The United States of America is a constitutional federation located primarily in central North America, consisting of 50 states and one federal administrative district, as well as several enclaves.
Capital: Washington DC
Official language: English
Currency: US dollar
Passport and visa: Most Finns do not need a visa to the United States. Finnish citizens who meet the conditions of the Visa Waiver Program (visa waiver) are encouraged to travel without a visa.
Time difference to Finland -7
Summer time: – 7
Data without obligation.
Travelers entering the United States are required to pay for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization ( ESTA ). Passengers must submit an ESTA application online no later than 72 hours prior to their trip, using this form . The payment is made by credit card.
U.S. visas, passports, and ESTA regulations also apply to transit traffic (e.g., change of machine in the United States).
Agriculture and fishing
The United States is the world’s largest exporter of agricultural products. Agriculture is conducted on about half of the land area. Fertile soils, a high degree of mechanization and widespread economies of scale have led to large crops.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of United States. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
The country is by far the largest producer of maize and also a leading producer and exporter of soybeans, wheat and sorghum. Cotton and hay are also important crops. The production of chicken as well as beef and pork is one of the largest in the world. For United States defense and foreign policy, please check themotorcyclers.
Maize, wheat and other cereals are grown on about one-fifth of the agricultural land, primarily in the Midwest, the “US grain store”. Dairy production has become more important in the western part of the country since the 1980s and 1990s, having previously had its center in states in the Midwest such as Wisconsin and Minnesota. In the southern states from the Atlantic coast to Texas there are cotton crops and in some states an extensive tobacco production. In California, Florida and Louisiana, fruit growing is also important. Half of the US vegetable, fruit and beef production takes place in California, which is also the country’s leading wine producer.
Less than one percent of the United States population relies on agriculture. The majority of the country’s roughly two million farms are small and run by individuals or families. Among small farms, there is an increased specialization in one or a few products, while many farmers also rely on other than agriculture. A small number of large farms own most of the land and dominate production.
Compared to other OECD countries, subsidies to the agricultural sector are normally low. Sugar production and the dairy industry have been the sectors that have received the most government support and protection. However, under President Donald Trump, agricultural subsidies have risen sharply, to compensate the peasants for the large loss of income that the trade conflict with China has entailed (see Economic overview).
The United States has a large fishing fleet and is one of the world’s largest fishing nations. The most extensive fishing is carried out in the Pacific, but a great deal is also fished in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as in rivers and lakes. Key catches are salmon, herring, tuna, Alaska pollock and seafood.
Most of the fish is sold in fresh or frozen form, but a lot of it is also turned into fishmeal used as animal feed.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
0.9 percent (2017)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
44.4 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of USA stands for the state of United States in geography.
Federal authorities shut down after budget disputes
Several federal-level ministries and authorities are forced to close since Congress and President Trump have been unable to agree on funding for parts of the state apparatus. In September, Congress and the White House agreed on large parts of the budget. But disagreement over Trump’s demands for funding a wall at the Mexico border has put a spanner in the rest. Trump has refused to agree to extend the budget until February 2019 unless it also includes $ 5.7 billion to pay the wall. The House of Representatives voted in favor of a draft budget that included funding for the Wall on December 20, but it was not possible to reach an agreement on this in the Senate. A total of 800,000 federal employees are affected by the shutdown.
Defense Minister James Mattis resigns
President Trump states that Secretary of Defense James Mattis will step down. The message the day after Trump announced that the United States will withdraw its troops from Syria, a decision that Mattis opposed. Matti’s example is followed by Brett McGurk, US special envoy to the coalition against IS, who is leaving his job for the same reason. According to McGurk, it is too early to proclaim victory over IS. On December 23, Trump announces that Mattis is going earlier than first stated, and that he is already being replaced on January 1 by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. Shanahan, who previously worked for Boeing aircraft manufacturer for 30 years, has never been a military and has no real foreign policy experience.
Trump calls home troops from Syria
President Donald Trump notes on Twitter that the US has defeated IS and that it is now time to withdraw the 2,000 US soldiers who are in Syria. The message is criticized by political judges as well as by Democrats and Republicans in Congress for being hasty and thoughtless. It is liable to have major geopolitical consequences and could jeopardize the security of the Kurdish forces fighting IS in Syria, and in effect protected by US forces from attacks from Turkey and from the Russian-backed Syrian regime. Just over a week later, Trump articulated less drastically in a message on Twitter stating that US soldiers should retreat at a slow pace while continuing to fight IS which he now claims to be “largely defeated”.
Furnishings at the top level
Donald Trump announces that Secretary of State Ryan Zinke will resign at the turn of the year. It is perceived by assessors as a way to avoid Zinke being subjected to legal investigations in connection with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. Since Zinke took office in the spring of 2017, he has been in windy weather in various contexts, including in connection with land deals in his home state of Montana. Just a week earlier, the news came that another of Trump’s top employees was leaving the White House, Chief of Staff John Kelly. Like Zinke, he had held his post for less than two years. The White House’s former budget manager Mick Mulvaney will take over as acting chief of staff when Kelly resigns at the turn of the year.
“Obamacare” unconstitutional according to federal judge
A federal judge in Texas believes in a ruling that the health insurance law “Obamacare” violates the Constitution. The judge agrees with the 20 states that have pursued the case and claim that the Health Insurance Act became invalid after changes were made in 2017. Then the individual requirement that all Americans must have health insurance and the fines that existed if violated was removed. The ruling is expected to be appealed and probably the matter will be passed on to the Supreme Court.
Trump’s former lawyer sentenced to three years in prison
Attorney Michael Cohen, formerly one of President Trump’s closest associates and “fixers,” is sentenced to three years in prison. Cohen has broken the campaign rules for the 2016 presidential election through payouts to silence two women who claimed to have had sex with the president. Cohen has also lied to Congress and pleaded guilty to tax fraud (see March 26, May 2 and August 21, 2018).
Ivanka Trump’s email handling is being investigated
20th of November
The House of Representatives Supervisory Committee will investigate information that the President’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump used a private e-mail account in government affairs. This is stated by Elijah Cummings, who is expected to become committee chair when the Democrats take control in January. The disclosure has attracted attention because of President Trump’s recurring demands during the 2016 election campaign that Hillary Clinton be imprisoned precisely because of similar email handling. The Supervisory Committee should already have attempted in 2017 to investigate information that both Ivanka Trump and several other high-ranking government employees used private e-mail, but that the White House did not disclose requested information.
Trump defends Saudi cooperation despite journalist assassination
20th of November
President Trump opposes the CIA intelligence service and several leading Republicans as he relays information that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has ordered the bestial murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (see Turkey Calendar). Trump defends Saudi Arabia, saying that the country’s arms purchases from the United States outweigh other considerations, and that it is impossible to know exactly what happened when Khashoggi was assassinated at a Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2. Both the Turkish authorities and the CIA have concluded that the Crown Prince must have ordered the murder and several congressmen, including Republicans, have demanded that sanctions be introduced.
Record fire in California
A violent forest fire around the city of Paradise in Northern California has claimed nearly 80 people’s lives after ten days and destroyed 10,000 buildings. Several hundred people are missing in the area and the death toll is feared to rise. The so-called Camp fire is the deadliest and most devastating thing in California history. At the same time, a fire has also destroyed large parts of fashionable Malibu on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The fires bring new life to the issue of both the effects of climate change and human impact in the dry climate in California.
Presidential orders should stop asylum seekers
President Trump signs a decree automatically denying all asylum applications from people crossing the Mexico border. The purpose is to stop Central Americans heading to the United States (see also October 22 and 29) and to force Mexico to deal with them. Trump believes that Central Americans have created a “crisis” that threatens the United States. UN Refugee Agency UNHCR argues that the decision contravenes international law and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed a joint lawsuit. As a result, a federal judge temporarily suspends the ban after ten days.
Justice Minister kicked
President Trump dismisses Justice Minister Jeff Sessions for whom he has long been critical of, mainly because Sessions renounced responsibility for the Russia investigation (see March 2, 2017). Sessions Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker takes over as Acting Minister of Justice. Whitaker is among the critics of the investigation, prompting Democrats’ leader in Senate Chuck Schumer to suggest that Whitaker also take his hand from it. According to Schumer, it is clear that Trump “has something to hide” and that he is trying to stop Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller from pursuing the Russia investigation.
The midterm elections lead to a divided congress
The congressional election leads to the Democratic Party regaining control of the House of Representatives, after eight years in the minority. At the same time, the Republican Party is expanding its majority in the Senate. The victory in the House of Representatives gives the Democrats the opportunity to stop laws and to demand investigations from the president and the government. The party wins several symbolically important victories: two Muslim women and two women belonging to the indigenous people for the first time in the House of Representatives and an openly gay man is elected governor for the first time. The share of women in total increases to over 100 of the 435 members. But the Democrats are also losing several notable elections where representatives of the party’s left wing challenged Republicans. Republicans’ extended lead in the Senate gives President Trump a reason to congratulate himself and his party.
All sanctions against Iran back
In accordance with previous threats (see August 7), the United States reintroduces all sanctions against Iran that were lifted under the 2015 agreement (see Foreign Policy and Defense). The sanctions strike against oil exports, transport and the banking system. The other parties to the agreement oppose US unilateral action.
Soldiers to the border
The Ministry of Defense orders 5,200 soldiers to the border with Mexico. It is happening because of the Central American migrants heading north and which President Trump claims poses a threat to national security. The migrants, which are around 150 km from the border, are mostly expected to seek asylum when they arrive. Since April, there have been 2,100 members of the National Guard along the border.
Death shooting in synagogue
Eleven people are killed when a 46-year-old man opens fire under a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The man must have had extremely extreme opinions and expressed hatred of Jews. The act is described as the deadliest targeting Jews in US history. However, the number of anti-Semitic attacks has risen sharply in the United States in a short time. President Trump said in a comment that it would have been good if visitors to the synagogue had been armed.
Bomb kit for Trump critics
A 56-year-old man is arrested after a week when mailings with suspected explosives were sent to dozens of leading Democrats and Trump critics. No explosions have occurred, but the packages have caused a great stir. In one case, a package sent to CNN caused the TV channel’s building in New York to be evacuated in the middle of an ongoing broadcast. The package was addressed to former CIA commander John Brennan (see August 2018)). The recipients include former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and philanthropist and billionaire George Soros, who supports the Democrats. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio condemns what he calls attempted terrorist offenses. President Donald Trump first condemns all political violence but then says that the media must curb its “endless hostility” and its “constant negative and often false attacks and articles.”
Trump threatens to withdraw aid to Central America
US aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador will be withdrawn, says President Trump, because the countries do not prevent their citizens from illegally going to the United States. Trump has also threatened to close the border with Mexico and send the military there since a group of migrants left Honduras on October 12, to get to the United States on foot. The group has now crossed the border into southern Mexico and grown further, to around 7,000 individuals. Trump has claimed many of them are criminals or terrorists, and he has accused Democrats of being behind the caravan. According to Trump, this is a “national emergency” for the United States. Most migrants are vulnerable people who flee violence, persecution and poverty. According to human rights organizations, a quarter of them are children. USA:
Contested HD candidate approved
The Senate approves with the votes 50-48 Judge Brett Kavanaugh nominated to the Supreme Court (see July 31, 2018). Thus, the court gets a clear conservative overweight. The approval has been preceded by an infected fight since a woman accused Kavanaugh of a sexual assault he must have committed in 1982, when both were teenagers. The woman has testified before the Senate Justice Committee and the FBI has investigated the charges, without publishing any conclusions. Over 2,400 law teachers at nearly 200 universities have signed a letter with the view that Kavanaugh should not be approved when, in conjunction with the Senate hearing, he proved to lack “legal temperament” and instead displayed an aggressive and partisan attitude.
Iran gets support in UN court
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders the United States to mitigate the re-imposed sanctions on Iran (see August 7, 2018). The United States considers that the UN Court has no right to make a decision on the matter, as the United States has cited its national security as the basis for the sanctions. Both the United States and Iran have previously chosen to disregard court decisions.
Free trade agreement clear with Canada
At the last moment before a deadline set by the United States expires, a free trade agreement is reached with Canada, which also includes Mexico (see August 27, 2018). The new USMCA agreement will replace Nafta from 1994. It will be formally signed in November 2018.
US faces sanctions against China’s military
A military purchasing unit in China and its chief are subject to sanctions since Beijing bought Russian fighter planes and anti-aircraft robots. According to the United States, the acquisition circumvents US sanctions against Moscow introduced as a result of Russia’s actions in Ukraine in 2014 and the alleged involvement in the US election in 2016. China has not joined the Western countries’ sanctions against Russia after the Ukraine crisis. At the same time, the sanctions against Russia are being increased by an additional 33 individuals and units with links to Russian military and intelligence operations.
Stepped up trade war with China
The US is starting to introduce new customs duties on nearly 6,000 goods from China, worth $ 200 billion. Handbags, rice and textiles are among those covered when the duties come into force on 24 September. The duty rate starts at 10 percent, but there is a threat of an increase to 25 percent unless an agreement can be reached between the parties. Earlier this summer, the United States introduced two-step duties totaling $ 50 billion (see July 6, 2018)) and President Trump have constantly threatened to expand the trade war unless China adheres to US demands for fairer trade. China has said that there will once again be countermeasures if the US introduces tariffs on more goods. Trump has in turn said to move on to “phase three” and tariffs for another $ 267 billion – which would mean virtually all of China’s goods.
“Resistance in the White House”
The prestigious New York Times magazine publishes an anonymous article by a highly regarded person at the White House describing how the person himself and other employees spend considerable time preventing various irresponsible impulses from Trump, for the good of the country. The writer says he supports much of the president’s policy, but states that a “resistance group” in his immediate surroundings is working to stabilize the state apparatus. Trump calls the writer coward and “traitor.” In the days, a book is also published by one of the journalists who revealed the Watergate scandal in the 1970s (see Modern History) which reproduces similar stories from the White House.
The US is stripping grants to Palestinians
The government decides to withdraw all funds to UNRWA. The decision is a killing blow for the organization as the United States is UNRWA’s largest donor (see also January 2018).
Trump: “New trade agreement with Mexico”
After a year of negotiations, President Trump announces that the US and Mexico have reached a deal on a new trade agreement to replace Nafta from 1994. According to Trump, this is an “incredible” deal that is “much more fair” than Nafta. It is unclear how it is with Canada that has not participated in the negotiations in recent weeks. The settlement with Mexico must be approved by Congress before it can take effect.
Trump’s ex-lawyer admits the crime
21th of August
President Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating the campaign rules in the 2016 election, with the aim of influencing the election outcome. Without mentioning names, Cohen says he acted on instructions from a then-candidate – of all things Trump to judge. The acknowledgment applies to payments of money to two women to keep them quiet about alleged relationships with Trump (see March 26 and May 2, 2018). Cohen also pleaded guilty to tax offenses and for providing false information. The verdict is expected in December.
Trump’s ex-campaign manager is slammed for tax breaks
21th of August
President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is found guilty on eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud and withholding information on foreign accounts. However, the judge refuses ten other charges relating to tax and bank fraud, when the jury could not agree. The trial is the first to be held as a result of Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry, but the charges do not directly deal with Russian connections. One month later, Manafort pleaded guilty to two further counts of conspiracy, now in connection with a settlement with the prosecutor to provide lesser punishment. Manafort has worked as a lobbyist for foreign top names such as Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych.
Newspaper protest against Trump attacks
Around 350 news media take part in a joint campaign with leaders against President Trump’s recurring outcome on “fake news” and journalists as “the people’s enemies”. The initiative comes from the Boston Globe, which has urged editors across the country to take part in a call for media freedom and to distance itself from the president’s “dirty war” against the media. Many emphasize that the president’s use of language poses a threat to freedom of speech and creates a potentially dangerous situation for individual journalists. UN experts have said the same thing before. But a few polls recently showed that half of Republican voters agree that the media is the enemy of the people, and an equal share think President Trump should have the right to shut down media like CNN and the New York Times.
Ex-CIA chief suspended from secret material
President Trump has withdrawn the security rating for former CIA intelligence chief John Brennan, the White House announces. Brennan, who was CIA chief under Barack Obama, has been a staunch Trump critic and called his behavior at Putin’s meeting in July “treason”. He is now charged with “reckless conduct” and for making unfounded charges for the purpose of spreading “fragmentation and chaos”. It is unusual for high-ranking people to have their security rating withdrawn after they leave. Brennan accuses Trump of violating freedom of speech and punishing critics. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Trump later said that Brennan’s alleged involvement in the Russia investigation was behind the decision to withdraw his security rating.
Trump sues former advisers
The presidential reelection campaign begins a legal process against former political adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, with whom he has become increasingly infected. In a new book, Unhinged, Manigault Newman addresses very sharp criticism of the president, whom she calls mentally incapable, and she states that there are recordings where Trump uses pronounced racial remarks. The president has in turn gone to furious attacks on his former employee, who is African-American, and via Twitter among other things called her a “dog”. Manigault Newman has also published two recorded conversations, one with Trump himself and one with Chief of Staff John Kelly, which means the White House now claims that she has violated a confidentiality agreement.
Record fires in California
Interior Minister Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Minister Sonny Perdue are visiting California where devastating forest fires have been raging for weeks. Like President Trump, they dismiss climate change speeches, claiming that California’s climate laws and water regulation are the cause of fires to such an extent. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and dozens of people have been killed in connection with the fires. In Mendocino north of San Francisco, two weeks ago, a two-part fire, the largest in the state’s history, encompasses over 140,000 acres. Already on August 4, President Trump announced a state of emergency in the state, which means federal aid can be paid out to both individuals and businesses.
Sanctions against Turkey
The already tense relations between Washington and Ankara go into open conflict when President Trump doubles the tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey, just over a week after he imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers. The reason is that US pastor Andrew Brunson is being held in prison in Turkey, despite the US expecting him to be released. Brunson, a long-time resident of Turkey, was arrested in October 2016 on suspicion of espionage and terrorism. Turkey is said to want to create an exchange between Brunson and Turkish preacher Fetullah Gülen, who was requested to be extradited from the US. Gülen is accused by the Turkish government of lagging behind the coup attempt in Turkey in the summer of 2016. The US-Turkey conflict puts severe pressure on the Turkish currency.
Sanctions against Iran come into force
US reintroduces sanctions on Iran after leaving nuclear deal (see May 8, 2018). Some sanctions that come into effect immediately block Iran from financial institutions and hit certain important industries. Sanctions on major Iranian oil exports will apply from November. President Trump is tweeting that the sanctions are the “most cutting” ever introduced and threatens to further tighten them. He also tweeted that anyone who trades with Iran will NOT be allowed to trade with the US. Iranian President Hassan Rohani calls the measures psychological warfare and says the US government “turned its back on diplomacy”. Iran also appeals to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with a request to have the sanctions lifted.
HD judges depart
One of the nine judges in the Supreme Court, Anthony Kennedy, is retiring in accordance with a message he left just over a month earlier. The 81-year-old Kennedy has mainly been counted on by the court’s conservative branch, but has supported the liberal line on certain issues, including abortion and LGBT issues. The resignation gives Trump a chance to for the second time the court’s composition (see April 10, 2017). Trump has nominated Conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the post.
North Korea is said to be building new robots
US intelligence has discovered that North Korea may be on the verge of building new robots, reports the Washington Post. According to the report based on satellite imagery, at least two intercontinental robots are manufactured at a plant near Pyongyang. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo has testified before the Senate the week before that North Korea continues to enrich nuclear fuel, while claiming that progress is being made in talks with Pyongyang. Reports have also come about that some dismantling is occurring at North Korea’s largest satellite launch site.
North Korea returns dead soldiers
What are reported to be the remains of some 50 US soldiers who died in the Korean War are sent from North Korea with a US transport plan to the US air base Osan in South Korea. It all happens on the 65th anniversary of the cease-fire that ended in the Korean War in 1953. The return is part of the agreement between Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un at the Singapore summit.
Clearing the trade conflict with the EU
President Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announce after a White House meeting that they have agreed to continue negotiations and reduce the tension that has arisen since the US imposed steel and aluminum duties and the EU responded with penalties on US goods. The goal now is to remove all customs duties and barriers to trade, as well as subsidies on industrial goods, except in the automotive industry. In addition, the EU has promised to import natural gas and more soybeans from the US. The parties also agree to work to reform the WTO.
Extra support for farmers affected by the trade war
US farmers who are losing revenue when US trading partners face tariffs on US goods will be able to seek compensation. This applies to producers of, for example, soy, pork, fruit, dairy products. The agricultural subsidy consists of a total of $ 12 billion, which will go to both direct payments to farmers and the purchase of surplus products.
Word war between US and Iranian presidents
After Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the United States that a war with Iran would become “the mother of all wars,” Trump responds with a fierce outcome. He tweeted in capital letters that Iran should “suffer the consequences that have suffered through history” if its leaders do not stop threatening the United States. Then, an Iranian general pronounces and accuses Trump of engaging in psychological warfare without having the opportunity to act.
Trump backs away from earlier statement
After harsh criticism at home, President Trump says he accepts the US intelligence services’ conclusion that Russia was involved in the 2016 election, despite having said a day later that there was no reason to believe it. Trump says he expressed himself incorrectly at the press conference following the meeting with Putin.
Criticism against Trump after meeting Putin
President Trump meets his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin for two hours in Helsinki, Finland. Expectations of what the meeting will lead to are low and it is unclear after the meeting what it actually gave, as only the two leaders and their interpreters were present. Afterwards, strong reactions in the United States come to the meeting, where Trump has been perceived as being against Putin, especially when the issue of Russian involvement in the 2016 US election comes up. Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington react negatively to Trump’s perceived belief in the Russian president more than the FBI when Putin once again denies any involvement by the Russian state.
No exceptions for the EU from sanctions against Iran
The United States rejects an appeal from a high political level within the EU that some European companies should be exempted from sanctions against Iran. The reason is that the US wants to put maximum pressure on the government in Tehran. Exceptions are made only if it benefits US interests, says Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo. The EU fears that the new US sanctions will lead to the EU losing billions in lost trade revenue. However, the EU does not want to break the sanctions against the US will, as it then risks deteriorating relations with the White House. The new sanctions were introduced in May after the US withdrew from the 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Twelve Russians are charged with hacking Clinton’s election campaign
Twelve people at the Russian military intelligence service GRU are charged with hacking into Democrats and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. The defendants are accused of performing “large-scale cyber operations” for the purpose of stealing documents and emails from the Democratic camp. No Americans are being prosecuted because the prosecutor’s side believes that the campaign workers who have had contact with the hackers are not aware that they were Russian agents. Russia has denied all allegations of involvement in the cyberattacks.
Trump is putting pressure on NATO allies
President Trump picks up leaders of other NATO countries at the two-day summit in Brussels. Trump is demanding that members increase their contributions to two percent of GDP now immediately instead of the year 2024 as planned. He also demands that all countries in the long term allocate 4 percent of GDP to NATO. Trump is particularly reliant on Germany contributing 1.24 percent compared to the US 3.50 percent. Citing Germany buying gas from Russia, Trump is accusing Germany of being Russia’s “prisoner”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel replies that she knows very well what it means to live under Russian domination and that she is glad that reunited Germany has the opportunity to make its own independent decisions. After two days of negotiations, Trump claims that all countries have agreed to increase their contributions and that NATO is now “much, much stronger than two days ago”. According to Trump, US involvement in NATO remains very strong, mainly due to the other member states pledging to pay more.
The US is facing customs duties on Chinese goods
According to the decision made by President Trump on June 15, the United States is beginning to impose 25 percent customs duties on Chinese goods, equivalent to a $ 34 billion value. At the same time, duties for another $ 16 billion are on the way. The Beijing government accuses the United States of “launching the biggest trade war in history” and responds by imposing penalties on US goods of equal value. China’s actions will prompt the US the following week to announce that a process has been initiated to introduce new tariffs on Chinese goods worth $ 200 billion as early as September.
Double messages in nuclear weapons negotiations
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pyongyang for two days to discuss how the nuclear weapons agreement between the country’s presidents will be implemented. According to the agreement reached by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un in June, a “complete nuclear disarmament” will take place on the Korean Peninsula. According to Pompeo, progress is being made during the talks, but shortly after Pompeo left the country, North Korea publishes a statement accusing the United States of endangering the agreement through “one-sided and gang-like” demands. The confusion escalates when President Trump announces that he has received a very friendly letter from Kim Jong-Un in which the North Korean leader commends Trump and predicts a bright future for relations between the countries. At the same time, the United States demands that the UN impose a total ban on oil supplies to North Korea.
Head of environmental authority resign
Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, leaves his post after being accused, among other things, of working closely with lobbyists in the energy sector and wasting taxpayer money. As head of EPA, Pruitt has made a number of decisions that have drawn criticism from environmental organizations, such as abolishing environmental regulations for the energy and manufacturing industries. He has also supported President Trump’s decision for the United States to abandon the Paris Agreement.
Canada faces tariffs on US goods
Canada introduces new tariffs on over 200 US goods in response to the Canadian aluminum and steel tariffs introduced in June. The highest duty rate, 25 percent, will be on steel and aluminum from the United States, and while such items as boats, pizza, sweets and toilet paper will be subject to customs duties of 10 percent.
Deadly attack on newspaper
A man shoots five employees at the Capital Gazette magazine in Annapolis, Maryland. The man arrested by police after the attack must have sued the newspaper for slander in 2012, without success.
HD approves entry ban
The Supreme Court approves with voting numbers 5-4 Trump’s entry ban (see September and December 2017) for people from five predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Syria) as well as from North Korea and Venezuela. Chad, who was previously on the list, was cleared in April. The majority of judges accepts the argument that the ban is needed for national security, while the judges who voted against believe that the ban violates religious freedom, since Trump first advocated a ban on all Muslims. The court’s message is received with cheering by Trump who calls it a great victory for the nation and the constitution.
Trump switches foot on criticized migrant policies
Following widespread criticism, President Trump reverses a controversial policy that has led to over 2,300 children divorced from their parents at the border with Mexico since early May. The parents who tried to enter the United States were arrested while the children were taken care of. Pictures of even very young children in detention centers have been wired around the world. The handling is called both cruel and immoral, even by Republicans. The White House has first defended itself with the rule of law and Trump has argued that it is the Democrats fault. According to the new presidential decree, parents and children must now be detained together. There is uncertainty about what happens to the children who have already been taken care of separately – and at the end of August, 500 children are still reported to be separated from their parents.
The United States leaves the UN Human Rights Council
The government announces that the US is leaving the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and is accusing it of hypocrisy and political bias. Among other things, the Council is criticized for running a constant campaign against Israel, while several countries are members who violate human rights. The UNHRC was established in 2006 but the United States did not join until 2009, under Barack Obama.
Decisions on duties on goods from China
President Trump announces that tariffs of 25 percent should be imposed on over 1,000 goods from China, worth around $ 50 billion a year. These are mainly high-tech goods. The new duties will start to apply in July. Trump charges China with theft of technology and intellectual property assets such as patents and trademarks. China responds promptly by announcing that duties will be imposed on US goods at about the same value. A few days later, Trump threatens to add additional tariffs worth $ 200 billion, which would mean a hefty increase.
Historical summit with North Korea’s leaders
President Trump, who traveled directly to Singapore from the G7 Summit in Canada, will be the first sitting US president to meet a North Korean leader. Trump and Kim Jong-Un for talks at a luxury hotel and then sign a document calling for North Korea to work for “complete nuclear disarmament” on the Korean Peninsula and to build “lasting and stable peace”. Trump says the two leaders created “a special bond” between themselves. In a press conference after the meeting, Trump surprisingly states that the United States should cease joint military exercises with South Korea, which are usually held annually.
Trump conflicts with other G7
During a two-day summit in Canada between G7 leaders, Trump stands in clear opposition to the other six major powers. This is particularly true of the free trade issue, where the others protest against US new tariff barriers and plan countermeasures, with the risk of an escalated trade war. Despite the contradictions, the meeting ends with a joint communique. But Trump changes shortly afterwards and withdraws his signature in a Twitter post. In particular, he accuses Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being “lying and” weak “because of statements made at a press conference. Other G7 leaders express dismay at Trump’s actions.
Trade war threatens when customs duties are introduced
Steel and aluminum duties previously announced by the US enter into force. Negotiations with the EU, Canada and Mexico – traditionally allied with the US – have been ongoing since President Trump in March presented plans to introduce tariffs of 25 and 10 percent respectively on steel and aluminum. The talks have not led anyone where and now customs are a fact. Trump cites national security as a reason, but from the EU’s point of view, it is claimed that the tariffs that violate WTO rules. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström calls it a “political insult”. A trade war is now being feared as affected parties plan countermeasures.
Trump blows by North Korea meeting – almost
24th of May
President Trump cancels the meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un scheduled in the spring (see March 9). The message comes after a statement from Pyongyang that Trump describes as “openly hostile”. The day after the announcement, Trump says the meeting may still take place and preparatory talks continue between US and North Korean representatives.
Trade war with China is halted
For the time being, the US and China refrain from raising tariffs between themselves after entering into an agreement (see also March 22). Few details are made public, but according to the agreement, China will buy more goods and services from the US, in order to balance the trade balance between the countries. Trade Minister Steve Mnuchin says the US will impose tariffs worth $ 150 billion unless China meets the agreement.
Another school shoot
Ten people die when a 17-year-old opens fire in Santa Fe, outside Houston, Texas. The victims are eight students, all teenagers, and two teachers. The offender is arrested by police. Shooting has occurred more than 20 times in the United States this year, with a total of 39 deaths as a result.
The embassy in Jerusalem is inaugurated
President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner, and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo attend as the United States officially inaugurates its embassy in Jerusalem (see December 6, 2017). At the same time, extensive protests are ongoing among Palestinians who oppose the move, mainly at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Over 50 Palestinians are killed in violence and 2,700 injured.
The US signs the Iran agreement
President Trump announces in a speech that the US withdraws from the Iran nuclear program agreement of 2015. Trump, citing US security as reason, has repeatedly rejected the agreement that, after years of negotiations between Iran on the one hand and the US, France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany on the other. The US should reinstate harsh sanctions on Iran, and Trump says other countries that “help Iran” are also at risk. The message is expected but is met with sharp criticism from the other parties to the agreement. However, Trump receives strong support from Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“Trump replaced porn star outlay”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now one of Trump’s attorneys, confirms that the president has replaced attorney Michael Cohen for the $ 130,000 he spent (see March 26, 2018). Giuliani, who makes a statement in a TV interview with Fox News, emphasizes that the transaction was legal because it was not campaign money. Trump, who previously denied all knowledge of the payment, admitted last week that “a deal” has been made with Daniels. Cohen is under investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department who in April conducted a raid on his home, office and hotel room. A few days after the $ 130,000 statement, Giuliani states that Cohen is no longer one of Trump’s lawyers.
CIA commander in North Korea
CIA chief Mike Pompeo was reported in American media in North Korea during Easter and met with leader Kim Jong-Un there. The meeting should have been a preparation for the planned Trump-Kim meeting (see March 9, 2018). Pompeo, who has been nominated for the post of foreign minister, is the highest-ranking representative of the United States who has met with a North Korean leader since 2000. At that time, then-Foreign Minister Madeleine Albright met Kim Jong-Il, father of North Korea’s current leader.
Air strikes in Syria
Along with France and the UK, the United States is attacking three strategic locations in Syria with about 100 robots. The targets are linked to Syria’s nuclear weapons program. Trump has warned of the attack since the report of a new nuclear weapons attack, against the city of Duma on April 6. He has accused Russia of supporting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whom he called “an animal” and said it will be “a high price to pay”. Russia accuses the United States of violating the United Nations Charter.
The National Guard is deployed at the border
Texas becomes the first to send the National Guard to the border with Mexico, after President Trump said that up to 4,000 National Guard will guard the border until a wall is built. California, Arizona and New Mexico are also expected to contribute. For a number of days, Trump has raged via Twitter about the migration, threatening Mexico to completely abandon the Nafta free trade agreement.
Veteran Minister dismissed
The minister responsible for military veterans, David Shulkin, gets fired after being accused of wasting taxpayers’ money during a vacation trip. Shulkin has criticized Trump for plans to privatize ex-military healthcare, the largest single healthcare system in the United States (Veterans Health Administration, VHA). Trump nominates White House physician Ronny Jackson as new veteran minister, but he later withdraws from the process after accusations that he appeared drunk at work and distributed prescription drugs on loose grounds.
60 Russian diplomats are expelled
The US expels 60 Russian diplomats as a result of a nerve poisoning attack on a Russian former spy and his daughter in the UK in early March. Some 20 other countries, mainly in the EU, also expel diplomats, in solidarity with the British government accusing Russia of being behind the attack. A total of over 100 Russian diplomats are expelled. Moscow denies all involvement and replies a few days later with the expulsion of 60 US diplomats.
The White House dismisses the porn star’s accusations
The White House rejects information about a relationship that porn star Stephanie Clifford claims to have had with Trump in 2006. The rebuff is a reaction to a well-publicized TV interview with Clifford, which goes by the name of Stormy Daniels. Trump himself has not commented on the information. Clifford says she has been threatened and said she received $ 130,000 to keep quiet about the deal, just before the 2016 election. President’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has stated that he paid just $ 130,000 out of his own pocket, unclear why. Clifford has sued Trump for having the confidentiality agreement annulled and is now expanding the sentencing to include Attorney Cohen who is accused of slander. A former Playboy model, Karen McDougal,
Mass protest against gun laws
24th of March
Hundreds of thousands of people participate in demonstrations in over 800 cities in the United States, demanding stricter gun laws. The initiative for the protest has been taken by schoolchildren at the school in Parkland, Florida, where a school shooting took place in February. In Washington DC alone, over 800,000 are reportedly demonstrating. After the Florida massacre, many companies have terminated cooperation agreements with the influential gun lobby NRA.
Final budget is adopted
The Senate approves a budget of $ 1,300 billion for the remainder of the fiscal year. The House of Representatives has already approved the package as the more than 2,000 page long package that now only needs the President’s signature to apply. Some Republicans oppose the budget because it involves large spending increases – contrary to the conservative basic idea that the state’s commitment should be slim. The budget is valid for the remainder of the financial year, until last September, and means that the threat of a shutdown of the state apparatus is averted once it is signed.
The security manager is replaced
Trump announces security adviser HR McMaster replaced by former UN ambassador John Bolton from April 9. Bolton is known as hawk and has stated support for attacks against both North Korea and Iran. Speculation about the switch to the post as head of the NSA Security Council has been going on for weeks. Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd, who represented the president in the Russian investigation, has also just announced that he is resigning.
Criticism of Putratratulation
President Trump congratulates his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin, who has just been re-elected – despite the fact that his security adviser has clearly discouraged him from doing so. Trump also refrained from raising the issue of the ex-spy who has been exposed to nerve poisoning in the UK, an assassination attempt that both US and UK governments accuse Moscow of being behind. Trump is criticized by, among others, Republican Senator John McCain, who tweeted that “an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators for winning the scam.”
Impact operation via Facebook in the election
A scandal is growing since it was revealed that British analytics company Cambridge Analytica sold personal data of 50 million Facebook users to Trump employees in 2014. The data should have been collected under false pretenses, and used for targeted political messages that may have affected the election outcome in 2016. Facebook breaks down the collaboration and says have been subjected to fraud, but criticism of the media giant is growing. Cambridge Analytica was founded by Republicans, including Steve Bannon, who later became Trump’s chief strategist.
Deputy FBI chief is fired
Deputy FBI commander Andrew McCabe gets fired and accused of being dishonest and for leaking information to the media. McCabe has been in conflict with President Trump and is said to have left pm to Mueller’s investigation, regarding conversations with the president. It is speculated whether the PM can show that Trump was trying to obstruct justice. The days following the dismissal, Trump is stepping up his criticism of McCabe, Comey and Mueller – in a Twitter storm, the president is accusing them of lying and he again calls Mueller’s investigation into a “witch hunt”. The harsh results are prompting several Republicans to warn Trump of trying to kick Mueller.
Sanctions against 19 Russians
US imposes sanctions on 19 Russian citizens accused of involvement in the 2016 election and cyberattacks. Among those appointed are all 13 individuals whom the Justice Department’s special prosecutor Robert Mueller filed charges against in February. The decision on the sanctions is announced by Finance Minister Steve Mnuchin, who says they are targeting “ongoing disgraceful attacks” by the Russian side. Five institutions are also covered by the sanctions, including the Russian military intelligence service GRU, as well as the Internet Resarch Agency’s magic factory, which was also mentioned in Mueller’s prosecution. The sanctions would freeze any assets in the United States and prohibit US citizens from doing business with the designated ones.
Republican backlash in fill election
the 13th of March
It is almost a draw when a county election is held in Pennsylvania for the federal House of Representatives, which means a stinging defeat for Republicans who are normally very strong in the district in question. Democrat candidate Conor Lamb wins by just a few hundred of about 200,000 votes. Lamb may, however, only sit for a short time as Pennsylvania’s electoral district has been redrawn for the fall midterm elections. The seat became vacant since the sitting Republican resigned in October 2017, following a sex scandal.
Foreign Minister Tillerson fired
the 13th of March
President Trump dismisses Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter, nominating CIA chief Mike Pompeo as new foreign minister. It has long been speculated that Tillerson would be allowed to go. As a reason, Trump states that he and Tillerson have different “chemistry”. Trump nominates Gina Haspel as new CIA chief. Haspel has been disputed because of torture of prisoners that occurred during her time as CIA commander in Thailand. Both Pompeo and Haspel are later approved.
Intelligence committees see no Russian influence
the 12th of March
The Republican majority in the House of Representatives intelligence committee says they haven’t found any evidence pointing to a collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russian government officials. The conclusion is that Russia interfered in the election, but without it to Trump’s advantage. The committee’s Democrats oppose the conclusion, accusing Republicans of protecting the president instead of protecting the nation. The committee’s conclusion runs counter to the one that the intelligence services have drawn and also to the special prosecutor Mueller’s investigation.
Trump will face North Korea’s leaders
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un invites Trump to a meeting, and Trump thanks him. The message is given by South Korean government officials who sent a message to the president of the White House, a few days after a high-level meeting between North and South Korea. The North Korean dictator is now reported to be prepared to work for the Korean Peninsula to become nuclear weapons-free, and should have promised to cease nuclear weapons and robot tests.
Yet another adviser leaves the White House
President Co leading economic adviser Gary Cohn announces he plans to step down. He says no reason, but Cohn has been very critical of proposals that Trump presented about introducing steel and aluminum duties. The president has proposed tariffs of 25 and 10 percent, respectively, against allies such as Canada, Mexico and the EU. Steel and aluminum make up 2 percent of US imports, so it’s about high volumes. The message has led to falling stock prices and consternation among Republicans as well.
Head of Communications resigns
Hope Hicks, President Trump’s communications chief, announces that she will step down. Hicks is considered one of Trump’s closest associates and has worked for him longer than anyone else in the White House. She took over as communications manager after Anthony Scaramucci (see July 2017). Prior to that, she was “strategic communications manager”, a post created specifically for her.
Trump’s son-in-law is deprived of security rating
President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner are deprived of the right to access some of the top secret documents in the White House. His placement in the highest security class has been temporary. This also applies to other White House employees who will now also not have access to the most secret intelligence reports. Kushner’s job is to manage relations with Mexico and the Middle East peace process. US media reports that four countries have tried to influence Kushner and take advantage of his business operations. These are the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.
Russians are being prosecuted for involvement in the elections
Thirteen Russian citizens and three Russian companies are being prosecuted for under false identities trying to strengthen Trump’s chances in the 2016 election. The prosecution is the first thing prosecutor Robert Mueller raises that concerns direct involvement in the election. According to the indictment, the Russians have claimed to be Americans and often represented grassroots movements when they acted through Facebook and Instagram, bought digital advertising and spread false information. Twelve of the defendants are said to have worked in a magic factory called the Internet Research Agency, which engaged in an information war against the United States with the help of hundreds of fake accounts on social media. Trump criticizes the prosecution and continues to deny all Russian cooperation. However, his security adviser HR McMaster says at a security conference in Germany that the evidence of Russia’s involvement in the election is undeniable.
17 dead in school shooting in Florida
Seventeen people are shot to death at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Police arrest the 19-year-old offender, a former student who was suspended from school for disciplinary reasons. The school shooting is described as the worst since the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut (see December 2012) and again brings to life the debate on gun laws.
New short shutdown of the state apparatus
The state apparatus will be shut down for the second time in a short period of time (see January 22) after the Congress again failed to reach a budget settlement in time. This time, the Senate and then the House of Representatives first voted for a settlement just hours after the deadline, so that the shutdown does not have any practical significance. The settlement includes spending of about $ 300 billion over two years, of which more than half goes to the military. Critics believe that a result will be a sharp increase in debt.
The FBI conflicts with the White House about secret pm
President Trump gives the go-ahead to announce a secretly stamped congressional PM from the House of Representatives intelligence committee, despite the federal police calling on the FBI to refrain. The FBI believes that the selection of information in the short document is “gravely” misleading. The PM is about the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the elections. Trump says it “completely absolves” him of suspicion, an interpretation not shared by everyone. The Ministry of Justice has also opposed its publication.The Democrats who claim that the document constitutes an attempt to discredit the Russia investigation are putting together their own pm to provide background and clarify their views on the matter. The intelligence committee votes for the Democrats’ pm to be made public as well. But on February 7, it is halted by Trump, citing intelligence security.
Investigation of election fraud is closed
President Trump closes a commission he appointed in May that would investigate electoral fraud in 2016. The motive states that several states have refused to disclose requested information, and that the White House does not want to waste taxpayers’ money. Trump has claimed that up to 5 million votes were placed illegally on Hillary Clinton, but no evidence has been presented for the allegation.
Minister of Justice in Russian interrogation
The Department of Justice confirms information that Justice Minister Jeff Sessions has been questioned by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who is investigating the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. Sessions is, as far as is known, the first government member to be interviewed by Mueller. The prosecutor should also have questioned James Comey, the former FBI boss whom Trump fired in May. Mueller is also reported to want to interrogate Trump himself soon.
Protective duties on washing machines and solar panels
The White House announces that tariffs will be imposed on washing machines (20 percent) and solar panels (30 percent), in the first major trade policy spell since the United States withdrew from the TPP and initiated renegotiations of Nafta (see January and August 2017). The aim is to put “America first” and protect domestic manufacturers from foreign competition. The measures are particularly striking against China and South Korea, which are major exporters of solar panels and washing machines, respectively. Both countries are quick to criticize the decision.
The state apparatus opens after a brief shutdown
Both congressional chambers agree overtime on a temporary funding of state spending, the fourth short-term settlement since the start of the fiscal year in October. This time, the deadline is passed by three days and some federal operations begin to be closed down before a compromise is reached (compare October 2013). The Democrats who demanded a solution for the young people covered by the Daca migrant program (see September 2017) agree that the issue will now be debated further. The temporary budget will run until February 8.
“Russia and China’s biggest security threat”
Defense Secretary James Mattis says that “revisionist states” such as China and Russia pose the greatest threat to US security, not terrorism. Mattis, who speaks at a university, urges Congress to give the military more money. This is the first time a Trump administration representative defines security priorities. Under Obama, militant Islamist groups were identified as the biggest security threat to the country.
Dismissed contribution to the Palestinians
The United States holds more than half of an expected payment to the UN Refugee Agency for Palestinians, UNRWA. The message comes a few days after Palestinian President Mahmud Abas in a speech raged against Trump, calling his Middle Eastern policy the “earpiece of the century” and saying he would not accept any American peace plan – all a reaction to Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump has said the US could cut funding for the Palestinians if they do not cooperate in the peace process with Israel. The United States normally accounts for almost 30 percent of UNRWA’s budget.
The Iran treaty lasts long, new sanctions
Trump announces that the United States is refraining from tearing up Iran’s nuclear program agreement “for the last time”, giving the parties another four months to renegotiate the terms. At the same time, the United States is imposing new sanctions on 14 individuals and organizations in Iran, due to the regime’s handling of a protest wave there.
Court cuts down on election manipulation
A federal court orders for the first time a state to redraw its electoral districts when the existing subdivision has been made on the basis of party politics (a phenomenon called gerrymandering). The ruling concerns the Republicans who govern North Carolina and who in 2016 made explicit efforts to make the division advantageous for the party. Earlier judgments regarding electoral districts have been about racial discrimination.
Trump is raging against controversial book
An attentive book comes out a few days in advance since the president’s lawyers tried in vain to stop the publication. Michael Wolff, author of the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, says he has interviewed 200 people and that “100 percent” of everyone around Trump questions his mental capacity. Excerpts from the book have been published in advance, including statements by Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who calls it “unpatriotic” and “treason” when President Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then campaign manager Paul Manafort met a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin this summer 2016. Bannon also makes statements about several of Trump’s family members. Trump says Bannon lost his mind and threatens him with legal recklessness.