Both internationally and domestically, a lot happened this past week. A coup in Sudan removed long-time leader Omar al-Bashir. Benjamin Netanyahu secured a historic fifth term as Israel’s Prime Minister. The Trump administration experienced some changes in staff. This and much more made this week a difficult one to follow.
Last Thursday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London. The United States is hoping to have Assange extradited so they can charge him with the conspiracy of hacking into a Pentagon computer network in 2010, but this process may be more complicated than expected. Assange has spent the last seven years avoiding arrest in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he was granted asylum and citizenship. Following several grievances such as leaking information that interfered with other nations’ internal affairs and conflicts over his hygiene and attitude, the embassy revoked Assange’s citizenship which led to his arrest. Assange plans to fight his extradition, likely by claiming that his arrest is politically motivated.
Bernie Makes A Million
This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders drew criticism after he described himself as a millionaire. Following his unsuccessful 2016 bid for president, Sanders wrote a book, which is where this new wealth is coming from. Some have come to believe that his financial success undermines his political message and platform that have always been heavily critical of billionaires and wealthy corporate interests. Sanders and his campaign have rejected the criticism and reassured his supporters that his views remain unchanged. On April 15, the senator also released ten years of tax returns which showed, among other things, that he and his wife Jane earned $1.7 million over the past two years.
Herman Cain & Stephen Moore on the Federal Reserve?
Last week, President Trump announced his intention of nominating former presidential candidate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. The nomination drew fierce criticism from both parties, and Cain is now expected to withdraw himself from consideration. Several GOP senators said that they would not vote to confirm the nomination. Sen. Mitt Romney went as far as to tell reporters that, if Cain was given a seat in the central bank, the interest rate would be 9-9-9: a reference to Cain’s ridiculed 2012 presidential campaign promise to set a 9% business transaction tax, 9% personal income tax and 9% federal sales tax.
Though several GOP members have been vocal about not supporting Cain, likely torpedoing his nomination, it still remains unclear whether the sentiment carries over to the president’s other prospective nominee Stephen Moore. Moore is best known for being a conservative political commentator and like Cain, has some questionable beliefs regarding economic policy. Moore has admitted to not being an expert on monetary policy, and during the Obama presidency he supported a return to the gold standard. On a personal note, Moore owes over $75,000 in back taxes, was held in contempt of court for failing to pay alimony and child support and court records show that he discussed having a mistress in his children’s presence.
Kirstjen Nielsen Resigns
Last Sunday, following a meeting with President Trump, Kirstjen Nielsen resigned as the president’s homeland security secretary. During her tenure as secretary, Nielsen drew criticism from the president regarding the U.S.-Mexico border. In recent weeks, Trump had asked Nielsen to close all ports of entry on the southern border and reject asylum seekers, which she refused to do. During their 30-minute meeting, the president had already planned to ask Nielsen for her resignation, which she submitted soon after. Nielsen’s successor as acting head of Department of Homeland Security will be the commissioner of U.S. Custom and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan.
On Wednesday evening, Benjamin Netanyahu secured his fifth term as Israel’s Prime Minister after his rival, former army chief Benny Gantz, conceded defeat. Netanyahu will go on this summer to become Israel’s longest-serving leader. During the election, Netanyahu faced possible indictments for bribery and breach of trust offenses. Toward the end of the campaign, Netanyahu promised to annex the West Bank settlements if re-elected. Netanyahu told supporters that his new strongly right-wing government would mark a new, weakening left-wing government.
Two days following a coup in Sudan, the interim military leader pledged to “uproot the regime.” Lt-Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan announced the restructuring of institutions, the end of curfews and the release of political prisoners. Gen. Burhan replaced the coup’s leader after he resigned on Friday for unspecified reasons. While also dissolving all provincial governments, the general vowed to respect human rights. The army has said it will maintain peace and security throughout Sudan for at most two years, until proper elections could viably be held. Despite this, protests across Sudan continue as many people demand immediate transition to civilian rule.
As the number of Democratic presidential candidates has swelled to 18, former Vice President Joe Biden is believed to be finishing the preliminary steps to begin his campaign. If Biden does run, he will likely do so as an extension of former President Obama’s successful campaigns. During a labor union event, he went as far as calling himself an Obama-Biden type of Democrat. This upcoming week may see Biden make significant steps toward finally announcing his 2020 presidential bid.