Donald Trump speaks in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images
And lo, it came to this: Donald Trump's 100th day in the White House
. To celebrate, the president called Rodrigo Duterte
, the brutal leader of the Philippines, and invited him to Washington. Otherwise, the day was all about that 100th day. Trump skipped the White House Correspondents Dinner to stage a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
, where he got to experience a bit of the old campaign buzz and, like some Gatorade-hued Sinatra, roll out all the hits: complaints against the press and the Democrats, praise of a supposed record-setting attendance at an arena in which empty seats were plainly on display. Back in DC, the dinner went ahead
with host Hasan Minhaj discussing “the elephant not in the room” and Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward offering a warning from the Watergate past. Samantha Bee's Not the White House Correspondents Dinner
, meanwhile, wheeled out Will Ferrell as George W Bush. He asked: “How d'you like me now, huh?” Oh, and while all that was going on, Pope Francis suggested mediation between the US and North Korea
, to avoid a war that would destroy “a good part of humanity, and of culture, everything, everything”.
Donald Trump walks onstage for his speech to the NRA in Atlanta. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Marking day 99 of his presidency with a speech to the NRA in Atlanta
, Trump crowed over his election win – again – and highlighted his key achievements in office, Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court chief among them in the absence of any major legislative victory. He didn't have to discuss a government shutdown, as the Republican-led Congress managed to avert that, for a bit
. Nor, oddly enough, did he mention continued rumblings in the saga of connections between his campaign and Russia
. Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke strongly at the UN security council about North Korea
, with whom, Trump had told Reuters the night before, the US could soon be in a “major, major conflict”. Late in the day, the North Koreans test-fired another missile
. It failed.
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Kendell Long, 27, walking home with his three-year-old son, Kendell Jr, said he was finding the new president hard to pin down. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian.
How did Donald Trump do in his first 100 days as US president? The moment you step out into the beating heart of America, you realize that’s the wrong question. How did the Donald Trumps – plural – do in their first 100 days? That’s the better line of inquiry. And no, it’s not a reference to Donald Jr, busily engorging the family business while his father makes America great again. The question to ask is: how did the two Donald Trumps do? One man, two entirely contrary public figures.
Gary Cohn and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announce "the biggest tax cuts in history" while refusing to state whether the tax cuts would be revenue neutral. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP
The Trump administration unveiled what it called the biggest tax cuts “in history” on Wednesday, in a move that will simplify the US tax system, slash taxes for businesses large and small – including his own – eliminate inheritance taxes and set the president on a collision course with Congress over the likely $2tn-plus cost of the proposal. Critics immediately called it “basically a huge tax cut for the rich”.
Marie Claire Placide, a two-time Obama voter whose dress shop in Bangor, in the north of the county, is going out of business, voted for Trump. Photograph: Mark Makela for the Guardian
Backing for the president in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, a former industrial juggernaut which voted for Barack Obama twice before falling for Trump in 2016, appeared to be healthy, three months into Donald Trump's presidency. Both Democrats and Republicans who voted for Trump gave him positive marks – a B-plus or A-minus – although many supporters said the clock is ticking for the president to deliver on tax reform and other promises.
A tremendous 100 days if you ask him. Photograph: Andrew Harnik / AP
Donald Trump risks marking his 100th day in office on Saturday with a government shutdown, as lawmakers return from a spring recess anxious to reach a funding agreement to avert a crisis nobody wants. The government is set to run out of funds on Friday, the day before Trump holds a rally in Pennsylvania to celebrate his milestone. The president wants any spending bill to include money for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, a key campaign pledge, which Democrats have called a “non-starter” and even some Republicans oppose.
Under pressure? Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
On another day in Washington, and as what Trump called a “very interesting election”
played out in France and tensions remained over North Korea
, confusion reigned over domestic priorities . Would Trump force the country towards another government shutdown on his 100th day, by demanding Democratic approval of funding for his promised border wall?
Were Dreamers, undocumented migrants brought to the US as children, safe from deportation efforts
(as Trump said on Friday) or not (as attorney general Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday)? Would Trump's promised “massive” tax cut, which left Treasury officials stunned when he blurted it out on Friday, be revealed this week or not? Answers came there… many, and all conflicting. For light relief: watching Sessions refuse to apologise
for dismissing Hawaii as “an island in the Pacific” and trying to work out if Trump was hoping the far-right Marine Le Pen would win the French presidency. Chief of staff Reince Priebus said… not.
Marchers head for the US Capitol in Washington. Photograph: Aaron P Bernstein/EPA
Donald Trump gestures to US treasury employees as he walks to the US treasury building to sign an executive order. Photograph: Ron Sachs/EPA/pool
Donald Trump plans to unveil a major tax reform package on Wednesday, aiming to blunt criticism over a lack of legislative achievements and his refusal to release his own tax returns. “We’ll be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform,” the president said on Friday during a visit to the treasury department. “The process has begun long ago, but it really formally begins on Wednesday. So go to it.”
Pope Francis. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP
Donald Trump signalled that he expects to meet Pope Francis, with whom he has clashed in the past, when he travels to Italy next month. The US president will be in Italy in late May for a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialised democracies. An audience with the pontiff would bring together two wildly contrasting world views.
Donald Trump's inauguration in January. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP
Billionaires, corporations and NFL owners opened their wallets in a big way to help Donald Trump raise a record-shattering $107m for his inaugural festivities, records released by the Federal Election Commission showed. The amount about doubled the record set by Barack Obama eight years ago.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is scheduled to head towards the Korean peninsula.
The US military is considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength to Pyongyang, two sources briefed on the planning have told the Guardian. Amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, the Pentagon is looking for ways short of war to pressure the country into denuclearization, particularly if Pyongyang goes forward with a sixth nuclear test.
Mike Pence visits the 'truce village' of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border between North and South Korea.
The US vice-president, Mike Pence, warned North Korea not to test Donald Trump’s resolve over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, adding that the US and its allies were running out of patience with the regime.
Tax march protesters set up a rubber chicken in Washington. Photograph: Jim LoScalzo/EPA
The silence couldn't last: Trump, still at his golf club for Easter after a failed North Korean missile launch
, with Mike Pence in Seoul and key advisers making threatening noises on the shows, flexed his thumbs and wrote: “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” A campaign promise bit the dust. Then, two tweets on an old, old theme: “I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again? … Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” Some observers pointed out the irony of Trump wanting to know about someone or something's creditors – particularly when that someone or something was the thousands of Americans who marched on Saturday to demand to see… his tax returns
Missiles are paraded in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photograph: Wong Maye-E)/AP
As North Korea mounted a spectacular display of its military might
, including missiles mounted on trucks, Trump … played golf in Florida. On Twitter and other US government channels, an unusual silence reigned. In Afghanistan, government officials said more than 90 Isis militants had been killed in the much-discussed dropping of a US Moab, or “mother of all bombs”
, on Thursday. Around the US, protests were mounted to call for Trump to release his tax returns, while in Berkeley there were clashes between pro-Trump demonstrators and competing anti-fascists.
Wang Yi said ‘the one espouses harshest rhetoric or raises a bigger fist’ would not win. Photograph: Mark Schiefelbein /AP
China has urged the US and North Korea to step back from the brink of a potentially catastrophic conflict after Pyongyang warned it would not “keep its arms crossed” in the event of a pre-emptive strike. Speaking in Beijing on Friday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, told reporters the region faced a “precarious situation” in which “one has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment”. He made his plea before an anticipated sixth North Korean nuclear test on Saturday to mark the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. Photograph: GCHQ
Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told. GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added. Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.
Awkward? Photograph: Sergei Chirikov / EPA
Donald Trump has said that US relations with Russia may be at “an all-time low” and declared his faith in Nato, suggesting the alliance was “no longer obsolete.” The US president’s remarks at the White House followed a two-hour meeting in Moscow between his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin, which failed to resolve any of the deep differences between the two nations on Syria, Ukraine, or Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. “We’re not getting along with Russia at all,” Trump said, adding “we may be at an all time low”. He avoided any direct criticism of Putin, but compared the relationship with Russia unfavourably to the one he had cultivated with China since the visit of Xi Jinping last week.
Sean Spicer later issued an apology in a tense CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski / AFP
The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, was widely condemned on Tuesday after claiming that Adolf Hitler, who gassed millions of Jews during the Holocaust, did not not use chemical weapons. Comparing the Nazi leader with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Spicer told journalists during his regular press briefing at the White House: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in world war two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” Asked to clarify the remarks, he added: “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
Sean Spicer talks to the media. Photograph: Andrew Harnik /AP
The Trump administration on Monday signalled much broader grounds for future military intervention in Syria, suggesting it might retaliate against the Assad regime for barrel bomb attacks. On the eve of a critical visit to Moscow at a time of high US-Russian tensions over Syria, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, appeared to go even further, saying his country would come to the defence of innocent civilians “anywhere in the world”. US intelligence believes Assad carried out last week’s attack with the chemical agent sarin, killing dozens of civilians including children. But Spicer made the first mention of the use of barrel bombs – crude munitions that can cause indiscriminate casualties.
A Trump helicopter sits on a newly constructed helipad at Mar-a-Lago. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP
Trump, still at his golf course in West Palm Beach, sent out key aides to tell the Sunday shows all about White House policy on Syria
. From HR McMaster, Rex Tillerson and Nikki Hayley, it came down to 'Assad is bad and should probably go but it's up to Russia what happens next'. Globally, the situation simmered, with Russia and Iran condemning Thursday's strike. Elsewhere, a US navy strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson steamed towards the Korean peninsula, as Tillerson told the shows China agreed on the need for 'action' over North Korean nuclear ambitions and missile tests
. In Florida, on a day more of reaction than action, officials briefed the press that deputy national security adviser and former Fox News commentator KT McFarland was being moved out
, likely to be ambassador to Singapore, as McMaster's takeover of the national security council continued.
Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
President Trump briefed on US military strikes on Syria. Photograph: White House photo office
The US military launched dozens of cruise missiles on a Syrian airfield late Thursday in response to Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons earlier in the week. It marked the first time the US had become a direct combatant against the Syrian regime, and was seen as a swift reversal of policy on Assad by the Trump administration. Addressing the nation from his estate in Mar-a-Lago in Florida after the strikes, President Trump spoke of being affected by the violent deaths of the civilians, including, he said, “beautiful babies”. On Friday, amid bipartisan support for the move on Capitol Hill, and fury from Russia, the administration backed off from giving an impression the action was the start of wider engagement in Syria. The strikes overshadowed Trump’s meeting in Mar-a-Lago with Chinese president Xi Jinping, and the Republicans using the “nuclear option” to confirm Friday Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, after historic changes in the process.
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
The US Senate made a historic rules change on Thursday that will dramatically alter nominations to the supreme court. By a vote of 52-48 along party lines, Republicans voted to end to the filibuster for supreme court nominations, forever changing how justices are confirmed to the country’s highest court. The move teed up a final confirmation vote for Neil Gorsuch on Friday and thwarted efforts by Democrats to block Donald Trump’s nominee. Friday’s vote will bring to a close a year-long feud over the supreme court vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Steve Bannon: the strategist behind Trump’s travel ban. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Donald Trump’s political strategist Steve Bannon has lost his place on the national security council in a staff shakeup, documents show. A presidential memorandum dated 4 April took Bannon, the former Breitbart News executive and chief White House link to the nationalist rightwing, off the country’s main body for foreign policy and national security decision-making. It also restores the traditional roles of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence to the NSC.
Jeff Sessions, the attorney general. Photograph: Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images
Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration's attorney general, ordered a nationwide review of all reform agreements with local police departments, placing a key part of Barack Obama’s legacy on criminal justice in jeopardy. The news made headlines overnight into early Tuesday after he signalled that that “consent decrees” such as those struck in recent years with troubled departments in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, could be scrapped or scaled down. “It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies,” Sessions said in the memo. The NAACP’s legal defense fund immediately slammed the move, calling it “a blatant attempt by the justice department to abandon its obligations under federal civil rights law and the US constitution”.
Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Al Franken. Photograph: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Donald Trump is expected to get his pick of Neil Gorsuch confirmed on the supreme court but events on Monday mean it will happen after a showdown on the Senate floor later in the week. As expected, the Senate judiciary committee approved Gorsuch but the Democrats secured enough support to filibuster the vote on his confirmation on Thursday. This means to approve Gorsuch, Republicans are preparing to invoke the “nuclear option” of changing Senate precedent by a simple majority vote. Though some were facing the prospect of this with heavy hearts amid concern that in future it might be more difficult to stop extreme nominees. The Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina noted before the vote: “If we have to, we will change the rules, and it looks like we are going to have to,” Graham said, but he noted: “I hate that. I really, really do.”
Rand Paul returns to the White House after playing golf – and discussing healthcare reform – with President Trump. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Trump saved possibly his most consequential utterance of a day of yet more bickering over healthcare reform
and claim and counterclaim over Russia and surveillance
for an interview with the Financial Times, in which he said: “Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
The president would not elaborate, and went on to discuss health reform – which also had an airing on the fairways of Virginia with Senator Rand Paul – Brexit (which he predicted, you know), and the supposed fact that the press “doesn't get” that he and Germany's Angela Merkel actually get on splendidly. Also in foreign policy, UN ambassador Nikki Hayley made aggressive noises about Russian meddling in the US election and said the world was glad the US, under Trump, was leading again. Domestically, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell promised the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch for the supreme court by the end of the week
. He didn't say the words 'nuclear option', but they hung nonetheless over rebellious Democrats.
Justin Amash is seen in his natural habitat – Congress. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
Lest anyone focus too closely on the financial information about key White House figures
that was released on Friday night, Trump vented spleen over healthcare and surveillance. It was left to one of his aides to spew forth the newsiest statement of an otherwise quiet day
. White House social media director Dan Scavino, who has worked for Trump since caddying for him as a teenager, wrote: “@realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan. @justinamash is a big liability. #TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary.” That would be Justin Amash, a Freedom Caucus representative who stood against the Republican healthcare bill. Amash, an independent-minded type perfectly happy to thumb his nose at the mighty, is also an adept tweeter. “Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment,” he fired back. “Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarians & independent thinkers.” And lo, a simmering Republican civil war
did continue in handy, 140-character chunks.
Sean Spicer addresses the press at the White House. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
With former national security adviser Michael Flynn reported to have offered to testify to the FBI and congressional panels investigating links between Trump aides and Russia
, in return for immunity from prosecution, Trump first tweeted that Flynn should testify and then sent Sean Spicer out to berate the press about their coverage of the story. Spicer repeated widely debunked claims about Hillary Clinton and Russia and hammered the point about remarks by a former deputy assistant secretary of defense which some on the right say show the Obama administration sought to leak classified information for political gain. Most observers pointed out that in September Flynn said “when you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime”, a sentiment the president echoed, although Spicer said the president was not worried Flynn's testimony could implicate him. In other news, the president signed executive orders on trade while the media continued to worry about VP Mike Pence's refusal to dine alone with women who are not Mrs Pence
Devin Nunes talks with a reporter as he leaves the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Wednesday.
The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee has accused the White House of “cloak and dagger” tactics after a day of deepening confusion around the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. Adam Schiff said the Trump administration’s conduct led to more questions than answers and vowed that the committee would not be distracted from examining alleged links between Donald Trump’s associates and Moscow.
Senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr (right) and his Democratic No 2 Mark Warner.
The leaders of the Senate intelligence committee pledged that their investigation of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election will be independent and bipartisan, as a bitter dispute continues to cloud a similar inquiry in the House of Representatives.
Donald Trump before signing his executive order on climate policy. Photograph: EPA/Ron Sachs/pool
Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on Barack Obama’s climate change legacy with a sweeping executive order that undermines America’s commitment to the Paris agreement. Watched by coalminers at a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, the president signed an order to trigger a review of the clean power plan, Obama’s flagship policy to curb carbon emissions, and rescind a moratorium on the sale of coalmining leases on federal lands.
Jared Kushner. Photograph: Nicholas Kammnicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, found himself back in the spotlight for better and for worse. As the US president appointed him to a new White House role, it was revealed that Kushner would testify before a Senate committee investigating Russian interference in last year’s election.
Donald Trump looks at a smartphone as he leaves the Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia on Sunday. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
On a second day at Trump National in Virginia, Trump confined himself to one tweet. He was using his blunderbuss, though
, writing: “Democrats are smiling in DC that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!” There was no mention of Speaker Paul Ryan, who some thought to have been the target of the president's cryptic Fox-focused missive on Saturday. The show Trump wanted people to watch, Judge Jeanine, opened with a call for Ryan to quit. On the Sunday shows, surrogates suggested tax reform could be next while former Freedom Caucus member turned budget czar Mick Mulvaney lamented the actions of his buddies on the hard Republican right. There were also attempts to blame the Democrats for the failure of Ryan's healthcare bill, for not helping gut Barack Obama's signal achievement. Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders were, of course, having none of it. Over in Trump-Russia-FBI-House-intelligence-committee-ville, meanwhile, Roger Stone protested his innocence
and Adam Schiff protested his impotence in the face of Devin Nunes' odd behaviour
. It was all very, very… Trump.
Supporters of US President Donald J. Trump wear face masks during a demonstration in Huntington Beach, California. Photograph: Eugene Garcia/EPA
The day after the calamitous collapse of the Republican healthcare reform
, Trump … visited one of his golf clubs. This time it was Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia, while wife Melania and son Barron enjoyed the many amenities and pleasant climate of the president's Florida bolthole. It was a quiet day newswise, but the president's thumbs nonetheless twitched, first to tell followers “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” and then to say they should all “Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9pm”. The time-hallowed and weighty demands of government thus met, Trump – and his critics and supporters alike
– returned to pondering his response
to healthcare defeat.
"Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains," Ryan said. Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite /EPA
Donald Trump suffered a major legislative reversal on Friday as Republicans were forced to pull their repeal of the Affordable Care Act from the House floor. After weeks of contentious negotiations over the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Republicans were forced to admit defeat as they could not gain sufficient support from their own side for the plan to overhaul US health insurance. As it became clear that Republican resistance to the bill was hardening, House speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to tell Trump in person that he did not have the votes to pass the bill.
The president enjoying an 18-wheeler. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo /EPA
The Republicans on Thursday abandoned a vote on their plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as Donald Trump and House speaker Paul Ryan faced rebellion across the House Republican caucus. According to a leadership aide, the scheduled Thursday House vote on the bill was delayed at least for one day as Republicans scramble to find legislation that can achieve a majority within the chamber. Trump, however, seemed initially oblivious as he met with a delegation of truckers at the White House, jumping into the cab of an 18-wheeler to pose for photographs, and telling them the vote was pressing ahead that night.
Said Barodi at his home in Stafford, Virginia. Barodi is a former FBI intelligence and language analyst who was fired by the organization. Photograph: Eric Kruszewski for the Guardian
Muslim special agents and intelligence analysts at the FBI are reporting a climate of fear inside the agency coinciding with the political ascendance of Donald Trump, the Guardian has learned. FBI officials from Muslim-majority countries, a minority in a predominantly white bureau, say they are subject to an organizational culture of suspicion and hostility that leadership has done little to reform. At least one decorated intelligence analyst has been fired this year after a long ordeal which began with a routine foreign visit to see his family.
"While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees," she told Politico. Photograph: Mark Wilson / Getty
After months of attending meetings of world leaders and visiting factories with her father, the role of first daughter Ivanka Trump is officially expanding – creating new ethical issues for an administration that has been heavily criticized over its potential conflicts of interest. She will not have a specific title, but Trump will have an office in the West Wing, a government-issued phone and computer and security clearance to access classified information, and she will advise her father.
FBI director James Comey at the hearing. Photograph: Mandel Ngan /AFP/Getty
FBI director James Comey has said there was no basis for Donald Trump’s claims to have been wiretapped by Barack Obama, but confirmed for the first time that the agency is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Comey had previously refused to comment on the existence of any such investigation but addressing the House intelligence committee, Comey reversed course and said he had been authorised to depart from that policy and give some basic details.
Donald Trump talks to reporters on Air Force One. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
In Florida, Trump stayed quiet, emerging from his golf club only to tell reporters on Air Force One, before the flight back to Washington, that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was acting “very, very badly”. He did not address the German defence minister's rejection
of his claims about Nato and debts owed. Elsewhere, backlash to his claims that Barack Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower continued two weeks after the presidential tweets in question. Writing for the Guardian
, Sir Peter Westmacott, UK ambassador to the US from 2012 to 2016, said
the administration's repetition of claims by a Fox News commentator that Obama asked for British help in his supposed surveillance was “absurd, unthinkable and nonsensical”, not to say dangerous. Elsewhere, Republicans deployed to the talk shows to talk up their Obamacare replacement, due for a vote in the House this week and facing potential GOP defections. Speaker Paul Ryan admitted
that the bill needed changes, to help the vulnerable more.
Donald Trump said his meeting with Angela Merkel went just fine, lack of a handshake notwithstanding. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
In Florida for another weekend, Trump may or may not have been playing golf – aides wouldn't say if he played a round at his course but he was pictured with guests wearing a golf glove. What the president did do was tweet, of course, this time criticising “the FAKE NEWS” for misreporting his awkward meeting with Angela Merkel and then accusing Germany
of owing “vast sums of money to Nato”. The US, Trump wrote, “must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” One of President Obama's representatives to Nato was among those to point out that the president did not seem to know how Nato works. Elsewhere, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's controversial trip to Asia continued, with China rejecting Trump's criticism
regarding its handling of North Korea and Tillerson giving an interview
to the only journalist on his plane – a representative of a conservative outlet.
The US president said: “You shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.” Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images
Donald Trump refused to back down on Friday in the face of British outrage at White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s decision to repeat an unsubstantiated claim that British intelligence had spied on the president. Asked about the claim during a joint press conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, Trump said Spicer had only been quoting “a talented lawyer” who had been speaking on Fox News. “We said nothing,” argued Trump. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television.”
Sean Spicer wearing a green tie during his combattive press conference. Photograph: Michael Reynolds /EPA
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate intelligence committee have rubbished Donald Trump’s incendiary claim that Barack Obama placed Trump Tower under surveillance. “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after election day 2016,” the Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina and the Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia said in a joint statement on Thursday. On Thursday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, challenged the conclusion of the intelligence committees in a combative press conference, in which he insisted there was information of which Congress was not yet aware.
Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general, was one of the lead lawyers in Hawaii's court challenge. Phtoograph: Reuters/Gary Cameron/Files
A federal judge in Hawaii blocked Donald Trump’s revised travel ban just hours before it was due to go into effect, marking another stinging blow to the administration. Judge Derrick Watson, a district judge in Honolulu, issued a nationwide temporary restraining order against the travel ban, which targets visa applicants from six Muslim majority countries and temporarily suspends the US refugee resettlement program. The ruling comes a month after Trump’s first order was blocked by a court in Washington state, prompting the administration to issue a narrower order last week that attempted to navigate some of the complaints made in the first round of legal battles.
Sean Spicer was on the defensive after the Congressional Budget Office found 24 million people would lose coverage under the American Health Care Act. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The White House was forced to defend its healthcare plan on multiple fronts on Tuesday after a damning report found it would deprive millions of people of insurance, deepening divisions in the Republican party. A nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study released on Monday predicted that by 2026, the number of people without insurance would increase by 24 million if House Republicans’ legislation to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare – is adopted. But during an hour-long briefing dominated by the issue, White House press secretary Sean Spicer challenged the CBO’s figures, contended that two further phases of reform should be taken into account and continued his retrospective battle with Barack Obama’s administration.
The Activist group #GetOrganizedBK held a rally in defense of the Affordable Care Act, after the GOP released their bill to gut the ACA. Photograph: ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock
As many as 24 million Americans risk losing health coverage over the next decade under the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday. The report predicts a dramatic loss of healthcare coverage over the next decade if Congress enacts the Republican healthcare proposal, which has faced criticism from across the political spectrum and from nearly every sector of the healthcare industry. An estimated 52 million people would be uninsured in 2026, compared with the 28 million who would lack insurance that year under the current law, according to the report. President Donald Trump, who supports the Republican plan, has promised that his plan would provide “insurance for everybody”.
House Speaker Paul Ryan presenting the Republicans' proposal to replace Barack Obama's healthcare program. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images
The president stayed inside the executive residence on his 51st day in office, while emissaries of his White House and the leaders of the Republican party bickered over clashing visions of what healthcare in America should look like. Trump's secretary of health, Tom Price, made a surprising promise that "nobody will be worse off financially” under the new plan. House Speaker Paul Ryan did not deny that people could lose their insurance, but said that would be a choice left to Americans. “But we’re not going to make an American do what they don’t want to do,” he said. “You get it if you want it. That’s freedom.” Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said he wasn't sure that a nonpartisan research group charged with evaluating the plan was fit to evaluate it. Opposing the plan were fellow Republicans: senator Tom Cotton said the bill was in part too severe; Ohio governor John Kasich said it cut too many people out of Medicaid; and congressman Mark Meadows said the plan was not extreme enough. Facing off against these divisions were Democrats, itching to fight, and American voters – standing in limbo as their representatives decide the terms of how much it costs to stay healthy.
Preet Bharara in Trump Tower in November, 2016, when he said that the president-elect had asked him "to stay on" as US attorney. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Prosecutor Preet Bharara was fired from his post as the US attorney for the southern district of New York after refusing to comply with an order Friday, abruptly sent by attorney general Jeff Sessions, that he and 46 of his peers should resign. Although appointed by Barack Obama in 2009, Bharara made his name in the US's preeminent prosecutor's office with a series of corruption investigations of Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as high-profile cases on insider trading, terrorism, espionage and gangs. Unlike Sally Yates, the acting attorney general fired by Trump because she refused to defend one of his executive orders in court, Bharara's surprise dismissal followed an apparent truce between the president and the prosecutor. Last year, Bharara met with Trump and Sessions as they transitioned into office, and said he was asked to stay on in service in New York. But on day 51 of the Trump administration he was fired, prompting Bharara to tweet: “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life." Neither the White House nor the Justice have explained the abrupt decision to dismiss dozens of US attorneys; although new presidents normally replace most of their predecessor's pics, they sometimes do so in stages. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said the firing and dismissal "caused chaos in the federal government and led to questions about whether the Justice Department’s vital and nonpartisan work will continue”.
Donald Trump delivers brief remarks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Is there method in the madness? No one doubts that Donald Trump’s first 50 days as US president have busted norms, paradigms and taboos every bit as surely as his insurgent election campaign. On day 44, for example, he used Twitter to accuse his presidential predecessor, Barack Obama, of criminal wiretapping, then in the next moment mocked his reality-TV successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, over poor ratings. But Trump has also been both praised and criticised for doing more than many politicians to keep his election promises. There have been fleeting moments when a blurry picture of policy sharpens into focus. From the botched travel bans to the wrangling over healthcare reform, there are signs of how difficult it will be to translate policy into coherent action. “There is no ideology around the policies we see so far,” said Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “There are particular impressions on issues. A lot of it is campaign-related rhetoric.”
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during CERWeek by IHS Markit on Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Houston. Photograph: Melissa Phillip /Houston Chronicle via AP
Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has dismissed a basic scientific understanding of climate change by denying that carbon dioxide emissions are a primary cause of global warming. Pruitt said on Thursday that he did not believe that the release of CO2, a heat-trapping gas, was pushing global temperatures upwards. This stance puts Pruitt at odds with his own agency, which states on its website that carbon dioxide is the “primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change”. This finding is backed by Nasa, which calls CO2 “the most important long-lived ‘forcing’ of climate change”. Scientists have understood for more than a century that CO2 traps heat. Atmospheric concentrations of the gas have increased by more than a third since the industrial revolution, driven by the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
Several hundred people march down Massachusetts Avenue in protest of the travel ban in Cambridge, Mass. on Tuesday. Photograph: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Donald Trump’s newly revised travel ban is set to face its first legal challenge after a federal judge in Hawaii allowed the state’s attorney general to submit an amended lawsuit previously lodged against the president’s first, failed ban. Trump’s new executive order, signed on Monday, bars new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and replaces an initial order issued on 27 January, which was chaotically rolled out and subsequently halted by a federal court following a barrage of legal challenges from states and advocate groups across the country. The new order sought to alleviate some of these complaints with an amended version of the order. But the state of Hawaii argues in a proposed amended complaint that the new order remains incompatible with freedom of religion protections in both the state and federal constitutions, would harm the state’s economy and educational institutions, and would prevent Hawaiians with family members in the six targeted countries from reuniting.
Trump greets visitors in the Center Hall of the Ground Floor of the White House, while a portrait of former first lady Hillary Clinton hangs on the wall. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock
The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act hit a wall of fierce conservative opposition on Tuesday, less than a day after it was introduced. The American Health Care Act
is already being denounced by many influential conservative groups and is meeting widespread skepticism among Republicans on Capitol Hill. Major rightwing advocacy organizations rushed to denounce the legislation. The Club for Growth president, David McIntosh, said the group, which keeps scorecards of how Republicans vote on certain key issues, would downgrade Republicans who support the House bill: “If this warmed-over substitute for government-run healthcare remains unchanged, the Club for Growth will key vote against it.” FreedomWorks dubbed it “ObamaCare Lite”, using another name for the Affordable Care Act.
Protesters chant during a rally against travel ban at San Diego International Airport on Monday, March 6, 2017 in San Diego, California. Photograph: Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump on Monday signed a revised executive order
to reinstate a ban on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries and suspend the US refugee program. The new ban, which revokes a previous order issued on 27 January that prompted instant chaos and was eventually blocked by federal judges, marked a significant retreat for Trump and his administration’s vigorous defense of the original travel ban as being within the president’s legal authority. But activists said they were planning to challenge the new ban.
President Obama and President Trump. Friends forever. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
As Trump fumed in Florida over the loss of momentum gained by his speech to Congress, press secretary Sean Spicer demanded a congressional investigation
into “whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016”. In response, former director of national intelligence James Clapper said he did not know of a surveillance order concerning Trump Tower from his time in the role and FBI director James Comey reportedly asked the department of justice to publicly reject Trump's evidence-free claim
that Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of his New York base. It was all very House of Cards, leaving many wondering if Trump's own house of cards was shifting closer to collapse. Elsewhere, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway gave an interview to CBS
in which she discussed her frequent run-ins with the press, government ethics and the truth, and said: “I can’t let the haters get to me or to the president.” Trump ally Roger Stone, meanwhile, said he had a “perfectly legal back channel”
to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Stone then deleted his tweet.
President Barack Obama greets President-elect Donald Trump at inauguration ceremonies. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
In an extraordinary six-tweet
pre-dawn volley, Trump defended his embattled attorney general
and claimed he had “just found out Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory”
. The tweets, which included an assertion that “this is Nixon/Watergate” and that his predecessor was a “bad (or sick) guy”, prompted a predictable media storm. Trump provided no evidence for his claims and most reporters figured he was referring, obliquely, to reports by the Guardian
among others of Fisa court rulings on investigations of communications between Trump aides and Russian intelligence – the very investigations which have seen Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, ensnared in an ongoing press frenzy. A spokesman for Obama said the former president had not ordered any surveillance – but not that surveillance had not happened.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Photograph Linda Nylind/the Guardian
On a day when the dispute over Jeff Sessions' contacts with the Russian ambassador
spiralled into absurdity, the president of the United States of America spent valuable time tweeting a picture of the Senate minority leader eating a donut with Vladimir Putin
. “We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin” Trump fumed, calling the New York senator to whom he has donated “a total hypocrite”. In response, Schumer clarified the make of donut involved and offered to discuss contacts with the Russians “under oath”. On that challenge, answer came there none. But Trump did write: “I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of [House minority leader Nancy] Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it.” A nation reached for a stiff drink – and a donut.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in for his confirmation hearing. Photograph: Molly Riley /AFP
Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election after a day of drama surrounding two meetings he held with the Russian ambassador last year. He annonced the move amid mounting calls for his resignation as attorney general. The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, told reporters: “It would be better for the country if he resigned,” while Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House minority leader went further, insisting Sessions “lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate” in January. “Perjury is a crime and there are consequences to it,” she said. Some Republicans were also beginning to break ranks – agreeing that Sessions must step back from any involvement in the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. President Trump, visiting the USS Gerald R. Ford, said he had "total" confidence in Sessions, who he said "probably" told Congress the truth.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Photograph: Bryan Cox/AP
A young woman applying for the renewal of her Daca status was arrested and detained by immigration agents in Jackson, Mississippi on Wednesday, shortly after she addressed a press conference in support of undocumented migrants’ rights. Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old who came to the US as a seven-year-old child from Cordoba, Argentina, had told the rally how she dreamed of returning to college and becoming a math teacher, according to her attorneys. Shortly after the event, as she was driven along an interstate highway by a friend, she was pulled over by Immigration and Customs Agents (Ice) and arrested, said immigration attorney Nathan Elmore. Vargas had been a recipient of Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program, which allows undocumented migrants relief from deportation and education and work rights.
Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress as Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan look on. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Donald Trump promised a “new chapter of American greatness” in a speech to Congress that sought to reset relations with his opponents – but was swiftly condemned for inaccurate claims and a lack of detail. In a scene that was unthinkable a year ago when the billionaire businessman was a political novice facing much hostility in his own party, Trump gave his first address to senators and members of congressmen and received cheers as he attacked Barack Obama’s legacy. The tone was arguably Trump’s most presidential yet, with the dark vision of “American carnage” in his inaugural address giving way to an attempt at an optimistic theme of “American greatness” as the country nears its 250th birthday in 2026.
The president will lay out an optimistic vision for the country,' White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. Photograph: Aude Guerrucci /Getty
Donald Trump will make his first address to Congress on Tuesday, outlining priorities including a big hike in military spending at the expense of foreign aid and environmental programmes. On Monday the White House announced he will seek a $54bn hike in spending on tanks, ships and weapons systems while cutting foreign aid, environmental programmes and domestic agencies by the same amount. The US already spends more on the military than the next eight countries combined.
Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office after returning to the White House on Friday. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Images
As Trump prepared to host state governors at a White House dinner, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was sent out to the morning shows. She returned having said the FBI has dismissed reports
of an investigation into alleged contact between Trump aides and Russian intelligence sources. It has not. Trump, who started the day with Twitter shots at the DNC (a “rigged” election) and the New York Times (over a TV ad to run during the Oscars), flexed his thumbs once more: “Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” The president did not address a Miami Herald interview in which the father of a Navy Seal killed in a Yemen raid
that was approved by the president over dinner demanded an investigation into 'this stupid mission' and said he had refused to meet Trump when his son's body came home.
Donald and Melania Trump attend the White House correspondents' dinner… in 2011. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP
After a relatively quiet day, not spent at Mar-a-Lago and with only the odd tweet about fantasy crowd sizes or something Herman Cain said about the national debt on Fox, Trump issued a quick one-two. First he congratulated Tom Perez, newly elected DNC chair
, saying: “I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!” Then, the big one: Trump tweeted that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner
in Washington in April. The move, which will make Trump the first president not to attend since Ronald Reagan took a 1981 time out, following an assasination attempt, was the latest shot in an increasingly hot war with the White House press. In response, the White House Correspondents Association cited the dinner's “celebration of the first amendment”.
Trump addresses CPAC in Oxon Hill in Maryland Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Donald Trump revelled in his capture of America’s conservative movement on Friday with a speech that carried all the anger, nativism and rampant populism of his election campaign. “We are Americans,” the US president said to rapturous applause, “and the future belongs to us.” Trump told the country’s biggest annual gathering of conservative activists that he would crush the Islamic State, deport criminals, crack down on welfare, overhaul healthcare and put miners back to work. He also lashed out again and at length at “the dishonest media” and promised ominously: “We’re going to do something about it.” A year ago such a scene was unthinkable at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where Trump gained just 15% in a straw poll of attendees during the Republican primary race. He pulled out of a scheduled speech amid predictions that he would have been booed.
White House strategist Stephen Bannon speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference. Photograph: Susan Walsh/Associated Press
Steve Bannon, the man seen as the power behind Donald Trump’s throne, has declared that the president will take the US back from a “corporatist, globalist media” that opposes his brand of economic nationalism. Trump is “maniacally focused” on fulfilling his campaign pledges, Bannon warned, predicting a daily fight against the media he has branded as the opposition party. “The mainstream media ought to understand something: all those promises are going to be implemented,” Bannon told a gathering of thousands of conservatives near Washington on Thursday, who feted him and White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
“The guidance, which told schools to treat trans students with the same respect as any other student, is literally lifesaving for many children,” advocates said. Photograph: Elaine Thompson / Associated Press
Donald Trump is expected to scrap federal guidelines telling US schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. The decision could reverse a historic directive issued last May by Barack Obama designed to protect the rights of transgender students amid growing confusion and controversy at schools. Instead individual states would be able to determine their own policies. “I’ve made this clear, and the president’s made it clear during the campaign, that he’s a firm believer in states’ rights and there are certain issues like this that are not best dealt with at the federal level,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the daily press briefing at White House.
A man is arrested during a raid conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles. Photograph: Ice / Associated Press
President Trump has laid the groundwork for potentially deporting millions of undocumented immigrants by issuing new guidance that drastically broadens the ways in which federal immigration laws should be enforced. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveiled two memos on Tuesday detailing wide-ranging directives focused on both interior enforcement and cracking down on security along the US-Mexico border. The memorandums would enable federal authorities to more aggressively detain undocumented immigrants, expand the pool of immigrants prioritized for removal from the country, and restrict asylum claims by migrants.
Trump with Army Lt General HR McMaster at the president's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Donald Trump has announced Lt Gen H R McMaster as his pick for National Security adviser, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience”. The president made the announcement in the living room at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, where he has been spending the holiday weekend interviewing prospective candidates for the position. Trump had been looking to replace the disgraced Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign last week, after revelations that he had misled the vice-president about his calls to Russia’s ambassador. McMaster is a reassuring figure to the security establishment that Trump has frequently derided.
Trump with reporters on Air Force One before he alluded to something "happening" in Sweden. Photograph: Nicholas Kammi /Getty Images
Sweden woke up on Sunday morning with a single question, prompted by the president of the United States: what happened on Friday night? At a rally on Saturday, Donald Trump defended his travel ban on refugees and seven Muslim-majority nations by seeming to a nonexistent attack in Sweden. “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” he said. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” Sweden's foreign minister prompty tweeted about democracy's opposition to a "post-truth" world, and the country's embassy asked the State Department what Trump was talking about. Eventually the White House said Trump was referring to general "rising crime" he had heard about from a segment on Fox News. The president himself, interviewing candidates for national security adviser from his private club in Palm Beach, eventually tweeted the same.
Trump and his wife, Melania, at the steps of Air Force One in Melbourne. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Barely a month into his presidency, Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail with a rally in Melbourne, Florida, about two hours north of his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in south Florida. The speech was littered with some of his favorite themes – winning, trade deals, and falsehoods about "clean coal" and knowing "nothing" about vetted refugees and visa holders – as well as his current obsession: the media. "The White House is running so smoothly," he said, denying steady reports of chaos, disarray and empty offices. "When the media lies to people I will never ever let them get away with it." Before the rally, Trump approached reporters personally to explain his rally: "Life is a campaign. Making our country great again is a campaign."
Members of the National Guard patrol along the Rio Grande at the Texas-Mexico border. Photograph: Eric Gay/AP
The White House was forced to deny that a draft memo suggesting it considered mobilising 100,000 national guard troops to round up and deport unauthorised immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, is current administration policy.
The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake'. Photograph: Carlos Barria / Reuters
It was an exhausting 77-minute extravaganza, and any five-minute segment would have been enough to make front-page headlines around the world. When the president goes on a freeform monologue, occasionally interrupted by questions that is almost the length of a motion picture, as Donald Trump did on Thursday, the news can be overwhelming. Trump said he wasn’t “ranting and raving” during his press conference, and that was correct. The president was confidently unhinged as he spent more than an hour berating the press and boasting without any real basis that “there has never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time”.
"Honestly if Bibi, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best," said Trump. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
In a single sentence, and without detailed elaboration, Donald Trump casually discarded decades of US diplomacy
on Wednesday – pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations – on the Middle East peace process. Standing alongside the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the White House, the US president declared himself unconcerned whether negotiations should be aimed at the two-state solution, which has long been guaranteed by Washington. Instead, Trump indicated that it would be left to Israelis and Palestinians to sort out the “ultimate deal” he had once promised he would make. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like,” Trump said.
Michael Flynn. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press
The president is facing mounting pressure
to explain his ties with Russia after it emerged that he knew weeks ago his national security adviser had misled officials about secret communications with Russian officials but did not fire him. The retired general Michael Flynn was forced to quit on Monday night after reports that he could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow. Meanwhile, Democrats demanded an independent investigation into Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador, what Trump knew about them and when while just one senior Republican promised to examine the matter “exhaustively”. Flynn stepped down after just 24 days when it emerged that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to Washington before Trump took office, then misled Vice-President Mike Pence and others about the conversations.
All the president's men: Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus. Photograph: Mandel Ngan /AFP /Getty
Donald Trump was “evaluating” allegations against national security adviser Michael Flynn
, who stands accused of lying over secret communications with Russia. On Monday, leading Democrats were calling for Flynn to be fired over claims that he misled vice-president Mike Pence. The noncommittal update, delivered by White House press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to conflict with remarks given just moments earlier by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway who said that “General Flynn has the full confidence of the president." Earlier, Trump sidestepped questions over the issue during a brief press conference with his Canadian counterpart. Standing beside Justin Trudeau, the president took only two questions from American media: the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group: neither asked about the controversy swirling around Flynn. Flynn could be the first major casualty of fledgling administration but others may soon follow.
Sean Spicer removes lint from Stephen Miller's jacket as he waits to go on the air in the White House Briefing Room. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
At Mar-a-Lago, Trump kept largely quiet, only tweeting two questionable defences of his immigration policy, two denunciations of “fake news” by the mainstream media, and one chunk of praise for policy adviser Stephen Miller, who manned the news shows alone. Oh, and an abusive remark about the pro-Clinton billionaire Mark Cuban, who for reasons that remained opaque Trump wrote was “not smart enough to run for president!” On the shows, Miller indicated a new executive order on the travel ban could be on the way and made ominous statements about the power of the judiciary
. He did not defend the national security adviser Mike Flynn over his conversations with the Russian ambassador, saying only
that the White House “did not give me anything to say”.
Melania Trump and Akie Abe, wife of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, tour the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. Photograph: Gaston de Gardenas/AFP/Getty Images
Trump spent the day at Mar-a-Lago with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and his wife – a “wonderful couple” in the president's tweeted words. Other tweets, sent before a round of golf with Abe and a cultural visit for Melania that produced Flotus's second ever tweet, bemoaned
the appeals court ruling against Trump's travel ban and said costs for the border wall would come down once Trump got personally involved in the project. The day then passed unusually quietly, only pictures posted by members of the press from the basement where they were being kept – its windows covered in black plastic sheeting
– disturbing the more serene tweeting of the Florida birds.
Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One to spend part of the weekend with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Donald Trump said he was considering signing a “brand new” executive order
on immigration, following the court ruling blocking his travel ban on Thursday. The US president told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to Florida that he was confident he would win his court battle over the hugely controversial executive order suspending the country’s refugee program and barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, which is currently blocked.
Rebecca Rossof carries a sign in support of lifting the travel ban while in front of the court that ruled against Donald Trump on Thursday. Photograph: Monica M Davey/EPA
Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban suffered a major setback
after a panel of three judges upheld an injunction against the president’s order banning arrivals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
A Nordstrom department store is shown at a shopping center in San Diego. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters
Donald Trump lashed out at the appeals court
weighing his travel ban, telling an audience of police chiefs and sheriffs that some of the deliberations he had heard were “disgraceful”. And he also took aim at another target, department store Nordstrom, complaining about its decision to stop selling his daughter Ivanka’s clothing and accessory line.
Donald Trump holds up a statue he received as a gift while meeting with county sheriffs in the Oval Office of the White House. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty Images
Donald Trump was facing another day of trench warfare
with the US Senate and the courts as he struggled to get his team and his conservative agenda on track. Mike Pence became the first vice-president in history to cast a tie-breaking vote to confirm a cabinet nominee after the defection of two Republicans left the Senate deadlocked over Betsy DeVos at 50 votes to 50. In the afternoon, the fight turned to the courts as Trump’s justice department mounted a fresh argument aiming to resume his controversial ban on visitors to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries and a 120-day outright suspension of all refugees entering the country.
A woman hugs her daughter arriving from Somalia at Dulles international airport on 6 February. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images
The justice department urged a federal court to reinstate Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban
, insisting that national security is at stake. After a lower court judge blocked the president’s executive order suspending travel from seven majority-Muslim countries on Friday night, lawyers filed a brief with a federal appeals court on Monday evening.
A Trump supporter watches a rally at Trump Tower in New York. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
On a day that began with an appeals court rejecting the government's application for a stay on a ruling that suspended the executive order on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, the president initially stayed quiet. But just as Melissa McCarthy's withering SNL impression of press secretary Sean Spicer threatened to run away with the news agenda, Trump's thumbs twitched.
“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril,” he wrote. “If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” The interjection came shortly before a Fox News Super Bowl interview – in which Trump again said he respected Vladimir Putin, who host Bill O'Reilly called 'a killer' – and poured new fuel on a simmering controversy over Trump's treatment of judges and the court system.
President Trump tosses a sharpie marker pen, used for autographs, back to members of his entourage in Florida. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Another day, another twist in the saga of Trump's travel ban on refugees and all travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. After a Seattle judge issued a temporary restraining order
against the ban on Friday night, Trump, true to form, used Twitter to attack the judge and complain about the ruling. Some observers, and quite a few senior Democrats, said such behavior, and any government move to appeal the Seattle ruling, could precipitate full-blown constitutional crisis. Trump issued his tweets from Mar-a-Lago, his so-called “winter White House” in Florida. Protesters against the travel ban followed him there, and also marched in other cities and at airports, if in reduced numbers compared to the chaos of last week.
Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway in conversation. Photograph: Kevin Lamarqu/Reuters
A busy day – new sanctions on Iran
, an expressed intention to work with Congress to gut the Dodd-Frank reforms
meant to guard against another Wall Street-fuelled recession, the fallout from the travel ban – was made busier by aide Kellyanne Conway's citation of an imaginary terrorist outrage
in an interview with MSNBC. As the internet lit up with mockery of another “alternative fact” from the Trump White House, Conway said she misspoke, saying “Bowling Green massacre” when she meant “Bowling Green terrorists”. The media pointed out that both expressions were nonsense, as no terrorist act had happened or terrorists acted in Bowling Green, Kentucky. No matter: senior aide Steve Bannon came to the rescue:
the media switched its focus to his Islamophobic script for an unmade film.
Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock
Donald Trump defended his unpredictable approach to foreign policy
, which has shaken the political establishment and roiled activists across the country, during a speech at the annual interfaith prayer breakfast in Washington on Thursday. The breakfast came hours after news reports detailed an extraordinary phone call between Trump and the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, which was abruptly ended by Trump. The president reportedly bragged about the size of his electoral victory – despite losing the popular vote – but grew cross when Turnbull asserted that the US should honor an agreement struck by Barack Obama to accept 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center. It also emerged on Wednesday that Trump had apparently threatened to send troops into Mexico to stop the “bad hombres down there” unless the country did a better job of controlling drug trafficking, in a call with Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican president.
Neil Gorsuch. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Donald Trump urged Republicans to use the so-called “nuclear option”
to force through his supreme court nominee against Democratic opposition. The US president named the conservative judge Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday night to fill the vacancy on America’s highest court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago.
Sally Yates. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
A dirty political fight roiled Washington as allies and officials rallied around Donald Trump and his controversial travel ban, while opponents escalated their tactics to thwart his administration at every turn. Republicans defended the president’s ban on entry for people from seven Muslim-majority countries and his decision to fire the acting attorney general, Sally Yates
, on Monday night for refusing to enforce it. Democrats boycotted votes on two of Trump’s cabinet nominees and braced for a long battle over his imminent pick for the supreme court.
Demonstrators hold placards and an image of Barack Obama during a protest against Donald Trump's executive order travel ban. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
Donald Trump faced an unprecedented backlash
on Monday over his ban on refugee admission and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries as Barack Obama warned: “American values are at stake.”
Congressman John Lewis attends a demonstration against the Trump travel ban at Heartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA
Only a day after casting airports around the US into confusion, and hours after the administration's first defeat in federal court, Donald Trump and his advisers flew into a defense of his vague and chaotically enforced ban
on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Chief of staff Reince Priebus appeared to concede to the courts by saying the ban would no longer apply to green-card holders, only to contradict himself within minutes. Meanwhile, attorneys told reporters “rogue” border patrol agents were still detaining people or trying to deport them. In a statement and a series of tweets, Trump insisted the order was not a “Muslim ban”, cited Obama precedents … and insulted John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the New York Times.
Protesters gather at JFK International Airport against Donald Trump's executive order. Photograph: Bryan R Smith/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump’s executive order
to close America’s borders to travellers from some Muslim-majority countries caused chaos and confusion, as multiple people who had flown to the US were held at major airports while others were barred from boarding flights or were pulled off planes overseas. As immigration and civil rights group scrambled to understand the order, and as family members of the stranded tried to contact their loved ones, a sizeable protest formed at JFK airport in New York. Trump spent the day in Washington, speaking to five world leaders including Vladimir Putin of Russia and issuing an executive order to ban members of his government moving swiftly to lobbying firms.
Demonstrators take part in a rally in support of Muslims and immigrants Friday in New York City. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP
Marking a draconian shift in US policy, Donald Trump issued an executive order that will deny refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries entry to the United States. Trump’s unprecedented action will indefinitely close US borders to refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria and impose a de facto ban on Muslims traveling to the US from parts of the Middle East and North Africa by prioritizing refugee claims “on the basis of religious-based persecution”.
Donald Trump shakes hands at the fence upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. Photograph: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a visit to Washington
, over Donald Trump's insistence that Mexico will pay for his border wall. Peña Nieto said: “Mexico reiterates its willingness to work with the US to achieve agreements which benefit both nations.” Speaking in Philadelphia, Trump claimed the decision to cancel was mutual. By the afternoon, Trump's press secretary said the president had decided to hit Mexico with a 20% import tax.
Donald Trump signs an executive order to start the Mexico border wall project at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington DC. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump faced a fresh torrent of criticism on Wednesday as he moved ahead with plans to build a wall on the Mexican border
via executive order. Trump also signed an executive order that could slash funding for so-called “sanctuary cities”, and reinstated the “secure communities” program, which encourages broader cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies.
Weathered flags fly in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters
Donald Trump was sharply criticised by Native Americans and climate change activists after he signed executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL
oil pipelines. Both pipe projects had been blocked by Barack Obama’s administration, partly because of environmental concerns. But Trump has questioned the science of climate change and campaigned on a promise to expand energy infrastructure and create jobs.
Donald Trump showing off one of his executive orders. Photograph: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images
Donald Trump began his effort to dismantle Barack Obama’s legacy, formally scrapping a flagship trade deal
with 11 countries in the Pacific rim. The new president also signed executive orders to ban funding for international groups that provide abortions, and placing a hiring freeze on non-military federal workers.
Kellyanne Conway at the White House. Photograph: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images
Rattled by the nation’s biggest political demonstrations since the Vietnam war, Donald Trump and his aides spent an extraordinary first weekend in office falsely claiming that record numbers of people had attended his swearing-in on Friday. Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, told NBC press secretary Sean Spicer had been offering “alternative facts”
when he made several statements contradicted by photographs and transit data.
Thousands attend the women's march on Washington. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
The Women’s March on Washington
descended on the US capital, while in hundreds of cities across America and around the world women joined in a gesture of resistance against the new president’s first full day in office – bringing a palpable sense of solidarity and determination to resist a backwards-looking agenda.
Donald Trump at his swearing-in ceremony as president. Photograph: Reuters
Donald Trump coined the sinister phrase “American carnage” in his inaugural speech. But more chilling, some said, were the immediate changes to the White House website
where Barack Obama's administration's information on civil rights, climate change, LGBT rights, healthcare, immigration, education and the “Iran Deal” all vanished. It changed to just six “issues” with, for example, “America first energy plan” replacing climate change.