Trump has privately and publicly mused about taking away critical reporters' White House press credentials. His administration moved to revoke the press passes of two White House reporters, which were restored by the courts. In 2019, a member of the foreign press reported many of the same concerns as those of media in the U.S., expressing concern that a normalization process by reporters and media results in an inaccurate characterization of Trump. The Trump White House held about a hundred formal press briefings in 2017, declining by half during 2018 and to two in 2019.
In August 2019, a whistleblower filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community about a July 25 phone call between Trump and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump had pressured Zelensky to investigate CrowdStrike and Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, adding that the White House had attempted to "lock down" the call records in a cover-up. The whistleblower further stated that the call was part of a wider pressure campaign by Giuliani and the Trump administration which may have included withholding financial aid from Ukraine in July 2019 and canceling Vice President Pence's May 2019 Ukraine trip. Trump later confirmed having withheld military aid from Ukraine and offered contradicting reasons for the decision.More Info
The Trump administration has been characterized by high turnover, particularly among White House staff. By the end of Trump's first year in office, 34 percent of his original staff had resigned, been fired, or been reassigned. As of early July 2018, 61 percent of Trump's senior aides had left and 141 staffers had left in the past year. Both figures set a record for recent presidents – more change in the first 13 months than his four immediate predecessors saw in their first two years. Notable early departures included National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (after just 25 days in office), Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, replaced by retired Marine general John F. Kelly on July 28, 2017, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Close personal aides to Trump such as Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, John McEntee and Keith Schiller, have quit or been forced out. Some, like Hicks and McEntee, later returned to the White House in different posts. Trump has disparaged several of his former top officials as incompetent, stupid, or crazy.More Info
For months, Trump refused to wear a face mask at press conferences and most public events, contrary to his own administration's April 2020 guidance that Americans should wear masks in public. By June, Trump had stated that masks were a "double-edged sword", ridiculed Biden for wearing one, continually emphasized that mask-wearing was optional, and suggested that wearing a mask is a political statement against him personally. Trump first wore a face mask in public in July 2020, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In late spring and early summer, with infections and death counts continuing to rise, he adopted a strategy of shifting the blame for his administration's failure to the states.More Info
On May 17, 2017, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating "any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation", thus taking over the existing "Crossfire Hurricane" FBI investigation into the matter. The special counsel also investigated whether Trump's dismissal of James Comey as FBI director constituted obstruction of justice, and possible campaign ties to other national governments. Trump repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. Mueller also investigated the Trump campaign's possible ties to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar, Israel, and China.More Info
In March 2019, the House Judiciary Committee launched a broad investigation of Trump for possible obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power. Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler sent letters demanding documents to 81 individuals and organizations associated with Trump's presidency, business, and private life, saying it is "very clear that the president obstructed justice". Three other committee chairmen wrote the White House and State Department requesting details of Trump's communications with Putin, including any efforts to conceal the content of those communications. The White House refused to comply, asserting that presidential communications with foreign leaders are protected and confidential.More Info
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