Hello and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to click that like button, leave a comment, or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!
1 Big Thing: Pompeo’s Confirmation
Credit: Reuters/[Алексей М/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/150500485@N06/35505516206/in/photolist-W6v3Yw-8nHiS8-8FPuwr-8MqyDj-8AcZBo-8dMr8T-bi4kcp-YxMXj7-8FPmsV-7ZnjnA-21qeRZM-8Piwkg-bi4oxr-8nrDdg-8PmBXw-8PmCdE-bi4jJ4-ehhoAn-bi4nhc-8BXbua-bi4nve-8EBK7z-bi4o82-7TXqfn-9RCBA2-8EF2Uj-8PmDsf-bm93rv-9RCcH2-7wLaQp-8aWEhd-WTpFHu-8GqTMU-bi4g1a-8EByWD-8BXmY2-bR53Ma-8EBCbK-9RFq2N-9RFvME-7TXqea-8aR56Z-8EBLuT-8FPkKP-axiGzY-8PzoTZ-8C1pN5-bi4hot-8Mnip2-8EC21D)
Mike Pompeo is close to clinching the confirmation as secretary of state because Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from the red state of North Dakota, announced her support. This announcement will likely bring other conservative Democrats along to vote “yes.” Pompeo will be handed a loaded portfolio if he is confirmed:
- President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met this week at Mar-a-Lago where they discussed a possible Japanese exemption to the aluminum and steel tariffs, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and security concerns with North Korea.
- Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the U.S. will enforce new sanctions on Russia following their role in the Syrian chemical attack. However, many at the White House said President Trump has not decided if new sanctions will be implemented.
- North Korea stated they are going to stop nuclear testing and will close a nuclear site because they have completed their weapons. However, some people warn that these concessions before the upcoming summits are meaningless because they can resume their nuclear program at any time.
A Higher Loyalty
This week James Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” was released. Two things followed this release: a media blitz and contemporaneous memos.
- In his book, Comey does not accuse the president of any crimes but does offer many interesting stories that can be either be corroborated or refuted. Alternatively, the book is judgmental at times with personal gripes against Trump.
- In addition to the book, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Comey memos from Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Despite past and future precedent concerns, Rosenstein released the memos after pressure from Congress and Trump, which were then subsequently released to the media.
- Most of the content within Comey’s memos was already known. Although some interesting points include Trump’s insistence on the pee tape in Moscow, the Michael Flynn situation and Trump’s thoughts and attempted crackdowns on leakers.
On Thursday, President Trump hired Rudy Giuliani, Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin to his legal team. Giuliani, a former U.S. Attorney, and the Raskin team, former federal prosecutors, will represent Trump in the Russia investigation and other legal matters like Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels.
- Giuliani’s new strategy might shift how Trump engages with the Special Counsel Mueller in matters such as the end of the investigation as well as the scope and authority of the Special Counsel.
- Despite his failures to hire big name criminal lawyers since his lead lawyer’s resignation in March, Trump relies on many outside legal advisors, including Fox News analysts Alan Dershowitz, Marc Kasowitz and Jeanine Pirro, to deal with many different legal fronts.
- Since the FBI raid on his home, Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal layer, is under intense personal and legal pressure. On one hand, Trump claims his relationship with Cohen is great. On the other hand, many people are questioning Trump and Cohen’s overhyped relationship and the real possibility that Cohen might flip to prosecutors.
Credit: [David Valdez/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidvaldez-usa/5613556012/)
On Tuesday, former First Lady Barbara Bush died at the age of 92. She is called the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty as she was President George H.W. Bush’s wife and President George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s mother.
- Bush was dedicated to her family as she raised six children throughout her husband’s long public service career.
- Bush was also outspoken on the campaign trail and in advocating for literacy, abortion-less Republican rhetoric and a women’s chance at the presidency.
April 20th is a holiday to celebrate weed. Steven Hager, a former editor of the marijuana-focused news outlet High Times, explains one theory on why this holiday falls on this date. It starts with “a group of Californian teenagers who ritualistically smoked marijuana every day at 4:20 pm. The ritual spread, and soon 420 became code for smoking marijuana. Eventually 420 was converted into 4/20 for calendar purposes, and the day of celebration was born.” Now, one can celebrate 4/20 in two ways. The first way is to light one up with your friends or chill by yourself. The second way is to organize for the legalization of marijuana. (Why not both?)
In the last couple years, states like California and Colorado have legalized marijuana. Moreover, this week, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said he plans to introduce legislation to legalize marijuana at the federal level for several reasons. To start, law enforcement often over prosecutes for small amounts of marijuana, which ruins people’s lives. Additionally, marijuana is used for medical purposes because it can help a variety of ailments. Finally, marijuana has produced business and industry throughout the places it has been legalized.