Poli Storm

Hello and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to click that like button, leave a comment, or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!

1 Big Thing: Summit Called Off

                                                                                Credit: [Dimitry Prakapenka/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/prakapenka/10106923256/)  

On Thursday, President Donald Trump called off the June 12th summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. However, he did not completely rule out a chance for another summit.

  • Tension arose over the summit as National Security Advisor John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence cited Libya as the precedent for North Korean denuclearization. The short history of Libyan denuclearization:
    • Libya’s leader, Muammar el-Qaddaffi, dismantled their nuclear weapon’s program because he received security assurances from world leaders like President George W. Bush. However, later, the same counties that assured him of security led a bombing campaign of the Libyan regime. Eventually, el-Quadaffi was killed by his own people.
  • This announcement came hours after North Korea supposedly blew up one of their nuclear weapons testing site in front of international journalists. However, nuclear weapons experts were not invited and doubt remains whether the explosives completely destroyed the facility.

Intelligence Meeting

Also on Thursday, a group of Congress members met with officials from the Department of Justice to discuss an FBI informant in the Trump/Russia investigation. This meeting follows President Trump’s request to investigate the very investigation looking into Russian interference and possible ties to the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

  • The meeting was centered around an FBI informant who talked with several Trump campaign officials. Trump has incorrectly alleged this informant was a spy sent to his campaign for political purposes.
  • This meeting was a contested partisan issue as Congressional Democrats were not initially invited, only Congressional Republicans. Although, later, they were invited and attended the meeting.
  • Additionally, the President’s lawyer Emmet Flood and Chief of Staff John Kelly made statements at the beginning of the meeting but did not participate in the meeting. However, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff called their presence “entirely improper.”

Labor Issues

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled individual employees don’t have the right to join together in class action lawsuits against their employers. This case foreshadows more rulings against unions in similar cases that are pending in front of the Court.

  • On one hand, Justice Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the conservative majority and rested his conclusion on an older federal law that favored in-house or 3rd party resolutions between an employee and employer. On the other hand, Justice Ginsberg wrote the dissenting opinion and claimed later labor laws gave workers the right to use the courts to solve workplace disputes.
  • Also in the news, House Republicans are criticizing federal unions because workers are often granted paid time off to work on union issues, which are not part of their jobs.


On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expelled the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela and his deputy. This expulsion is part of rising tensions between the two countries since Maduro’s “sham” reelection.

  • In response, the U.S. expelled Venezuela’s two top diplomats from the country.
  • The U.S. criticized Maduro’s reelection as undemocratic and leveled sanctions against their state assets.

Jack Johnson Pardon

Jack Johnson, the son of former slaves, was born in Texas in 1878. Johnson, a sensational boxer, eventually became the first black heavyweight champion. Throughout his career and life, he faced racial obstacles but none were more impactful than the Mann Act. Under this act, Johnson was prosecuted by an all-white jury for transporting a white woman across state lines. Decades later, after various appeals from people including John McCain, Harry Reid and Sylvester Stallone, President Trump posthumously pardoned Johnson on Thursday.

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Sam Jenkins
Sam Jenkins


I agree^. I read an insighful article about President Obama and his thought process with pardons if you're interested: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-might-pardon-jack-johnson-why-didnt-obama. Here's a passage:

"Gavin Parke, a former senior leadership staffer for Reid, said that his early impression was Obama didn’t want to act on Johnson out of political discomfort. “[R]eading between the lines,” he emailed The Daily Beast, “our conjecture was that they didn’t want to engage in divisive racial issues that were largely symbolic.” But the main reason that Obama held back, Parke added, was out of a rigid dedication to preserving norms. “The Obama White House was stringently opposed to the pardons process becoming politicized in any way. They felt so strongly about that, it may have extended even to posthumous pardons.”


I kind of hate the Jack Johnson pardon. It's a bit of cheap showmanship so that Trump can have one more talking point, tick one more demographic box. Jack Johnson doesn't benefit from it, and it effects no change at all. What happened to him was reprehensible. To make his shade a political pawn for the benefit of a president with a highly questionable record on race is despicable.