In the US, the labor market looks different in many ways than in most European countries. There is no central employer organization and the proportion of employees who are unionized is low. Almost all agreements in the labor market are concluded at the local level. Wages and other working conditions can thus vary greatly between different employers.
Labor market legislation exists primarily at the state level, but there are some overall federal laws. Among other things, there is a statutory federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour, a level that has been fixed since 2009. Some states and individual counties or cities have a higher minimum wage than the federal one. Washington DC, which is at its highest, rises from $ 14 to $ 15 an hour at mid-year 2020. The work week is normally 40 hours.
- According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, USA stands for the country of United States in geography.
All employees are covered by compulsory unemployment insurance, which is financed by employer contributions. Unemployment is generally lower than in Europe, but this is partly because the employment rate is also lower (a larger proportion of the population is outside the labor force).
The corona crisis that has hit the world in 2020 has also turned upside down on that picture. Prior to the pandemic, unemployment in the US had fallen steadily since the financial crisis in 2009, when it was approaching 10 percent. In February 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, the lowest figure over half a shekel. Then came the pandemic.
At the end of March, more than 3 million people applied for new unemployment benefit for a week, which by a broad margin was a new record. Then it hit the record fast and the number of new applicants rose every week at an unprecedented rate. At the end of May, the number of newly-seeking unemployed was over 40 million. Unemployment was estimated to be around 20 percent, with margins the highest figure since the depression in the 1930s.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of United States, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.
During the first year of the 2000s, the relatively strong economy combined with fewer regulations and more flexible forms of employment led to higher employment in the US than in Western Europe. At the same time, real wage growth was weak for some groups of employees. People in the United States often talk about the working poor, the working poor, those who live in official poverty despite having work. Many are forced to work part-time, while others have more than one job to support themselves.
The shift in the labor market from the manufacturing industry to the service sector has contributed to a weakening of the US trade union movement. At the beginning of the 1980s, the share of union members was around 20 percent of the workforce, now it is just over 10 percent. Most union members work in traditional industries or in the public sector.
A majority of union members belong to one of the unions that are part of the national umbrella organization AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). However, some unions broke out of the AFL-CIO in 2005 and formed the rival Change to Win Federation.
READING TIPS – read more about the United States in the UI’s web magazine The Foreign Magazine:
Much in the pot for a striking US trade union (2019-10-08)
FACTS – LABOR MARKET
3.9 percent (2019)
8.4 percent (2019)
Comprehensive tax reform is approved
Republicans in Congress are voting for a legislative package of tax reforms that are the most comprehensive in over 30 years. The package is considered Trump’s first major political success. No Democrats support the proposal. The changes mainly benefit companies and high-income earners. It includes, among other things, a reduction in corporate income tax from 35 to 21 percent. Income taxes will be lowered for the majority in the next few years, but thereafter the deduction opportunities for many will disappear, mainly in the lower income layers. Therefore, half of the wage earners are estimated to have higher taxes than today in 2027. The tax change also includes the removal of the Obamacare bond – ie the penalty for people without health insurance. Critics believe the reforms could increase the budget deficit by up to $ 1.5 trillion in ten years. Proponents say the reforms will fund themselves and lead to increased growth, more jobs and higher wages. The US budget has not been balanced since 2001 and the central government debt has been over 100 percent ofGDP since 2012.
Net neutrality is loosened up
The FCC Communications Authority votes to eliminate net neutrality, which means that Internet service providers must treat all operators equally and offer the same speeds regardless of sender and content. The decision is disputed. According to critics, the consequence may be that large companies buy themselves priority and knock out smaller players. Net neutrality became law under President Obama.
Unexpected victory for the Democrats in election to the Senate
The Metoo movement continues to have an impact as the Democrats win a prominent election election in Alabama. The election outcome is described as a serious setback for President Trump and the Republicans, whose majority in the federal Senate now falls to 51-49. Republican candidate Roy Moore was accused during the election campaign of having abused teenagers, including a girl who was only 14 years old. Many have dismissed the allegations as politically motivated and Trump has called for support for him. Winner Doug Jones now becomes the first Alabama Democratic senator in 25 years. In the 2016 election, the Senate seat went to Jeff Sessions, who was then appointed Minister of Justice.
The Metoo movement leaves a mark on politics
The movement that started in the US under the “metoo” motto has effects at the highest political level. Three women who publicly accused Trump of sexual harassment during the election campaign are now requesting an investigation. They get the backing of 59 female congressmen demanding an investigation into allegations against Trump from at least 17 women. The week before, three members of Congress resigned following allegations of sexual harassment: Democratic Senator Al Franken and members of House of Representatives John Conyers (Democrat) and Trent Franks (Republican). Time magazine has designated the metoo movement, or “The Silence Brekers” (those who broke the silence), the person of the year. Metoo emerged in October after several well-known actresses accused director Harvey Weinstein of serious abuse.
Jerusalem is recognized as the capital
Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in accordance with an election promise. The fact that recognition was imminent has aroused strong emotions, not least in the Arab world. The EU has also expressed concern about the plans and Turkey is threatening to sever its relations with Israel. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but no other country has recognized it; all embassies are located in Tel Aviv. The decision is condemned a few weeks later by a large majority in the UN General Assembly. Despite Trump’s threats of reprisals, 128 countries are voting for recognition. The United States, Israel and seven small states vote for it. The vote has no concrete effect.
HD provides temporary clearing sign for entry ban
The Supreme Court decides that the entry ban for residents from six mainly Muslim countries introduced in October should remain in effect until the ongoing legal trials in California and Virginia have been completed. The message is a success for the president, although the issue is not finally settled. In January 2018, the Supreme Court announces its intention to try the matter for itself; a definitive message is expected in June.
Trump withdraws nature protection
President Trump announces an expected decision to shrink two nature-protected areas, so-called national monuments, in Utah. One of them, Bear Ears, received protection as late as 2016 by Representative Obama but is now reduced by nearly 85 percent. The other, Grand Staircase-Escalante, received protection in 1996 but is now halved. A national monument can be designated by the president and has somewhat lower protection than a national park that must be approved by Congress. Environmental groups and representatives of indigenous peoples state that they intend to try to stop the change in court.
Trump is accused of obstruction of justice
The day after Flynn’s admission, Trump tweeted that he “had to fire” this one, because he lied to the FBI. The statement raises criticism and questions about Trump have thereby blamed justice. If Trump knew that Flynn was lying, his own attempt to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Flynn could mean legal action.
New prosecution in the Russia investigation
Trump’s first security adviser Michael Flynn (see February 13, 2017) is prosecuted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller who is investigating Russian involvement in the election. Flynn has surrendered himself to the FBI and admits to deliberately making false statements about his dealings with the Russian government. He is the fourth person so far charged in Mueller’s investigation (see October 30, 2017).
Trump is tweeting Islamophobic videos
President Trump has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats – and both at home and abroad – for sharing three anti-Muslim posts from a right-wing British group via Twitter. Among the critics is British Prime Minister Theresa May, prompting Trump to strike back at his close ally. Don’t focus on me, focus on “radical Islamist terrorism happening in the UK”, will be Trump’s tweeted response to May.
New North Korean robot test followed by new threats
After two quiet months, North Korea is testing yet another robot that is reported to reach higher than anyone before and have the capacity to reach the entire United States. Pyongyang claims to have achieved the goal of becoming a nuclear weapons state. At an extraordinary convening meeting of the UN Security Council, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reiterated the threat that the United States would destroy North Korea if war were made. The United States also calls on all countries to break all relations with North Korea, and Trump is said to have asked China to cut oil supplies to the country.
Trump’s son had contact with Wikileaks
Donald Trump Jr. publishes written conversation he has had with Wikileaks since it was reported that he had contact with the site just before the 2016 presidential election. In the conversation that includes September 2016 to July 2017, Wikileaks is seeking collaboration and information. Trump Jr. only answers on three occasions. The site that leaked hacked secret and private documents published Hillary Clinton’s email in connection with the election (see December 2016).
Trump praises China
The president strikes a completely different tone than China before during his state visit and now says he is not blaming the country for “taking advantage” of the trade surplus relative to the US. Instead, he blames former US governments. Trump also urges his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to “work very hard” to solve the problems with North Korea.
Democratic successes in state elections
The Democrats’ candidates win the governorship election in Virginia and New Jersey, in successes that are considered to strengthen the party ahead of the 2018 interim election. However, during the year since Trump’s election victory, Republicans have won all four fill elections held for the federal House of Representatives.
The Minister of Commerce has Russian business ties
A new revelation shows that Minister of Commerce Wilbur Ross has ownership interests in the Russian shipping company Navigator, which makes million deals with the Russian oil and gas company Sibur. Among the main owners of Sibur are Putin’s son-in-law and oligarchs who are part of the Russian president’s inner circle, and who are subject to US sanctions. The data is among 13.4 million financial documents, mainly from the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby, which is published in the so-called Paradise Leak via the journalist network ICIJ in over 60 countries. Wilbur Ross, a billionaire, transferred much of his ownership to foundations controlled by family members, before becoming a minister.
Trump embarks on long Asia journey
President Trump begins a tour of Asia with a visit to Japan, where he meets his close ally Shinzo Abe. The trip then goes to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Many dead in mass shooting in Texas
A man kills 26 people and injures about 20 in a church in the small town of Sutherlands Springs, Texas. The perpetrator is later found dead in his car. He had been dismissed from the military following an abusive sentence and had been in conflict with his former in-laws, who were connected to the church before the act. President Trump said in a comment from Japan that mental illness is a problem in the United States, not the availability of weapons.
Suspected terrorist acts in New York
Eight people are killed and eleven injured when a small truck plows onto a bike lane in southern Manhattan. The driver, who is said to be a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, is shot and arrested by police. Authorities call it a terrorist attack, the deadliest in the city since September 11, 2001.
Network services testify to Russian influence
Facebook states that 126 million US users may have been reached by around 80,000 posts made by a Russian company, under false pretense. The posts made between June 2015 and August 2017 were seen directly by 29 million Americans who then spread them. Most posts had contentious social and political messages, according to Facebook. The network service announces the figure before a Senate committee where the company, together with Twitter and Google, will testify to Russian influence. Facebook also claims to have closed 170 Instagram accounts that sent around 120,000 messages. Google reveals that Russian “troll” posted more than 1,000 political videos on Youtube, but that they did not get many viewers. Twitter claims to have closed down 2 752 accounts created by a Russia-based company.
First prosecution in the Russia investigation
Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016, and his business partner Richard Gates surrender to federal authorities investigating alleged Russia links. The charges in twelve counts against Manafort and Gates include money launderingand secret lobbying work for foreign power; from 2006, the two should have received millions from the Government of Ukraine. At the same time, Special Investigator Robert Mueller reveals that former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos was arrested as early as July and in early October pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russian government representatives during the election campaign. The Russians must have offered emails hacked from Clinton’s campaign. Trump continues to deny all ties between his co-workers and Russians and father in Twitter messages instead in allegations against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
Trump in conflict with Republicans
Republican Senator Jeff Flake goes for a fierce attack on Trump, saying that “ruthless, scandalous and unworthy behavior” in the US government poses a threat to democracy. Flake, who is a senator from Arizona, withdraws from the prevailing climate in the Republican Party and says he will not seek re-election in 2018. Bob Corker, Tennessee’s Republican senator, has also called Trump a threat to the country, saying he does not up for re-election. Trump has gone into harsh backlash against both senators, largely via Twitter.
New attempts to get rid of “Obamacare”
After unsuccessful attempts at Congress to replace Obamacare, the White House is launching a new strategy. Trump signs a presidential decree that allows small business owners to merge and buy insurance, including through nonprofit organizations, outside “Obamacare’s” regulations. Shortly thereafter, it is announced that subsidies that go to insurance companies aimed at low-income earners will be removed. High-ranking Democrats criticize the measures and believe that removing the subsidies will hurt the poorest residents of the country.
Congress may decide on Iran agreements
Some analysts have feared that Trump will decide to scrap the deal with Iran when he presents a new Iran strategy. Since Trump this time does not guarantee that Iran is following the agreement, something he must do before Congress every 90 days, that means that within 60 days, Congress must decide whether to repeal the agreement and reinstate sanctions. In his speech to Congress, Trump says that Iran is a “fanatical regime” that funds terrorism.
Thirty dead in forest fires in California
Over 22 fires are raging in the northern parts of the state, including in the wine districts. Over 3,500 houses have been destroyed and more than 25,000 people have been evacuated. The fires are the worst in California since the 1930s.
The US leaves Unesco
The reason for the decision is, according to the government, that Unesco is “anti-Israeli”. When Palestine was granted membership in UNESCO in 2011, the US stopped giving money to the organization. According to the United States, in various resolutions, the UN agency “denied Jewish links to holy places” and a UNESCO decision last summer to make Hebron a Palestinian world heritage must have become the drop that caused the beaker to run over. After the turn of the year, US membership will cease, but the government will instead apply for observer status.
Nearly 60 dead in mass shooting in Las Vegas
A perpetrator shoots to death 58 participants in a music festival from a hotel room on the 32nd floor. The perpetrator, a 64-year-old resident of Las Vegas, commits suicide after the act. His motive for is unclear. The number of casualties is higher than in any previous mass shooting in the United States. Over 500 people are injured.
Embassy staff in Cuba are sent home
Employees at the US embassy in Havana have been affected by hearing problems, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, sleep difficulties and more. The problems are believed to be due to staff being exposed to some kind of inaudible noise either near the embassy or outside their homes in the Cuban capital. Half of the embassy staff is now being withdrawn by the US government. It is unclear if the problems are a deliberate attack or an accident, and it is not clear whether the Cuban government is behind it.
New attempt to tear down Obamacare fails
Three Republicans in the Senate choose not to endorse the party group’s bill to replace President Obama’s health insurance law (see July), despite appeals from President Trump. Since there is not enough support in the Senate for the bill to pass, it is withdrawn by Republicans. Among other things, the proposal has been criticized for not including a calculation of costs and also a calculation of how ordinary people would be affected.
A new entry ban is introduced
When a previous entry ban expires (see March 2017), Trump faces a new ban. Sudan has now been removed from the list while Chad has been added. In addition, North Korea has been added, as have some individuals in Venezuela. Also new is that the ban applies without a far limit: the previous two bans that the White House has submitted have been valid for 90 days. Residents of the designated countries are denied entry into the United States with reference to US national security. The ban on the Muslim countries is stopped just before it comes into force, in mid-October, by a federal judge.
New sanctions on North Korea
President Trump signs a presidential order for increased sanctions on North Korea following the crackdown at the beginning of the month. The United States is already penalizing foreign companies that support North Korea’s military operations, but now all companies that have business relations with North Korea should be banned from operating in the United States. A week earlier, the UN Security Council voted unanimously for a US proposal for new harsh sanctions, which would include restricting North Korea’s oil imports and banning exports of textiles.
Trump threatens North Korea in UN talks
Donald Trump’s first speech to the UN General Assembly is strongly nationalistic: US interests go before guaranteeing stability and peace in the world. At the same time, Trump warns North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, whom he calls “Rocket Man,” that North Korea can be “totally destroyed” if the provocations continue. He also suggests that he is prepared to abandon the nuclear deal with “the murderous regime in Iran”.
The hurricane is causing a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria advances across Puerto Rico, just a few weeks after Hurricane Irma, already causing major devastation. Maria is described as the worst tropical cyclone in the world during the year, and the tenth worst ever measured in the Atlantic. The weather causes the power supply on the island to be switched off. President Donald Trump is criticized for neglecting the situation and the governor of Puerto Rico warns of “a humanitarian crisis”. Initially, only 64 deaths are reported, but gradually the death rate rises as a result of inadequate health care and the lack of electricity and clean water. Gradually, the governor accepts a report from George Washington University that found that the hurricane caused 2,975 deaths until February 2018.
Trump is tearing up migrant programs for young people
President Trump decides to abolish the Daca (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) migrant program introduced by Obama in 2012. It has given paperless migrants who came to the United States before they reached the legal age of 16 to stay in the country. The program is currently covered by up to 800,000 people, called “dreamers” after the name of a previous bill. Trump is giving Congress until March to submit a proposal on how to deal with those affected. The decision to demolish Daca raises strong criticism and leads to the government being sued by a number of states that claim it is contrary to the constitution. In January 2018, a federal judge orders the government to retain the program until legal proceedings are completed. The result will be a lengthy political battle around Daca.
New threats when North Korea tests nuclear weapons
After North Korea carries out its sixth nuclear test blast – this time it is reported to be a hydrogen bomb – Defense Secretary James Mattis says a “massive military response” awaits if North Korea threatens the US or its allies. The statement comes after a meeting with President Trump, Vice President Pence and the National Security Council, the NSA. The UN Security Council is preparing for a new crisis meeting due to the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Hurricane hit Texas
The multimillion city of Houston is drowning as Hurricane Harvey pulls in with huge rainfall causing severe flooding. The area receives as much rain in a few days as normally falls in a year. Disaster status is announced in both Texas and Louisiana.
Trump pardons disputed sheriff
The president pardons a former Arizona county police chief, Joe Apaio, who was sentenced for court-martial after ignoring an order to stop racial profiling. Apaio has made known for harsh and abusive treatment of paperless migrants. The verdict fell in July but the penalty had not yet been set. This is the first time Trump has used his opportunity to pardon anyone.
No immediate retreat from Afghanistan
21th of August
Trump said in a speech that the US will not withdraw completely from Afghanistan, contrary to what he previously advocated. The plan is to increase squad presence and to remain as long as needed to “win the war”. The number of soldiers is not specified but should be determined by the conditions on the ground, it is called. Currently, there are around 8,400 US soldiers in Afghanistan and the generals have said a few thousand more are needed to break the deadlock with the Taliban. According to Trump, the United States should focus on fighting terrorism, not building the nation.
Trump’s chief strategist kicked
Steve Bannon becomes yet another in the line of Trump’s close advisers to join. Bannon returns to his job on the alt-right site Breitbart.
Renegotiation of Nafta begins
The US, Canada and Mexico launch a first round of talks aimed at renegotiating the Nafta Free Trade Agreement. During the election campaign, Trump called Nafta “the worst trade deal ever” and threatened to completely tear it down. Now the parties should instead try to agree on a new agreement.
Criticism of Trump after Charlottesville
The criticism is growing against the president for his weak distance from right-wing groups following the Charlottesville violence. In his first statement, Trump talks about the violence “on many sides”. Not until two days later does he condemn the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white power movements – but already the next day he again blames “both sides” and explicitly accuses leftist protesters of triggering violence. Many, even party mates, criticize Trump’s unwillingness to take a stand against racist groups. The days following the incident, three different councils were laid down, which consisted of business representatives and would have an advisory role for the White House. That happens since several council members jumped off in protest of Trump’s actions after Charlottesville.
Deadly violence during white power demonstration
12th of August
A woman dies and about 20 are injured, several of them seriously, when a car is driven straight into a group of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The driver, a 20-year-old suspected white power supporter, is arrested (later sentenced to life in prison). Even before the incident, the governor has introduced a state of emergency because of clashes between marching white power supporters and anti-fascist counter-protesters. The right-wing groups have assembled to protest plans to demolish a statue of a Southern state general from the Civil War in the 1860s. They describe it themselves as a “historical” gathering of power for what has come to be called the alt-right movement.
Crisis with threatening North Korea
9th of August
The war with North Korea reaches its most aggressive level since the 1950s. President Trump threatens in a statement that “fire and fury that the world has never seen” awaits North Korea – unless the North Koreans stop threatening the United States. The statement follows information that the North Koreans may have succeeded in constructing nuclear warheads small enough for long-range robots to reach the United States. A few days before, the UN Security Council has unanimously decided on tough new sanctions since North Korea conducted a second robot test in less than a month. The North Korean regime responds to Trump’s statement by considering an attack on the US military base on Guam in the Pacific.
Prosecution jury appointed in Russia business
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is reported to have appointed a prosecution jury to investigate allegations of Russia’s involvement in the presidential election. The jury has been working for a couple of weeks and is planning, among other things, hearings on the occasion of Donald Trump’s Jr. meeting with the Russian lawyer in the summer of 2016. The prosecution’s job is to decide whether criminal charges should be brought. The president has repeatedly called the investigation a witch hunt.
Quick changes at the top level in the White House
Clean swinging doors seem to prevail in the White House when Anthony Scaramucci’s head of communications is fired after only ten days at the post. During his short period, two other top names have also fallen. When Trump appointed Scaramucci to head of communications, a post that has been empty since May, press secretary Sean Spicer announced his departure. It all happened to judge in protest, both Spicer and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus must have opposed the appointment. Scaramucci quickly distinguished himself by making serious claims against other employees at the White House, including Priebus. A week after Scaramucci took office, Priebus was allowed to leave, and Trump appointed Home Secretary John Kelly as new chief of staff. A further three days later Scaramucci also had to leave, just hours after Kelly took over as chief of staff.
Russia expels US diplomats
In response to the congress voting for sanctions on Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the US is forced to cut down its diplomatic presence in Russia and now comes a specific message: 755 people must leave US missions in Russia by September 1. Some of them are assumed to be local Russian citizens. Now is reportedly 455 employees remain at the missions in Russia, the same number as at the Russian diplomatic missions in the United States.
The Senate stops amendments to the Health Insurance Act
Trump suffers a major defeat when the Republican-dominated Senate with the 51-59 vote puts a halt to attempts to tear down the Obamacare Health Insurance Act, apparently for the foreseeable future. The outcome is the result of three Republicans going against the party line. On July 25, after weeks of negotiations, the Senate voted by barely conceivable margin to continue the work of phasing out Obamacare. That vote was not a concrete proposal, just that the process would continue. The next day, a proposal was voted down that would have torn down large parts of Obamacare without introducing any new health insurance system. Seven Republicans then voted no. A slim proposal, called the “skinny repeal,” was then tabled, but three Republicans continued to support the down side. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the House of Representatives’ proposal (adopted in May) would mean that 22 million will lose their health insurance within ten years. If Obamacare is demolished without a new law in place, the number that loses their insurance could be $ 15 million in just one year and $ 32 million in ten years, according to CBO.
New sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea
The Senate votes by numbers 98–2 to impose new sanctions on Russia, as well as against Iran and North Korea, despite pronounced opposition from Trump. The law means that high-ranking Russians become targets for sanctions due to the alleged involvement in the 2016 election. Russia’s annexation of Crimea 2014 is also a cause. The House of Representatives voted a few days earlier for the new law, which also means it will be harder for Trump to repeal existing sanctions. Trump is critical of the law, but on August 2 he signs it anyway.
Kushner is asked about Russian contacts
Congress is opening a hearing on President-in-law Jared Kushner as part of the investigation into Russian contacts. Kushner publishes a printout of his preliminary statement before the hearings, which are held behind closed doors. In the statement, he rejects all allegations of cooperation with Russia, as well as having himself used Russian funds in his business operations. He doesn’t say anyone in Trump’s election campaign has had inappropriate contacts with Russia.
Sanctions against Iran are being expanded
The Trump administration sticks to the nuclear agreement with Iran, which Trump promised during his presidential campaign to scrap. The message comes after the US received information that Iran is holding its part of the agreement. Nevertheless, the White House decides to extend sanctions on Iran by freezing US assets to 18 Iranian individuals, companies or organizations believed to have supported Iran’s ballistic robot program, or the Syrian government and groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The 18 are also stopped from doing business with Americans.
Trump’s son in meeting with Russian lawyer
Donald Trump Jr., son of President Trump, confirms information in the New York Times that on June 9, 2016, he met with a Russian lawyer who promised to give him information that could hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. According to the magazine, Trump Jr. was told that the information was part of the Russian government’s quest to get Trump elected US president. However, Trump Jr. says attorney Natalia Veselnitskaja had no “meaningful” information to provide. Attending the meeting were President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-election campaign leader Paul J Manafort. The lawyer’s meeting should have taken place in the Trump Tower in New York.
Sanctions against Chinese interests
Before a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-In, the US government faces sanctions against the Chinese bank Dandong, which it is accused of laundering money for North Korea, against a Chinese shipping company and against two Chinese nationals. The sanctions prohibit business dealings with companies and individuals with US connections. The sanctions are intended to increase pressure on China to limit North Korea’s ability to fund its nuclear and missile programs.
Arms sales to Taiwan
The government plans to sell weapons to Taiwan for around $ 1.42 billion. The deals, which must be approved by Congress, include technical maintenance for radar systems, anti-radar robots, torpedoes and robotic components. The plans are met by strong criticism from China.
US shoots down government plan in Syria
The Pentagon Defense Headquarters confirms that a US fighter jet has shot down a Syrian plane since it dropped bombs near US allied forces on the ground. The shooting takes place near Tabqa, where Syria’s Democratic Forces (SDF) have fought against IS as part of the attempts to take Raqqa back. This is the first time the US-led alliance is shooting down a Syrian plane, and the Damascus regime is warning that it could have “dangerous repercussions”.
New Kubar restrictions are introduced
17th of June
Trump announced in a speech in Florida that he is tearing up much of Obama’s deal with Cuba, which he calls a “unilateral agreement.” Among other things, the restrictions are tightened for American companies that want to do business with Cuba again, as well as for American tourists who want to travel to the island nation.
Trump is reported to be under investigation
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating whether the president is guilty of obstruction of justice, several media reports. According to the information, the investigation should have started a few days after James Comey was dismissed. According to the report, several high-ranking intelligence executives will soon be inquired about whether Trump tried to stop the investigation of former security adviser Michael Flynn. The data is seen as a turning point in the overall investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
Congressmen sue Trump
Around 200 Democrats in Congress, in a lawsuit, accuse the president of receiving funds from foreign governments through their hundreds of companies. They claim that it has been in violation of the Constitution, according to which a president must have congressional approval to receive payments and gifts from foreign governments. Trump is accused of having conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries and using his position to maximize profits. At least 30 senators and 166 members of the House of Representatives are behind the vote.
The Minister of Justice denies secret meetings
In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Justice Minister Jeff Sessions says allegations that he secretly cooperated with Russia constitute “heinous lies”. He denies that he would have received intelligence about Russia’s involvement in the election, and rejects any questions related to his private conversation with President Trump.
Puerto Rico referendum on becoming a state
For the fifth time, an advisory referendum is held in Puerto Rico on the political status of the territory. A full 97 percent vote for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state in the United States. But voter turnout is only 23 percent, as a party that supports current status boycotts the election. In previous referendums, turnout has been significantly higher (see also November 2012).
Trump rejects Comey’s testimony
In a press conference, the president rejects the former FBI chief’s information in the Senate hearing the day before, that Trump would have pushed him to shut down Flynn’s investigation and demanded “loyalty.” The president says he is willing to speak this out even under oath. Thus it is clear that words stand against words.
Ex-FBI chief testifies about Trump call
Former FBI chief James Comey testifies before the Senate intelligence committee about several private talks with Trump before the president fired him in May. The hearing concerns the investigation of Russia contacts. In the testimony, Comey confirms much that has already been reported in the media. He states that Trump explicitly demanded “loyalty,” asked that the investigation against security adviser Michael Flynn be discontinued, and urged that the FBI chief publicly say that Trump himself was not under investigation. Comey also states that he told Justice Minister Jeff Sessions that he did not want to be alone with Trump. He dismisses the reasons behind the White House for dismissing Comey as “lies”: that the FBI was in chaos and that the employees lost confidence in their boss.
Trump: “US leaves Paris agreement”
Trump announces that the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate change treaty, in accordance with a election promise. He justifies it because the agreement is bad for the country’s economy and independence. The message is met with great disappointment and strong protests both in the US and abroad. The critics believe that the decision represents a serious setback for efforts to counteract the climate change that a wide range of experts agree represents a major threat to the world. Only two other countries are outside the 2015 historic settlement: Nicaragua and Syria (both of which will be signed later in 2017).
Head of Communications resigns
Trump’s communications chief Mike Dubke leaves his post. No reason is stated either by the White House or by Dubke himself. Dubke took over as communications manager in mid-February, when press secretary Sean Spicer left that post.
Trump’s son-in-law is accused of contact with Russia
President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has a role as adviser to the White House, is reported to be covered by the FBI’s investigation into contacts with Russia prior to the change of power. At a meeting with the Russian ambassador in early December, Kushner should have discussed the possibility of establishing a secret communication channel between the transition team and the Kremlin, via Russian diplomatic liaison routes. The aim would have been to be able to discuss Syria’s strategy and other policy issues without transparency. The conversation between Kushner and Sergei Kisljak should have taken place during a meeting in Trump Tower, in the presence of Michael Flynn.
Trump on his first trip abroad
The president first visits Saudi Arabia, where, in a speech, he urges Arab and Muslim leaders to take the lead in the fight against Islamist terrorism. In particular, he points out Iran as a stronghold for terror. A new arms deal that allows Saudi Arabia to buy weapons for $ 110 billion over ten years is presented, which represents the largest arms deal in US history. Trump then goes on to Israel where he meets with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. The trip also goes to the Vatican, and a meeting with the Pope, before Trump attends a NATO summit in Brussels and in a G7summit in Italy. Trump reiterates his displeasure with NATO, which contributes to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel following the summits saying that Europe can no longer lean on the United States but must manage on its own. The German Foreign Minister goes a step further the following day, saying explicitly that Trump “cannot move” and that he stands in the way of international work on climate change and for peace.
Former FBI commander investigates Russian connections
The Justice Department appoints former FBI chief Robert Mueller as special prosecutor to investigate the details of Russia’s involvement in the electoral movement and possibly coordinate with Trump’s election campaign. The decision is made by Deputy Minister of Justice Rod Rosenstein, as Foreign Minister Jeff Sessions declared disputed (see March 2, 2017). The appointment of Mueller, who is a Republican and was FBI commander 2001-2013, is also welcomed by Democrats. The US intelligence services have already stated that Russia was trying to influence the exit (see January 5, 2017). The decision for a special investigation comes a week after Trump fired FBI Chief James Comey.
Trump revealed secret information
15th of May
Media reports that President Trump disclosed top secret information about IS to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. It happened when Lavrov visited the White House with Ambassador Sergei Kisljak on May 10, the day after Comey was dismissed. The information must have come from an ally who did not give a clear sign to it being passed on and touching the use of laptops on airplanes. Security adviser McMaster and Secretary of State Tillerson first refute the information, but Trump himself will confirm it shortly – via Twitter.
The FBI boss is kicked
Trump unexpectedly kicks FBI Chief James Comey. The White House cites dissatisfaction with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail during the election campaign, but few believe that the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election movement has to do with the matter. The criticism soon grows to storm strength, not least as the White House gives conflicting messages. Vice President Mike Pence and White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders say Trump followed a recommendation from newly appointed Deputy Justice Minister Rod Rosenstein. Trump himself says he decided to dismiss Comey the week before, regardless of recommendation. He also says that Comey, whom he calls “scavengers,” assured him that he himself was not under investigation – and he threatens to reveal evidence of it.
Focus on Russia contacts
The new administration’s contacts with Russia are back in view when Sally Yates (see January 2017) is asked by the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. Yates testified that, a few days before she was fired, the White House warned of the risk of Michael Flynn being subjected to extortion from Russia. Just before the hearing begins, it is also reported that Obama personally warned Trump to appoint Flynn just as national security adviser, shortly after the November election. That is confirmed by the White House, but according to press spokesman Sean Spicer, the reason Flynn was critical of the Obama administration, who fired him from the post of head of the Defense Intelligence Service in 2014. Trump’s comment on all details of cooperation with Russia becomes as before, when he tweets that it is only is a “scam”.
“Trumpcare” is adopted in the House of Representatives
Congress’s second chamber votes for a new health insurance law, the American Health Care Act, with the tight numbers 217-213. This is Trump’s first success, where a concrete step is taken toward fulfilling a voting promise through Congress. However, the Senate is expected to have its views and make changes to the bill. The new proposal has been revised since March to get more Republicans to join. According to Trump, the law means lowering insurance premiums compared to Obamacare. Opponents are critical that the law in its new form be voted on without having been subject to public hearing or evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office.
Budget settlement across the party border
Members of Congress are presenting a budget agreement of just over $ 1,000 billion that will last until last September and prevent federal operations from being shut down. Splitting among Republicans, who have a majority in both chambers, means they have to work with Democrats to get a deal. The result is a budget proposal without funding for several of Trump’s key promises: none of the threatened cuts to the EPA, Sanctuary Cities, Planned Parenthood or Obamacare. There will also be no money for a wall against Mexico, but the budget contains $ 1.5 billion for enhanced security, including repairs to existing border barriers. Democrats are happy and consider themselves to have won a victory. That’s what Trump, who has often described himself as a world-leading negotiator,
New setback for Trump in court
A federal judge in San Francisco stops the White House’s attempt to steal state funds for cities that help undocumented immigrants. Several so-called sanctuaries – including major cities such as New York and San Francisco – have announced that they do not intend to obey the government’s order to arrest the paperless. Trump has threatened to withdraw state subsidies for such cities, but according to the 9th District judge, it would run counter to the constitution. The White House’s comment is that the decision is “bananas”, completely crazy.
Unusual crisis meeting on North Korea
The entire Senate is called to a meeting in the White House because of the relationship with North Korea. Defense Minister Mattis and Foreign Minister Tillerson will also participate. Tensions have risen for several weeks with several North Korean robot tests and threatening statements. Some confusion arose after Trump said he sent an “armada” to increase readiness in the region, but information then came out that it appeared that the warships in question were heading in the opposite direction, away from the Korean Peninsula. Shortly thereafter, however, the Navy stated that the vessels were now on their way to the region according to the president’s order. Pyonyang has threatened to lower an aircraft carrier and strike for prevention. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for restraint in a phone call to Trump.
North Korea is warned
Vice President Mike Pence warns during a visit to South Korea that the United States “does not exclude anything” about North Korea. Just before that, North Korea has failed to launch what is believed to have been a new kind of robot. President Trump may use military force, says Pence, referring to US attacks in Syria and Afghanistan.
Massive bombing against Afghanistan
The US drops a giant bomb against what is said to be a stronghold for the terrorist IS in eastern Afghanistan. Over 90 IS members have been killed in the attack on a tunnel system in Nangarhar province. It is the most powerful conventional bomb (non-nuclear weapon) the United States has and it is the first time it is used.
Foreign Minister of Moscow
When Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson visits Russia and meets his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, it is against the backdrop of the US robotic attack in Syria a few days earlier, an attack that Moscow condemned in sharp terms. Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Russian TV about deteriorating relations, “especially military” and Tillerson says he wants to try to curb “sharp contradictions”.
Supreme Court complete
The seat in the Supreme Court that has been empty for over a year is filled when Neil Gorsuch swears oath and succeeds Antonin Scalia (see March 2016). A few days earlier, the Senate voted for Gorsuch, whom Trump nominated shortly after his January resignation. The Senate approves him with the vote numbers 54 against 45; three Democrats support the nomination. The conservative Gorsuch has been a federal judge in Colorado and belongs to the camp that wants to interpret the constitution’s letter of faith.
Air strikes in Syria
President Trump commands an attack on a military base in Syria with 59 cruise missiles. It is the first time in the six-year war that the United States is attacking the Syrian regime. The attack comes two days after a nervous gas attack in Idlib province that claimed more than 80 people’s lives and prompted Trump to say he now “changed his attitude” to the war there and to President Assad. Just days earlier, there have been signals that it was “silly” to try to drive away Assad, but now Trump is accusing his representative of not acting sufficiently forcefully on Syria. President Trump calls on all “civilized nations” to help bring an end to the conflict in Syria.
Chinese President visiting
Trump receives his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. After the meeting, Trump strikes a completely different tone from the threatening terms he previously used about China. The president now talks about China as an ally in its attempts to deal with the nuclear weapons state of North Korea.
Chief strategist petitioned by Security Council
Chief strategist Steve Bannon is deprived of his seat in the NSC Security Council. What is behind the change is unclear. The military chiefs of staff resume their roles as regular participants in the Council. (See also January 2017.)
The Health Insurance Act is withdrawn
When it is clear that not enough Republicans in the House of Representatives support the proposal for a new health insurance law, it is withdrawn, without a vote. Trump says the Democrats did not block the proposal when not a single one of them was going to vote for it, and that they now have to take responsibility for Obamacare “exploding”.
Computers are prohibited on airplanes
A ban is imposed on computers and reading tablets on aircraft from ten airports in the Middle East and North Africa. The purpose is stated to be to prevent attacks. Eight countries are affected: Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The ban does not affect US airlines as they do not have direct traffic to the airports concerned.
The FBI is investigating Russian involvement
The FBI is investigating possible links between the Russian government and Trump’s election campaign staff – this confirms FBI Chief James Comey before the House of Representatives intelligence committee. Rumors of such an investigation have been going on for months. The data is nonetheless startling: a sitting president is being investigated by a security service for possibly cooperating with a foreign power to undermine a democratic election. Comey says he received a clearance from the Justice Department to confirm the information and says the investigation began in July 2016. Regarding Obama’s alleged interception of Trump’s housing before the election, Comey says support for the allegation has not been found, either with the FBI or with the Justice Department.
Leak shows Trump declaration
14th of March
Two pages from Donald Trump’s 2005 self-declaration are published by broadcaster MSNBC, which claims to have received them from an anonymous source. They show that he paid 24 percent in taxes on an income of $ 150 million. The White House calls the leak illegal. Trump has not published a declaration of income, despite many proponents and despite the fact that there has been custom for presidential candidates in the United States since the 1970s.
Calculation of “Trumpcar’s” costs
the 13th of March
The Congressional Budget Office (COB) reports that the health insurance bill would mean that 14 million Americans will lose their health insurance by 2018, and 24 million by 2026. Five and 14 million, respectively, would lose Medicaid during the same period. At the same time, the federal deficit would decrease by $ 337 billion in ten years, according to COB’s calculations.
Proposal for a new health insurance law
Republicans are proposing a plan for a new health insurance law (American health care act) to replace Obamacare (Affordable care act). The proposal removes the requirement for individuals to have health insurance and instead introduces tax relief as an incentive. Democrats are critical and say the proposal will entail increased costs. Among Republicans, there are some who think the proposal does not go far enough.
Entry ban in new vintage
Trump presents a revised version of his disputed entry ban (see January 27, 2017). Iraq has now been removed from the list and it is clear that people with permanent residence permits are not affected. This proposal is also halted shortly by federal judges who consider the ban to be discriminatory and violate the Constitution. In June, however, the Supreme Court gives a clear sign to partially apply the entry ban, for people who do not have close family or business contacts in the United States. The ban thus runs for 90 days from June.
Trump accuses Obama of eavesdropping
4th of March
Trump claims in a series of Twitter messages that Obama ordered the cancellation of his residence in the Trump Tower building in New York, ahead of the November election. No evidence of the charges is presented. Both former Chief of Intelligence Services James Clapper and FBI Chief James Comey dismiss the allegation. But the White House calls on Congress to investigate the charges, at the same time as the investigation into Russia connections.
The Justice Minister takes his hand from the Russian investigation
Justice Minister Jeff Sessions announces that he is relinquishing responsibility for investigating the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian government officials. The message comes the day after a disclosure that Sessions had a couple of meetings with Russia’s ambassador Sergei Kisljak during the election movement – despite testifying to the Senate that he had no contacts with Russians. He defends himself that the meetings should not have been about the election itself. However, the criticism means that he still declares himself disqualified and will not participate in the investigation.
The military receives a substantial contribution
Trump wants to increase defense spending by 10 percent, or around $ 54 billion. Instead, aid should be reduced, among other things.
Sharpened efforts against the paperless
The White House comes with new guidelines that in practice all paperless immigrants should be expelled. However, an exception is reserved for people who came to the United States as children, introduced during the Obama administration. The Ministry of Internal Security will also employ 10,000 migration and customs officials and 5,000 for border patrols.
Trump in new media attacks
In his first in-house press conference since taking office, the president spends much of his time accusing the media of being dishonest and spreading fake news. However, Trump does not answer questions about the government’s contacts with Russia, and now claims that it is the media’s fault that Michael Flynn resigned.
Nominated Minister jumps off
Andrew Puzder, who is nominated for Labor, is stepping down from the process of being approved, as several Republican senators are unwilling to support him. Among other things, Puzder has admitted to hiring a paperless migrant in the household and has been accused by his ex-wife of abuse. Trump will shortly nominate Alexander Acosta to the post. Acosta, if approved, will be the first of Latin American origin in the Trump administration.
Changed orientation in Middle Eastern policy
Trump said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House that he would support both a two-state solution and any other solution that Israelis and Palestinians agree on. That means a breach of US long-term support for a two-state solution. He also calls on Israel to hold back on the expansion of settlements, and promises a peace agreement that will be “great” only on both sides compromises (see further Foreign Policy and Defense).
The Russian scandal is growing
The scandal surrounding Flynn and contacts with Russia is growing, and even leading Republicans are beginning to demand an investigation. According to several media outlets, printouts and eavesdropped phone calls show that several people in Trump’s vicinity had repeated contacts with the Russian intelligence service already during the election campaign. This has previously been denied by, among others, Vice President Mike Pence.
National security advisers are forced to resign
A political scandal is a fact when national security adviser Michael Flynn is forced to leave after less than a month. The reason is that he had discussions with Russia’s ambassador, Sergei Kisljak, before the change of power on January 20, although it is forbidden by law for private individuals to interfere in foreign policy. Flynn has been questioned since he was appointed, due to contacts with Russia both before and after the November elections. He was long held in defense by, among others, Vice President Mike Pence, but the situation became untenable when it became clear that he had provided misleading information about the talks. A week later, Trump appointed Lieutenant General HR McMaster as the new security adviser.
Mass evacuation in California
After a heavy rain caused weakening in a canal at the highest water pond in the United States, 180,000 people are ordered to leave their homes. It is the first time since the Oroville Dam was built nearly half a century ago that such an evacuation has been ordered.
Contested Minister of Justice approved
Senate approves with votes 52–47 Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as new Justice Minister, following a heated debate in which Democrats portrayed Sessions as a sexist and racist opponent of civil rights.
The Minister of Education approved with little margin
The controversial billionaire Betsy DeVos, whom Trump nominated as Education Minister, is approved by the smallest possible margin. The vote in the Senate will be 50-50 as all Democrats and two Republicans vote against the nomination, which leads Vice President Mike Pence to step in and decide. This has never happened before when confirming a person for a government post. DeVos has been strongly questioned because she lacks experience from the public school system and advocates for free schools.
Rex Tillerson new Foreign Minister
The Senate approves Rex Tillerson as Trump nominated for the post of Secretary of State, with the votes 53-46. Tillerson was, until the turn of the year, the CEO of the oil company Exxon Mobil and has been criticized by the opposition for its close relations with Russian President Vladmir Putin.
Republicans repeal voting rules after boycott
Since Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee boycotted meetings, in protest of two Ministers nominated by Trump, Republican members unexpectedly change the committee’s voting rules so that they can approve candidates without the presence of Democrats. Then they can give Steven Mnuchin as finance minister and Tom Price as health minister. The nominations still have to be approved by the entire Senate.
The acting Minister of Justice is forced to resign
30th of January
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is allowed to go when she calls on the ministry’s lawyers not to defend the entry ban for citizens of seven countries. Yates was appointed to the Obama administration and would soon be replaced by Trump’s Justice Minister. Over 100 career diplomats have signed a protest against the entry ban; The White House press secretary says they should leave their posts. Ex-President Obama voices his support for widespread protests against the ban.
Remodeling in Security Council
Trump is reorganizing the National Security Council (NSC) so that disputed chief strategist Steve Bannon will play a central role and will participate in all meetings, as will Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. The military chiefs of staff who normally formed the core of NSC should only be present on certain occasions. Bannon has since been disputed and has drawn attention with new statements that the media is the “opposition party” and should “shut up”.
Entry ban for seven nationalities
In a decree, Trump bans all nationals from seven mainly Muslim countries (Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria) from entering the United States for 90 days. The order, which has an immediate effect, causes more than 100 people to be arrested at American airports. Protest actions against the order are held at several airports and some confusion arises over how the order should be applied. Within a week, the ban will be stopped by federal judges who find it contrary to the Constitution. The decree also includes a stop for all refugee reception for four months, a stop so far for refugees from Syria and a reduction in the total number of refugees during the year to 50,000.
Walls against Mexico will be built
President Trump orders that work to build a wall along the 320-mile border with Mexico be initiated. The project is one of his most important election promises. According to Trump, the building will initially be paid for by the United States, but Mexico will have to pay afterwards. Mexico bluntly says no to this.
Trump gives oil pipeline sign
The new president signs an executive order to speed up two disputed pipeline projects halted during Obama: Keystone XL (see February 2015) and Dakota Access (see December 2016). According to the order, American steel is to be used for the pipelines built in the USA. He also orders faster environmental tests for infrastructure projects.
Trump stops free trade agreement
Trump fulfills an election promise when he halted the Free Trade Agreement for twelve countries on the Pacific, TPP, which was a key element of Obama’s Asia policy. The agreement has not yet been ratified by Congress and is now completely on ice. Trump, on his first day of work, is also putting a stop to employment in federal agencies, with the exception of the military, as well as reintroducing a rule that will halt federal funding for organizations that perform or inform abortions in other countries.
Trump signals continued war against media
The newly-elected president signals continued strife with the media when he claims that an “incorrect” picture is given of how many people attended the inauguration ceremony the day before. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer later claims during the day that the audience at the ceremony was “the largest in history,” despite photographs revealing a significantly larger audience when Obama took office in 2008. The following day, Trump’s political adviser Kellyanne Conway says Spicer used “alternative facts”, which becomes a well-known phrase.
Multi-million protests against Trump
The day after the new president is installed, a demonstration, the Women’s March on Washington, is held in the capital organized by grassroots protests against Trump’s person and politics. Similar sympathy marches are organized around the United States and in a large number of cities around the world. In Washington DC, half a million participants are estimated, and in Los Angeles, at least 750,000 participants are reported. The protest campaign is the largest in the United States since the Vietnam War.
Trump takes office
In his inaugural speech, the new president strikes a rather harsh tone and reiterates his earlier message of “taking back” jobs and putting the United States and the American people first in all situations. During the day, the Senate approves the first two of his ministers, both former generals: James Mattis becomes Secretary of Defense and John Kelly Minister responsible for Home Security.
Boycott and record low confidence when Trump takes office
Over 60 members of the House of Representatives have decided to boycott the inauguration ceremony, all Democrats. Many of them say they have been particularly motivated by Member John Lewis who said that Trump lacks legitimacy because of Russia’s involvement in the election. Ahead of the change of power, around 40 percent of voters in several polls say they have confidence in Trump, which is far below the 60 to 80 percent who have trusted his three predecessors Clinton, Bush and Obama. According to Trump, the measurements are “rigged”.
Obama shortens Manning’s sentence
President Obama changes penalty for whistleblower Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning who in August 2013 was sentenced to 35 years in prison for having leaked thousands of secretly stamped documents to Wikileaks. The decision draws sharp criticism but also has the support of many. Chelsea Manning will be released in May, after being held in prison for a total of seven years. Obama cuts the penalty for a total of 209 people and pardons 64.
Cubans’ right to a residence permit is abolished
The so-called “wet foot, dry foot” rule was introduced in 1995 and meant that Cubans arriving in the United States without a visa would be allowed to remain in the country. According to the rule, Cubans who entered American soil were granted a residence permit, while those discovered at sea were sent back to Cuba. President Obama’s decision to remove the rule is part of the normalization of relations with Cuba.
Intelligence chief confirms Russian attack
James Clapper, the chief of US intelligence services, said in a statement to Congress that it was clear that Russia had acted with the intention of influencing the US presidential election through hacking, propaganda, fake news and disinformation. All 17 federal intelligence agencies have designated Russia. They have also noted that orders for influence efforts came from the highest point: Russian President Vladimir Putin.