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.
In October 2018, the administration revealed two miles of replacement fences made of steel posts, which it called the first section of Trump's 'wall', although earlier that year Border Patrol had said the project was unrelated to the Trump wall and had been long planned (dating to 2009). In December 2018 and January 2019, Trump tweeted out a design of a steel fence, and a picture of a fence, while declaring "the wall is coming." In February 2019, Trump said his administration had been "restricted to renovating" existing barriers, "and we need new wall."More Info
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
In October 2019, after Trump spoke to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House acknowledged Turkey would be carrying out a planned military offensive into northern Syria; as such, U.S. troops in northern Syria were withdrawn from the area to avoid interference with that operation. The statement also passed responsibility for the area's captured ISIS fighters to Turkey. In the following days, Trump suggested the Kurds intentionally released ISIS prisoners in order to gain sympathy, suggested they were fighting only for their own financial interests, suggested some of them were worse than ISIS, and termed them "no angels".More Info
Trump signaled his intention to run for a second term by filing with the FEC within a few hours of assuming the presidency. This transformed his 2016 election committee into a 2020 reelection one. Trump marked the official start of the campaign with a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, 2017, less than a month after taking office. By January 2018, Trump's reelection committee had $22 million in hand, and it had raised a total amount exceeding $67 million by December 2018. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee on March 17, 2020, after securing a majority of pledged delegates. Trump's re-election campaign saw declining poll numbers by mid-2020, reflecting dissatisfaction with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd.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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