Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.
If you were going to pick a random week for high political drama, you couldn’t get much more random than a middle week in April. Yet political drama was exactly what these last seven days were about as Washington saw old faces vanish, investigations heat up, and Facebook get placed in the hot seat. Elsewhere, politics was going full throttle, too, as Syria’s civil war once again threatened to go global.
10Paul Ryan Dramatically Ended His Career
It’s official: He’s out. After months of speculation that House Speaker Paul Ryan would resign after November’s midterms, Ryan jumped the gun by dramatically announcing on Wednesday that he would not be seeking reelection. His exit could signal big changes in the way the Republican Party is run.
Ryan was a committed policy wonk and libertarian who made it his life goal to reform taxation, reform entitlement spending, and repeal Obamacare. He leaves Congress having fulfilled one of those aims, but he has fallen dramatically short on the other two.
He also leaves a remarkably changed man. Not so long ago, Ryan was known for being a staunch supporter of free trade and immigration. Today, he’s known for being the guy who helped President Trump take a hatchet to both those things. It should be pointed out, however, that Ryan was not a supporter of illegal immigration and that’s what Trump is against as well.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Ryan’s departure is that the GOP has lost yet another high-profile libertarian. The race will now be on for the Trumpian wing to replace him with someone more protectionist and in line with the president’s views.
9The FBI Raided The Offices Of The President’s Lawyer
A disgraceful witch hunt or the beginnings of a prosecution case? That was the question on everybody’s lips this week after the FBI launched a surprise raid Monday on the offices, home, and hotel rooms of Michael Cohen, longtime attorney for President Trump.
Cohen has worked as Trump’s lawyer for roughly a decade, although his involvement with the White House post election has been negligible. Following a tip from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the FBI apparently began to suspect that Cohen had broken campaign financing laws with his hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, the porn star with whom the president is accused of having an affair.
Interestingly, the new Cohen investigation isn’t being conducted by Mueller’s office. It’s under the jurisdiction of Geoffrey Berman, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman is a longtime Republican, although he has personally recused himself. Even if the president does fire Mueller in the near future, his legal woes won’t all disappear along with the special counsel.