Trump has supported the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017, despite criticism and warnings from world leaders. He subsequently opened a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in May 2018. The United Nations General Assembly condemned the move, adopting a resolution that "calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem". In March 2019, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, a move condemned by the European Union and the Arab League.
Congress members of both parties denounced the move, including Republican allies of Trump such as Senator Lindsey Graham. They argued that the move betrayed the American-allied Kurds, and would benefit ISIS, Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime. Trump defended the move, citing the high cost of supporting the Kurds, and the lack of support from the Kurds in past U.S. wars. After the U.S. pullout, Turkey proceeded to attack Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria. On October 16, the United States House of Representatives, in a rare bipartisan vote of 354 to 60, "condemned" Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria for "abandoning U.S. allies, undermining the struggle against ISIS, and spurring a humanitarian catastrophe".More Info
On January 2, 2020, Trump ordered a targeted U.S. airstrike, which killed Iranian Major General and IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other people. Trump publicly threatened to attack Iranian cultural sites, or react "in a disproportionate manner" if Iran retaliated; though such attacks by the U.S. would violate international law as war crimes. On January 8, Iran retaliated by launching airstrikes on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq; initially the Trump administration claimed no Americans suffered injuries, then Trump said injuries were not "very serious", but by February 2020, more than a hundred traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed in U.S. troops. Iran issues an arrest warrant for 36 U.S. political and military officials, including President Trump, for their role in the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.More Info
In April 2019, the House Ways and Means Committee made a formal request to the Internal Revenue Service for Trump's personal and business tax returns from 2013 to 2018. Two deadlines to provide the returns were missed, then Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin in May 2019 ultimately denied the request. Committee chairman Richard Neal then subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the IRS for the returns. These subpoenas were also defied in May 2019. A fall 2018 draft IRS legal memo asserted that tax returns must be provided to Congress upon request, unless a president invokes executive privilege. Congress need not justify the request, the memo stated, contradicting the administration's justification that a legislative purpose is needed to produce the tax returns. Mnuchin asserted the memo actually addressed a different matter.More Info
Trump's victory was considered a stunning political upset by most observers, as polls had consistently shown Hillary Clinton with a nationwide – though diminishing – lead, as well as a favorable advantage in most of the competitive states. Trump's support had been modestly underestimated throughout his campaign, and many observers blamed errors in polls, partially attributed to pollsters overestimating Clinton's support among well-educated and nonwhite voters, while underestimating Trump's support among white working-class voters. The polls were relatively accurate, but media outlets and pundits alike showed overconfidence in a Clinton victory despite a large number of undecided voters and a favorable concentration of Trump's core constituencies in competitive states.More Info
In August 2017, Trump pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was awaiting sentencing for contempt of court in a class action that alleged racial profiling. In March 2018, he pardoned former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, who had been found guilty of taking classified photographs of a submarine. In April 2018 he pardoned Scooter Libby, a political aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby had been convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to the FBI. In May 2018 he granted a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, a black boxer who had been convicted in 1913 for traveling across state lines with his white girlfriend. In June 2018 he pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who had made illegal political campaign contributions. That month he also commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a non-violent drug trafficking offender, following a request by celebrity Kim Kardashian. In February 2020, Trump pardoned white-collar criminals Michael Milken, Bernard Kerik, and Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., and commuted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's 14-year corruption sentence.More Info
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