Mr. Trump concludes each episode with a cliffhanger. After a week of teasing a constitutional crisis right after the commercial break, Mr. Trump didn’t end up firing (or even meeting with) Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, leaving us hanging with a potential meeting set for next week. On a recent afternoon, Mr. Trump used his go-to “We’ll see what happens” 11 times, according to a Politico tally.
The Washington Post reported that days after Comey's dismissal the special counsel started investigating whether Trump had obstructed justice. Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow stated that he had not been notified of any such investigation. ABC News later reported that the special counsel was gathering preliminary information about possible obstruction of justice but had not launched a full-scale investigation.
When he filed mandatory financial disclosure forms with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in July 2015, Trump claimed a net worth of about $10 billion; however FEC figures cannot corroborate this estimate because they only show each of his largest buildings as being worth "over $50 million", yielding total assets worth more than $1.4 billion and debt over $265 million. Trump reported a yearly income of $362 million for 2014 and $611 million from January 2015 to May 2016.
His political positions have been described as populist, and some of his views cross party lines. For example, his economic campaign plan calls for large reductions in income taxes and deregulation, consistent with Republican Party policies, along with significant infrastructure investment, usually considered a Democratic Party policy. According to political writer Jack Shafer, Trump may be a "fairly conventional American populist when it comes to his policy views", but he attracts free media attention, sometimes by making outrageous comments.
An economic downturn would send Trump’s electoral prospects into a tailspin. Just as incumbent presidents like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan have benefited from strong economies in the past, incumbent presidents like Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush have seen their re-election bids derailed by weak economies, whether from the stagflation of the 1970s or the rising unemployment of the early 1990s. And given that Trump's approval rating has been quite low despite a booming economy, it might take a historic dive if things turn south.
In the spring of 2018, President Donald Trump announced he would be imposing tariffs on more than 1,300 types of products imported from China. The move brought significant scrutiny, including claims that clothing had been excluded from the list of taxed products in order to benefit the president’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, whose clothing line has in the past sold products manufactured in China. (A few months later, Ivanka Trump said she would be closing down her clothing company.)
Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, although in 1990 he came within one missed bank loan payment of doing so, agreeing to a deal that temporarily ceded management control of his company to his banks and put him on a spending allowance. Trump claimed to have initiated this deal with his banks as he saw the downturn in the real estate market, but bankers involved in the matter stated they initiated the negotiations before Trump had realized there was a problem. His hotel and casino businesses have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws – they're very good for me" as a tool for trimming debt. The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).
On November 8, 2016, Mr. Trump was elected President in the largest Electoral College landslide for a Republican in 28 years. Mr. Trump won more than 2,600 counties nationwide, the most since President Ronald Reagan in 1984. And he received the votes of more than 62 million Americans, the most ever for a Republican candidate. These voters, in delivering a truly national victory and historic moment, rallied behind Mr. Trump’s commitment to rebuilding our country and disrupting the political status quo that had failed to deliver results.
Trump has often said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father, and that he had to pay it back with interest. In October 2018, The New York Times published an exposé drawing on more than 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Fred Trump's businesses, and interviews with former advisers and employees. The Times concluded that Donald Trump "was a millionaire by age 8", and that he had received at least $413 million (adjusted for inflation) from his father's business empire over his lifetime. According to the Times, Trump borrowed at least $60 million from his father, and largely failed to reimburse him. The paper also described a number of purportedly fraudulent tax schemes, for example when Fred Trump sold shares in Trump Palace condos to his son well below their purchase price, thus masking what could be considered a hidden donation, and benefiting from a tax write-off. A lawyer for Trump said the "allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory". A spokesman for the New York State tax department said the agency was "vigorously pursuing all appropriate areas of investigation". New York City officials also indicated they are examining the matter.
The president on Tuesday announced his intention to seek reelection, and 44% of all Likely U.S. Voters say they would be more likely to vote for him if they had to vote now. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that slightly more (47%) are more likely to opt for the Democratic nominee who opposes him, while nine percent (9%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
In April 2018, Trump enacted a "zero tolerance" immigration policy that took adults irregularly entering the U.S. into custody for criminal prosecution and forcibly separated children from parents, eliminating the policy of previous administrations that made exceptions for families with children. By mid-June, more than 2,300 children had been placed in shelters, including "tender age" shelters for babies and toddlers, culminating in demands from Democrats, Republicans, Trump allies, and religious groups that the policy be rescinded. Trump falsely asserted that his administration was merely following the law. On June 20, Trump signed an executive order to end family separations at the U.S. border. On June 26 a federal judge in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Trump administration to stop detaining immigrants parents separately from their minor children, and to reunite family groups that had been separated at the border.
What he's saying: Last night in Mississippi, he even promised "we will do a landslide" in 2020, after a razor-thin electoral victory (and substantial popular vote loss) in 2016. "Who the hell’s gonna beat us? Look! Who's going to beat us?" Trump asked, after amping up his frequent riff about former Vice President Joe Biden as a lightweight he'd love to crush.
In 2013, New York State filed a $40 million civil suit against Trump University; the suit alleged that the company made false statements and defrauded consumers. In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Trump personally as well as his companies. During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized presiding Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, alleging bias in his rulings because of his Mexican heritage. Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases, whereby Trump paid a total of $25 million and denied any wrongdoing.
In 2016, The Washington Post reported that the charity had committed several potential legal and ethical violations, including alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion. Also in 2016, the New York State Attorney General's office notified the Trump Foundation that the foundation appeared to be in violation of New York laws regarding charities, ordering it to immediately cease its fundraising activities in New York. A Trump spokesman called the Attorney General's investigation a "partisan hit job". In response to mounting complaints, Trump's team announced in late December 2016 that the Trump Foundation would be dissolved to remove "even the appearance of any conflict with [his] role as President." According to an IRS filing in November 2017, the foundation intended to shut down and distribute its assets (about $970,000) to other charities. However, the New York Attorney General's office had to complete their ongoing investigation before the foundation could legally shut down, and in June 2018 they filed a civil suit against the foundation for $2.8 million in restitution and additional penalties. The suit names Trump himself as well as his adult children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.
Vice President Mike Pence strongly denied charges lodged by an August 5 New York Times report, which speculated that the Vice President was orchestrating a "shadow campaign" for the presidency in the 2020 election. Pence called the accusations "disgraceful and offensive" and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway called the story a "complete fiction, complete fabrication".
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump accused the press of intentionally misinterpreting his words and of being biased, although he benefited from a record amount of free media coverage, elevating his standing in the Republican primaries. After winning the election, Trump told journalist Lesley Stahl that he intentionally demeaned and discredited the media "so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you". Into his presidency, much of the press coverage of Trump and his administration was negative.
The possibility that Trump won’t run in 2020 has motivated Republicans serving in his administration to position themselves in ways that would be unthinkable in a normal White House. U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who is widely considered to have presidential aspirations, has staked out the Establishment lane. She’s courted Wall Street donors at private dinners in Manhattan and has socialized with former Paul Ryan adviser Dan Senor and his wife, Campbell Brown. Haley rarely mentions Trump in her public speeches. According to a Republican close to Trump, Trump has been annoyed with this omission. “He’s gotten feedback she never mentions his name at events,” the Republican close to the White House said. “Nikki is ambitious. She’s going to run. It’s just a question of when,” a former West Wing official said. “Her staff is very careful when they speak to other people. They always say 2024; one of Haley’s people told me 2024 is code for 2020.” (A Haley spokesperson said, “Ambassador Haley is not running for any office in 2020.”)
Is Trump instead harkening back to World War II, when the "greatest generation" went to fight in Europe and the Pacific theater, and women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers? Even then, women were paid at half the rate of men, and were swiftly removed from the workforce when the men came home. Very few were able to attend college. African-Americans, many of whom fought in the war, continued to live as second-class citizens under segregationist policies across the South. Japanese-Americans were locked up in internment camps.
Serious proposals to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice were made in May 2017, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and allegations surfaced that Trump had asked Comey to drop the investigation against Michael Flynn. A December 2017 resolution of impeachment failed in the House by a 58–364 margin. Since the Republicans control both the House and the Senate, the likelihood of impeachment during the 2017–2019 115th Congress is considered remote.