Five key moments from Trump's first 100 days

Five key moments from Trump's first 100 days
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President Trump’s first 100 days in the White House have been punctuated by dramatic foreign policy moves and controversy at home.

Here’s a look at five key moments from the start of Trump’s presidency.

 

Trump orders missile strike in Syria

Trump’s enforcement of President Obama’s red line in Syria was an aggressive gamble that appears to have paid off.

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The targeted missile strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces for using chemical weapons represented a major shift in U.S. foreign policy, and it has altered the perception of Trump’s presidency on a number of fronts.

Trump’s action won praise from the GOP’s foreign policy establishment, including Republican hawks such as Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain says Steyer should drop out: 'I hate that guy' Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman MORE (Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocrats duke it out in most negative debate so far Republicans give Barr vote of confidence Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (S.C.), who have been critical of the president in the past.

After eight years of attacking Obama for “leading from behind” and diminishing U.S. standing abroad, Republicans were nearly unanimous in cheering a military strike they said would put foreign dictators on notice.

Trump also won praise from many Democrats, who complimented the president for acting on humanitarian grounds.

Polls show the public supports the strike, although there is widespread opposition to the U.S. becoming further entangled in Syria’s civil war.

 

The travel ban 

Trump acted quickly to fulfill his promise to “keep radical Islamic terrorists” out of the country, signing an order on his eighth day in office temporarily halting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and indefinitely suspending admissions of Syrian refugees. 

The order triggered nationwide protests at airports, with demonstrators decrying the order as a ban on Muslims. A federal court quickly blocked the order from taking effect.

The decision highlighted the chaos and confusion that often reigned in the early weeks of Trump’s presidency.

Top aides Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller took heat for drafting the policy without consulting lawmakers or Cabinet officials, with critics calling the order sloppily constructed.

The policy was rolled out before Trump had his own team at the Justice Department in place, and he eventually fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama holdover, af ter she directed lawyers not to defend the order.  

Trump tried to move forward six weeks later by signing a revised ban. But a federal judge in Hawaii blocked its enforcement just hours before it was set to take effect.

Although it remains on hold, the travel ban is emblematic of Trump’s reliance on executive power during his first 100 days in office. He’s already signed nearly three dozen orders and memoranda, setting his agenda and reversing many Obama-era policies. 

 

Healthcare flop

Trump turned to healthcare for his first big win in Congress but ended up taking a major loss.

The president decided to back a bill drafted by House GOP leaders, known as the American Health Care Act, that would repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a more conservative system centered around giving people tax credits to help them purchase insurance. 

But the plan ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from moderate Republicans, who said it would leave too many uninsured, and ultraconservatives, who blasted tax credits in the bill as a new entitlement program.

Trump entered office boasting of his famed dealmaking skills and at one point gave the House an ultimatum: pass the bill or I’ll move on from healthcare.

The gambit failed, and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Trump doubles down on Neil Cavuto attacks: 'Will he get the same treatment as' Shep Smith? Trump lashes out at Fox News coverage: 'I won every one of my debates' MORE (R-Wis.) was forced to pull the bill from the floor due to a lack of support.

Since then, the White House and House GOP leaders have searched for a new deal on ObamaCare, though it remains unclear how much progress has been made.

Nonetheless, the stalled work on the American Health Care Act means that Trump is virtually guaranteed to wrap up his first 100 days as president without a major legislative accomplishment.

 

Trump fires national security adviser 

Michael Flynn

Flynn, a retired U.S. army lieutenant general and the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was among Trump’s first major appointments.

He lasted 24 days, the shortest tenure ever for a national security adviser.

Flynn, who had long been viewed with skepticism by the foreign policy establishment, was asked to resign after misleading Vice President Pence about the nature of a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak after the election.

Pence said in a television interview that Flynn did not discuss the possibility of lifting sanctions on Russia during the campaign. That was revealed to be false after U.S. intelligence officials leaked details of the discussion to The Washington Post.

The episode was revealing on a number of levels.

It showed that even Trump’s longtime loyalists are not immune to getting axed. And it underscored the administration’s difficulties with leaks, which have bedeviled the White House from the start.

Flynn’s troubles have mounted since he was cut loose. Last month, it was revealed that he had been acting as a paid lobbyist for Turkey while he was also attending top-level intelligence briefings during the campaign.

He only registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department when the media reported on the undisclosed work for Turkey.

Flynn has volunteered to be interviewed by the FBI and congressional committees probing links between Trump campaign officials and Russia, but he has asked for immunity from prosecution in exchange.

The House and Senate Intelligence committees haven’t taken him up on the offer.

 

Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping

Trump’s March 4 tweets backfired spectacularly.

For weeks, Trump’s claim that Obama had his “wires tapped” at Trump Tower during the election dominated the White House press briefings, political talk shows and discourse on Capitol Hill, with many pressing the White House for evidence.

The wiretapping allegation was publicly refuted by FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers at a congressional hearing and may have been a driving factor in Chairman Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) fumbling of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election.

Nunes has since recused himself from the investigation.

Trump’s conservative allies have sought to defend the claims, saying that the president was not being literal and that the allegations underscore a broader truth — that so-called “deep state” actors are working to undermine the president.

They point to the scores of media reports about wide-ranging investigations into alleged Trump ties to Russia, some of which rest on the incidental surveillance of Trump campaign officials.

The incidental intelligence collection helped fuel a controversy around Obama’s former national security adviser, Susan Rice, who is reported to have revealed Flynn’s name in intelligence reports. Trump suggested she might have committed a crime.

But that storyline and the debate over surveillance continue to be overshadowed by Trump’s wiretapping claim. The controversy has become a touchstone for Trump’s critics, who say the president is prone to believing conspiracy theories while playing fast and loose with the facts.