Amherst Wire

This week in politics 10/23-10/29

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(Courtesy US Embassy New Delhi/Flickr)

(Courtesy US Embassy New Delhi/Flickr)

(Courtesy US Embassy New Delhi/Flickr)

John Coakley, Politics/Op-ed/Voices Editor

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This week was a comparatively quiet one for national politics, but here are some of the most important developments from the past week that you might have lost track of.

1. JFK files released

On Thursday night, the National Archives and Records Administration released about 2,800 previously classified documents regarding the assassination of America’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy. There were some interesting revelations, such as details of the CIA’s plans to assassinate Fidel Castro, which included potential methods such as hiring a mafia gunman, poisoning a dive suit with a deadly fungus, and planting explosives in a seashell in an area the Cuban president frequently went scuba diving (via LA Times).

As expected, there were no major bombshells in these documents that could confirm or deny any of the primary conspiracy theories regarding Kennedy’s assassination. This could be due in large part to the fact that some of the documents were withheld due to national security concerns, a move President Trump is reportedly unhappy with. However, this could still change, as the president has given U.S. intelligence agencies until April 26 to conclusively prove that the redactions are necessary for national security, at which point he will decide which of the remaining documents to release (via Washington Post).


2. Senators not seeking re-election
Two GOP senators, Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have both announced that they will not seek re-election in the upcoming 2018 midterms. These announcements coincide with both senators beginning to openly oppose President Trump. Senator Corker, who said earlier this month that he believes President Trump’s actions could put the U.S. “on the path to World War III,” has continued to feud with the president in the media and on Twitter. More recently, Corker has opposed the proposed Republican tax reform bill because it will add to the deficit. Corker claims, however, that his ongoing public battle with President Trump will not affect his vote. Corker has said that “if we do it right” he’s “all in” (via Washington Examiner).

As for Senator Flake, he announced in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in 2018 and will retire when his term expires. Flake claims there is no “one trigger” for this decision, but it seems to be an amalgamation of a number of factors. Not only was Flake likely to be defeated by a populist conservative candidate in the primary, he would also have a significant challenge in the general election in the form of Democratic front-runner Kyrsten Sinema (via Washington Post).

3. Tensions with North Korea continue to escalate
According to BBC, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that the threat of nuclear action by North Korea has “accelerated.” Secretary Mattis went on to say that the U.S. would tolerate no form of nuclear armament on the part of the Kim regime and that North Korea would face “massive military response” in the event of a nuclear strike against the U.S.

Email John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JohnDCoakley.

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This week in politics 10/23-10/29