5 Stories You Might've Missed While Following That Bombshell Book On Trump's White House

It’s hard to keep up with the news these days.

A lot of news happened this week, and if you’ve spent the past few days following the drama around journalist Michael Wolff’s new book on the Trump White House, you might have missed some of it. But never fear: We’ve got you.

Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House ― which had some people lining up at midnight on Thursday for its release, and which has since shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list ― promised a candid look into President Donald Trump’s administration. The book has been making waves for days: Excerpts published earlier this week included explosive comments from former chief strategist Steve Bannon on Trump, his family and Russia. Trump, for his part, has dismissed the book as “phony,” and his lawyers tried unsuccessfully to stop its release.

It’s all added up to a major media frenzy (which, uh, HuffPost has not abstained from). But if the imbroglio has taken up all your attention this week, here’s a guide to a few of the other major events that happened.

1. Trump cut aid to Pakistan, and threatened aid to Palestinians

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Jan. 2, 2018.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Jan. 2, 2018.

On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. would be cutting $255 million in aid to Pakistan, a key ally in the fight against terrorism. Haley told reporters the U.S. expected more support from Pakistan in counterterrorism.

Later that day, Trump took to Twitter to threaten aid to Palestinians, blaming Palestinians’ reluctance to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel. This was almost exactly a month after Trump roiled the peace deals himself by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and saying the U.S. would move its embassy there, provoking anger among Palestinians and disappointment from U.S. allies.

“It’s not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.”


2. The Trump administration proposed opening up America’s coasts to offshore drilling

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed a new offshore drilling plan that would open up nearly all U.S. waters to oil exploration.

Environmental groups were not thrilled about the proposal, which would allow oil and gas companies to drill on the Atlantic coast for the first time since the 1980s. Perhaps surprisingly, Republican legislators in some coastal states weren’t happy either.

“I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a close Trump ally, said in a statement Thursday. “My top priority is to ensure that Florida’s natural resources are protected.”


3. Jeff Sessions changed policy, threatening the weed legalization movement

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seen during a news conference, Dec. 15, 2017.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seen during a news conference, Dec. 15, 2017.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a change in policy on Thursday, allowing the nation’s top federal prosecutors to decide how to handle marijuana cases in states where the drug has been legalized. Because federal law still regards marijuana as illegal, the decision spread uncertainty in the nascent legal marijuana industries in states like Colorado and California.

Representatives from legal-marijuana states on both sides of the aisle denounced the decision.


4. North and South Korea made a plan to talk ― despite Trump’s tweets

On Thursday, North Korea agreed to hold official talks with South Korea next week, for the first time in over two years.

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un indicated he was open to dialogue in a New Year’s address, South Korea offered talks on Tuesday, after discussions with the U.S.  

Later on Tuesday ― in response to Kim mentioning the “nuclear button on the desk in my office” ― Trump taunted Kim on Twitter, writing: “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

On Thursday, Trump took credit for the dialogue between North and South Korea.

“Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” the president tweeted. “Fools, but talks are a good thing!”


5. An earthquake shook California’s Bay Area residents awake

Early Thursday morning, an earthquake centered near Berkeley, California, shook many Bay Area residents awake. The 4.4-magnitude quake at 2:39 a.m. local time affected an estimated 9.8 million people around the San Francisco Bay, with some reporting feeling shakes for up to 10 seconds ― though no significant damage was reported as a result of the quake.

Residents took to Twitter in the middle of the night to check if others felt it too: