This is your weekly intelligence briefing. We’ll gather the headlines each week, put a little context to them, link to further reading, and pass along to you so you can sound smarter at parties. 

Trump Inauguration

President Elect Donald Trump officially took his oath of office on Friday 1.20.17, making him the 45th President of the United States. Trump’s inauguration was noteworthy for two primary reasons; The content of his speech, which was largely a continuance of his divisive campaign rhetoric, and the attendance of the event.

Trump called for an end to the “American carnage” he sees all around the country, referring to the alleged decay of American inner-cities, a term he often conflates with black Americans. Despite the evidence standing directly in conflict with Trump’s views of crime-ridden, gang-infested cities, he continues to make this part of his rallying cry.

He again centered a great deal of his speech around the romanticized notion of brining back American manufacturing jobs from other countries. This has become a bedrock of his supposed nationalist agenda, in which U.S. citizens are led to believe he is working with their best interests in mind. So far, his actions have painted a different picture. In his first executive action, President Trump repealed a proposed rate cut that would have saved Americans with FHA loans several hundred dollars per year.

The real story of Inauguration Day 2017, had absolutely nothing to do with policy or governance, and instead focused on the number of attendees for Trump’s inauguration. Photos emerged Friday showing the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration alongside photos of President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, in which there were considerably more attendees. While this shouldn’t make headlines during a weekend in which a new administration amidst a myriad of controversies takes office, it made its way to headlines due to the Trump Administration’s response to the photos.

Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer attacked the press over their assertions that the crowd size was much smaller, and decried their efforts to “delegitimize” President Trump as “fake news”.  Spicer offered DC public transit statistics that appeared to have been altered as evidence of misreporting on the size of Trump’s crowd. He also highlighted a list of questionable defenses as to why the crowd appeared smaller this year.

Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on Meet The Press with host Chuck Todd. When asked why Spicer chose to spread falsehoods on day one in the White House, Conway claimed that he used “alternative facts”, not falsehoods. She continued the Trump Administrations hostile stance towards a free press when she later suggested that she may revoke access to journalists who continue questioning the Administration.

Trump Inaugural Speech Stirs Hope, Unease

Kellyanne Conway Unsure of Meaning of “Facts”

Trump Team Continues Attacks on Media


Women’s March on Washington

On Saturday 1.21.17, the Women’s March on Washington broke the confines of the nation’s capital and quickly spread all over the world. Multiple cities across the U.S. reported crowds in excess of 100,000 protestors, who gathered to protest the incoming Administration’s stance on a variety of issues.

The protests, which originally started as a Facebook post, occurred in every state except one, and even had international support, with marches taking place in several cities across the globe. DC transit numbers shows that nearly 100,000 more people used the service than they did on the day prior for Trump’s inauguration.

Estimates from protests across the country are strongly suggesting this was the largest demonstration in U.S. history. Los Angeles organizers estimate that around 750,000 people attended their march, making it the largest in the country. Cities in Alaska reported marches that tallied in the hundreds of people, despite the fact that temperatures were 10-20 degrees below zero in some cities where they took place.

President Trump took to Twitter Sunday morning to comment on the protest, where he asked what protestors were doing when it was time to vote. It remains unclear if anyone in his inner-circle has reminded him that he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. He later sent a more conciliatory tweet, saying that he respected the right of Americans to protest peacefully.

Despite the massive turnout, there were zero reported arrests at the protests.

The Largest Demonstration in U.S. History Was This Weekend

Women’s March on Washington Spreads Worldwide


2016 Hottest Year on Record

A joint announcement by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that 2016 is the hottest year on record. This is the third year in a row that the record has been broken, and highlights a larger trend that has been occurring for nearly two decades. Data for global temperatures goes back 137 years, however 16 of the hottest years on record have all occurred in the past 17 years.

Scientists across the globe have reached  a near-unanimous consensus that rising temperatures are due to human activity. The effects of these changes include more intense and longer-lasting droughts in already dry areas, heavier rain and flooding in wetter regions and more frequent and powerful superstorms.

Meanwhile, the incoming administration in the U.S. has publicly suggested that this data is the Chinese Government’s attempt to weaken U.S. manufacturing. The administration has promised to roll back domestic and international protections aimed at curbing further climate change due to human activity.

Three Consecutive Years of “The Hottest Year on Record”

Scientists Point to Human Activities as Cause for Warming Temperatures


Trump Tweets 

This will be a recurring feature, highlighting some of the more noteworthy/insane/dangerous tweets from the leader of the free world. We’ll try to keep this from being a replica of what you can find in the outrage bubble of social media, but we also want to provide a showcase for some truly surreal ideas.

Donald Trump, America’s President, is obsessed with tv ratings. He continues to obsess over how much people (dis)like him, and in particular, how that dislike is quantified on television. Whether its Saturday Night Live, or his sparsely-attended inauguration, he continues to publicly try and cope with this.

Sick Burn, Don.

This tweet is in reference to Trump’s meeting at the CIA headquarters, in which he stood in front of a wall remembering fallen officers and had planted supporters cheer his remarks. Ex-CIA Chief John Brennan said Trump “Should be ashamed of himself”. Intelligence experts believe this meeting worsened his relationship with the intelligence community.

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