Here’s your weekly quick look at a few developing stories in the political arena:
- On Wednesday, President Obama spoke in regards to his strategy to deal with ISIS. The President said, “It is very important from my perspective that when we send our pilots in to do a job, that we know that this is a mission that’s going to work; that we’re very clear what our objectives are, what our targets are.” The President wants to create a meaningful military plan in Syria that would involve coalition forces. He also said he might need approval from Congress. A second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was beheaded by ISIS members this week. This week, President Obama also authorized sending some 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad. The troops will not be in a combat role, the White House said.
- A Virgina jury on Thursday found former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell guilty on 11 of 14 corruption charges. His co-defendant wife Maureen McDonnell was found guilty on nine corruption counts and obstruction of justice. The charges involve granting favors to a wealthy businessman in Virgina in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts, vacations and loans. Current Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “I am deeply saddened by the events of the trial that ended in today’s verdict, and the impact it has had on our Commonwealth’s reputation for honesty and clean government.” Sentencing is set for January 6 and the couple faces mandatory minimum prison sentences, but the maximum sentence for each corruption charge is 20 years.
- Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush announced this week that they would be unveiling a new leadership program next week. The Presidential Leadership Scholars program will be announced next week and the presidential centers of Clinton, Bush, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon Johnson are partnering together on the initiative. A news release said, “The program will study varied approaches to leadership so participants are able to gain a better understanding of different leadership philosophies, styles and practices. Participants will use the tools developed throughout their course of study and apply them to an issue or challenge of particular relevance to his/her professional and civic pursuits.”
- And finally, last Tuesday President Obama announced new executive actions aimed at improving mental health services and financial opportunities for veterans months after allegations of massive wrongdoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The President, speaking at the annual American Legion conference in Charlotte, said “We’re focused on this at the highest levels. We are going to get to the bottom of these problems. We’re going to fix what is wrong. We’re going to do right by you. And we are going to do right by your families. And that is a solemn pledge and commitment that I’m making to you here.” The President also announced new partnerships with financial lenders to make it easier for veterans to negotiate lower mortgage and student loan interest rates.