The U.S. at a glance
Jefferson City, Mo.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens faced the specter of impeachment this week, after he was charged with felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking nude photos of his ex-lover without her consent. Missouri’s GOP-controlled House of Representatives formed a special committee after the indictment to investigate the Republican governor, the first step toward possible impeachment. The governor, once considered a rising star in GOP politics, has admitted to having an affair with his former hairdresser but denies taking nude photos of her without her permission. Greitens allegedly blindfolded and restrained the woman during a sexual encounter in his basement, then threatened to release nude photos of her if she ever told anyone about their relationship. “This stuff is going to get worse before it gets better,” said State Rep. Nate Walker, a Republican and former Greitens supporter who has called for his resignation. “And it’s going to get really, really, really bad.”
Mayor battles ICE:
Federal immigration officials lashed out at Oakland’s mayor this week after she tipped off the community to impending raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Mayor Libby Schaaf held a press conference over the weekend warning that “multiple credible sources” had told her that ICE agents would be conducting operations in the area. The next day, ICE agents launched a series of raids and arrested more than 150 people, roughly half of whom had criminal convictions. ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan said the agency would have been able to make even more arrests if it hadn’t been for Schaaf’s warning, which he called “irresponsible” and “reckless.” Oakland is a sanctuary city, which bars city employees from assisting federal immigration agents, and Schaaf said she was trying to protect immigrants without criminal records. “I definitely consider myself part of the resistance,” she said.
The Supreme Court this week effectively mooted the March 5 deadline for Congress to act on so-called Dreamers, rejecting a request from the Trump administration to immediately review lower-court decisions that shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Federal district judges in California and New York have issued injunctions against President Trump’s executive order ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and have ordered the White House to continue renewing DACA applications for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to skip the usual appeals process and review those rulings immediately, but the high court rarely grants such requests. As DACA suits work their way through appeals courts, DACA recipients will likely be allowed to renew their work permits unless Congress acts.
Teachers’ strike ends:
West Virginia teachers headed back to class this week after a statewide strike forced the governor to promise them a 5 percent pay raise for the next school year. The four-day strike, which began after Gov. Jim Justice offered educators a 2 percent raise, affected more than 250,000 students in all of the state’s 55 counties. West Virginia ranks 48th in the nation for teacher pay, according to the National Education Association; beginning teachers earn $32,435 a year, and the average teacher salary is $44,701. In addition to higher pay, Justice promised to create a task force to address the problem of rising health insurance costs. The deal still has to be approved by the state legislature, but union leaders said the promise of a raise was enough to get teachers back into classrooms. “They don’t want to be first in the country in pay,” said Christine Campbell of the American Federation of Teachers. “They want to be out of 48th.”
Mueller eyes Trump’s business:
New York City
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is scrutinizing President Trump’s business dealings with Russia prior to the 2016 election, CNN.com said this week. The special counsel’s office has reportedly been questioning witnesses about the time line of Trump’s decision to run for president and how it coincided with his business ventures in Russia. Some of the questions have focused on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and on failed attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, including one effort that fell apart in early 2016. Mueller’s team has also asked witnesses pointed questions about whether Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before they were released and if he knew of plans by WikiLeaks to disseminate them. Last week, Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators, and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s probe.
Democratic memo released:
The House Intelligence Committee released a redacted memo written by Democrats last week that counters Republican claims the FBI abused its power to spy on a former Trump campaign aide. The Democratic memo disputes an earlier Republican memo that asserted the FBI relied heavily on a dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to obtain a warrant to spy on Carter Page, who was suspected by U.S. law enforcement of being a Russian agent. The FBI “made only narrow use” of the dossier, the Democratic memo said, and the bureau’s warrant application stated that the FBI had suspected for years that Page was being cultivated by Russian intelligence. FBI agents interviewed Page in March 2016, before the dossier was written. The memo also highlighted that the FBI disclosed to the surveillance court that some of its information came from partisan sources. The panel of four judges, all appointed by Republicans, still approved multiple warrants against Page.