Serves as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County. Includes stint as chief of homicide bureau, where he prosecuted high-profile cases, including the murder of 13-year-old John Pius in Smithtown. That case featured teenage witness and later Spota protégé James Burke, who would go on to work as Spota’s chief investigator before becoming Suffolk police’s chief of department in 2012.
Works in private practice. Gains political prominence representing county law enforcement unions.
Switches party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run for Suffolk district attorney against longtime Republican DA James Catterson. After bruising campaign, Spota wins by a large margin.
Releases grand jury report on sexual abuse by 58 priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre dating back decades. Wins national attention for issuing one of the first such reports in the country.
Wins first re-election, without an opponent and endorsed by all major and minor parties.
Wins conviction of Islip Town Supervisor Peter McGowan, a Republican, on corruption charges stemming from illegal use of $1.2 million campaign fund.
Wins second re-election, again without an opponent and endorsed by all major and minor parties.
Brokers deal with County Executive Steve Levy that results in Levy not seeking a third term and turning over his $4 million campaign war chest to Spota’s office. Spota closes a criminal investigation into Levy’s fundraising. Neither Spota nor Levy has ever provided a detailed explanation of the agreement.
The state’s highest court rules that Suffolk’s 12-year term limit does not apply to the district attorney’s office, allowing Spota to run for a fourth term. He again receives cross-endorsements from all major parties, defeats a GOP primary challenger and wins re-election.
Secures guilty plea of Suffolk information technology commissioner Donald Rodgers on misdemeanor counts related to his failing to disclose business interests on his county financial disclosure form and his work on a multimillion-dollar county software deal.
Begins investigating then-Babylon Democratic chairman Robert Stricoff for alleged irregularities in campaign committee expenses. He later refers the case to the state Board of Elections.
His protégé Burke is charged by federal prosecutors with beating a man who had broken into his SUV and then orchestrating a departmentwide cover-up. Burke pleaded guilty and later is sentenced to 46 months in federal prison.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stands on the steps of Spota’s office and asks for his resignation, saying Spota was heading a “criminal enterprise” that used the prosecutor’s office to punish enemies and protect friends. Spota accuses Bellone of having a “personal vendetta against me for investigating and prosecuting people he is close to.”
Newsday reports that federal prosecutors had opened a criminal investigation into the actions of Spota’s office, including handling of the Levy and Burke cases, those involving Stricoff and Rodgers, and a 2011 shooting of an unarmed cabdriver by an off-duty Nassau police officer who had been drinking heavily and was never charged. Spota has denied wrongdoing.
May 12, 2017
Spota announces he will not seek a fifth term.
Oct. 25, 2017
Spota is indicted on federal charges in a cover-up of Burke’s assault of a suspect in 2012.
Smithtown politician Patrick Vecchio, the longest-serving town supervisor in Long Island history, will leave office at the end of this year, after losing a close vote to a rival from his own party last week.
When he began overseeing Smithtown in 1978, he embarked on a political career that ultimately would span seven U.S. presidents and witness a world of change over four decades.
Below, see milestones from Vecchio’s career on the left, and, on the right, major world events that occurred during the course of his time as Smithtown town supervisor.
Dec. 8, 1977
Vecchio defeats Republican town Supervisor Charles Cacciabaudo by 67 votes.
Jan. 20, 1981
Ronald Reagan becomes president. Iran hostage crisis ends.
Wages unsuccessful campaign to unseat state Sen. James Lack.
Nov. 5, 1985
Wins fifth two-year term as supervisor.
January 28, 1986
Space shuttle Challenger disaster
May 25, 1989
Endorsed by Smithtown Republicans for re-election, the first time he receives bipartisan backing.
Nov. 7, 1989
Wins seventh term – and first four-year term. (Voters in 1988 had approved extending the supervisor’s term.)
Nov. 9, 1989
Berlin Wall falls.
Feb. 13, 1990
Switches parties in bid to unseat Democratic County Executive Patrick Halpin.
Sept. 12, 1991
Loses both Republican and Conservative county executive primaries.
July 17, 1996
TWA Flight 800 crashes off Long Island.
Sept. 11, 2001
World Trade Center attacks.
June 29, 2007
The first iPhone is released.
Nov. 3, 2009
Wins 12th term as supervisor, defeating Democrat Patricia Biancaniello.
Nov. 6, 2012
Barack Obama is elected president for a second term.
Sept. 10, 2013
Defeats Councilman Robert Creighton in Republican primary. Goes on to win November general election.
Jan. 20, 2017
Donald Trump becomes president.
Sept. 25, 2017
Concedes defeat in Republican primary to Councilman Edward Wehrheim.
While the role of a borough president can seem ceremonial at times, these are the only politicians whose sole purpose is to advocate for a whole borough.
“The borough-wide perspective is an important one, and we work with the legislators in order to deliver that perspective,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz says.
The borough presidents use that perspective to advise on issues like land use and the city budget. Their primary role isn’t to pass legislation, Katz notes, although they can sponsor legislation if they partner with a member of City Council. But in order to achieve their agendas, they must work with city agencies.
“In Borough Hall, what you do is interwoven in these agencies, and you need to figure out a way to get the mayor and the administration to work with you,” Staten Island Borough President James Oddo says, noting that it’s different from working in City Council, where there are ways to achieve agendas “not only without the administration’s help, but despite the administration’s help.”
The five borough presidents, who are all up for reelection in November, focus on issues that many city politicians speak on, including securing affordable housing and promoting healthy living.
Their days can include anything from mundane meetings to dancing with seniors at a local center. Here’s a snapshot of the lives of each of the borough presidents.
Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr.
“We’ve been so beaten down psychologically and spiritually.” Credit: Corey Sipkin
Ruben Diaz Jr. “can’t stand” that his son, in his 20s, moved to upper Manhattan when he graduated college, he says with a laugh over lunch at a Bronx pizzeria.
He wants young people, like his son, to stay in the Bronx, but that hasn’t always been the mindset. When the borough president grew up in the Bronx, the mindset was to get an education and get a job so you could “get the hell out.” Now, as the borough sees more and more development, there’s more reason to stay, he says.
In order for that “skilled, young workforce” to remain, however, there needs to be affordability — and not only for the lowest incomes, Diaz, who has been borough president since 2009, says. Affordable housing needs to have a mix of availability for low-income and middle-income.
“If you don’t have that balance, then you’re really not setting our professionals up for a place to stay here.”
Hear more from Diaz by clicking on the video above.
Staten Island BP James Oddo
“Staten Islanders have an elevated expectation of their elected officials.” Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
“I am hyper by nature. I like to bounce around the building,” Borough President James Oddo says as he tosses a rubber ball between his hands at his desk at Staten Island’s Borough Hall in St. George.
That energy also translates to his job, which he said is “to fight for Staten Island every day, all day,” and many days it is a fight – with city agencies.
“I’ve told the mayor in chapter and verse, in Technicolor language, about just how frustrating it is to deal with agencies like DDC [Department of Design and Construction], and at times DOT [Department of Transportation].”
Oddo, who was a council member for 15 years before becoming borough president in 2014, works with city agencies on quality of life issues like getting roads paved, which he says has been a long battle.
“For 15 years, we essentially underinvested in our roads in terms of resurfacing, and four years ago, just about any community in Staten Island, just about every other block was crumbling,” but in the last three years, more roads have been paved than ever before, Oddo says.
Hear more from Oddo by clicking on the video above.
Queens BP Melinda Katz
“People, right now, are trying to figure out all over the world how to bring their kids and their parents to the borough of Queens.” Credit: Raychel Brightman
When Melinda Katz introduced her then-6-year-old son to an assemblyman, young Carter was confused because he wasn’t a woman.
“Men can be elected officials, too,” she recalls telling him, adding that he “learned that on that day.”
“From my son’s perspective, women are very strong,” she says.
Katz, a single mom raising her two sons in her own childhood home in Forest Hills, served in City Council between 2002 and 2009 and became borough president in 2013. She often refers to Queens as the “borough of growth” or the “borough of families.”
“We have folks coming in from all over to bring up their kids here.”
But there are challenges that come with that growth, including a need for more jobs in the borough. “The economy is the key factor in moving forward here,” Katz says. “The creation of jobs as we grow is going to be the pivotal thing.”
Hear more from Katz by clicking on the video above.
Brooklyn BP Eric Adams
“There’s no building off limits.” Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
Eric Adams is incredibly proud of his transformation after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016.
“I want to be a living example of how wellness matters, how you can reverse your condition by living a healthier lifestyle and making smarter choices,” he says in his Downtown Brooklyn office, which features a cooking station, exercise equipment and a standing desk. By becoming vegan and exercising every day, Adams, who took office in 2014, says he was able to reverse his diagnosis.
As borough president, he wants to give residents of Brooklyn – the second unhealthiest borough according to the 2017 County Health Rankings – the tools to “take power over their health.”
One way he does this is by investing in greenhouses, especially at NYCHA properties, “where you have some of the worst eating habits and access to healthy food,” and at schools, where healthy habits can be taught to children who can then teach their parents, he says.
Hear more from Adams by clicking on the video above.
Manhattan BP Gale Brewer
“The biggest challenge in Manhattan is the affordability crisis.” Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang
Even Gale Brewer can’t overcome Manhattan’s transit problems. “The traffic is an issue. Sometimes the subway’s faster, but not always,” she said, after deciding she won’t be able to make an event before a 2 p.m. meeting at her office near City Hall. “It’s too bad, I was trying to get to it.”
The borough president craves face-to-face meetings with her constituents, appearing at as many as 12 events, public meetings, rallies or other functions a day.
“You can only do so many things.”
In between events, though, Brewer — a college professor and mom of several foster kids — also tries to mentor younger generations. Her office accepts all intern applicants, who can range from high school students to graduate students, and she’s been known to have as many as 150 interns at one time.
Brewer, who was elected in 2013, said she likes to have as many as possible. “It gives us an excitement of young ideas in the office,” she said. “I love to see them grow.”
Hear more from Brewer by clicking on the video above.
In a highly anticipated congressional hearing, former FBI Director James Comey gave blunt answers to questions about his interactions with President Donald Trump, the circumstances around his own firing and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
And though Comey released his written testimony the day before the hearing, his answers still rang loud across the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere. Here are the most talked-about moments of the testimony.
10:20 a.m. ‘Those were lies, plain and simple.’
Some of Comey’s earliest remarks would end up being those most widespread. In his opening statement, he said while he intended to return to life as a private citizen, he rejoined the conversation because of what Trump has said publicly about his firing: “Those were lies plain and simple.” He went on to say that the White House “chose to defame me and the FBI.”
10:51 a.m. A Trump response – but not the one we were expecting
It was widely expected that Trump would tweet during the hearing, but he never did. Instead, at about an hour in, his son Donald Trump Jr. sent out a string of tweets in response to the testimony about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
1/3 Flynn stuff is BS in context 2 guys talking about a guy they both know well. I hear "I hope nothing happens but you have to do your job"
Comey was trying to defend that, in a conversation with the president about the Flynn investigation, he agreed that Flynn was a “good guy.” Comey explained that he had been trying to choose his words carefully during the conversation, which had made him uncomfortable. He then referred to a tweet by Trump in May, which implied there may be tapes of those conversations.
Comey: "What was playing in my mind was what should be my response" jokes that he hopes there are Oval Office tapes to prove conversation
11:47 a.m. Does ‘hope’ mean order? And was it obstruction?
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Comey shared a moment when the former asked if Comey took Trump’s words on the Flynn investigation as a directive. According to one of Comey’s memos, Trump had said, “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.”
Angus asked Comey whether he viewed the president’s “hope” as an order. Comey said yes, and proceeded to quote a line attributed to King Henry II in 1170.
#ComeyTestimony (When president says I hope you will drop it did you take it as directive?) Yes/Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome priest
It’s been a month of extraordinary drama since President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, rife with leaked details of private memos detailing interactions with the president and the rare appointment of a special counsel to alleviate concerns of White House interference in an ongoing investigation.
See how today’s congressional hearing — one of the most anticipated in recent memory — played out, moment by moment.
Trump’s lawyer releases a statement:
While the President did not respond directly to Comey’s testimony, his personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, spoke with reporters and released this statement about an hour after the session concluded.
10:20 a.m. Trump administration ‘chose to defame me’
In Comey’s opening, he says he left office intending to return to life as a private citizen. He rejoined the conversation because of what Trump was saying about his firing — he said: “those were lies plain and simple.”
"So it confused me when I saw on television that the president actually fired me because of the Russia investigation": Comey
The testimony, Comey’s first public comments since his May 9 firing, unfolds against the extraordinary backdrop of an FBI investigation that has shadowed the Trump White House from the outset and threatens to cripple its agenda.
At the time he was fired, Comey had been overseeing the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign for months.
The White House’s stated reasons for firing Comey were contradicted by the president himself, raising questions about whether Trump had fired Comey to derail the Russia investigation.
The White House initially said Trump was acting on the recommendation of Justice Department leaders, citing as justification a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that lambasted Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. But Trump gave a different explanation when he said in an NBC News interview that he had already decided to dismiss Comey and was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he did so.
Trump’s actions and justifications presented the possibility that Trump’s intention was to obstruct justice.
The official release of Comey’s remarks on Wednesday afternoon came shortly after the conclusion of testimony from Comey’s former national security peers who refused to answer senators’ questions about their own interactions with Trump. There have been reports that the president tried to pressure NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly push back on the investigation.
The former director’s prepared remarks answered many of the looming questions:
Did the president ask Comey for his loyalty? Yes. “I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey said in his written testimony.
Did the president ask Comey to stop investigating his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn? Yes. “I had understood the president to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December,” Comey said.
How often did Trump and Comey communicate with each other before he was fired? Nine times, Comey said. “Three in person and six on the phone.”
After one of these encounters, did Comey actually tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he did not want to meet with the president alone again? Yes. “I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me,” Comey said.
But Republicans are likely to press Comey on why he did not raise his concerns about Trump publicly or resign. Some may attempt to divert attention from Comey’s remarks about Trump by focusing on two issues they’ve repeatedly seized on: leaks and revealing the names of Americans in intelligence reports.
Will Thursday turn into a Comey-Trump debate about their private conversations? Will GOP senators ask Comey question from Trump's tweets? https://t.co/AY18BbrHDf
The White House said Monday it would not invoke executive privilege over Comey’s upcoming testimony — officials predicted it would look bad otherwise.
Comey, who is used to not answering lawmakers’ questions about ongoing investigations, is not likely to say anything Thursday that could interfere with, or undercut, the ongoing federal investigation into Russia ties. That investigation is being led by Comey’s predecessor, Robert Mueller.
On Tuesday, Trump was asked what his message for Comey would be. He said, “I wish him luck.” (After the release of Comey’s opening remarks Wednesday, Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz said “The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe … [Trump] feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”)
Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!
From the opening statement: Comey’s account of previous Trump meetings
Jan. 6, Trump Tower
Comey stays behind in a conference room to speak privately with Trump after intelligence officials brief the president-elect in his New York headquarters about explosive findings that the Russians tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
It is Comey’s job to warn Trump that a dossier containing salacious and unverified allegations about the president-elect is floating around.
Comey skips over Trump’s exact response, but says that “based on President-elect Trump’s reaction,” he assures Trump that his personal conduct isn’t under investigation.
Comey starts writing up a record of the encounter on a laptop in the car as soon as he gets out of the building.
Jan. 7, White House Green Room
Comey gets a midday phone call from now-President Trump inviting him to dinner at the White House that night. Comey’s not sure who else is invited, but assumes other people are coming.
It turns out it’s just the two of them, at a small oval table.
Trump asks whether Comey wants to keep his job even though the FBI director had twice before told Trump he wanted to stay on.
This makes Comey uncomfortable, because it feels like Trump is creating a “patronage” situation in which Comey will owe Trump for his job.
Things get stranger from there, when Trump tells Comey: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
“I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey writes. “We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on.”
Trump returns to the salacious allegations against him, calling them disgusting and saying he’s considering ordering Comey to investigate and disprove them. Comey warns that such an investigation could “create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t.”
The president circles back to loyalty.
Trump: “I need loyalty.”
Comey: “You will always get honesty from me.”
Trump: “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.”
Comey: “You will get that from me.”
Comey writes up the whole exchange, and concludes: “It is possible we understood the phrase ‘honest loyalty’ differently.”
Trump and Comey in the Blue Room on Jan. 22. Getty Images photo.
Feb. 14, Oval Office
Comey is part of a group giving Trump a counter-terrorism briefing, but the president asks him to stay behind at the end.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions lingers, and Trump shoos him away. Senior adviser Jared Kushner lags behind, too, and Trump sends him on his way.
Alone at last, Trump gets right to the point: “I want to talk about Mike Flynn,” the president’s fired national security adviser. Trump says he fired Flynn for misleading the vice president about his contact with the Russians but nonetheless calls Flynn a “good guy” and urges Comey to “let this go.” To Comey, it’s a not-so-veiled request that the FBI drop any investigation of Flynn regarding false statements about his contact with the Russians.
To Comey, the president’s request was “very concerning, given the FBI’s role as an independent investigative agency.”
At some point, chief of staff Reince Priebus sticks his head in the door by the grandfather clock, a group of people waiting behind him, and Trump waves him off.
Comey offers only that Flynn is a “good guy.”
He adds: “I did not say I would ‘let this go.”’
Comey exits the Oval Office through the door by the grandfather clock, making his way through the crowd of people just outside.
After Comey writes up his latest encounter, he implores Sessions “to prevent any further direct communication between the president and me.”
That turns out to be the last meeting between Trump and Comey, but the two talk by phone at least twice more before Trump fires Comey on May 9.
March 30, phone call
Comey says Trump told him the Russia investigation was creating a “cloud” over his presidency.
And Comey says the president asked him what they could do to “lift the cloud.”
Comey also says Trump told him that he “had nothing to do with Russia” and “had not been involved with hookers in Russia.”
President Donald Trump’s proposal would balance the federal budget within 10 years, achieved through deep spending cuts and rosy predictions for economic growth and revenues.
And it’s getting an icy reception on Capitol Hill.
The proposal was harshly criticized by Democrats, and even some Republican allies rebuked it for politically unrealistic cuts to the social safety net and a broad swath of other domestic programs.
See how every department would be affected and what that would mean for its bottom line:
The proposed budget would limit subsidies to farmers, including a cut in government help for purchasing crop insurance. Crop insurance is overwhelmingly popular program with farm-state senators in both parties, and previous farm bills have only increased spending. The budget would also limit spending on environmentally-friendly conservation programs and some rural development dollars that help small towns build infrastructure.
Trump isn’t the first president to try to limit farm subsidies. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also proposed major reductions, but farm-state lawmakers have always kept them going. The Republican chairmen of the Senate and House agriculture committees both said Tuesday they oppose Trump’s proposed cuts.
The budget would eliminate three economic development agencies and several grant programs aimed at preserving the environment and dealing with climate change. The Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be eliminated.
The budget would also eliminate several grant programs run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: the Sea Grant, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, Coastal Zone Management Grants, the Office of Education and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
The Pentagon’s proposed 2018 budget would fund increases of almost 43,000 in the size of the active duty military and 13,000 in the Reserves. It provides troops a 2.1 percent pay raise, adds F/A-18 fighter jets and seeks a new round of base closures, which Congress routinely rejects.
It also increases the amount of money used for training Afghan forces and conducting counterterror operations in Afghanistan.
Eliminates after-school and teacher training programs, ends subsidized federal student loans and loan forgiveness programs for public servants, funds year-round Pell grants and expands funding for school choice for low-income students.
Trump’s budget would hike spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for maintaining the nuclear stockpile, while cutting other energy spending. The budget seeks $120 million to revive the mothballed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository (pictured below), which is hugely unpopular in Nevada and was largely stopped by the efforts of former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.
The budget also slashes $700 million from an Energy Department office that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy and eliminates the Office of Science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which supports research into new energy technologies.
Environmental Protection Agency 31%
The budget cuts EPA by nearly one-third, eliminating more than 3,800 jobs while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs. Adjusted for inflation, the proposed budget would represent the nation’s lowest funding for environmental protection since the mid-1970s. The Superfund pollution cleanup program would be cut by $330 million, to $762 million.
Health and Human Services 1.3%
The budget initiates deep cuts to health insurance programs for people with modest incomes, including coverage for children. Those cuts would go beyond the House GOP bill that repeals much of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” and limits future federal financing for Medicaid.
Homeland Security 3.2%
The budget asks Congress for $2.6 billion for border security that would include a down payment for Trump’s long-promised wall and increased technology along the U.S.-Mexican border. The budget calls for $314 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It also requests a $1.5 billion increase for ICE to arrest, detain and deport immigrants in the country illegally. The plan also proposes cutting about $667 million in grants administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That includes proposed cuts to the Urban Area Security Initiative and eliminating the Transportation Security Administration’s law enforcement grants.
Housing and Urban Development 22.9%
The budget would eliminate HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion effort that funds local improvement projects, affordable housing construction and other social supports like meals for seniors and enrichment programs for low-income children.
The budget proposal says the program is not well targeted to poor populations and hasn’t showed measurable impact on communities. The administration’s budget also seeks to cut costs to the department’s rental assistance programs — a $2 billion decrease to $35.2 billion. Rental assistance programs comprise about 80 percent of the agency’s total funding.
The budget calls for opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, where it is now prohibited, while eliminating offshore oil revenues used by Gulf Coast states to restore disappearing shorelines.
Arctic drilling, a contentious issue that would require congressional approval, would generate an estimated $400 million a year in tax revenues by 2022, according to the White House. Elimination of revenue-sharing to the four Gulf Coast states — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — would generate $1.6 billion over the next five years, the document says. The proposal also includes money for seismic surveys to provide data for possible offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean where it is now barred.
The budget adds $26 million for 300 new assistant U.S. attorneys to fight gangs, violent crime and illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has identified those areas as his top priorities. The plan calls for 230 of these prosecutors to be stationed in yet-to-be-named cities deemed hot spots for violence.
Another 70 will be assigned to border states, focusing on those who enter and re-enter the country illegally after deportation, as well as document-fraud, human smuggling, drug trafficking and other immigration-related offenses.
Trump is proposing cuts in job training programs including $434 million for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, $238 million by closing Job Corps centers, and $68 million for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. He is proposing $90 million more for apprenticeships that result in jobs and a parental leave program of six weeks.
The budget cancels five planned missions to observe Earth and monitor climate change, saving $191 million. It eliminates an Obama-era mission to send astronauts to an asteroid. It also slashes NASA education spending by two-thirds and makes smaller cuts to exploration and space operations, along with increases in spending to explore other planets.
Eliminates funding for the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, as part of a $780 million cut to international organizations. Also eliminates $1.6 billion in funding for climate change and slashes assistance for refugees and global health. That includes $222 million cut in an international fund for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Proposal also ends $523 million for international family planning programs.
Trump proposes that the government pay $200 billion toward the $1 trillion cost of improving the nation’s infrastructure — rebuilding aging roads, bridges, water systems and more. Private investments would pay the rest, under his plan. He’s also suggesting cutting grants to Amtrak long distance services by $630 million and reducing the Highway Trust Fund by $95 billion over a decade.
Treasury oversees the Internal Revenue Service and the agency responsible for managing the government’s payment systems. The IRS would see a 2.1 percent budget cut, but says it will continue to seek less costly ways of delivering taxpayer services. Trump’s budget would provide increased investment for cybersecurity as well as implementing the sanctions program to combat terrorist financing. The budget would also seek initial funding to replace the aging Washington facility for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that produces the nation’s paper currency.
Veterans affairs 3.7%
The budget proposes a $4.3 billion increase in discretionary spending, mostly to pay for medical care at more than 1,200 VA facilities nationwide serving about 9 million enrolled veterans. That’s a 5.8 percent increase as the Department of Veterans Affairs expands its network to include more private health providers.
The budget also calls for $2.9 billion in mandatory budget authority for 2018 and $3.5 billion in 2019 to pay for expansion of the Veterans Choice private-sector program. To help pay for rising costs from that program, the VA would cap the amount of educational benefits veterans receive under the GI bill to roughly $21,000 a year and halt “individual unemployability” benefit payments to out-of-work disabled veterans once they reach retirement age.
The American Health Care Act that narrowly passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday ends a tax on higher-income earners, eliminates the mandate to buy health insurance or pay tax penalties, cuts Medicaid, allows states to impose work requirements on low-income people in return for Medicaid, and turns insurance subsidies into tax credits.
The measure retains the popular feature that allows parents’ polices to cover their children until age 26. But it also would block federal payments for a year to Planned Parenthood, which Republicans seek to defund because the group includes abortion among its health services.
How LI’s reps voted on healthcare
Long Island’s delegation split, voting along party lines:
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford)
said he hopes the Senate can protect Medicaid expansion. If it doesn’t, he said, “We can always vote ‘no’ when it comes back” to the House.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley)
“If anyone on the Senate side has an idea to make the bill better, I think that’s great and I welcome it.”
Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City)
Republicans rushed the bill “to fulfill a campaign promise, give President Trump a win and dump this disaster off on the Senate.”
Rep. Thomas Suozzi
“I have to believe that the Senate will not act as irresponsibly as the Republicans in the House.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks
His district includes parts of Nassau County. He said “this bill is wrong and I hope it will be dead on arrival in the United States Senate.”
What happens next
Republicans must now try to maneuver the measure through a Senate terrain that is different politically and procedurally from the House.
The House bill was written by Republicans representing districts often drawn to incorporate strong majorities of GOP voters. Senators represent entire states, and many tend to reflect more pragmatic views than their House colleagues.
In the Senate, the 52-member Republican majority hopes to use a budgetary procedure called reconciliation to pass the measure with a simple majority, instead of risking falling short of the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster.
Senate’s Republican makeup
Several Senate Republicans come from northeastern and Midwestern states with large numbers of low-income people receiving Medicaid. Many of the 31 states that accepted Obama’s expansion of that program are led by GOP governors, and senators have no interest in cutting their states’ funds and taking coverage away from voters.
Republican senators also represent states ravaged by deaths caused by opioid abuse. The House measure would let states escape Obama’s requirement that insurers cover anti-drug services.
What New York’s senators say
Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
“This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate.”
“Rather than trying to pass a different version of the same Trumpcare bill that would mean higher costs and less care, Senate Republicans should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject, repeal and work with Democrats to improve our health care system in a bipartisan way.”
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
said in a statement that the bill is “atrocious and must be defeated in the Senate.”
Gillibrand acknowledged that Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, but said her suggestions would be to “subsidize insurance companies further with taxpayer dollars or create a not-for-profit public option that cuts insurance companies and their profits out of the equation to lower premiums, drug prices, and out-of-pocket costs for everyone.”
If the AHCA passes the Senate
If the bill is to pass the Senate, it’s expected to face changes from both Republicans and Democrats. But even if the bill became law in its current state, states would have certain options.
The bill allows states to opt-out of certain protections in the Affordable Care Act. If they do that, it could result in insurers charging older customers higher premiums; insurers not being required to cover services such as hospital and outpatient care, pregnancy and mental health treatment; and insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems. New York state could choose to continue enforcing these protections instead of getting waivers for them.
Tell your senators what you think
Party: Democratic | Committees: Environment and Public Works, Armed Services, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Special Committee on Aging | Phone: Long Island — 631-249-2825, Washington, D.C. — 202-224-4451 | Email:www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact
Democratic | Committees: House Committee on Rules and Administration, Judiciary Committee, Finance Committee, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee | Phone: Long Island — 631-753-0978, Washington, D.C. — 202-224-6542 | Email:www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck
Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on a rainy afternoon in Washington, D.C.
One hundred days later, we reflect on how the businessman and former reality-TV star turned president has held up to his promises, approached his role and affected the world.
Here we look at Trump’s 100 days in 100 facts.
President Donald Trump donated $78,333.32 — representing his first-quarter salary — to the National Parks Service.
He is also the first billionaire president. Forbes magazine puts his net worth at $3.5 billion.
Trump’s 100 days were guided by the “Contract with the American Voter,” an action plan to “Make America Great Again.” It included 38 specific promises Trump pledged to achieve.
Nearly half of those promises have not been addressed, according to an AP analysis.
Among those promises kept: The Keystone XL pipeline is revived and construction of the Dakota Access is completed. The big trans-Pacific trade deal is toast, climate change action is on the ropes and various regulations from the Obama era have been scrapped.
It’s also a safe bet President Donald Trump hasn’t raced a bicycle since Jan. 20, keeping a vow he made after John Kerry broke his femur in May 2015 while riding a bicycle.
One page of his 100-day manifesto is devoted to legislation he would fight to pass in 100 days. None of it has been achieved.
Trump signed his first executive order the very night he was inaugurated, aimed at “minimizing the economic burden” of Obamacare.
His inauguration speech was 16 minutes long. It depicted an America whose best days have gone by.
31 million people watched the inauguration on TV, according to the Nielsen Co. (though that does not prove press secretary Sean Spicer’s claims that it was the most viewed in history).
He launched his re-election campaign the day after the inauguration and held his first campaign rally in Florida four weeks later.
The Dow Jones industrial average closes above 20,000 for the first time ever Jan. 25. The milestone is crossed amid optimism on Wall Street that executive actions and policy goals announced by the new administration will be good for corporate America.
He’s made most of his policy impact through executive orders — 28 so far. Obama passed 11 new laws in his first 100 days;
George W. Bush passed seven and Bill Clinton passed 24. Harry Truman passed 55.
His early and controversial executive orders called for the construction of a border wall with Mexico, an expanded force to find and deport
undocumented immigrants and a travel ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
The order on the border wall caused a standoff between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who canceled his January meeting with Trump. The two later spoke by phone and called it productive.
Two travel ban executive orders have been blocked by judges. A federal judge in New York blocked part of the first order a day after it was signed.
Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she told the Justice Department to stop defending his first travel ban.
Trump was successful in getting his Cabinet picks confirmed, including Betsy DeVos (thanks to the historic tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence).
Trump got all of his cabinet secretaries in place just before his 100th day in office. Senators voted to confirm secretary of labor nominee Alexander Acosta on April 27.
Below his Cabinet and top posts, many of his administration’s key jobs are unfilled.
His Cabinet is worth about $4.5 billion, according to Forbes.
Trump held onto ownership of his businesses when he took office, meaning he makes money when his properties do well. This is a break with presidential precedent.
He lifted federal protections that allowed transgender students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities.
His presidency sparked protests around the nation, including the Women’s March and protests against the travel ban.
The signature of the Women’s March was a knitted pink hat with cat ears. The cat theme alludes to comments made by Trump 12 years ago in leaked “Access Hollywood” footage that went viral.
Trump’s first budget outline was a $1.1 trillion spending plan that proposed boosting defense funds and deep cuts at other agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency and housing department.
Trump has put military generals in several important positions in his administration, such as Jim Mattis as Secretary of Defense and H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser.
Despite the fact that Trump said during his campaign he would not allow generals to be interviewed on TV, McMaster, as Trump’s national security adviser, appeared on a Sunday news show. Several senior military officers have done Pentagon news conferences
in the past few months that are taped by the networks. Gen. John Nicholson, the top general in Afghanistan, appeared at a news conference.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial national security adviser, was fired after The Washington Post revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature and extent of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Trump has spent at least seven weekends of his presidency at Mar-a-Lago and met with foreign leaders there. Trump and his aides had begun referring to the private club owned by Trump as the “Winter White House.”
Mar-a-Lago doubled its membership fee to $200,000 after he was elected.
Trump tops former presidents in golf and private getaways so far, according to a New York Times anaylsis.
He has made 17 trips to three of his golf courses (two in Florida and one in Virginia) and twice dined at his new hotel in Washington, just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
Trump ordered 46 prosecutors to resign, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who said he would have to be fired.
Trump first named, and later removed, chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council.
Two of the president’s relatives work in the White House. Trump made his daughter Ivanka Trump an unpaid White House adviser. She has security clearance and a White House office. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is a top adviser and also unpaid.
In February, Nordstrom department stores said it was dropping the Ivanka Trump line because of low sales.
Days later, the president lashed out at the company on Twitter. Trump has used Twitter to criticize other companies such as Lockheed Martin, Ford, General Motors and Amazon.
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
On Feb. 28, Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress, marking a shift in tone from an inaugural address widely considered bleak. It included 24 instances of the word “great,” including “greater,” “greatly” and “greatness.”
It costs an average of $127,000 to $146,000 per day to protect first lady Melania Trump and her and the president’s son, Barron, while they continue to live in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue instead of moving into the White House, according to the NYPD.
The Trumps are, so far, the first White House family in over a century without a pet.
Alec Baldwin continues to impersonate Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” leading the president to tweet that “the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse.” Baldwin responded by tweeting, “Release your tax returns, and I’ll stop. Ha.”
Trump paid $38M in taxes on $150M in income in 2005, according to a leaked page of his tax returns obtained by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in March.
Trump has not released his tax returns breaking with decades of tradition.
House Republican leaders abruptly pulled their healthcare bill — aimed at replacing and repealing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — from the House floor in March because they did not have the votes.
Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed, filling the ninth Supreme Court seat with a conservative.
Trump’s childhood home in Jamaica Estates, Queens, was sold for $2.14M, about half-a-million more than the original listing price.
He has traveled to 10 states, none west of the Mississippi River.
Trump has made 0 trips abroad.
Trump has met with a total of eight foreign leaders.
He did not ignore German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handshake attempt. In fact, he said he shook her hand four times and Trump told The AP they have great chemistry.
Trump has revoked nine of President Barack Obama’s executive orders.
He also rescinded Obama-era climate change regulations, including the Clean Power Plan; a ban on coal leasing on federal lands; and rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production.
Trump has switched approaches on several foreign policies.
The United States launched 59 cruise missiles on the troops of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who the United States blamed for a chemical weapons attack on civilians. This was contrary to Trump’s tweets in years past that the United States shouldn’t intervene in the Syrian
civil war — but generally well received from politicians at home and abroad.
Trump said he was moved by images of the dead in the chemical attack on civilians, including “beautiful little babies.”
In a second show of force, Trump later ordered an aircraft carrier and several other warships toward the Korean Peninsula after North Korea tested another intermediate-range missile.
The number of migrants caught trying to enter the country illegally across the Mexican border hit a 17-year low in March, the head of the Department of Homeland Security said.
Trump alarmed U.S. allies during the election campaign by calling NATO “obsolete.” In mid-April he lavished praise on NATO and said it is not obsolete.
Trump’s trademark talk is not like anything the United States has come to expect from its presidents, according to linguists who analyzed an AP interview transcript. With Trump, the mold of focus-group-tested, carefully selected words has been broken.
His base of supporters is sticking with him.
But he continues to stump the pollsters.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed 96 percent of voters who backed Trump said they would do it again. The same poll placed Trump’s overall job approval rating at 42 percent, the lowest recorded near the 100-day mark of any presidency since Dwight
He fires off tweets at odd hours of the morning and night, sending Washington into a stir with just a few words.
Among his most popular tweets is this one about the Women’s March on Jan 22. It had about 480,000 likes and retweets combined:
Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed Long Island’s gang violence problem in Central Islip on April 28.
Intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers had meddled in last year’s election on President Trump’s behalf, according to reports, though the extent still isn’t clear.
The House congressional intelligence committee is expected to begin hearings on Russian meddling on May 2 — just after Trump’s 100-day mark.
The actions and words of at least nine people connected to Trump with reported ties to Russia could play a role in the hearings.
Trump ordered a review to identify national monuments that can be rescinded or resized as part of a push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development. Legal challenges are expected.
At 70, Trump was the oldest man sworn into the presidency.
He’s stopped watching what he perceives as his negative coverage on CNN and MSNBC, he said. “I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability,” he said. “I always thought I’d watch.”
Trump called the news media “the enemy of the American people,” and labeled The New York Times, CNN and NBC as fake news.
After trailing Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” in the ratings for years, Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” has taken over the top spot, which many (including Colbert himself) attribute to the show’s Trump satire.
Trump declined the Washington Nationals invitation to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day, citing a scheduling conflict.
The United States dropped the “mother of all bombs” on ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan in April. It is the military’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he does not intend to discuss damage estimates from the bomb.
In April, Trump sought funds to build a border wall from a stopgap spending package Congress debated, and he tweeted that U.S. taxpayers will be reimbursed “eventually … in some form.”
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said as early in Trump’s presidency as Jan. 25 that Mexico would not pay for the wall under any circumstances.
About 21,000 visitors attended Trump’s first Easter Egg Roll, a major White House social event.
Press secretary Sean Spicer did not dress up like the Easter Bunny, which he did back when he was an aide in the George W. Bush administration.
Trump welcomed the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to the White House. He is longtime friends with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
He signed legislation that lets states deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, erasing a rule finalized shortly before Obama left office.
All 100 senators were invited by the administration to a classified briefing on the threat posed by North Korea. A briefing with all of the senators is extremely rare.
Trump himself does not consider the 100-day mark significant “It’s an artificial barrier. It’s not very meaningful,” he said.
A federal judge blocked his order to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, which offer safe harbor to undocumented immigrants.
House Republicans continue to try to hash out a compromise on health care.
On Day 97, Trump unveiled his tax reform plan, which would cut rates and eliminate deductions used by the rich. It was unveiled without details and in advance of what will be a drawn-out battle in Congress.
The investigations into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn intensified as the Pentagon’s watchdog joined lawmakers in scrutinizing the legality of payments he accepted from foreign sources including a Russian state-sponsored television network.
The Trump administration slapped a 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber entering the United States from Canada. In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the two countries could suffer a “thickening” border.
The White House leaked the possibility that the Trump administration would simply abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement rather than start to renegotiate it. The Mexican peso fell against the U.S. dollar. American farm groups, which credit NAFTA
with lifting U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico, howled.
Hours later, Trump called it all off. He said he would seek to revamp the trade pact with Canada and Mexico.
On the 100th day of his presidency, Trump plans to skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and hold a rally in Pennsylvania instead.
He will also mark his 100th day in office with the government operating under a short-term spending bill.
More than 900 Newsday readers have graded Trump. He’s averaging a D. See all the responses here.
He has tweeted 957* times (and counting, of course).
*as of April 27
Sources: Newsday reporting; AP; The New York Times; AFP; Center for American Politics; RealClearPolitics; The Nielsen Co.; Forbes; The Washington Post
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the United States, according to Justice Department officials, but he did not disclose the information in his January confirmation hearings to become attorney general.
Sessions was a Republican senator from Alabama at the time and a member of the Armed Services Committee. However, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee typically meet with foreign ambassadors, not Armed Services Committee lawmakers whose responsibility is oversight of the military and the Pentagon. Congressional contact with Russian officials was limited after the invasion of Crimea and because of Moscow’s close relationship with Syria, a pariah for much of the West, according to the Associated Press.
The news of the talks triggered concerns that Sessions, as head of the Justice Department, could end up overseeing investigations into President Donald Trump’s team’s ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
What Sessions said during his confirmation
Sen. Al Franken: “If there was any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what would you do?”
Sessions: “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
What Sessions is saying now
Under growing pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike, Sessions agreed Thursday to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The attorney general said he made his decision after his staff recommended that he recuse himself from any investigation related to the Trump campaign, since he had been involved in that campaign. Sessions added that his announcement “should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation.”
Sessions on Thursday rejected any suggestion that he tried to mislead anyone about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, and previously stated he never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.
He did not clarify whether he had talked via phone or another method in his capacity as a senator with a Russian representative.
What the White House is saying
At an appearance on the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford on Thursday shortly before Sessions’ press conference, Trump told reporters that Sessions has his “total” confidence.
Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, also backed Sessions.
Spicer told reporters on AF1 there continues to be "no there there" in investigation into Trump campaign contacts with Russians
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday pointed to Sessions’ statement on recusal and said the attorney general should remove himself only if he is the subject of an investigation.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said he needed to do more research before offering an opinion on the Sessions’ revelations.
“Until then, we’re going to keep our powder dry.”
What Russia is saying
A prominent Russian lawmaker close to the Kremlin is playing down the revelation that Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the American presidential campaign.
Alexei Pushkov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament and former head of the lower chamber’s foreign affairs committee, said Thursday on Twitter: “It turns out that almost the entire U.S. elite has ties to Russia … Paranoia knows no bounds.”
Last month, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was just forced to resign from his position over communications with Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak — and Flynn’s subsequent misleading of Vice President Mike Pence.
Trust — not the law — was broken in that case, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said after the resignation was announced.
On Wednesday, administration officials said White House lawyers have instructed the president’s aides to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other related investigations.
The instructions, which were sent to White House staff on Tuesday, came after Senate Democrats asked the White House and law enforcement agencies last week to keep all materials involving contacts that Trump’s administration, campaign and transition team — or anyone acting on their behalf — have had with Russian government officials or their associates.
Tom Suozzi defeated Jack Martins in the 3rd Congressional District race on Tuesday, 52% to 48%. Here are the unofficial results the Long Island portion of that district, made available by the Nassau and Suffolk election boards. We are seeking the Queens portions of the district. Click an election district to see how much of the vote each candidate received. Click the magnifying glass to search for your address. You can also choose
other elections and other years. Data for a handful of districts were not available. This data was posted on Nov. 9, 2016.
* “Other” includes candidates who did not win more districts than the top four candidates.