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.
Trump's cabinet nominations included U.S. senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, financier Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, retired Marine Corps general James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Trump also brought on board politicians who had opposed him during the presidential campaign, such as neurosurgeon Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations.More Info
In a Rose Garden speech on June 1, 2020, President Trump said he would deploy the U.S. military to stop violence if a city or state refused to do so, and declared himself the ally of peaceful protestors, following the police killing of George Floyd. While he was speaking, federal law enforcement officials used batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray projectiles, stun grenades, and smoke to remove a largely peaceful crowd from Lafayette Square, outside the White House. The removal had been ordered by Attorney General William Barr. Trump then walked to St. John's Episcopal Church where the night before a small fire had been set in the basement nursery of its parish house. He posed for photographs holding a Bible, with Cabinet members and other officials later joining him in photos. Trump, who had attended services at the church three times since taking office, did not enter the church or inspect the damage to the basement.More Info
Trump and his allies have promoted a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 election – which has also been promoted by Russia in an effort to frame Ukraine. After the Democratic National Committee was hacked, Trump firstly claimed it withheld "its server" from the FBI (in actuality there were more than 140 servers, of which digital copies were given to the FBI); secondly that CrowdStrike, the company which investigated the servers, was Ukraine-based and Ukrainian-owned (in actuality, CrowdStrike is U.S.-based, with the largest owners being American companies); and thirdly that "the server" was hidden in Ukraine. Members of the Trump administration have spoken out against the conspiracy theories.More Info
In January 2017, American intelligence agencies – the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA, represented by the Director of National Intelligence – jointly stated with "high confidence" that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election to favor the election of Trump. In March 2017, FBI Director James Comey told Congress "the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts."More Info
Trump has repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin; criticism of Putin by Trump was uncommon. As a presidential candidate, Trump continually reiterated that Putin is a strong leader. When Putin in August 2017 expelled over half of the staff of the American embassy in Russia in retaliation for Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which imposed new sanctions on Russia, President Trump responded by thanking Putin, saying "We'll save a lot of money," instead of criticizing him. After Trump met Putin at the Helsinki Summit on July 16, 2018, Trump drew bipartisan criticism for siding with Putin's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, rather than accepting the findings of the United States intelligence community.More Info
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