Government in action

Monday, Aug. 6                                                 

Š      Major U.S. steel producers with close ties to the Trump administration, including United States Steel and Nucor, have successfully objected to 1,600 requests to the Commerce Department from companies that buy foreign steel for exemptions to President Trump’s metal tariffs other companies that use their products to buy from them instead of less expensive foreign suppliers. To date, not a single request for relief has been granted when the U.S. steel companies have objected.

Š      Hours after declaring California’s wildfires a major disaster, Trump repeated his Sunday claims on Twitter that water in California is “foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, Aug. 7

Š      Rick Gates, a close associate of President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, testified that he committed crimes with Manafort, including a multi-year tax and bank fraud scheme involving numerous shell companies and foreign bank accounts set up to evade taxes.

Š      The government reimposed economic sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the Iran nuclear deal concluded under the Obama administration. The action effectively forces allies to go along with the penalties, pressuring major European companies to choose between the tiny Iranian market and the huge American market.

Wednesday, Aug. 8

Š      In a closely watched special congressional election in Ohio that was widely seen as a test case for Republican strength leading up to the November elections, Republican Troy Balderson received 50.1 percent of the vote to Democrat Danny O’Connor’s 49.3 percent. The vote is still too close to call in a district that President Trump won by double digits in 2016.

Š      Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was arrested and charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI for allegedly passing nonpublic information about an Australian biotech company on whose board he served, Innate Immunotherapeutics, to his son, Cameron, that was then used to make timely trades of stock.

Š      China said it will impose tariffs on an additional $16 billion in U.S. autos and energy products, retaliating for the Trump administration’s latest import levies on an equivalent value of Chinese goods.

Š      The Trump administration said Wednesday it would impose new sanctions against Russia, banning a wide range of exports and other measures, as punishment for its use of a nerve agent in and attempt in March to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Thursday, Aug. 9

Š      North Korea’s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said that the United States must declare a formal end to the Korean War before the country would provide information on nuclear sites or make any other concessions on nuclear disarmament. The impasse contradicts President Trump’s assertion two months ago that the North Korean “is no longer a nuclear threat.”

Š      Trump’s Slovenian in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became United States citizens in a private ceremony in Manhattan by taking advantage of “chain migration,” or family based immigration, whereby Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards.

Friday, Aug. 10

Š      Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) announced that confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kaanaugh will be Sept. 4, 5 and 6. Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh before the start of the court session Oct. 1.

Š      Andrew Miller, a close associate of Roger Stone, was found to be in contempt of court for refusing to appear before the grand jury investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Saturday, Aug. 11

Š      Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) announced he is suspending his bid for re-election after his arrest earlier in the week for insider trading.

Š      Trump added to Turkey’s economic and political disorder by tweeting, “I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20 percent and Steel 50 percent. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

Sunday, Aug. 12

Š      Chuck Todd played a tape on Meet the Press that appears to be of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Situation Room firing former White House aide and “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman. Manigault Newman is promoting her new book, “Unhinged.”

Š      A white nationalist rally near the White House ended with far more counter protesters than rally goers. Rally attendees were estimated at between 20 and 30, while hundreds showed up in counter protests.