This week has people wondering whether the national crisis is really at the Mexican border or in the White House. Despite some justice being done, the past seven days were characterized by chaos and tragedy.
On Tuesday, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was found guilty of 10 federal criminal counts against him. After decades as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and after twice escaping Mexican prisons, Guzman was extradited to the U.S., where the Brooklyn jury delivered their verdict after a two-and-a-half month long trial. Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.
Amazon Jilts NY
Amazon announced that it is scrapping its plan to build a new headquarters in New York after receiving strong opposition from members of the community, as well as both state and local politicians. Even though the new headquarters was estimated to create 25,000 jobs over time, opponents feared the HQ2’s presence would also dramatically increase the cost of living and force those in public housing out of the area.
Manafort to Get 24
The 69-year-old former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty of breaching a plea deal offered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller last August. A U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Manafort had given false statements to the FBI, Mueller’s office and the grand jury. The day following the court’s decision, Mueller’s office agreed with the Department of Justice’s calculation that Manafort should face a 19-24 year prison sentence as well as pay a fine of $50,000-$24 million. Had Manafort not provide false statements, he would currently be facing a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Raising the Barr?
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed William P. Barr as attorney general. Barr is no stranger to the position, having held it under George Bush Sr.’s presidency. During this time, he took an aggressive and unbending position on immigration, going as far as detaining Haitian asylum seekers at Guantanamo Bay to screen them for HIV and AIDS before they could claim asylum. Barr has also been an advocate and defendant of Trump’s travel ban. Despite his harsh views on immigration, dubious support of mandatory minimum sentences and defense of Trump policies, Barr says that he will be open to new ideas and will allow Mueller to finish his investigation—he, however, has not decided how much of the report to make public.
On Friday, a disgruntled employee shot coworkers at the Henry Pratt company in Aurora, IL, killing five people and wounding several others. The shooter was killed by police during a shootout. After a meeting to discuss his termination, the employee pulled out a pistol that he did not legally own and began firing. Two decades ago, he was convicted of aggravated assault in Mississippi, after repeatedly abusing his girlfriend and going as far as to hit her with a baseball bat and stabbing her with a knife. After serving three of his five years in prison, the shooter was released, and he moved to Illinois where he had been arrested seven times for traffic issues, domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Despite his felony record, the shooter successfully bought the Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol found at the scene of the shootout.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has officially announced her 2020 presidential campaign amid reports of her mistreatment of staffers. According to the Huffington Post, three people have turned down the chance to manage Klobuchar’s campaign, referencing her caustic and emotionally abusive work environment. Long-time and former staffers, however, have come to Klobuchar’s defense, claiming that the criticisms are the result of sexism. Klobuchar has focused her Senate career on lowering drug costs and protecting consumers, and she plans to support the Green New Deal.
Before the weekend, Trump declared a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexican border to allow him access to billions of dollars that Congress had refused to give him for the wall. The announcement came during a fifty-minute televised appearance where Trump also incoherently discussed the economy, China, his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un and complained about not receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
Vatican Defrocks Cardinal
Former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick has officially been dismissed by the Vatican after being found guilty of sexually abusing minors. McCarrick’s deprival of ecclesiastical status seems like a strategic move by the Church to plaster over its increasingly damaged reputation due to the clergy abuse crisis. Allegations that McCarrick sexually abused seminarians and an altar boy go back decades. After the Archdiocese of New York found the allegations to be credible, it passed the case to law enforcement.
Pence Goes to Germany
During the annual Munich Security Conference, Angela Merkel received an approving applause from global leaders following her speech about multicultural cooperation and supporting Europe’s decision of backing a nuclear deal with Iran. In his speech, however, Mike Pence criticized European allies and urged them to withdraw from the nuclear deal and to support U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The jumbled quality of this past week is a reminder that, even when faced with progress, struggle has to continually be overcome.