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Written by @ameliezilber // @twominutetimes
Political & International Update

A Way with Words

WH chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tossed President Trump to the wolves in a move, albeit well appreciated on my end, of just sheer professional incompetence. On national TV, Mulvaney admitted that the Trump administration did indeed withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as part of a quid-pro-quo to pursue political investigations. 

He also announced that Trump will be hosting the next G7 summit at his Doral golf resort in Miami, FL, basically forcing hundreds of diplomats, journalists and world leaders to spend their money at a Trump property, funds of which would flow directly into the President’s pocket. Although Trump had to back out of hosting the summit because of domestic and international backlash, Mulvaney claims trump sees himself as still apart of “the hospitality business”

Mulvaney, please never stop talking.

It's All Coming Together

This week, Trump appointed an author of Illuminati self-help books to a position on the federal board of education. 

He is now heading the defense against the dark arts

 (Sorry, I had to). 

But in all seriousness, a scientist or an educator would be wholly unfit for the job, so it seems like we lucked out on this one.

Welcome to the government, George Mentz! Or should I say… “Magus Incognito?”

Singing a Siren Song

The ongoing Turkish offensive in Northern Syria has already displaced over 300,000 people, as aid agencies are struggling to respond to the crisis in a region where approximately 1.6 million are already dependent on humanitarian aid. 

The need for aid appears to be increasing, as Turkish forces were seen using white phosphorous against civilians, a chemical that burned and killed Kurdish children and families. 

Pence negotiated with Erdogan a ceasefire effectively forcing the Kurds out of their own territory, which is now a buffer zone in Northern Syria. Erdogan is calling the move a victory for Turkish forces who now have the freedom to extend Turkey’s border into Kurdish territory. Amongst other problems, the absence of Kurdish forces, who spent years guarding ISIS prisoners in the region, now leaves room for the insurgency's fighters to escape and re-enter the fore. 

So long as the Trump Tower in Turkey’s capital turns a profit, Trump doesn’t care.
It looks like Congress must hold the President accountable. 

A Glimmer of Hope

The Trump administration is attempting to weaken habitat protections for a bird called the Greater Sage Grouse in an effort to allow oil and gas companies more drilling space. Luckily, a federal judge has blocked the attempt and signaled that environmental organizations challenging the legality of the attempt are likely to prevail. 

Good news for the birds!

Elijah Cummings, a Democratic Rep. of Maryland, passed away early Thursday morning at age 68. As one of the most respected members in the House, Cummings, who chaired the House Committee on Oversight & Reform, used his powerful role to actively criticize the Trump administration and hold the government accountable, while also championing the rights of inner-city residents in Baltimore.
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