It’s been one month of the Trump administration, and what a month it has been. Trump is already at 38 percent popularity in the polls. Usually presidents have to let a large American city drown after a hurricane to reach these levels of unpopularity.
But aside from all the gaffes, wild press conferences, and Twitter tirades, what has the administration actually done? Here’s are the things you need to know about this week that really matter.
Fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn really pulled off a unique feat here—he managed to get canned from two top national-security jobs in three years, by two different presidents. Trump said Thursday he fired Flynn for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about whether, while Obama was still president, he discussed easing sanctions on Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (It appears Flynn also lied to the FBI about this point, which will be big trouble for him.) But Trump also said he didn’t believe Flynn did anything wrong in discussing the sanctions, and that he didn’t instruct him to bring that up, but that “I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.” He also decried the coverage about the incident as uniformly “fake.” Something isn’t quite adding up here, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see this story back in this weekly feature many times in the coming months.
Signed a bill to allow coal-mining operations to put more pollution in streams. That’s really not an ungenerous reading of the bill Trump signed on Thursday. The legislation, as David Dayen outlined recently, used a heretofore rarely used mechanism instituted by the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), by which Congress can junk recent regulations and prevent the executive branch from ever signing something similar in the future without Congress. By signing the bill, Trump eliminated an Obama rule that protected 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 square miles of forest from mountaintop-removal operations that dump debris rich with heavy metals into nearby ecosystems.