Most Important Trump Events in Second Year of His Presidency

December 18, 2018 by John Harrington

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images
There is one thing Never Trumpers and MAGA hat wearers can agree on about our 45th president — he is never dull.

The Tweeter in Chief has spent the second year of his presidency dealing with the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. President Donald Trump disparaged the probe and voiced his support for those caught up in the investigation, such as former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to federal investigators about contacts with the Russian government.

Turbulence has reigned in the administration, which has turned over many cabinet posts, such as secretary of state, attorney general, interior secretary, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and chief of staff. The reasons varied, from conflict with the president — he made a name for himself for firing people on his reality show “The Apprentice” — to ethics probes.

Immigration was a divisive issue as the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings led to the forced separation of children from adults and prompted an outcry from both sides of the political aisle about what was seen as a heavy-handed implementation of the policy.

Trump made good on his campaign promise to pull out of the nuclear accord with Iran in May, and a month later made history by meeting North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un as the two sought to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Relations between the president and the news media were generally contentious and boiled over in November when the White House revoked the credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. Many newspapers coast to coast responded to Trump’s charges that they report fake news in editorial rebuttals.

Throughout the year, Trump has continued to take pride in the economic surge that accelerated after he became president. However as the year draws to a close, the soaring stock market he had taken credit for has faltered, the Mueller probe continues, and an incoming Democratic House of Representatives will likely turn up the heat on more investigations into the president’s business dealings. Next year is likely to be just as turbulent as 2018.

Here are the most important events in the second year of the Trump presidency.

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

1. Jan. 12, 2018

Wall Street Journal reports that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid adult film star Stormy Daniels hush-money to silence her about her affair with the president.

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Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

2. Jan. 20-22, 2018

Government shuts down for three days over disagreement between the two political parties over fixing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy, which gave legal protections to young immigrants. The shutdown ends when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes a commitment to hold a vote on the immigration issue and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agrees to continue negotiations on immigration and spending issues.

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3. Jan. 31, 2018

Trump signs an executive order that keeps the Guantanamo Bay prison center open, reversing the effort of President Barack Obama to close it.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

4. Feb. 5, 2018

Trump claims a congressional memo vindicates him. The memo alleges the FBI abused its powers during its investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible connection with Russia.

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5. Feb. 16, 2018

A New Yorker magazine story details an alleged affair between a Playboy model and Trump and the methods used to suppress her story.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

6. Feb. 28, 2018

Trump appears to shift away from conservative doctrine on gun control by agreeing with legislative proposals to expand background checks beyond the current system. He also supports raising the age limit to buy certain guns.

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Source: Tom Mihalek / Getty Images

7. March 5, 2018

Trump’s announcement of a planned 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum roiles equity markets and prompts retaliation responses from America’s trading partners.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

8. March 13, 2018

Saying it would threaten national security, Trump blocks Singapore chipmaker Broadcom’s proposed takeover of U.S. company Qualcomm. The deal would have been the biggest ever in the technology sector.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

9. March 13, 2018

Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after expressing dissatisfaction with him for months. He eventually replaces him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

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10. March 23, 2018

Trump issues a memo stating that transgender people are “disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.” LGBT advocates quickly denounce the administration’s action.

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11. May 8, 2018

Trump announces that the United States is pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, despite opposition from America’s allies. The president had campaigned against the accord. The agreement, negotiated by the Obama administration, had lifted economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran agreeing to limits on its nuclear program.

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12. June 12, 2018

In a historic first, Trump meets with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in a summit in Singapore and they vow to work toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The two plan to meet again in 2019.

Source: John Moore / Getty Images

13. June 15, 2018

The administration’s enforcement of its “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings from Mexico leads to the separation of children from adults and causes a political firestorm.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

14. June 27, 2018

Justice Anthony Kennedy announces that he would retire from the Supreme Court, creating an opportunity for Trump to nominate a conservative to fill the vacancy and tilt the court in a more conservative direction for possibly decades.

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Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

15. July 5, 2018

Scott Pruitt resigns as head of the Environmental Protection Agency amid questions raised by lawmakers and government watchdogs over possible ethical transgressions, including Pruitt’s alleged costly traveling first class and a room he rented to a lobbyist at relatively low price.

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

16. July 11, 2018

During a summit in Brussels with NATO allies, Trump says members of the alliance need to pay more for their defense. He chides Germany as being “a captive of Russia” because it buys oil and natural gas from Russia.

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Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

17. July 13, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, investigating possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election, indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers, who are accused of trying to interfere in the election as well as hacking the Democratic National Committee. The announcement of the allegations comes days before Trump’s scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images

18. July 16, 2018

Following his summit meeting with Putin, lawmakers and pundits left and right roundly criticize Trump for his appearance with the Russian president. In the summit, Trump appears to downplay the conclusion of American intelligence sources that Russia tried to help him win the election, takes swipes at the FBI and special counsel for their probes into possible Russian interference in the election, and slams the U.S. news media. Former CIA Director John Brennan calls Trump’s public statements “nothing short of treasonous.”

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19. July 19, 2018

The president nominates Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the resignation of Anthony Kennedy. Abortion rights advocates express opposition to Trump’s choice of Kavanaugh, while Democrats are concerned about some of his written opinions on executive privilege.

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Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

20. Aug. 12, 2018

Trump calls for a boycott of Harley Davidson Inc. after the motorcycle maker announces it is going to move production of its signature motorcycles overseas. Harley Davidson says the move is designed to avoid tariffs imposed by European Union countries in response to Trump’s imposition of duties on imported steel and aluminum.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

21. 21. Aug. 13, 2018

The FBI fires one its agents, Peter Strzok, for making derisive remarks about Trump in text messages when the president was running for office. Strzok, who had risen to become deputy assistant director, counterintelligence, was previously reassigned after a Justice Department internal investigation discovered the texts.

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Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

22. Aug. 15, 2018

The president revokes the security clearance of John Brennan, a frequent critic of his, saying the former CIA director was using classified material to create chaos about the Trump administration.

Source: Tim Bradbury / Getty Images

23. Aug. 16, 2018

In a coordinated effort, newspapers from coast to coast publish editorials rebutting Trump’s charge that the media are writing fake news and are the enemies of the people. The Boston Globe, which took the lead on the initiative, estimated that about 350 newspapers participated.

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

24. Aug.18, 2018

The New York Times reports that White House Counsel Don McGahn has given voluntary interviews to investigators looking into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice. Trump claims his administration is being transparent in regard to the probe.

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Source: Yana Paskova / Getty Images

25. Aug. 21, 2018

Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen pleads guilty to campaign violations, saying he arranged hush-money payments to an adult film star and a Playboy model who said they had affairs with Trump before he became president.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

26. Aug. 21, 2018

Trump expresses pity for his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is convicted of eight felonies related to bank and tax fraud.

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Source: Keith Lane / Getty Images

27. Aug. 25, 2018

Trump continues to praise former campaign chairman Paul Manafort after his felony convictions, leading many top White House aides to speculate a presidential pardon is imminent. Manafort has not been pardoned yet.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

28. Sep. 5, 2018

The New York Times publishes an opinion piece by an anonymous contributor claiming to be a senior Trump administration official. In the piece, the author is critical of the president, portraying him as unfit for office, and claims to be part of an internal resistance, saving the country from Trump’s worst impulses.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

29. Sep. 13, 2018

In an early morning tweet, Trump argues that the official death toll in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria of just under 3,000 is heavily inflated. Trump says in the tweet he believes the storm left no more than 18 dead.

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

30. Sep. 17, 2018

Rhetoric in the trade war with China escalates as Trump suggests on Twitter he would be happy to impose more tariffs on top of the $50 billion already in place.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

31. Sep. 17, 2018

Citing reasons of transparency, Trump orders the declassification of records from early in the Russia investigation, including text messages from former FBI Director James Comey.

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Source: Pool / Getty Images

32. Sep. 21, 2018

In an early morning tweet, Trump casts doubt on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault accusation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Up until this point, Trump remained largely silent on the issue.

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33. Sep. 25, 2018

In front of the U.N. General Assembly and representatives from 193 countries, Trump’s claim that his administration has accomplished more than almost any other in U.S. history is met with laughter.

Source: David McNew / Getty Images

34. Sep. 30, 2018

The Trump administration agrees with leaders of Canada and Mexico on the terms of an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement. The updated agreement is named U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

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Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

35. Oct. 9, 2018

Trump announces the resignation U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Unlike other high level administration departures, Haley leaves on good terms and without providing an explanation.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

36. Oct. 11, 2018

In an interview broadcast on the Fox network, Trump accuses the New York Times of writing the op-ed piece it published the previous month that was purported to be written by an anonymous Trump administration official.

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Source: Courtesy of CBS News

37. Oct. 14, 2018

CBS airs a “60 Minutes” interview with Trump, in which the president reverses his previous claim that climate change is a hoax. In clarifying, Trump explains he is not sure whether or not humankind is to blame for climate change, and that he does think the climate will eventually “change back.”

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

38. Oct. 15, 2018

A federal judge dismisses a defamation lawsuit brought by former adult film actress Stormy Daniels against Trump. The president may still face criminal charges, however, for ordering a six-figure payment in the final months of the election to keep Daniels quiet about their previous affair.

Source: John Moore / Getty Images

39. Oct. 22, 2018

In an early morning salvo of tweets, Trump advises the U.S. military and border patrol that the migrant caravan coming up through Mexico is a national emergency. Trump also threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border and cut off aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

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Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images

40. Oct. 23, 2018

In an Oval Office interview, Trump calls the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul “the worst cover-up ever.”

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

41. Nov. 6, 2018

The GOP loses control of the House after Democrats flip far more than the 23 seats they needed in the 2018 midterm election.

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Source: Pool / Getty Images

42. Nov. 7, 2018

The White House revokes Jim Acosta’s press pass after earlier in the day the CNN reporter repeatedly tried to question Trump about the Russia investigation and refused to relinquish his microphone to a White House intern.

Source: Zach Gibson / Getty Images

43. Nov. 7, 2018

Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The two had had a turbulent relationship since March 2017, when Sessions recused himself from any investigation into the 2016 election, a move the president resented.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

44. Nov. 8, 2018

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocks Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, an Obama-era initiative that protects young immigrants from deportation.

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Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

45. Nov. 20, 2018

Trump reaffirms the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia, effectively standing with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey. The president’s position is at odds with CIA findings.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

46. Nov. 28, 2018

Trump expresses willingness to shut down the government unless Congress authorizes $5 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the centerpiece of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

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Source: Pool / Getty Images

47. Dec. 8, 2018

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announces his imminent departure after less than a year and a half on the job. As chief of staff, Kelly imposed tough restrictions on who was allowed to meet with the president, a quality that put a strain on his relationship with Trump.

Source: Yana Paskova / Getty Images

48. Dec. 12, 2018

Michael Cohen is sentenced to three years in federal prison for paying hush money to women who reportedly had sexual affairs with Trump, crimes Cohen committed as Trump’s personal lawyer. Cohen had also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

49. Dec. 17, 2018

After falling over 500 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has its worst start to December since 1980. Experts point to growing trade tensions between the United States and China, rising interest rates, and slowing global economic growth.

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Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

50. Dec. 18, 2018

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announces the Trump Foundation will be dissolved under the supervision of a judge. The announcement comes after the New York AG’s office found that the charity organization illegally served as little more than a checkbook for Trump’s business and political dealings.