The dog days of summer are usually referred to as the hottest days of the summer, particularly from mid- July to almost the end of August. And Labor Day has come to mean the unofficial end of summer with vacations ending and students returning back to school. The dog days of the Trump Administration have been particularly hot. With summer closing to an end, I thought that now is a good time to evaluate the Trump Administration’s summer days.
Trump’s Administration has been hounded with its failure of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the ever- ongoing Trump-Russia investigation by Special Prosecutor Mueller, Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville Nazi/white supremacist rally, the Twitter roll out of elimination of transgenders in the military, pardon of Sheriff Arpaio and now the expected ending of “DACA”, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
For the past 8 years of the Obama Administration, the Republican Party vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and leave millions without health insurance. Trump declared the repeal and replacement of Obamacare would be the very first thing that he intended to accomplish. With a Republican controlled House and Senate, it seemed very likely that the Affordable Care Act was on its death bed. A vote in favor of repeal and replace would have likely left more than 16 million people uninsured by 2026. And yet in the summer of 2017, the Republicans and the Trump administration failed to accomplish their signature promise. On July 28, 2017, during the wee morning hours, the repeal and replace voted failed with deciding votes by Senators John McCain (AZ), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) joining the Democrats.
The ongoing Russia- Trump investigation has continued to heat up and dog Mr. Trump. It shows no signs of going away. With leaks abundant, it appears that each summer day brought a new revelation. There were times that White House reality show was turning faster than any televised soap opera. With a search warrant of Trump’s former campaign manager and chief campaign strategist Paul Manafort’s house on July 26, 2017 to revelations about previously undisclosed June 9, 2016 meetings with Don Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort and a Russian lawyer evolving around possible collusion, there was no letting up.
Beginning in mid-June, the Mueller focus began centering on targeting Trump for obstruction of justice and Kushner’s finances and business dealings. And even Vice President Pence lawyered up in mid-June with hiring of outside counsel. Despite all, Trump tweeted claiming victory against the investigation on June 16, 2017.
Unfortunately for Trump, Mueller did not wave a white flag and give up on the Trump-Russia investigation. Instead the efforts intensified. And Trump had to add lawyers to his legal team along with Kushner and Don, Jr adding additional counsel in the form of criminal defense attorneys.
In mid-June, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) director testified that Russian hacking occurred in at least 21 states. In July, Trump refused to blame Russia for meddling in our election. Instead of relying on information from DHS, he relied on the word and denials of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit—as if Putin was going to admit anything.
Towards the end of July, it was leaked that Special Prosecutor Mueller was allegedly investigating Trump’s business deals, had his tax returns, the same ones Trump failed to disclose. A special prosecutor has the power to subpoena documents during its investigation.
Now CNN and MSNBC are reporting that Mueller has brought on top IRS Department of Justice prosecutors. The heat is really on. A case on the Russia collusion may take months if not years to complete an investigation. Whenever prosecutors follow the money trail, it is a much easier case to prove matters such as tax evasion. While they are not as salacious as the Russia-Trump collusion, tax matters are less reliant on fact witnesses. Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion instead of the alleged violent acts he committed. In cases involving mob members, it was often tax evasion that brought them to justice and jail—instead of the crimes of murder and obstruction of justice.
And on August 3, news outlets reported Mueller impaneled a Washington grand jury to investigate the Trump-Russia thing. As a former prosecutor, the grand jury means the Trump-Russia investigation is not going away any time soon. Politico reported on August 29, that special counsel Mueller and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has teamed together on the investigations.
The most egregious and morally repulsive aspect of Trump’s summer were his comments surrounding the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi/KKK/white supremacist rally in August. Counter protester Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist whose car attacked protesters. Instead of denouncing the hatred, bigotry and violent actions of Nazis and white supremacists, Trump defended it. He stated publicly that there was blame on “many sides”—meaning Nazis and the counter protesters against bigotry and hatred were both to blame. As an African American, I know which side the President stands on in with respect to blacks and Jews versus white supremacists. Throughout history, White supremacists openly lynched, burned and terrorized blacks in many parts of the country. And now a U.S. president openly condones their racist and bigoted conduct.
With fall approaching and the dog days of summer leaving us, things will not cool down for Trump. And it will only get hotter for the Trump Administration. Unfortunately, things are heating up for everyone else as long as he remains in office.