United States Industry
American industry is versatile, highly developed and leading in a wide range of areas such as telecommunications, motor vehicles, aviation, electronics, pharmaceuticals, bio and nanotechnology, food and beverages, and the defense and chemical industries. The industrial sector accounts for about one fifth of the economy.
Already in the 1970s, the old industrial belt from the northeastern United States to the Midwest lost significance, and there was a shift of industries towards the southern states and the southwestern United States – from the “rust belt” to the “sun belt”. One of America’s major industrial areas is now located around Los Angeles in Southern California.
The manufacturing industry is of great economic importance in states such as Indiana, Oregon, Louisiana, North Carolina and Wisconsin. At the same time as high-tech companies have become increasingly important, the US still has a strong and broad industrial base, including the steel industry. Steel is today manufactured not only in the Midwest but also in the southern states. Around Silicon Valley in California, Route 128 outside Boston and other IT centers, there are many cutting-edge companies dealing with advanced electronics as well as computer, bio and nanotechnology. Many of the companies have been started in collaboration with major universities such as Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Large investments are made in research and development in various sectors.
The industrial sector was hit hard by the financial crisis during the second half of the 1990s. The consequences were particularly severe for the manufacturing industry, which lost a total of about 2.5 million jobs between 2007 and 2010. The recovery has subsequently slowed and the number of jobs has barely returned to the same level as before the crisis. After some clearing, the trade conflict with China now seems to strike the sector (see Economic overview).
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of United States. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
During the financial crisis, falling sales figures in the important automotive industry led to General Motors and Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler) being forced to apply for emergency loans and then bankruptcy protection to restructure the business. Of the three major car manufacturers, only Ford managed on its own, which was because the company raised large loans just before the crisis. Car sales soon gained momentum again and increased every year until 2017, when a slight decline was noted.
Violent at the embassy in Iraq
An Iran-backed militia group manages to almost storm the US embassy in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, in anger over a US air strike a few days earlier that demanded the death of 25 militiamen. Thousands of protesters around the large embassy complex throw stones and burn American flags. The violence makes the US decide to send another 750 soldiers to Iraq. The siege ends on New Year’s Day.
Trump is facing state law
The House of Representatives is voting as expected for President Donald Trump to face state law, in the Senate. The decision is taken with the vote numbers 230–197, almost entirely according to the party lines. What in practice serves as a prosecution concerns two points: the president is accused of abuse of power and for hindering the work of the House of Representatives during the investigation. The points were formulated by the Justice Committee, which voted on December 10 to recommend national law. Trump has repeatedly dismissed the process he called a “coup” and “madness”. The day before the House of Representatives vote, the president sent a six-page long letter to President Nancy Pelosi calling the process unconstitutional and repeated accusations of witch-hunting. The decision on national law means that the matter now goes to the Senate. There, the Republicans have a majority and, as the opinion stands, it is almost impossible for Trump to be ousted.
Preliminary trade agreement with China
13th of December
The US and China state that a first framework agreement has been reached during ongoing negotiations on trade between the countries. As a result, both parties are suspending what would have been a further set of duties from December 15 (see also August 1, 2019). The deal is said to mean that China will buy more agricultural products from the United States, which in turn promises to halve the 15 percent duty rate on some goods. In addition, details are scarce and negotiations continue.
Trump fines for misappropriated charity money
President Donald Trump has paid $ 2 million in fines for misusing money in his charity fund, following a decision in a New York court in November. It is made public when the parties to the case decide to terminate the case. The civil litigation that began in July 2018 concerned both illegal and unethical handling of the Fund’s money. The Charity Fund was set up in 1988 and almost two-thirds of its money has been raised from third parties. Money from the fund has gone to both Trump’s private business interests and his presidential campaign. The New York court also ordered the dissolution of the fund. The fine and $ 1.8 million that were left in the fund should be shared equally between eight different charities.
New version of free trade agreement signed
The United States, Canada and Mexico sign an adjusted version of the free trade agreement that will replace Nafta from 1994, despite the fact that a new agreement was considered ready already just over a year earlier (see September 2018). The first version of the agreement called the USMCA was never ratified by Congress, as Democrats demanded, among other things, strengthened labor law guarantees. The new version is ratified after a few days by Mexico and in January and March 2020 respectively by the US and Canada.
Interrogation hearings continue in the Justice Committee
The hearings in the judicial process against President Trump are entering a new phase as they move from the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee to its Justice Committee, where the possible charges will be determined. According to legal experts on the judicial process, Trump has committed acts that justify state lawto a greater extent than any previous president. One of them, the committee’s chairman Jerry Nadler, says in his introductory speech that Trump meets all three criteria of the Constitution for national law: treason, bribery or other “serious crimes and wrongdoing”. However, another expert, Jonathan Turley, warns of lowering the bar for international law if the process is only about the Ukraine deal he believes is based on weak evidence and pent-up anger against Trump. The White House has announced that Trump will not appear for a hearing in the House of Representatives, on the grounds that the process is not fair.
Bloomberg new in the primary election
Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, formally enters the Democratic Party primary election for the 2020 presidential election. Bloomberg’s announcement, which was expected, means that 18 Democrats are now contesting to be a candidate, which is a record for the party. Twelve former candidates have withdrawn from the fight. Those who are best placed in opinion polls are former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Two Republicans are challenging Trump in the primary election: Joe Walsh, former Illinois congressman, and William Weld, former Massachusetts governor.
EU ambassador testifies about the Ukraine deal
20th of November
When EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testifies to the House of Representatives intelligence committee, he says there was a quid pro quo – that is, an expectation of services and gene services – in Trump’s handling of Ukraine. It is the core issue in the national investigation that Sondland now confirms. He also says that basically everyone in the leadership position knew this, including Vice President Mike Pence, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. According to Sondland, Ukraine was pressured to investigate partly corruption allegations against Joe Biden’s son (see September 24, 2019) and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election (see October 22, 2019)) – and not least to announce that such investigations have been initiated. As a “reward” President Volodymyr Zelenskyj would be invited to the White House. Sondland says he did not hear Trump associate the payment of military aid to the investigations, but that he assumed such a link existed. Sondland also describes how Trump has issued “explicit orders” on cooperation with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on the Ukraine issue, an order he regretted but felt compelled to follow. Sondland denied the presence of a quid pro quo the first time he testified, in October behind closed doors, but then changed his mind in an addition to the testimony on November 5.
Public hearings begin in the national court process
The first public hearings are made in the House of Representatives, in the trial of President Donald Trump. First out are two people who have already testified behind closed doors: the US Charge d’affaires in Kiev, William Taylor (see October 22, 2019), and an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs, George Kent. Taylor, as previously reported, describes how in the spring of 2019 an “irregular” channel was formed for US Ukraine policy, in addition to the regular that he himself was part of. Some new details are also emerging. Both Taylor and Kent emphasize how important US support for the country Ukraine is, as well as expressing concern over Rudy Giuliani’s involvement (see September 26, 2019).
The United States initiates withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
The government formally announces to the UN that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, in accordance with what President Trump promised in the election movement and previously stated (see June 2017). This will start a year-long process that will be completed the day after the US presidential election in 2020.
The House of Representatives votes on national law
The House of Representatives votes for the first time on the question of national law and formally decides to proceed with the investigation. As a result of the vote, witness hearings, which have so far gone behind closed doors, will now be made public. In addition, documentation from the hearings that have already been made will be published, something the Republicans have demanded. The proposal is approved by 232 votes to 196 – all but Democrats except two vote yes, while all Republicans vote no.
IS leader killed in Syria
President Trump announces that Islamic State (IS) terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died following a US military operation in Idlib province in northwestern Syria. The message is seen as a major foreign policy success for Trump, who otherwise has been harshly criticized for his Middle Eastern policy, including from the Republican side.
Fires trigger emergency states in California
The governor of California announces state of emergency throughout the state because of several land fires that caused mass evacuations. Millions of people have been without electricity in controlled power outages, in an effort to reduce the risk of new fires. The power outages are the most extensive so far in California. Around 180,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes in Sonoma County north of San Francisco. A few days earlier, 50,000 people north of Los Angeles were ordered to leave their homes due to fires.
Republicans “storm” testimony
The contradictions surrounding the investigation by President Trump trigger an unusual scene in the congressional building: some 30 Republicans storm a security hall where a committee hearing is to be held and park there for hours. Several of them carry cell phones, in violation of strict safety regulations. Republicans have complained about secret-making in committee hearings and believe it makes the process illegitimate. Democrats say the hearings must be held behind closed doors so that different witnesses cannot influence one another. However, several of the Republicans participating in the storm had been able to attend the hearing, with a Department of Defense employee, Laura Cooper, who had insight into Ukraine issues. The Cooper hearing later took place.
Top diplomats testify about the Ukraine business
US Acting Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, testifies before a Congressional committee that President Trump ordered that military assistance to Ukraine be withheld until President Zelenskyj promised to investigate Joe Biden (see also September 24 and 26, 2019). The hearing is held behind closed doors, but according to reports, Taylor confirms what several others have testified about while giving a more detailed picture and more clearly pointing out Trump. According to Taylor, Trump also requested an investigation into Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 US presidential election – an intervention for which no one has presented evidence. Taylor chooses to stand before the congressional committee despite the White House’s ban on boycotts (see October 8, 2019). Several other key witnesses have done the same before him, including EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Marie Yovanovitch, who was previously an ambassador to Ukraine but kicked off by Trump. In November, all will also testify in front of open doors.
The Minister of Energy is leaving
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry resigns, White House announces. Perry is one of three government representatives considered to have influenced Ukraine’s policy. He has been called for questioning in the House of Representatives regarding the Ukraine inquiry, but has not announced whether he intends to resign.
Congressional criticism of Syrian politics
The House of Representatives condemns with a 354-60 vote the decision to withdraw the US military from northeastern Syria, and calls on the President of Turkey to halt the invasion of northeastern Syria. In the vote, 129 Republican members join the Democrats in condemning Trump’s Syria policy.
Sanctions against Turkey
President Trump orders sanctions against Turkey for invasion of northern Syria, the invasion that Trump himself gave the green light a week earlier. Trump has also called for an immediate cease-fire in talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He states that a smaller US force should remain in Syria, despite earlier Twitter statements that Turks and Kurds are now allowed to settle, without US involvement. The sanctions introduced include, among other things, increased customs duties and revoked visas for Turkish government representatives. After nine days, however, Trump withdraws the sanctions, saying Erdoğan promised a cease-fire would be permanent and the fighting would end. Let others argue about the “blood-soaked sand,” Trump also says.
The Minister of Internal Security resigns
Acting Secretary of the Interior, Kevin McAleenan, is retiring after six months on the post. McAleenan was Trump’s fourth Secretary of the Interior and succeeded Kirstjen Nielsen (see April 2019).
The White House boycotted the national investigation
The United States seems to be approaching a constitutional crisis when it is clear that the White House explicitly refuses to cooperate with Congress on the judicial inquiry. In a letter, the White House announces that the investigation is unconstitutional and constitutes an attempt to destroy the election results from 2016. Earlier in the day, the White House ordered the EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland not to stand for hearing in a committee in the House of Representatives. President Trump has justified the order that the House of Representatives constitutes a “kangaroo court.” However, Sondland will defy the order (see November 20, 2019).
The US leaves northern Syria
The White House unexpectedly announces that US soldiers should be withdrawn from Kurdish-dominated areas in northern Syria and that Turkey should enter there instead. The message comes after a phone call between President Trump and his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This is a shock in many ways: The United States has been allied with the Kurdish SDF forces in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), but Turkey considers the SDF a terrorist organization. SDF representatives accuse US of fraud. Troop movements start immediately and Trump is tweeting that it is time to end “ridiculous endless wars”. He also says that European countries now have to take responsibility for their citizens who are camped in the area, after IS has been defeated.
Trump: China and Ukraine should investigate
In front of rolling cameras, Trump says that both Ukraine and China should investigate Bidens, which he claims are corrupt. The president has been raging against his critics for several days, accusing leading Democrats, the whistleblower and the treason prosecutors. He writes on Twitter that the national investigation is equivalent to a coup attempt.
The whistle blower notification is published
The notification that forms the basis for an inquiry into national lawagainst Donald Trump is published by the House of Representatives intelligence committee. The reporter writes that several government officials testified that Trump was trying to get a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. A written summary has already been published by the White House the day before, showing that Trump repeatedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj to investigate Joe Biden. He also asked for “a favor,” and urged Zelenskyj to work with US Attorney General William Barr as well as with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. One week before the call, Trump had halted a $ 400 million military aid payment to Ukraine, but he denies it had anything to do with the requirement of a corruption investigation. A disbursement was made since September 11, a few days after Congress received information on the notification of a whistle-blower. Trump calls the whole controversy the worst witch hunt in US history.
International law against Trump should be investigated
Democrats in the House of Representatives decide to launch an investigation into national law against President Donald Trump, after a revelation that he has pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj to harm his political rival Joe Biden. The disclosure comes from a whistleblower in the intelligence service and relates to a phone call on July 25 in which Trump should have tried to pressure Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation against Biden, a leading candidate for the Democrats ahead of the 2020 presidential election. the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma. Previously, not least in connection with the Mueller investigation (see May 8, 2019)), the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has resisted the requirement to initiate a judicial procedure. The likelihood that a judicial process will lead to Trump actually being dismissed is considered small, as it requires two-thirds of the Senate to vote for it. Republicans have a majority in the Senate and are, for the most part, loyal to the president.
Opio crisis leads to bankruptcy
The pharmaceutical company Purdue pharma is filed for bankruptcy after over 2,600 lawsuit applications have been filed against the company, which is accused of triggering an opioid crisis in the US. The bankruptcy application for the time being will put a stop to the legal proceedings. Purdue pharma, which is owned by the Sackler family, is considered to have aggressively marketed a painkiller, thus contributing to the growing abuse of opioids. The abuse has led to overdose of drug-classed drugs becoming the most common cause of death for people under 50 in the US, and the average life expectancy has dropped for the first time in 100 years. In August, Johnson and Johnson were convicted of paying multimillion-dollar fines in Oklahoma for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis. Nearly 48,000 Americans died in opioid overdoses in 2017 and the following year, 10 million were estimated to be opioid abusers, of which the vast majority used prescription pain tablets. In October 2017, President Trump announced a national health emergency as a result of the opioid crisis.
HD approves stricter asylum law
The Supreme Court is giving green light to the government’s plans for stricter legislation that means that anyone who wants to seek asylum in the United States but comes via third countries must apply there first. President Trump is tweeting about the message as a “big victory”. In practice, the decision excludes all non-Mexicans from seeking asylum at the US border in the south. Of the 811,000 people taken care of at the border during the first months of the year, nearly 590,000 came from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. Mexican authorities have recently reported that the number of paperless migrants reaching the border has decreased by 56 percent since May.
The Republican wins re-election to Congress
Republican Dan Bishop wins the mandate in the federal House of Representatives that has been unopposed since the November 2018 midterm elections (see February 21, 2019). Bishop wins by less than two percentage points, or just under 4,000 votes, over Democrat Dan McCready. Republicans welcome the victory as a sign that their party now has wind of the sails again, following the setback in the election.
Security manager Bolton fired
President Trump announces that national security adviser John Bolton may go, and that he strongly disapproves of many of his proposals, particularly in the Middle East and Iraq. Bolton is known as a warrior. There have been reports of tensions between him and Trump. Bolton was Trump’s third security adviser (see March 2018). His successor, who is appointed after a week, becomes Robert O’Brien.
CIA contact was picked from Moscow after Trump victory
The intelligence service CIA had a contact centrally located in the Kremlin prior to Trump’s entry into 2017 but did not dare to remain after the change of power, according to data in several US media. The reason is said to have been concerns about the security of the contact. The contact was so close to President Vladimir Putin that they were able to photograph secret documents and forward them to the CIA. Information that was passed on included information on Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The contact, whose identity is secret, must have agreed to leave Russia on a second request from the CIA.
Weather forecast in the eye of the storm
Criticism of abuse of power and demands on Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s resignation comes after revelations that he has threatened to dismiss politically appointed officials at the Nooa Weather Authority – if they did not officially express support for President Trump’s incorrect statements regarding a hurricane warning. The controversy began when Trump included Alabama in a September 1 Twitter warning about impending Hurricane Dorian. Meteorologists in the state immediately demanded that Alabama be in the way of the hurricane. Nevertheless, Trump appeared on TV on September 4 with a previously published meteorological picture of the hurricane’s trajectory – but with an extra engraved loop that included Alabama. No explanation as to why an old image was used and who made the change was not provided. Two days later, however, Nooa wrote that the Alabama meteorologists were wrong in their statement.
Trump blows Taliban talks
President Trump interrupts peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan and cancels what is said to have been a planned meeting between him, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Taliban leaders. The decision announced via Twitter is motivated by an explosion that killed twelve people in Kabul, including an American soldier. A few days earlier, US mediators have stated that a peace agreement was “in principle” clear, following nine rounds of negotiations between US and Taliban negotiators in Qatar’s capital Doha. Under the agreement, the United States would withdraw 5,400 soldiers within 20 weeks, in exchange for the Taliban pledging never to use Afghanistan as a base for terrorism. The United States currently has 14,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.
Military grant for brick building
The Pentagon Department of Defense decides that $ 3.6 billion of its own funds will go toward building a wall against Mexico, one of President Trump’s most important election promises. This means that 127 military construction projects have been postponed for the time being. Defense Minister Mark Esper uses the word “border barrier” about the 28 miles of construction along the border to which the money will go.
Trump ships Denmark
21th of August
President Trump announces via Twitter that he has canceled a planned visit to Denmark in early September. He himself states that the reason is that Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen is uninterested in discussing his proposal that the United States should buy Greenland. The statement that Trump wants to buy Greenland has recently emerged in the media but has been confirmed by the president who calls it a “big real estate deal”. The proposal has consistently been sawn in Denmark and Greenland.
Trump freezes Venezuela’s assets
All Venezuela’s assets in the US are frozen and transactions with the country’s authorities are banned, by a decision by President Trump. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is the first time in 30 years that such a far-reaching decision is directed at a country on the American continents. The government of Caracas is thus subject to similar US sanctions as Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria.
Firearms are classified as terrorism
In El Paso on the border with Mexico, a 21-year-old man shoots 22 customers in a shopping mall. The incident in Texas is classified by US authorities as a domestic terrorist act – unlike a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which requires nearly ten lives a few hours later. Several of the victims in El Paso are Mexicans and the perpetrator has published an immigrant-friendly manifesto before the act. In the debate that triggered the death, President Trump is criticized for fertilizing hate crimes through derogatory statements about, among other Latin Americans. A few days later, the FBI announces that a shooting drama at the Gilroy Festival in California on July 28, with several deaths, is being investigated as a terrorist act.
New duties on China goods
Additional customs duties on goods from China worth $ 300 billion will be imposed, President Trump announces. The reason is that China has failed to fulfill its promises to buy more US agricultural goods, according to Trump. The message that is giving negative echoes on the stock exchanges means that soon all goods trade between the countries will be covered by new barriers to trade. Trump states that 10 percent tariffs will be imposed from September 1 on mobile phones, computers and some shoes and clothing, among other things. But barely two weeks later, he changes his mind and postpones duties on some of the goods until December 15. One reason Trump states is that he does not want to ruin the Christmas season for Americans. Customs duties in September get rid of, while those that would have been introduced in December are postponed at the last moment. Previous duties were introduced in July, August and September 2018.
Clear sign for wall financing
The Supreme Court gives the go-ahead to use $ 2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s Department of Defense to build a wall against Mexico. The message is a success for President Donald Trump (see February 15 and 18, 2019).
New rules for rapid deportation
The government is introducing a new regulatory framework to speed up the deportations of paperless migrants. Among other things, the new rules mean that migrants without a residence permit can be picked up anywhere in the United States. It will also be possible for authorities to deport foreign nationals without waiting for court decisions. In the past, immediate deportations could only be carried out if the person was found near the border and had been less than two weeks in the country.
New chief of the Pentagon
Nearly seven months after Jim Matti’s departure, and in the midst of a growing Iran crisis with war threats, Mark Esper joins as new Secretary of Defense after being approved by the Senate. So far, the Pentagon Defense Headquarters has never been without a regular boss (see December 21, 2018).
Parties agree on a higher debt ceiling
The two major parties have concluded a deal with President Trump on the US federal budget. The agreement extends two years ahead, until after the next presidential election. State spending increases by $ 320 billion in the budget, but Republicans and Democrats agree to extend a waiver that would allow state borrowing to increase. Thus, one should be able to avoid a situation where parts of the state administration must be closed (see 25 January and 14 February 2019).
New moon trips are planned
The United States celebrates the 50th anniversary of man’s first step on the moon, taken by US astronaut Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969. According to President Trump’s plans, Americans will land on the moon again in 2024. On the 50th anniversary of the first lunar promenade, a rocket is fired with American, Russian and Italian crew up from a space base in Kazakhstan for travel to the ISS space station, which circles the earth.
Congressional condemnation of Trump’s “racism”
The House of Representatives condemns in a statement President Trump for what is described as a racist attack on four Democratic members and for hostile rhetoric directed at immigrants. Four Republicans are voting in the Democratic majority in Congress’s second chamber. The condemnation comes two days after Trump called on Twitter through four congressmen to “go home” to what he calls their corrupt and hopeless homelands. The women who come together to call the squad (“the squad”) all have a minority background, but three of them are born in the United States and all are American citizens. The four (Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) belong to the left flank within their party.
Trump to attack British Prime Minister
President Trump expresses blatant criticism of Britain’s departing Prime Minister Theresa May and says it is fortunate that she is soon gone. He also returns to previous criticism when he claims that May has created a “stir” in the matter of Brexit. The background is leaked emails from Washington’s British ambassador, Kim Darroch, in which he described the Trump administration as dysfunctional and inept. About the ambassador, Trump writes that he is not well-liked in Washington and that he has not served his country well. The British government claims to have confidence in Darroch, even if his views are not shared.
Congressman leaves the Republicans
A federal congressman, Justin Amash of Michigan, declares he is leaving the Republican Party and becomes an independent member of the House of Representatives. He says in a comment that Washington policy has become too party political. Amash will be the only member of the House of Representatives who does not belong to a party (on the other hand, there are two independent senators, although they normally support the Democrats).
Trump in North Korea
Following a G20 summit in Japan, President Trump makes a planned visit to South Korea. In connection with that, there will also be a seemingly improvised meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea. When Trump, along with Kim, crosses the border, he becomes the first sitting President of the United States to enter North Korean soil. This is the third meeting between Trump and Kim (see June 2018 and February 2019).
US and China resume trade talks
President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agree to resume trade talks between the countries. Trump is also making concessions: US companies will resume sales to Chinese telecom giant Huawei (May 15, 2019), and new $ 300 billion tariffs he previously threatened will not be introduced. The deadlock in the negotiations between the two trade giants is considered to have had a dampening effect on world trade. The meeting between Trump and Xi takes place in conjunction with a G20 summit in Japan.
Democratic presidential candidates debate
A second debate night between people who want to become the Democratic presidential candidate 2020 is held in Miami. The electoral movement has started with the two debates one after the other, with a total of 20 participants. Among the most notable candidates are former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Beto O’Rourke, former member of the Texas House of Representatives.
HD provides free hands for election manipulation
The Supreme Court gives green light for politicians in the states to engage in gerrymandering, that is to redraw electoral districts for partisan reasons. The decision is taken with the votes 5–4. According to critics, this means that elected politicians can now effectively work to close the opposition out, especially in areas where the parties weigh relatively evenly. The target is based on two cases. One concerns North Carolina, where Republicans get about half of the vote, but still have held almost all of the 13 congressional seats since 2012 (see also January 2018). The other is Maryland where the Democrats in 2011 drew on a district and the following year “took” it from the Republican who had previously won by a good margin.
New sanctions on Iran
US faces sanctions on Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and several militants. It happens a few days after the Iranian military shot down an American drone in the Strait of Hormuz – according to Tehran over Iranian airspace, according to the United States over international waters. Trump has said that the US was close to responding to a military strike against Iran after the shooting, but that he halted it at the last moment. According to Finance Minister Steve Mnuchin, the new sanctions lock billions in Iranian assets. The US already has far-reaching sanctions against Iran’s oil and finance sector. Another couple of US warships have now reached the Persian Gulf.
Prosecutions against Iran, reinforcements to the Middle East
17th of June
An additional 1,000 US soldiers are to be sent to the Middle East, says acting defense minister Patrick Shanahan, citing “hostile behavior” by Iranian forces (see also May 24, 2019). The message comes four days after a Norwegian and a Japanese oil tanker was attacked in the waters between Iran and Oman. The US has accused Iran of the attacks and presented what is said to be image evidence. Iran rejects the allegations and has just stated that the country no longer intends to keep its part of the 2015 nuclear deal, the agreement that the US has already withdrawn (see May 8, 2018).
Migration settlement blows customs threat
President Trump announces that the sanctions against Mexico that he threatened to impose have been postponed “indefinitely” after a settlement reached on the migration. The message comes after three days of negotiations in Washington. Mexico has now pledged to strengthen security at the border with Guatemala and to a greater extent than previously housed Central Americans while the United States is processing their asylum applications. Trump and Republicans call the deal a breakthrough, while some observers claim that it does not contain anything that Mexico has not already committed to.
Increased pressure towards the border in the south
Authorities arrested 144,000 people at the border with Mexico in May, reports the CBP Customs and Border Police. This represents a 32 percent increase compared to April and the highest figure in 13 years. Nearly 133,000 had crossed the border illegally and 11,000 of them were single children, according to CBP. In Mexico, the authorities decide to strengthen surveillance at the border with Guatemala and announce that 26 suspected smugglers will have their bank accounts frozen. At the same time, negotiations between the US and Mexico are continuing because of Trump’s threat of penalties on Mexican goods (see April 30, 2019).
Trump threatens Mexico with penalties
President Trump unexpectedly threatens Mexico with a 5 percent tariff on all goods from June 10, unless the neighboring country stops the flow of Central American migrants trying to enter the United States. Customs will then be raised incrementally every month until they reach 25 percent in October, Trump writes. The unexpected play has caused the markets to fall. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador says Mexico is doing what it can to stop migrant flows, but Trump claims the neighboring country has been exploiting the United States “for decades.”
Reinforcements to the Middle East
24th of May
The government announces that 1,500 soldiers and dozens of fighter planes will be sent to the Middle East, after the Pentagon accused Iran of being behind attacks on four oil tankers near the Hormuz Strait a few days earlier. The United States has already sent aircraft carriers to the region where the situation is increasingly tense. It is not clear exactly where the reinforcements are to be deployed. The US has military bases in Qatar, Bahrain and Iraq, among others, and a total of about 70,000 soldiers in the Middle East. The United States has also recently tightened its already severe financial sanctions against Iran (see August 7, 2018).
Trump lawyer refuses to testify
President Trump’s former lawyer Don McGahn says he is following an order from the White House and intends to refuse to testify before the House of Representatives committee. The Democrats-dominated committee is investigating suspicions that Trump was obstructing justice in connection with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.
Trump warns Iran
If there is an armed conflict with Iran, the country will be destroyed, Trump tweeted. Tensions have escalated since Iran withdrew its commitments under the nuclear agreement a week into May, the agreement that the US withdrew a year earlier (see May 8, 2018). The United States has sent an aircraft carrier to the area and is said to have a plan to send 120,000 soldiers to the Middle East.
Emergency mode against IT threats
15th of May
President Trump calls for national emergency to protect US communications networks from “foreign antagonists”. The decision is considered not least directed at Chinese communications giant Huawei and represents yet another escalation in the trade war with China (see also March 7 and May 10, 2019). Trump’s decree prohibits US companies from cooperating with foreign telecommunications companies that are considered a threat to national security. Huawei is strongly critical of the ban. Concern is also high in several other countries that Huawei’s products can be used by China for monitoring.
Sharpened trade war against China
The United States introduces new customs duties on imported goods from China worth $ 200 billion. Until recently it seemed as if the two trade giants were moving towards relaxation in their war on customs, but now there is a real escalation instead. President Trump has announced barely a week before the increase in tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on up to 6,000 items (see also September 17, 2018), if negotiators failed to reach a deal before today’s date. The US stock exchange has fallen since then. Trump has threatened to raise further tariffs in the near future if no agreement is reached. After three days, China announces its countermeasure: increased customs duties worth $ 60 billion as of June 1.
Controversy over the Mueller Report
The battle is escalating between the White House and the Democrats in Congress over Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report (see April 18, 2019). President Trump invokes a special ” executive privilege.”) to prevent Congress from accessing the full Mueller Report. Then the Justice Committee in the House of Representatives states in a vote that Justice Minister William Barr has defied Congress through his refusal to release the entire report. In the next step, the issue will be discussed throughout the House. In addition, the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives also requests to obtain documents from the Mueller inquiry on Russian involvement in the election (as the Justice Committee has already done). Furthermore, the Senate intelligence committee has asked for President Donald Trump Jr.’s son to stand up and testify.
“Clear basis for prosecution against Trump”
Over 500 former Prosecutors in the Justice Department, in a joint letter, expressed the opinion that Donald Trump would have been charged with abuse of trial if he were not president. The background is ten cases described in the special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the electoral movement. Among the signatories of the letter are some 20 former Justice Ministers who have worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents. According to legal experts, Mueller did not prosecute Trump because of the prevailing view in the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted.
The Minister of Justice refuses to testify before the Congress
Justice Minister William Barr then announces that he does not intend to stand the following day for questioning in the House of Representatives’ Justice Committee, which is dominated by Democrats. He testified during the day in corresponding committees in the Senate, dominated by Republicans. The hearings concern Barr’s handling of the Russia investigation and the fact that he “freed” Trump from suspicions in his summary of Mueller’s report (see March 24, 2019), which many believe was a wrong conclusion. Leading Democrats have demanded the resignation of the Justice Minister, saying he is working to protect President Trump instead of protecting the Constitution.
Mueller critical of the Justice Minister
A letter is published showing that special prosecutor Robert Mueller was critical of how Justice Minister William Barr summarized his report on Russia connections in the 2016 election (see March 24, 2019). In the letter written a few days after Barr’s summary, Mueller criticizes that it does not accurately reflect the content and substance of the report. He also regrets that Barr chose not to publish the summaries made by the inquiry.
New shooting death in synagogue
A woman is shot to death and three are injured in a synagogue in Poway, Southern California. The 19-year-old suspected perpetrator arrested after the act has written a letter of anti-Semitic and racist content, referring both to the attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh (see October 27, 2018) and to the terrorist act against mosques in New Zealand in March (see New Zealand -Calendar).
Trump refuses to make public statements
A second deadline set by the House of Representatives Tax Committee (Ways and Means Committee) expires without President Trump announcing his tax returns. The committee requested the declarations in early April and has extended the deadline once. The White House has made it clear that there is no intention to release the declarations. There is no law that the president must publish his tax returns, but it has been customary since the 1970s.
The Mueller Report is published
Most of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election is released to the public (see May 17, 2017 and March 24, 2019). Some parts have been deleted for privacy reasons. But the interest is still very high and the report in book form immediately becomes a best seller. The report shows that Trump repeatedly tried to hinder the investigation, including by dismissing Mueller. Many analysts believe that the report contains clear evidence that Trump has in many cases been guilty of obstruction of justice.
Veto continues to support war in Yemen
President Trump vetoes a decision in Congress that the United States should cease its support for the Saudi-led alliance that is waging war in Yemen. According to Trump, the Congressional resolution is an “unnecessary” and “dangerous” attempt to weaken the president’s power. The opposition in Congress – even among Republicans – against President Yemen’s politics has grown after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (see November 2018). This is the second time Trump is using his right to veto congressional decisions – the first time was a month earlier and applied to Mexico.
Asylum seekers may not be sent to Mexico
In a backlash for President Trump, a federal judge halted a decision that migrants from the south should wait in Mexico while their asylum applications are being processed. Trump is trying to make it more difficult for migrants to get to and across the border with the United States, but both existing laws and a reluctant Congress have so far prevented him. At the same time, the pressure has increased. The first six months after Trump took office, an average of 20,000 paperless migrants were handled a month. Two years later, the number had risen sharply and in March 2019, 100,000 people were cared for – the highest figure since 2008. Most are Central Americans – from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – seeking refuge from violence and poverty and asylum in the United States. Nearly 900,000 asylum cases are waiting, and the waiting time is about two years.
The Minister of Internal Security resigns
Home Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving, according to media reports at the request of President Trump. Nielsen has been responsible for migration issues and is closely associated with the contentious measure to separate children from parents (see June 2018) as well as the construction of the wall against Mexico. Trump has accused her of not being tough enough to control immigration.
Assistance to Central America is withdrawn
Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo announces that aid for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for 2017 and 2018 will be fully withdrawn, according to an order from President Trump. It’s unclear how much money is involved, but Trump himself has spoken of $ 500 million. Trump is accusing the three Central American states of not doing anything to stop the widespread migration to the United States.
“No evidence of cooperation with Russia”
24th of March
Justice Secretary William Barr publishes a four-page summary of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report presented a few days earlier, and concludes that there is no evidence of a collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the election campaign. As to whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, it is neither free nor fallable, Barr writes. Democrats in Congress demand that the report be published in full.
Trump vetoes emergency
President Trump vetoes congressional no to his decision to announce emergency at the wall against Mexico (see February 15, 2019). The veto comes the day after the Senate with the numbers 51-49 voted down the resolution. The fact that the Senate, in which the Republicans have a majority, voted against the decision represents a setback for the president, even if he, through the veto, annuls the outcome. The House of Representatives where the Democrats have a majority has already voted against the emergency decision. Trump’s veto, the first thing he puts in his presidential term, is expected.
Trump’s ex-campaign manager is sentenced to prison
the 13th of March
A second prison sentence is set for President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort (see August 21, 2018). Along with the sentence announced a week earlier (and which will be served in part in parallel), Manafort will now serve seven and a half years in prison. He was also sentenced to pay back $ 24 million and to pay $ 50,000 in fines. When the first verdict (in just under four years) fell, many were surprised: the prosecutor had pleaded for up to 24 years. A few weeks earlier, a judge had ruled that Manafort was lying to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation and to the FBI, thereby violating a settlement that would give him relief. The judge’s message meant that the settlement was annulled.
Chinese Huawei sues the United States
Chinese telecom giant Huawei sues the US government because of a ban imposed on federal agencies to use the company’s products. According to the lawsuit, there is no evidence that Huawei posed a threat to national security, cited as a reason for the ban. Huawei also denies that the company would have links with the Chinese government. Several other countries have blocked Huawei from expanding 5G networks, for security reasons. See also January 28, 2019.
Trump is being investigated for abuse of power
4th of March
The House of Representatives Justice Committee is launching a comprehensive investigation into President Trump suspected of abuse of power, corruption and obstruction of justice. The committee is requesting documents from a total of 81 people and groupings, including family members and close associates of Trump, but also organizations such as the gun lobby NRA. The documents will shed light on Trump’s economic and political activities. The White House accuses Democrats of harassment and calls the investigation a political “scam”, but the committee’s chairman, Democrat Jerry Nadler, says it is Congress’s job to review executive power. The suspicions of crimes to be investigated include mainly five areas: consultation with Russia on the impact of the 2016 election, attempts to conceal such interrogation, negotiations on the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow;
Former coal lobbyist new environmental manager
Senate approves Andrew Wheeler as new head of EPA. Wheeler has been acting in the post since its predecessor Scott Pruitt resigned (see July 2018) and, like him, has worked to tear down environmental protection rules introduced during the Obama administration. Wheeler has previously been a lobbyist for the coal industry and is skeptical of research findings on climate change.
Summit with North Korea without results
A summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ends without an agreement being reached. According to Trump, this is because Kim requested that U.S. sanctions against North Korea be abolished altogether, a claim Trump rejected. But Pyongyang rejects that claim, saying that Kim has only requested that financial penalties introduced since 2016 should be lifted – not older sanctions and none that apply to weapons. The US State Department later confirms North Korea’s version. In any case, the meeting, held in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, ended quickly and prematurely. The first summit between the two was held in June 2018.
Ex-lawyer calls Trump fraudster
Former President and Attorney Michael Cohen describes in stark terms Trump as a fraud, crook and racist, and compares him to a mafia boss. This happens when Cohen is asked out in front of the House of Representatives’ oversight and reform committee. Cohen lists items of evidence as a check that he should have received from Trump as compensation for money to silence two women (see May 2, 2018), and financial statements that are exaggerated, even underestimating the value of Trump’s assets. He also claims that Trump knew about Wikileak’s plans to leak hacked emails (see December 10, 2016). Cohen has been sentenced to prison, among other things, for lying to Congress on behalf of Trump (see December 12, 2018). What he testifies to is mainly already known, but the sharply worded accusations and evidence give the inquiry political explosiveness.
New election on congressional mandate
The North Carolina Election Authority decides that new elections should be held for one of the state’s 13 seats in the federal House of Representatives. The result of the November election gave the victory to Republican Mark Harris, with just 905 votes margin over Democrat Dan McCready. But the result was questioned and an investigation has now shown that his campaign workers cheated by mail votes. The decision of the electoral authority comes after Harris himself made a turning point and stated himself for re-election. However, he says he has not known about the cheating. The congress site is vacant until the new election is held on September 10, 2019.
States sue Trump for the wall
An alliance of 16 states with California at the head suits President Trump as a result of his decision to announce national emergency to build the wall against Mexico. The states want to prevent Trump from “abusing the presidential power.” The case should be tried in a California court. Another lawsuit has already come from the organization Public Citizen, which represents a nature reserve and three landowners in Texas that may be affected by a possible wall. Another organization, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (Crew), has sued the Department of Justice for failing to present evidence for the decision to call for emergency.
Trump announces “national emergency”
President Trump calls out so-called national emergency to provide funding for the Mexico border, a wall he claims is necessary for the country’s security. The message comes the day after Congress agreed on the budget, which Trump is writing. But he also goes ahead with the extraordinary measure to announce the Christian state to bypass Congress and get another $ 6 billion loose. The money should be taken from the military and the Ministry of Defense. Building the wall was Trump’s most important election promise, but he has failed to get Congress to fund it – not even when both chambers were controlled by Republicans. The Democrats have pledged to take legal action against the measure and also warn that it would be a dangerous example:
Budget agreement clear in Congress
Both chambers of Congress vote for a budget agreement that extends the fiscal year, until September 30, and prevents a new shutdown of the state apparatus (see January 25, 2019). The budget allocates $ 1.3 billion for border security, including barriers, but not money to a border wall demanded by President Trump – and the appropriation is far from the $ 5.7 billion he requested.
New Minister of Justice approved
The Senate approves William Barr as new Justice Minister after Jeff Sessions (see November 7, 2018). Barr held the same position under George Bush from 1991 to 1993. Barr has previously been critical of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller and the Russia inquiry, for which he is now ultimately responsible. However, Barr has later said that he will allow Mueller to continue his investigation.
The US signs nuclear weapons agreement with Russia
The White House formally decides that the United States will withdraw from the disarmament agreement INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) of 1987. and eventually to call the war ended. Under the agreement, all robots with a range between 50 and 550 kilometers would be scrapped. President Trump already announced in October 2018 his plans to withdraw, citing Russia’s breach of the agreement. It is now being terminated so that it will expire formally after six months, August 2. Russian breaches of the agreement were also noted under President Obama and confirmed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Oil sanctions against Venezuela
The United States announces that sanctions are being imposed on the state oil company in Venezuela, PDVSA. The message comes five days after the United States recognized the opposition-controlled National Assembly president, Juan Guaidó, as Venezuela’s rightful president and thus explicitly designated President Nicolás Maduro as illegitimate. The situation in the crisis in Venezuela is very tense (see Venezuela Calendar). In 2015, the United States has introduced sanctions against Venezuelan individuals and companies accused of human rights violations and democratic principles, but this is the first time sanctions have been targeted at the oil sector accounting for half of the Venezuelan state’s revenue. National security adviser John Bolton also says that military intervention “is not excluded.”
US is prosecuting Chinese Huawei
The Justice Department is prosecuting Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its finance chief Meng Wanzhou, which is expected to heighten the contradictions between Washington and Beijing. The US accuses Huawei, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of smartphones, of violating US sanctions on Iran, as well as fraud, obstruction of justice and attempts to steal corporate secrets from a competitor. Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of Huawei’s owner, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 and the US has requested her extradition there. The arrest has led to an upturn, mainly between China and Canada, but several Western countries have said they are considering measures against Huawei.
Settlement opens the state apparatus
After five weeks, President Trump announces that a budget agreement has been reached with Senate leaders, which will open the closed sections of the state apparatus (see also December 22, 2018). The closure already became the longest in US history on January 12 (the previous record was from 1995-1996). The three-week settlement, until February 15, contains nothing new. Trump is forced to resign because of disruptions caused by the shutdown. Among other things, flights have been canceled since air traffic controllers have taken sick leave, and many of the 800,000 federal employees who have gone without pay have been in a private financial crisis with difficulties to cope with everyday life. But Trump threatens a new shutdown if the Senate pushes money to a wall, and he reiterates previous threats to otherwise call for “national Christianity” to be able to act without congressional support.
New arrest in the Russia investigation
A new step is taken in Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election when the FBI seizes Roger Stone, a well-known Republican strategist and former campaign adviser to President Trump. Stone is accused of obstructing justice, falsely testifying and trying to influence witnesses – he must have lied to the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee about his contacts with Wikileaks and to have tried to persuade a Wikileaks contact to also lie to the committee. He has in interviews admitted that he has had contacts with Russians during the election movement and also that he was in contact with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Stone is the first from Trump’s immediate circle to be prosecuted for crimes directly related to Russian influence efforts. In November 2019, Stone will fall on all seven points. They are not expected until 2020.
Over 8,000 false statements
The Washington Post newspaper notes that Donald Trump made 8,158 false or misleading statements during his first two years as president. The pace seems to be increasing: over 6,000 of the false statements were made in 2018. The topics that are often touched upon are the Russia investigation, the 2017 tax cut and the size of the US trade deficit.
A court order from Syria is conditional
President Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton says during a visit to Jerusalem that the United States will not withdraw from Syria without security guarantees for the Kurdish forces allied with the United States in Syria. A few days earlier, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo has stirred upset feelings in Turkey when he said that the US will ensure that “the Turks do not slaughter the Kurds” in Syria. The quarrel continues on January 7 when Bolton visits Turkey to discuss the retreat. The Turkish leaders make it clear that Turkey will not spare the Kurds that Turkey considers to be terrorists.
The Democrats take over the House of Representatives
The majority shifts in the House of Representatives when 235 Democrats and 199 Republicans are sworn in for a new session after the Christmas break (a mandate is still not clear after the election). The shift poses problems for President Trump and Republicans who now only control the Senate (see November 6, 2018)). Democrat and veteran politician Nancy Pelosi is elected President (a post she also held in 2007–2011). Members vote through two budget proposals but because they contain no funding for the wall against Mexico that President Trump wants to build, they have no chance of being approved by the president, and those parts of the state administration that have been closed since before Christmas because of budget disagreements remain closed. The next day, Trump says he is ready to keep the state government closed for months and even years, to get the brick building funded. He also airs the opportunity to announce a national crisis and thus build the wall without the support of Congress.