Another week, another avalanche of things bombarding the collective psyche. "Like what?" you ask. For starters, everyone is mourning the death of actor Luke Perry, thinking about the legacy of Michael Jackson, and wondering if Ivanka Trump is getting off too easily as the investigation net tightens around the other Trump children. Meanwhile, the economy is slowing down as the national deficit explodes and corporate tax income drops dramatically. Actually, that's a pretty quiet week by 2019 standards. Regardless, there's a lot going on. Here's just a taste.
Tim Cook Pwns President Trump
What Happened: Some people would be embarrassed that the leader of the free world couldn't remember their name. Some people are not Apple CEO Tim Cook.
What Really Happened: We've all been there: You're in a public setting and forget the name of the person you're speaking to and just decide to try and take a guess and hope no one notices. Of course, when you're the President of the United States and you're talking to the man in charge of one of the largest corporations in the world in front of the press at the White House, that sort of thing isn't supposed to happen. President Trump does, however, get some points for his guess.
As should only be expected, the internet couldn't resist the obvious jokes.
You're not alone in wondering just what happened to make Trump choose this particular naming option, although some people have theories.
The Takeaway: Wait, aren't the Apples the people who own all the Beatles music? What name am I supposed to go by in order to do that? Or, wait, do I own all the music if I own Apple, and therefore Apple Music? Tell me what I have to do!
The Ongoing Relationship Between President Trump and Fox News
What Happened: A closer look at the relationship between President Trump and Fox News brought up some issues neither party likely wants people to think too hard about.
What Really Happened: It's never been a secret that the President of the United States has a favorite television news network, but a story this week put the relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News in sharp relief.
As should only be expected, a piece like this provoked a lot of response.
No, no, wait.
To the surprise of no one, one particular Fox News viewer was very upset about the decision.
It's worth noting: The president can’t pull debates from networks for the general election—
—but, really, should anyone be that surprised at empty threats and posturing at this point?
The Takeaway: This is probably unrelated, but White House deputy chief of staff Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, stepped down on Friday.
The House Judiciary Committee Isn't Playing Around
What Happened: Congress sent some letters suggesting that it might, perhaps, want to investigate some wrongdoing on the part of the president after all. That didn't go down well with everyone.
What Really Happened: Last week, in a moment that folks have seen coming since the Democrats took back the House in November, came to pass.
Yes, the House Judiciary Committee sent 81 people or institutions requests for documents and information as the opening gambit in an incredibly wide-ranging investigation into potential corruption in and around Trump's orbit. The list of those contacted was public, and it made for interesting reading, as many pointed out.
As if that wasn't enough of a sign that the Judiciary Committee wasn't playing around, the week held further developments to that end.
Goldman wasn't the only hire, as it turned out.
Aware of the scrutiny he was now under, Jerry Nadler, who's in charge of the House Judiciary Committee, took his case to the people.
At first, the president didn't seem too bothered by the oversight—if ready to offer an all-too-familiar refrain in response.
But that attitude didn't last, as the official White House public statement on the matter made clear.
President Trump took up his own cause on Twitter.
The Takeaway: When President Trump starts acting up, it's clear what the next step is going to be: Time to bring out the one person who he’s clearly afraid of. Madam Speaker?
A Self-Own for the Ages
What Happened: As House Democrats attempted to prove they weren't bigoted and instead demonstrated they are reactionary, House Republicans made an unanticipated leap towards a political self-own for the ages.
What Really Happened: Much attention was paid last week to recent comments from Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, in which she suggested that Americans supportive of Israel were "push[ing] for allegiance to a foreign country," something being taken by many as an accusation of dual loyalties and, subsequently, an anti-Semitic argument. It followed an earlier controversy over a (now deleted) tweet from the freshman congresswoman last month which suggested that Republican support for Israel was entirely financially motivated.
In an attempt to move past the issue—and distance itself from accusations of anti-Semitism—Democratic House leadership came up with a plan.
Yes, the House would vote against anti-Semitism, because that doesn’t legitimize criticism of Omar at all. (Spoilers: It does.) This was, it's fair to say, not a particularly popular decision with everyone.
Online defense of Omar even prompted the creation of a hashtag, #IStandWithIlhan.
As a result, the vote was delayed as various interested parties tried to be heard on the matter.
And what did the president think?
Finally, on Thursday, a vote was scheduled—but only after the language of the vote had been changed from one specifically condemning anti-Semitism to one condemning all forms of hate, a shift that didn't go unnoticed.
By the time the vote was being held, the story had become one in which Democrats were stumbling and splintering now that they were in power, with the party mired in having to address that it wasn't anti-Semitic in the first place. Things really didn't look good for the Democrats … and then, surprisingly, everything flipped when the vote actually took place, thanks to a nothing less than a Republican meltdown.
Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised; after all, Republicans had already voted down their own bill against anti-Semitism.
The Takeaway: Really, let's just go with this.
Time Is a Flat Circle, Unless We're Talking About Time Served
What Happened: In case anyone thought that legal drama ended when someone was found guilty, Paul Manafort reappeared to confound expectations one more time. All this, and a cliffhanger, too!
What Really Happened: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's legal woes continued to be the story that never ends last week, as everyone prepared for his sentencing in Virginia on Thursday. As the proceedings came down to the wire, Manafort decided to put his sentencing memos to work.
If that didn't look too good for Manafort, many believed that it was simply a sign of what was to come in his actual sentencing on Thursday. Well, one of his sentencings.
OK, so that is probably not a good sign. So what was this sentencing about? Turns out, the (relatively) minor stuff.
That didn't mean the sentencing was without drama. Indeed, the whole thing felt pretty dramatic.
The stunningly light sentence surprised many—and made quite a few think about the privilege in sentencing decisions, although others argued that it wasn't that unusual—but, as underwhelming as many people complained it was, perhaps everyone is rushing to judgment a little too early.
The Takeaway: Still. Less than four years, which is significantly less than prosecutors were asking for? You do have to wonder just what could have been working in the favor of Paul Manafort, don't you?