After 30 days full of major headlines and breaking news, the first month of summer has already come and gone with its many events and momentous scenarios marking June as an arguably newsworthy month.
Deadly terror attacks to investigations into Russian collusion to weighty decisions made by the Trump administration, here are the top news story of June 2017:
- June 1st: Things Heat Up After America Withdraws from the Paris Accords.
The first day of the month started off strong newswise when President Trump announced the United States of America would be leaving the Paris Climate Accords. Signed by a total of 195, Trump made an unprecedented step by joining the mere two other countries who do not abide by the Paris Accords.
Though open to negotiations to re-enter the Paris Accords, Trump and supporters of his decision believe the Accords are detrimental for American business and economy because its terms put America at a financial disadvantage as compared to other nations within the agreement. Trump’s decision reflects his “America First” policy of governing, with Trump saying at an afternoon event in the Rose Garden on June 1st, “I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
On the other side of spectrum, Trump’s decisions has been getting significant backlash rather than the support he had seen from many conservative counterparts. From business leaders to former president Barack Obama to Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, many have condemned Trump’s actions and bring forth arguments against his decision concerning the wellbeing of the planet and any potential consequences of climate change that may occur due to leaving the Accords.
However, Trump’s withdrawal will not go into full effect until November of 2020, the US is likely to experience the impact of leaving the Accords prior to the official departure.
- June 3rd: Deadly Terror Attacks near London Bridge Leaves At Least Seven Dead and Dozens Injured
Not long after the Manchester suicide bombing that occurred on May 26 at the Ariana Grande concert, England experienced another life threatening attack when a van ran off the road and into a busy London sidewalk near London Bridge.
After crashing into the sidewalk with the van, at least one man rushed into a nearby market area wielding a knife and reports came in saying that many had suffered serious injuries from stabbings.
Though the attack left several in grave condition and seriously injured, the three male attackers were shot and killed within eight minutes of the first reports. The attackers were wearing fake explosive vests and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack according to its Amaq news service the following day on June 4.
- June 8: James Comey Testifies Before the Senate Intelligence Committee
After being fired by President Trump in early May, former FBI Director James Comey revealed many key pieces of insight into the Russian-collusion investigation in his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, with one of the most striking pieces of information being Comey himself was responsible for the leak of his accounts of conversations with Trump.
Comey said he believed getting these conversations into the public eye would lead to the orchestrastion of a special council to investigate the president and his administration. In an unprecedented manner, Comey said he decided to write down all conservations with Trump due to wary feelings about possible misinterpretations made on Trump’s behalf.
So, Comey admitted he asked a friend at Columbia University to leak Comey’s memos to the public in order for actions to appoint a special council to be considered. Also, Comey said within his testimony that Trump has lying tendencies and hints at possible obstruction of justice when Trump allegedly told Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Much more information and revelations surround the whole Russia investigation and what went into the firing of Comey as additional testimonies by people like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and statements by Trump have added more claims to the mix.
Also, the plot thickened when the Washington Post reported on June 14 that President Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.
- June 13: American Otto Warmbier released from North Korean Prison, Lands Back in US
After a going on a trip to tour North Korea back in January 2016, college student Warmbier was detained at the Pyongyang airport due to claims security had footage of Warmbier attempting to steal a political poster hanging on the wall of the hotel he was staying at.
Warmbier was then given an hour-long trial in North Korea for his alleged crime where the state declared Warmbier had committed “hostile acts” against North Korea because he was affiliated with threatening people back home, a secret university organization, and the CIA.
Thus, in his last public appearance, Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March of 2016. Earlier this June, US intelligence was informed Warmbier had contracted botulism a year ago and was currently in a coma due to taking a sleeping pill.
Declared to be in “bad shape”, Warmbier was released from the North Korean prison after spending over 17 months in North Korean detention and he was sent to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center the evening of June 13.
However, Otto release was short lived and after only days of being back in the US, Warmbier died on June 19. Warmbier’s death and medical condition is suspected to stem from tortuous treatment from the North Korean government.
- June 20: Republican Karen Handel Wins Georgia’s Special Election
After Rep. Tom Price departed from his seat in Congress to become Trump’s Health and Human Services, there was a vacancy in the House which called for a special election within Price’s district in Georgia. Due to the current stakes of the House with a Republican majority in all three branches, the Democrats looked at this special election as a chance to begin regain popularity within Congress.
So when Democratic Jon Ossoff was selected to face off against Republican Karen Handel, Democrats donated nearly $23 million into Ossoff’s campaign to help guarantee their first major victory since Trump entered office. When the election day rolled around, this specific election became the most expensive house race in the history of Congress, totalling around $50 million combined from their parties and super PAC’s.
However, the Dem’s massive contributions failed to earn Ossoff his seat. When the results came in, Handel won the vote 51.8% to 48.2%, besting Ossoff by 3.8%. This election proves what the Democrats and the Republicans have to look forward to when the 2018 midterm elections roll around.
At this point, the Republicans still seem to have the upper hand, but the small percentage between the votes could prove that the Democrats could possibly see victory progress is made.
- June 17: USS Fitzgerald Wrecks with Cargo Ship off the Coast of Japan
Off the east coast of Japan, seven navy sailors went missing after their navy destroyer collided with a cargo ship, which the impact caused the Fitzgerald to rip open and caused water to pour into the ship. Though two of the sailors tried to help the other five sailors escape, the ship eventually lost communication with officials and the seven sailors were eventually found dead in the flooded area.
Five out of the seven sailors have been identified: Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19; Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25; Ngoc T Truoung Huynh, 25; Noe Hernandez, 26; Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23; Xavier Alec Martin, 24; Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37.
At the moment, the US Navy, US Coast Guard, and Japanese naval and maritime authorities are conducting investigations into the deadly wreck. Until then, the true cause of the accident is undetermined and justice for what occurred to the sailors is yet to be found.
- All throughout June: GOP Health Care Bill Still To Be Altered
With their outspoken disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress have made it their goal to finally repeal and replace the so called “ObamaCare”. After the House Bill failed early this year, the Senate has been diligently working to on their new health care plan and as of June 22, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans revealed the 142 bill and they were planning to vote on the bill the following week.
However, a good majority of the Democrats and even some key Republican senators show strong opposition against the bill, addressing that they see issues with factors like too high premiums, the fact it repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate, federal cutbacks on Medicaid, and the elimination of extra taxes on the wealthy.
Also, the Republicans have faced extreme backlash from the Democrats for the drastic limits on their involvement in the bill and the lack of public hearings for the bill. As of June 27, McConnell backtracked on his previous plans for the Senate to vote on the bill that week and instead wants to withhold the vote until after the July 4 recess. McConnell wants to make some adjustments to the bill, which might be due to the fact the bill has faced much criticism even within the GOP.
This extension on the vote could make the strength and effectiveness of the bill less certain and could leave Senators more wary, but this does not mean the Republican Bill is dead.