Political Junkie

Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that she will step down as press secretary by the end of June 2019.
Evan Vucci / AP

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be stepping down at the end of June, as announced through tweets from President Donald Trump. Sanders has been in Trump’s press office since his 2016 presidential campaign.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Special Counsel Robert Mueller gave his first public statement Wednesday since the release of his report into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His main message: Read the report. Beyond that, he highlighted that charging a sitting president with a crime “was not an option.”

Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security

Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady is the latest to step down from the Department of Homeland Security. The week began with the departure of Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary.

Robin Hayes in front of the American flag
Mike Spencer / AP

A U.S. District Court indicted the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party Robin Hayes earlier this week on charges that include bribery, wire fraud and aiding and abetting. Hayes allegedly tried to funnel money to the reelection campaign of the state’s insurance commissioner. What does this indictment mean for the state’s Republican Party?

Mark Harris at hearings into allegations that his campaign committed election fraud.
Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is calling for a new vote in the state’s 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision came after four days of dramatic hearings into allegations of election fraud by the campaign of Republican Mark Harris. 

Women members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, cheer after President Donald Trump acknowledges more women in Congress during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech struck analysts as both bipartisan and deeply divided. He called for unity and shared bipartisan victories, and he also promised he would build a border wall and warned lawmakers that there cannot be peace and legislation while there are ongoing investigations. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters a day after officially postponing President Donald Trump's State of the Union address until the government is fully reopened, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone was arrested early this morning. He is the sixth Trump adviser or official charged in Robert Muller’s investigation. Plus, as Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi battle for power, federal employees will miss their second paycheck since the partial government shutdown began more than 30 days ago. 

In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, center, listens as President Donald Trump argues with House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington.
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Will there be a government shutdown? President Donald Trump held a televised meeting this week with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to talk about immigration. Trump promised to shut down the government if Democrats do not agree to his demand of $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In this Oct. 10, 2018, file photo, people hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington
Jacquelyn Martin / AP

How will the disappearance of a Saudi journalist and dissident affect the relationship between the United States and oil-rich Saudi Arabia? Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey over two weeks ago and hasn’t been seen since. Turkish officials say they have audio and video recordings proving a gruesome death.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh continue this week, and many have described them as a circus. Angry protesters repeatedly disrupted proceedings and were dragged out of the hearings. And Democrats themselves protested on the first day that they did not have sufficient time to review more than 40,000 pages of documents they received hours before the hearings were set to begin. 

flag-draped casket of Sen. John McCain
Alex Brandon / AP

Federal judges ruled again that North Carolina’s Congressional map is unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering. In their ruling, the judges left open the option to order redrawing the districts before the 2018 election. What impact could this ruling have on the midterm elections and congressional control? 

Dana Verkouteren / AP Photo

Republicans declared victory in the Ohio special election even though thousands of provisional ballots have yet to be counted. What do the results mean for the November elections? Though these tight races may signal a blue wave, there’s also a pink wave with women breaking a record for the number of gubernatorial primary wins.

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement this week and sparked panic among many Democrats. During his time on the nation’s highest bench, he cast deciding votes on LGBTQ rights, abortion and the death penalty. President Trump has vowed to replace Kennedy’s seat with a more conservative justice.

Kim Yong Chol, left, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting, Thursday, May 31, 2018, in New York.
Seth Wenig / AP Photo

The week kicked off with White House officials working overtime to save the meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been photographed in New York enjoying dinner and drinks with the leader’s right hand man, Kim Yong-chol. Will the stepped up efforts save the summit?

photo of eastman amongst red and blue baloons, speaking at a podium
Nati Harnik / AP Photo

Female candidates swept primary elections in Pennsylvania and Nebraska this week. Will this wave continue into the November midterm elections? And Wednesday’s teacher rally in Raleigh is part of a wave of teacher protests in red states. What impact could this have on the midterms?

photo of rudy giuliani
Carolyn Kaster, File / AP Photo

Rudolph Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City and now member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday that Trump repaid the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump followed up on Twitter the next morning and backed up some of what Giuliani stated adding “money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll (sic) in this transaction.” The repayment claim goes against what Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen have previously said.

photo of Nikki Haley speaking at the United Nations
Julie Jacobson / AP Photo

This week marked another rift in the Trump administration, this time over imposing new sanctions on Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the president would announce those new sanctions during her appearance on Sunday talk shows. On Tuesday, a top White House official negated that comment and blamed Haley’s statement about sanctions on “momentary confusion.” Haley shot back, saying “I don’t get confused.”

photo of scott pruitt
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Creative Commons

This week President Donald Trump announced he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the fight against ISIS in Syria. In a news conference with Baltic leaders Trump said the U.S. was “very successful against ISIS.” The president has since pulled back on an urgent removal plan, and instead instructed the military to withdraw from the conflict within a few months.

photo of Donald Trump, speaking and gesturing
Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Two of the nation’s largest gun sellers announced they will take steps to curb firearm sales. Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, and they’ll also require those buying guns to be over 21, whether it’s required by local laws or not. Walmart will no longer sell guns to people under the age of 21, and they’ll stop selling items that resemble assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The House has approved a stopgap measure to fund the government through mid-February, but Senate Democrats seem dissatisfied. They want concessions including deportation protection for some young immigrants before giving their vote.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones and his wife Louise wave to supporters before speaking Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala.
John Bazemore / AP Photo

Democrat Doug Jones won the red state of Alabama in his senate race against Republican Roy Moore this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, joins Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP lawmakers to talk about the GOP tax plan.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The U.S. Senate is busy debating its tax overhaul bill. A vote on the measure is expected later today. The bill has moved swiftly to the Senate floor, and Republican leaders say they are confident there are enough votes to pass it. 

Donald and Melania Trump take a tour of the Forbidden City while visiting Beijing, China as part of their five-country trip through Asia.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

President Donald Trump has returned from his five-country tour of Asia. He characterized the trip as a “tremendous success,” but political analysts say his exuberance does not align with the political accomplishments. 

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Robert Mueller’s team handed down their first indictments this week in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates turned themselves into the FBI and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Meanwhile Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released their tax bill Thursday with hopes to pass it through before the end of year. And federal judges reviewing North Carolina’s legislative district maps have ordered an independent “special master” to draw new lines.

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rpL7cW

President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger has prompted questions about the level of respect the President displayed for the soldier’s service.

Donald Trump makes first speech to the UN
Richard Drew / AP Photo - 2017

After multiple failed attempts by Republican leaders to repeal the Affordable Care Act, GOP lawmakers are back with their newest repeal effort. The Graham-Cassidy bill would cap funding to Medicaid, and many opponents say it would leave millions of people without healthcare coverage. 

Trump sits at head of table to discuss public safety operations in Texas in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.
Evan Vucci / AP Photo - 2017

President Donald Trump traveled to Texas this week in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He met with a number of government officials and rescue workers but received criticism for not meeting with flood victims. 

Donald Trump
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP - 2017

President Trump continues to receive criticism after his remarks earlier this week about violence that took place last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

As tension persists in the Trump administration, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stepped in last week as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. 

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