Coming up this week in politics: Trump and Putin meet while Freedom Caucus mulls impeachment charges
Following a contentious week that brought both a new Supreme Court nominee and Trump-induced controversy in Brussels and the United Kingdom, the president is set to start this week with another high-profile event: a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump and Putin are set to meet in Finland Monday, kicking off a week that will also be marked by the ongoing family separation crisis, a runoff election and a potential congressional attack on the Robert Mueller probe.
Here’s what to expect from this week in politics.
Trump-Putin meeting: Trump and Putin are slated to meet at 1:00 p.m. local time Monday at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki in a likely one-on-one meeting with no set agenda or policy goals. While the summit will likely include discussions on Syria, Ukraine and a nuclear arms treaty, the focus from outside the meeting will be on how Trump handles the charges of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The meeting comes days after a grand jury indicted 12 Russian officials for meddling in the 2016 election. Trump has said he will “ask” Putin about the meddling; however, many believe he will not go far enough to condemn the country’s actions and forcefully discuss them with the Russian leader.
Alabama runoff election: Alabama residents will head to the polls Tuesday for a runoff primary election ahead of the November midterms. The most high-profile battle is between Republican congressional candidates Rep. Martha Roby and Bobby Bright, who previously served in Congress as a Democrat. Incumbent Roby came under fire for calling Trump’s comments about women “unacceptable” during the 2016 campaign. However, the congresswoman has since earned endorsements on Twitter from both Vice President Mike Pence and Trump himself, who said Roby has been “a consistent and reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda.”
Congress: Congress is expected to move forward on its farm bill this week, which has to be consolidated after passing in the House and Senate ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline. The bill could result in changes to the SNAP food stamps program, as the House version of the bill mandates stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients that could hurt the LGBTQ community and other marginalized Americans.
The House Judiciary Committee will take on social media Tuesday, as representatives from Google, Twitter and Facebook appear before the committee for a hearing on social media companies’ content-filtering practices. Other congressional committees will meet this week to take on such topics as the effect of tariffs on rural communities, preparing for the 2018 hurricane season and the “erosion of the international order” in conjunction with Russia’s occupation of Georgia.
House Republicans could also attack the ongoing Mueller probe this week. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are reportedly expected to produce an impeachment filing against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia investigation. It could come as soon as Monday. Republicans previously expressed their frustration over the Russia investigation during a public hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok Thursday, which devolved into partisan arguments.
Family separations: The Trump administration is expected to continue its court-mandated efforts to reunite immigrant families who were separated under the administration’s zero tolerance policy this week. The administration faces a court-imposed July 26 deadline for reuniting more than 2,500 children with their families, following a deadline last week for reuniting younger children that the administration did not meet. Ahead of the deadline, the court has mandated that the administration provide a list of names of parents in immigration custody and their children by Monday and complete background checks by Thursday, according to PBS NewsHour.
Medical research: In a blow to the medical community, the Trump administration is set to completely delete the National Guideline Clearinghouse Monday due to budget cuts. The NGC, which is maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, contains a wide breadth of medical guidelines and up-to-date research. Valerie King, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University, told the Daily Beast the database was “perhaps the most important repository of evidence-based research available.” Though the website is accessed by approximately 200,000 visitors per month and widely referenced by doctors, not even an archived version of the database will remain.