A wild week in news: From nuclear options to a 'dumb deal'

US-Australia friendship turning frosty
US-Australia friendship turning frosty


    US-Australia friendship turning frosty


US-Australia friendship turning frosty 02:07

Story highlights

  • Trump's second full week was anything but dull
  • President issues fewer executive orders but still dominates headlines

(CNN)As the curtains close on week two -- yes, it's only been that long -- of the Trump White House, there has been no shortage of big news stories. Here's a look at what's been dominating the news cycle.

'Monday night massacre'

Facing backlash (and massive protests at airports across the United States) from a travel ban targeting travelers from "high risk" countries, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructed colleagues not to enforce the executive order.
    Dana Boente will keep the seat warm for (Trump hopes) Jeff Sessions, his pick for AG. But Senate confirmation hearings are going slowly with Democrats grilling many of Trump's picks and deliberately delaying the process.

    'Nuclear option'

    Speaking of confirmation hearings, Trump announced his Supreme Court pick this week. Federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch has been nominated to don the black robe. Trump wants Gorsuch confirmed within six weeks and has pressed senators to use the "nuclear option" to get that done.
    The nuclear option, as it is called on Capitol Hill, would end the need for Supreme Court nominees to receive 60 votes to break a filibuster and proceed to an up-or-down vote on the nomination that only requires a majority to confirm.
    "If we end up with that gridlock I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear," Trump said of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "That would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web."
    Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks after  Trump announces his nomination for the Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017.

    White Paper

    Across the pond, UK Prime Minister Theresa May's trip to Washington to meet Trump drew the ire of many in the UK and she faced a grilling in Parliament about her response to the US travel ban, while a petition to revoke the invitation for Trump's state visit -- and meeting with the Queen -- garnered millions of signatures.
    Her US visit drew attention away from her main order of business -- pushing through Brexit. She announced a White Paper -- a formal set of plans -- on Thursday. The paper suggests the UK will seek a "new strategic partnership" with Europe, and will seek to avoid a "cliff-edge" Brexit.
    Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk to a press conference at the White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.

    'This is our little breakfast'

    Trump, at a breakfast with black supporters to mark the start of African-American History Month, described abolitionist Frederick Douglass as "an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more" -- 122 years after his death. The transcript of the speech, which welcomed the supporters to "our little breakfast," was run in full by satire magazine McSweeney's as a humor column.
    At another breakfast -- the National Prayer Breakfast, to be exact -- the President again had a hard time focusing on the event at hand, reigniting a feud with his "Apprentice" replacement, Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the long-running, bipartisan event, he asked attendees to pray for Arnie so that ratings of his show would go up. The former California Governor hit back, suggesting the two switch jobs so that people could "sleep at night" again.
    Trump holds an African American History Month listening session attended by nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson (R), Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault (L) and other officials.

    On notice

    Trump's administration started talking tough with foes. After Iran test-fired a ballistic missile Sunday, Trump declared the Middle Eastern powerhouse was being placed "on notice." He also refused to discount the nuclear option (literally this time) when dealing with the longtime foe. "Nothing's off the table," he said.
    His UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, carried on the strutting language, declaring that the US was "taking names" of the countries "who don't have our backs," and -- perhaps surprisingly -- took a tough stance on Russia's annexation of Crimea. Meanwhile, new US Defense Secretary James Mattis said from a South Korean military base that any nuclear attack by North Korea would be "met with a response that will be effective and overwhelming."
    A Qadr ballistic missile is launched in northern Iran on March 9, 2016.

    'Tough hombres'

    It wasn't just foes -- current and former -- that felt the full force of Trump's tough diplomacy this week. During call a with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday, Trump objected to an agreement over the US receiving refugees, sources told CNN, angrily ending a the call over 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. All this a day after a call with Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, where a transcript showed Trump complaining about Mexico's "handling" of "tough hombres."
    Trump's weekend of calls with world leaders was reportedly a mixed success.

    A first in two decades

    Buoyed by strong pro-Israel utterances -- most often from Trump's favorite platform,Twitter -- the Israeli government announced big plans for settlement expansion -- 2,500 homes last week, another 3,000 this week, including the first completely new settlement in two decades. However, the White House said Thursday that new Israeli settlement activity could potentially hamper the peace process, a new stance for an administration that's remained adamant in its support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    The announcements came as Israel evicted settlers from Amona, an illegal outpost near Hebron in the West Bank.
    Pro-settlement protesters set fires as bloackades against Israeli security forces seeking to evict teh illegal settlement of Amona.

    That's not all

    While the world's attention was focused on Washington and the stories that emanated from the Trump White House, other stories struggled to get traction.
    In any other week, these would've been the top stories:
    • A gunman stormed a mosque in Quebec City on Monday, with shooter Alexandre Bissonnette -- a right-wing Trump supporter -- killing six worshipers and injuring eight more.
    • The Republican-led Senate rolled back the Stream Protection Rule, an Obama administration regulation aimed at curbing waste from coal mines from entering waterways but that Republicans complained was an onerous job killer in coal country, and the House voted Thursday to repeal an Obama-era regulation that required the Social Security Administration to disclose to the national gun background check system information about people with mental illness.
    • A joint US-UAE raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen resulted in the death of US Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens. Owens was fatally wounded in a firefight that saw three other US service members wounded and 14 al Qaeda fighters killed. Multiple US officials told CNN that an assessment of civilian casualties is still ongoing, which may include the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the former al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader.
    People gather in remembrance of the victims of Sunday's shooting at a Quebec City mosque, during a vigil in Edmonton, Alberta, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.

    It's not all that bad

    After the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas was devastated an act of kindness revived their spirits -- the leaders of the local Jewish congregation gave them the keys to their synagogue so they could continue to worship.
    The leader of the mosque said he wasn't surprised by the gesture.
    "I never doubted the support that we were going to get" after the fire, Dr. Shahid Hashmi, a surgeon and president of Victoria Islamic Center, told CNN. "We've always had a good relationship with the community here."
    Hashmi said Dr. Gary Branfman -- a member of Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria -- just came by his house and gave him the keys.
    Victoria firefighters respond to a fire at the Islamic Center of Victoria on Saturday, Jan. 28 in Victoria, Texas.