2017 Year in Review - U.S. News

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Top events for the nation and the world in 2017

Shootings in America

Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting
Shooting in Ft. Lauderdale
A shooter opened fire inside a terminal of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing several people and wounding others before being taken into custody on January 6, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The suspect is Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran. To see all other shootings from 2017, click here.
Photo source: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Travel Ban

President Trump's Travel Ban Faces Setbacks
Travel Ban
On February 3, Judge James Robart blocked the Trump administration's executive order on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Robart claimed that the "travel ban" is unconstitutional on grounds of discrimination, and shouldn't be enforced unless affirmed by appeal. Many passengers who had been held up at Customs were allowed to resume travel to and from the listed countries. On March 6, the President issued a new executive order, which no longer barred travel from Iraq and reduces the restrictions on Syria. On March 15, District Judge Derrick Watson blocked the Trump Administration's order on immigration. On June 26, the Supreme Court reinstated select measures from the President’s travel ban. On November 13, a California U.S. Appeals Court stated that six countries will be affected by a new ruling that approved part of President Trump’s travel ban. Travellers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad may be denied entry if they do not have familial or “formal, documented” relationships connected to the U.S. (Reuters/CNN)
Photo source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Michael Flynn Resigns

Michael Flynn Resigns From Security Council Amid Scandal
Michael Flynn
On February 13, retired Army general Michael T. Flynn resigned from his position as national security adviser after a massive scandal broke about connections between him and the Russian ambassador to the US. Flynn had previously served as director of the DIA under President Obama, before being recruited by the Trump administration. On March 30, former national security adviser Michael Flynn requested immunity in exchange for his testimony as investigations get underway about ties between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. On December 1, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in court after being charged by Robert Mueller, who claimed Flynn made false statements about meeting with Russia’s ambassador. Because he pleaded guilty, Flynn will not face trial.(Reuters)
Photo source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Dakota Access Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline Timeline
Dakota Access Pipeline
On February 23, protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline were cleared out of their camp in anticipation of the pipeline's construction. The Army Corps of Engineers had previously revised their plans for construction, which would cut through and potentially damage the land of the Standing Rock Sioux. On November 16, the operator of the Keystone Pipeline announced that 21,000 gallons of oil had leaked in South Dakota. The pipeline was shut down in the morning. On November 27, TransCanada restarted the Keystone pipeline. Investigations and clean-up are still in progress at this time, so the pipeline will be reopened at a reduced pressure to avoid another mishap. (The New York Times)
Photo source: AP Photo/James MacPherson

Historic Elections

Minorities and the LGBT Community See Historic Elections
On April 5, Alaska elected its first openly LGBT politicians in the city of Anchorage. Felix Rivera and Christopher Constant were voted into the Anchorage Assembly. Felix Rivera is also the city's only non-white representative, despite Anchorage being the most ethnically diverse city in the US. November 8 proved to be a historic election for minority and LGBTQ candidates. Along with various cities who elected their first African-American mayors, New Jersey elected its first Sikh mayor. Two openly transgendered candidates also defeated their opponents during their states’ elections. On November 19, New Orleans elected its first female mayor: LaToya Cantrell. Cantrell’s victory will coincide with the 300th anniversary of the city when she takes office in May. (HuffPost/CNN)
Photo source: Bigstock, File

New Supreme Court Justice

Neil Gorsuch Sworn in as New Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Neil Gorsuch
On April 10, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in at the White House as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court after a contentious confirmation process. Gorsuch was only admitted after Senate Republicans change Senate protocol to require a simple majority of 51 votes for appointee confirmations, rather than the traditional 60 votes. (Reuters)
Photo source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Files for Local Government Bankruptcy
Puerto Rico
On May 3, facing approximately $123 billion in debt, the government of Puerto Rico went to federal court to seek government assistance, effectively declaring bankruptcy. Puerto Rico has historically been denied the ability to appeal for such aid, as it is not technically a State, but last year Congress altered this longstanding rule. Puerto Rico's debt is many times more than that of Detroit, $18 billion, which was previously the highest such claim. (The New York Times)
Photo source: AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File

James Comey

FBI Director James Comey Fired
James Comey
On May 9, FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Trump. Comey, who previously led the investigation into candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, was investigating potential Russian involvement in the Trump campaign at the time of his firing. This is not the official reasoning for his firing, but critics are quick to draw connections to the Watergate scandal, which was the last time a president fired the lead investigator in a case against him. On June 8, Comey was called before the U.S. Senate to testify on the matter of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Comey claimed that he was expressly fired due to his role and insistence on carrying the investigation forward. (BBC)
Photo source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

Sean Spicer

Sean Spicer Resigns as Press Secretary
Sean Spicer
On July 21, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced his imminent resignation following Donald Trump’s appointment of Anthony Scaramucci to the position of Communications Director. Spicer has been one of Trump’s most prominent staff members, and his loss comes as a surprise to many. In August, he was replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Following this, some White House interns claimed to see Spicer steal a minifridge, though this is unsubstantiated. (New York Times)
Photo source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Military Ban

President Trump Plans to Ban Transgender Troops from Military
Transgender Troops
On July 26, President Trump sent out a tweet (apparently without consulting the Joint Chiefs of Staff) saying that he intends to completely bar transgender Americans from military service. The president claimed that the inclusion of trans people into the military will cost too much in health care and reduce battle-readiness. Trans people were only recently allowed to serve openly, following a long investigation into the potential costs. On August 29, roughly one month after President Trump declared a ban on trans citizens serving in the military, Defense Secretary Mattis announced that transgender troops will retain their ranks and duties while the Department investigates the combat-readiness of the Armed Forces. On December 11, a judge ruled that starting January 1, the military must accept transgender recruits. (The Hill)
Photo source: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Immigration Plan

President Trump Announces New Immigration Plan
Immigration Plan
On August 2, President Trump announced a new immigration plan. The RAISE Act, drafted with the support of Tom Cotton and David Perdue. The act prioritizes skilled workers for acceptance into the U.S., whereas the current system favors immigrants with familial ties in the country. The Act would curtail legal immigration into the United States by nearly one half each year. Critics call the act unfairly biased, and point out that immigration is responsible for maintaining the U.S. population against declining birth rates. (The Washington Post)
Photo source: Mark Lennihan/AP, File

Attack in Charlottesville

"Unite the Right" Rally Held in Charlottesville
On August 12, a loose coalition of the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-nazi organizations held a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally's main focus was to protest the removal of a state honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. When counter-protesters arrive, one of the white supremacists drove his car into the crowd, killing one woman and injuring several more. Following the violence, many cities and states begin removing Confederate memorials immediately. (CNN)
Photo source: Go Nakamura via AP

More Resignations

19 Trump Administration Members Resign
On August 18, either in direct response to the events surrounding Charlottesville or for more nebulous reasons, 19 members of the Trump administration resigned from their posts. This included the entire Committee on the Arts and Humanities, who cited their dissatisfaction with the President's response to the rally. Perhaps more notably, special advisor Carl Icahn stepped down, as well as staunch Trump ally and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The Breitbart executive had been a mainstay of the president's campaign and staff. (Associated Press)
Photo source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik


President Trump and DACA
On September 5, the White House announced that it would bring an end to DACA, the program meant to provide young undocumented immigrants a means to full legal citizenship and benefits. The move met stiff opposition from the executives of many major companies, who widely employ DACA beneficiaries. (The New York Times)
Photo source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais


'Me Too' Gains a New Momentum
Alyssa Milano
Nearly ten years ago, Tarana Burke started her campaign—Me Too—to help women, young and old, cope with sexual harassment and sexual assault. In light of the Weinstein allegations, the movement has gained a new momentum when actress Alyssa Milano urged followers to tweet #metoo on October 14. The movement has been so successful, the National Women’s Law Center has “gotten twice the volume of calls of people who have said they’ve experienced harassment,” according to the organization’s chief executive, Fatima Goss Graves.(CNN/ The New York Times )
Photo source: AP Photo/Willy Sanjuan


Opioids Declared a US Public Health Emergency
On October 26, President Trump officially declared opioids an US public health emergency. His declaration will redirect federal resources for rural areas; however, the declaration has not granted more funding to stop the crisis. (Reuters)
Photo source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Terrorist Attack

8 Dead in Manhattan Terror Attack
Manhattan Attack
On Tuesday, October 31, a man drove his rented Home Depot truck near the World Trade Center. The suspected driver, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, plowed his vehicle into pedestrians along the West Side Highway bike path, killing eight and wounding another eleven. Saipov was shot by police and is currently in the hospital. Sources say a note in the truck claimed this attack was for ISIS. (CNN)
Photo source: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Background Checks Enhanced

Review of Gun Background Checks System Ordered by Jeff Sessions
Following the shooting at a small Texas church, Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the gun background checks system on November 22. The shooter, Devin Kelley, had previous domestic assault charges which would have prevented him from purchasing a gun had they been correctly reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This error has prompted Sessions to ensure that all data is properly being reported to the NICS. (Reuters)
Photo source: AP Photo/Cliff Owen


Manigault Resigns
Trump Advisor Omarosa Manigault resigned her post in the administration on December 13.
Photo source: AP Photo/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx

Tax Plan

Republicans Revise Tax Plan
Tax Plan
According to the latest reports, Republican leaders agreed on a revised plan to cut taxes that lowers the corporate rate from 35% to 21% and drops the top individual rate for the richest Americans to 37%. (Los Angeles Times)
Photo source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Net Neutrality

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality
On December 14, The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality. The decision faced much outcry from the public. (CNN).
Photo source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

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