This week, history’s single largest election took place in Indonesia. President Trump used his second veto on a resolution to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. The Mueller report does not support Trump’s claim of exoneration. Needless to say, it was an uphill run for everybody.
This Wednesday Joko Widodo, the heavy metal and Christian-friendly Muslim president of Indonesia, sought another term in office. The fairly liberal-minded president faced-off against former General Prabowo Subianto, a man with a reputation built on pugnacity and embracing hard-line Islam. After winning the presidency in 2014, Joko has filled his cabinet with women and outlawed a radical Islamic group that calls for Islamic law to usurp the nation’s democratic system. But the contention of the election, however, saw Joko take a more right-leaning approach. Last week, the president praised Muslim preachers and visited Mecca. His vice presidential running mate was Ma’ruf Amin, the head of the Indonesian Ulema Council, which has a history of issuing fatwas, or rulings on points of Islamic law made by an authority. Sometimes the council can be as severe as issuing fatwas that result in death sentences, against homosexuality and the wearing of Santa hats by Muslims. In the end, most exit polls predict the president won a second term. Those polls are currently being disputed by Subianto (and official tallies won't be released until after May 22), but that hasn't stopped Joko from celebrating his victory.
Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. support for war in Yemen
On Tuesday, President Trump issued his second ever veto against a bipartisan resolution that would have ended America’s military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s civil war in Yemen, a war that has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and famine in the country. In his veto message, the president claimed the resolution was an attempt at weakening his constitutional authorities. This resolution is unique in that it is the first War Powers legislation that had been passed through bipartisanship, and the first to have landed on a president’s desk for approval.
North Korea Resumes Weapons Testing
In what seems to be an effort to gain leverage over the U.S. after failing to make a deal with President Trump during their recent summit, Kim Jong-Un has resumed visits to North Korean military units and weapons sites. Last Tuesday, Kim visited a military airfield where pilots flew fighter jets in what seemed to analysts to be a show of defiance against current sanctions that make jet fuel scarce. On Thursday, Kim attended the testing of a new type of guided short-range missile.
This week saw the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-anticipated report. Overall, it appears to be more damning than Attorney General William Barr summarized because it details the president’s aggressive efforts to undermine and interfere with the Russia probe that was headed by the Justice Department. Though the probe doesn’t directly accuse Trump of obstruction of justice, it doesn’t rule it out and instead says that any such prosecution would have to come from Congress in the form of impeachment.
In recent weeks, Trump frequently declared that the report completely exonerated him of any wrongdoing. Contradicting Trump’s claim, the report details the president’s repeated attempts to forestall and thwart the investigation into his campaign and presidency. Speculation surrounding Trump’s attempts to impede the report suggests that he may have done so in order to hide other potentially criminal behavior.
Barr Issues Immigration Order
On Tuesday, the Trump administration issued an order that could keep thousands of migrants jailed indefinitely while they wait for resolution of their asylum requests. The order was issued by Attorney General Barr as an effort to end the “catch and release” of migrants coming to the U.S. The order directs immigration judges to deny some migrants an opportunity to post bail. Though the order doesn’t go into effect for 90 days after being issued, it seems likely that it will be challenged in federal court on the grounds that it could undermine the basic rights of migrants.