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Posted: December 30, 2017

2017 in review: Stories that shocked and changed us this year

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By Debbie Lord

While you can say it about most years, 2017 was a year like no other.
Maybe more so than in recent years.
 

We saw a new president inaugurated, and a million people protesting it the next day. 

We saw the sun go dark in the same year we saw a light shined on a problem that had thousands of women saying, “Me, too.”
 

We saw NFL players kneel during the national anthem, while a congregation of Baptist worshippers kneeling in a church were slaughtered.
 

It was a year of change and a year that reinforced that which is constant.
 

Here are some stories that shock and changed us in 2017.

Jan. 20: Donald Trump is sworn in as president
Donald J. Trump took the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, becoming the 45th president of the United States. Trump, who ran on the slogans that included, “Drain the Swamp,” said, “For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left. And the factories closed.”

Jan. 21: The Women’s March on Washington
Women in cities across the United States and in 30 countries around the world marched the day after Trump’s inauguration in support of women’s rights and in defense of freedom of the press. More than 1 million marched in Washington D.C. alone.

Jan. 27, 2017: Travel ban order is issued
Trump signs an executive order that bans immigration for 90 days for those seeking to come to the United States from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. After lawsuits are filed, a federal court blocks the ban. On March 6, a new travel ban is enacted by executive order, one that addresses the legal questions that arose from the first ban. That order is eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Feb. 13: National security adviser Michael Flynn is fired
 Flynn is fired after leaks reveal he talked to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions former President Barack Obama imposed in December 2016. Pence had denied the reports as late as Feb. 9. Trump said he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about speaking to Kislyak.

Feb. 22, 2017: Transgender bathrooms are out
The Trump administration reversed Obama-era regulations that allowed transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.


Feb. 26, 2017: Not so Oscar-worthy moment
In a first for the Academy Awards, the wrong winner for the best picture award was announced. Actor Warren Beatty announced “La La Land” as the winner. The winner was “Moonlight.” Beatty was given the wrong envelop to read. 

 

March 2, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself
Jeff Session announced he was recusing himself from any investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions had testified during his confirmation hearing that he had not met with any Russians while he played a part in Trump’s presidential campaign. Media reports revealed that Sessions had met with Kislyak during the campaign.

March 4, 2017: A Trump tweet that turned heads
In a world where the president’s tweets are a daily occurrence, the one he tweeted on March 4 was a little different. Trump tweeted that Obama had tapped his phone "during the very sacred election process." The White House called for a congressional investigation.

April 9, 2017: The unfriendly skies
Video of Dr. David Dao being dragged from an overbooked United Airlines flight in Chicago went viral in early April. In the violent confrontation on the plane, Dao’s nose was broken, he suffered a concussion and lost teeth. United was excoriated on social media for the brutality of the incident. Dao later sued over his treatment and agreed to an out-of-court settlement.

April 13, 2017: Dropping the M bomb
The “mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat, was dropped by the United States on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan. The MOAB, known officially as a GBU-43B, is a custom-made Air Force weapon that has been used in battle but has been in the U.S. arsenal for more than 10 years.

April 19, 2017: Bye, Bill
Spin-free zone pundit Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News after The New York Times reported that the network had paid $13 million in settlements going back nearly 15 years to women who had accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment.

May 9, 2017: FBI Director James Comey fired
FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Trump in early May. The president said he fired Comey for incompetence. Comey suggested at a congressional hearing later in the year that he was fired because the president wanted him to “go easy” on Flynn in the investigation of ties with Russian officials.


May 17, 2017: Mueller is named special counsel
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named as special counsel to conduct the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The appointment gave Mueller the authority to investigate potential collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
May 22, 2017: Bombing at the Ariana Grande concert
A crowd of mostly young people was enjoying a concert by pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, England, when a suicide bomber detonated his weapon, killing 22 and injuring scores more. The Islamic State took credit for the attack.

May 31, 2017: All about the covfefe
A typo in a tweet by President Trump launched a tidal wave of memes, retweets and shares. The president never clarified the tweet that used the phrase “negative press covfefe,” but it was believed he meant “negative press coverage.” In any event, it didn’t stop those on social media and late-night talk show hosts from having a field day.

June 14, 2017: Shooting at congressional baseball practice
A man who had said he hated those who govern, especially Republicans, took out his rage on a group of congressmen practicing for a charity baseball game. James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican congressmen, nearly killing House majority whip Steve Scalise, (R-Louisiana). Scalise was shot in the hip. His wounds were so severe he spent weeks in the hospital in and out of intensive care and eventually had to go through rehab to learn to walk again. He returned to his job in the House in September.

June 17, 2017: Cosby trial ends in mistrial
A jury in Pennsylvania failed to reach a verdict in a sexual assault case against actor and comedian Bill Cosby. The jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on a verdict on charges Cosby drugged and assaulted a woman in 2004. More than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. 

June 19, 2017: Otto Warmbier dies
Otto Warmbier, an American college student arrested, tried and sentenced to hard labor for allegedly taking a poster off the wall of a North Korean hotel, died days after he is released from custody and returned to the United States. North Korean officials said Warmbier had been in a coma for most of the time he was held. Doctors in the United States disputed the report that Warmbier’s condition was the result of botulism. They said he suffered a "severe neurological injury" that led to the coma. 

July 21, 2017: Spicer is out, Scaramucci is in; Scaramucci is out.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned in July after Anthony Scaramucci was named as head of White House communications. Scaramucci, a GOP donor and investment banker, lasted on the job for 11 days.

July 26, 2017: Trump bans transgender troops
The president announced – via Twitter – that he would ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military. Many of his military leaders seemed to have a different opinion.

Aug. 9, 2017: A warning to North Korea
Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea had been on edge since the beginning of the year, but they ramped up to a disturbing level in August when Kim Jong Un’s government revealed specific plans to launch missiles toward Guam. The next day, Trump warned North Korean officials to "get their act together" or face "fire and fury" the likes of which “the world has never seen.”

Aug. 12, 2017: A clash in Charlottesville leaves three dead
Tensions at a white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted into violence leaving a young woman dead. As protestors marched at one end of a street in the Virginia college town, a car roared down the street from the other end, slamming into the crowd. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 others were injured. Following the incident, Trump was criticized for being slow to condemn the neo-Nazis. Two days after the violence, he condemned both the white supremacists and the counter-protesters.

Aug. 21, 2017: The eclipse that eclipsed everything else
Millions across the United States stopped what they were doing on Aug. 21 to watch the sun go dark. The first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years cut a path across the United States, pitching areas of the country into total darkness.

Aug. 25; Sept. 10; Sept. 20, 2017: Hurricanes hit back-to-back-to-back
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively, over a 26-day period, bringing record winds and water. Harvey flooded most of Houston and is on track to be the costliest storm in U.S. history. Irma, with 130 mph winds, tore through Florida and Georgia before dissipating. As we head into 2018, parts of Puerto Rico are still without electric power due to Maria.

Sept. 5, 2017: Announcement to end DACA program
President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that could lead to the deportment of young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children or who have overstayed their visas. The White House has asked Congress to work on a plan that would keep the so-called Dreamers in the U.S. Trump has suggested that he would support a plan to keep the Dreamers here if Congress will OK the building of a wall along the southern border of the United States. 

Sept. 22, 2017: Trump vs. the NFL
At a rally in Alabama, Trump suggested that any NFL player who takes a knee during the playing of the national anthem should be fired. While Trump’s remarks were aimed at only a handful of players, the Sunday after his comments, a couple of hundred players either sat, kneeled or stayed in the locker room while “The Star-Spangled Banner” was being played. The TV ratings for the NFL are down 5 percent from 2016.

Oct. 1, 2017: Las Vegas shooting
A 64-year-old man opened fire from the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas onto a crowd of 22,000 fans at a country music concert, killing 58. The mass shooting was the deadliest in U.S. history. Authorities say Steven Paddock used a “bump stock,” during the attack. The device uses a gun’s recoil to allow a person to fire the weapon faster. In addition to the 58 killed, more than 500 were injured.

Oct. 17, 2017: Raqqa falls
Military officials announced that U.S.-backed Syrian forces liberated the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State. Raqqa, a city in Syria, was considered the capital of the Islamic State caliphate.

Oct. 30, 2017: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates indicted
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, surrendered at the FBI field office in Washington, D.C. after being indicted by a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The 12-count, 31-page indictment focuses on their work in Ukraine as political consultants and lobbyists. Also on that day, special counsel’s office announced it had struck a cooperation agreement with former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who had in July pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about contacts with Russian officials.

Oct. 5, 2017: Women begin to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct
In early October, both The New York Times and The New Yorker ran stories claiming at least a dozen women – many high-profile actresses – had accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, sexual misconduct or rape. Since those stories broke, 80 women have come forward with their stories of assault at the hands of Weinstein. One of his accusers, actress Alyssa Milano, tweeted that she, too, was a victim of Weinstein’s behavior. Her tweet suggested that women who had been the victims of sexual assault could have their voice heard on Twitter by using the hashtag #MeToo. Thousands did just that. Weinstein was fired from the production company he and his brother started, was left by his wife and is under investigation by various police departments in the United States and England. Over the next few weeks, men from several fields were fired or resigned amid similar allegations.

Nov. 5, 2017: A gunman in church
A Baptist church in a small Texas town became a killing ground during a Sunday service in early November. Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire on worshippers, killing 26 and injuring 20. Kelley is believed to have had a grudge against his former wife and in-laws who attended the church.

Nov. 29, 2017: Matt Lauer is fired for sexual misconduct
Matt Lauer, the host of NBC’s “Today” show was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct were brought to his bosses at NBC. Lauer, who had been with the show for more than 20 years, was fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior" with a colleague. A story from Variety had quotes from three other women who worked with Lauer saying they, too, were the victims of inappropriate sexual conduct. Later that day, Garrison Keillor, former host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” was accused of sexual misconduct and subsequently fired from Minnesota Public Radio.

Dec. 1, 2017: Flynn pleads guilty
Former national security adviser Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. The former national security adviser had denied that he talked with Kislyak about sanctions levied by former President Obama.
Dec. 12, 2017: A stunning victory in ‘Bama
Doug Jones became the first Democrat in 25 years to win a U.S. Senate seat from the state of Alabama. He defeated former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore had been accused of sexual misconduct that accusers say took place decades ago when Moore was in his early 30s.
Dec. 14, 2017: Net neutrality vote
Internet providers got a boost from federal regulators when the Federal Communications Commission voted to allow them to speed up service for some websites, and slow down, or even block it for others.
Dec. 20, 2017: Tax reform bill passes
It took until almost the end of the year, but the president and Republicans got a big legislative win when the tax reform bill passed both the House and the Senate. The $1.5 trillion bill is the biggest tax overhaul in 30 years, giving major tax breaks to businesses, changing the way individuals will be figuring their taxes and potentially adding to the national debt.


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