of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, the animosity escalated with the death of General Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top security and intelligence commander, in a drone strike authorized by President Trump. In June 2019, Trump announced that the State Department would no longer allow private or public ships and aircraft to visit Cuba.

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Then a car, driven by a man who appeared to show marching earlier that day alongside Neo-Nazis in a CNN photo plowed into the crowd, killing a 32-year-old counter-protester and injuring at least 19 others. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” he said.

On September 15, Trump re-defended his comments after meeting with Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina: “I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what's going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also. To quell the staunch outcry from biochemists, Obama eventually released his birth certificate in April 2011, verifying that he was born in the United States.

In 2013, Trump tweeted that a Hawaiian State Health Director, who died of cardiac arrhythmia following a plane crash, was somehow connected to a cover-up of President Obama's birth certificate. Later that fall, feeling pressure from his campaign advisors to put the conspiracy theory to rest as part of a strategy to appeal to minority voters, Trump issued a statement: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.” At the same time, he also blamed his presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, and her campaign for starting the birther controversy.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told reporters at a press conference that “every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire Director Coma was part of a cover-up.” He accused Trump of lying to the public about the nature of his tenure and dismissal, noting that he believed he was fired to affect the FBI probe into Russia's influence in the 2016 election.

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Eisenstein selected Robert Mueller, former federal prosecutor and FBI director, to serve as a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to the Trump campaign. On October 30, 2018, Mueller announced the first indictments of his investigation, ensnaring former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates on charges of tax fraud, money laundering and foreign lobbying violations.

Days later the New York Times reported that Trump had sought to fire Mueller the previous June, before backing off when the White House counsel protested. In early February, the president gave the go-ahead for House Republicans to release a controversial memo that summarized the FBI's attempts to obtain a warrant to wiretap former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

According to the memo, the FBI and DOJ had relied on information from an infamous dossier, whose author was commissioned by the Democratic Party to dig up dirt on Trump. House Democrats countered that the memo left out important information to make it seem that the FBI was biased against Trump, thereby discrediting the bureau's involvement in the Mueller probe.

Mueller’s report was released in March 2019, finding no evidence of collusion but offering obtuse language on whether the president obstructed justice. The furor over the report didn't die down, particularly since the redacted version that was released raised more questions about obstruction and whether Barr was attempting to shield the president from congressional scrutiny.

Adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, known by her stage name of Stormy Daniels, reportedly signed a nondisclosure agreement just before the 2016 election to remain silent on her affair with Trump. After the Wall Street Journal reported on the situation in early 2018, the Daniels saga became part of the news cycle, leading to a much-publicized appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night show in which she played coy on the issue.

In February 2018, Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket, though he did not say what the payment was for. Late March brought a 60 Minutes interview with Daniels, in which she described her alleged tryst with Trump, as well as a parking lot encounter with an unknown man who warned her to stop discussing the affair in public.

The president delivered his first public remarks on the issue aboard Air Force One in early April, saying he knew nothing about the payment to Daniels. Later in the month, McDougal reached a settlement with American Media Inc (AMI) that allowed her to speak freely about her alleged affair with Trump.

In July 2018, Trump ’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen found himself under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He released a two-year-old secret recording of a conversation with Trump about payments to AMI for the McDougal story, indicating that the president was aware of the situation dating back to his days as a candidate.

Along with insisting that his ex-boss knew ahead of time about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians and the WikiLeaks dump of DNC emails, both of which came in mid-2016, he supplied checks as evidence of the president's reimbursement of his payment to Stormy Daniels. It was believed that prosecutors were investigating crimes related to conspiracy to defraud the United States, false statements and money laundering.

In June 2019, New York journalist E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 1996 at the upscale Manhattan department store Berger Goodman. He led her upstairs to the lingerie department, and, after a bit of banter, pinned her in the dressing room, pulled down her pantyhose and sexually assaulted her, according to Carroll’s account.

A couple of days later, Carroll told her friend Carol Martin, a TV host, who advised her to remain silent. The three-minute recording captured Trump speaking to Billy Bush, co-anchor of Access Hollywood, as they prepared to meet soap opera actress Arianne Tucker for a segment of the show.

The backlash was immediate with some top Republicans, including Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Mike Capo, Shelley Moore Capitol and Martha Rob, who withdrew their support for Trump. Around the same time as the video leak, numerous women began speaking publicly about their experiences with Trump, alleging he had either sexually assaulted or harassed them based on their looks.

Trump admitted to discussing Joe and Hunter Biden with Zelensky, and even released a transcript of their conversation, though he denied that he withheld the military aid as a means for pressuring his counterpart into digging up dirt on a political rival. In October, as House Democrats attempted to secure testimony from the unidentified whistleblower, reports surfaced of another individual with first-hand knowledge of several allegations noted in the complaint.

William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, soon defied State Department orders to share his recollection of events with investigators and corroborate the claims of quid pro quo. He was followed by Alexander Indian, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, who reportedly confirmed that he was on the phone call between Trump and Zelensky and was concerned that the demand to investigate the Biden's would jeopardize U.S.-Ukraine relations.

In July 2019, after the House voted to condemn Trump for his Twitter comments about four congresswomen of color, Democrat Al Green of Texas filed a resolution to launch impeachment proceedings against the president. The tide turned with the reports of Trump pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden and the administration's attempt to conceal the whistleblower complaint.

On October 31, following five weeks of investigations and interviews, the House voted 232-196 to approve a resolution that established rules for the impeachment process. Impeachment hearings commenced on November 13 with testimony from Taylor and another State Department official, as Trump was busy meeting with President Recap Tail Erdoan of Turkey.

The following week, Gordon Woodland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, provided more testimony about what he said was a clear case of quid pro quo, noting that Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompey and other top administration officials were aware of Trump's pressure campaign. On December 10, 2019, House Democrats announced they were moving forward with two articles of impeachment, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Senate trial formally began on January 21, 2021, with seven House Democrat impeachment managers arguing their case of Trump's abuses against the president's legal defense that everything was valid. Although former national security adviser John Bolton lurked as a potential wild card, following reports that his upcoming book revealed more evidence of Trump tying Ukraine aid to political investigations, his account became irrelevant when the Senate voted against allowing additional witnesses on January 31.

After taking a victory lap for beating back the impeachment attempt, Trump faced a new challenge with the emergence of the novel coronavirus from China. The White House initially requested $2.5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the outbreak, a reflection of the president's belief that the threat wasn't particularly dire, though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle suggested that number was too low.

On February 26, 2021, the same day that the 60th known coronavirus patient was recorded in the U.S., Trump announced that Vice President Pence would lead the administration's response to the health crisis. Despite his reassurances, the situation continued to escalate in the coming weeks as the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic and major American sports leagues suspended their seasons.

On March 13, one day after stocks suffered the biggest daily drop since Black Monday of 1987, the president announced that he was declaring a national emergency to free up $50 billion in federal resources to combat the health crisis. On March 18, Trump pushed out the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provided paid sick leave for some workers, funding for food assistance programs, expanded unemployment benefits and free diagnostic testing.

Later that day he was transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after feeling “fatigued,” according to his physician. Known for his frequent use of Twitter to promote his agenda and attack critics, Trump came under fire in May 2020 for retweeting claims that former congressman turned MSNBC host Joe Scarborough had killed one of the staffers.

Around that time, the president delivered a series of tweets alleging that mail-in voting would lead to widespread fraud, prompting Twitter to add fact-checking links to two of his posts. After accusing the social media platform of trying to censor him and “interfering” in the 2020 election, Trump signed an executive order that called for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) to remove statutory liability protections and cut federal funding for Twitter, Facebook and other tech companies that engage in censorship and political conduct.

Along with extolling his economic record, the president whipped his supporters into a frenzy by lashing out at the special counsel “witch hunt” and his political enemies, adding that his new slogan would be “Keep America Great.” Trump commanded the conversation on several issues, including his defense of nominating a Supreme Court justice so close to Election Day and his stance on law and order, though he was also chided for his tepid denunciation of a far-right extremist group and his personal attacks on Biden's son.

However, the race began tipping in Biden's favor as the mail-in ballots gradually added up, prompting the president to lash out about the process and the launch of lawsuits designed to challenge the results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Georgia. His lawsuits gaining little to no traction in courts around the country, the president continued seeking out ways to change the outcome of the election.

That day, the president held a rally in which he declared that he would “never concede” and exhorted supporters to march to the Capitol building nearby. The supporters promptly stormed the Capitol and fought with police, at one point taking over the Senate chamber as lawmakers were evacuated for their safety.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump tweeted, adding, “Go home with love & in peace. Law enforcement reclaimed control of the complex at about 6 p.m., following the chaos that had resulted in four deaths, more than 50 arrests and the declaration of a public emergency by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser.

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