Feature Stories

Politics & Polls #44: A Disastrous Week in Washington

May 18, 2017
By:
Woodrow Wilson School

Washington has been hit with a trifecta of catastrophic events in the past week.

First, President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, justifying his decision by pointing toward Comey’s mishandling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump later changed course, admitting he fired Comey for continuing the investigation about Russia’s role in disrupting the 2016 election.

Just days later, news broke that Trump shared classified information about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office — a decision defended by Trump and Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s national security advisor.

Now, Comey has returned to the spotlight following media reports that he wrote a memo about a conversation in which Trump told him to end the Michael Flynn investigation. (Flynn was forced to resign his role as national security advisor after just 24 days, due to his secret communications with the Russians.)

How have the dramatic events of this week changed Washington? What’s next in the ongoing saga of the Trump presidency? Is an investigation or impeachment possible? Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss this and more in episode #44 of Politics and Polls.

ABOUT THE HOSTS

Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 
Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published more than 600 hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.com.

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum and autism.