John Patrick Grace: Get your scorecards ready for a political quiz | Opinion


At major league baseball games announcers may say, “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard. So get your scorecard ready, and we will give you the correct lineup for today’s game.” Controversies swirling around the White House of President Donald J. Trump are laden with names and job titles, bandied about by network anchors and reporters. What does that scorecard look like?

Sometimes it’s hard to keep straight who’s who and what’s what in the Washington maelstrom. We have almost daily reports on perceived Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and speculation on possible contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives.

Plus sundry other scandals, one involving a porn movie star and the president, another involving the president’s son-in-law’s international business dealings.

Our heads are spinning. I hope searching your memory of recent political events will be a useful exercise and help you put the right names and data on the scorecard. Got a pen or pencil handy? Here we go:

1. What is the name of the special counsel investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election?

2. Who appointed the special counsel to his position?

3. What is the special counsel’s political affiliation?

4. How many Russian operatives thus far have been indicted by the special counsel for crimes connected with attempting to sabotage the elections or U.S. institutions?

5. How many former members of the Trump administration or his presidential election campaign have been indicted for felony crimes? And can you name them and their respective former positions?

6. Of that number, how many indicted former Trump officials have pled guilty and agreed to testify as government witnesses for the special counsel?

7. Trump often says of the investigation “There was no collusion” between himself or his associates and Russians seeking to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election. Is “collusion” a crime?

8. Who has recently called for an end to the special counsel’s investigation?

9. Trump has said that the special counsel would “cross a red line” if it extended its investigation into what area?

10. Over the past months media reports have also raised the question of “obstruction of justice” as a possible charge against Trump or his associates. The firing of which agency head by Trump led to questions of “obstruction of justice?”

11. Turnover in the White House and among cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking federal officials has been particularly high since Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. What number is closest to that of the number of officials who have either resigned from their posts or been fired by Trump? 20 30 40 60?

12. Another matter of current legal concern is that of an agreement between Trump and a female porn star, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford). What is the nature of the agreement and what monetary figure has been attached to the agreement?

13. Yet another controversy bedeviling the Trump White House concerns the international business affairs of the president’s son-in-law, who’s been acting as an unpaid senior counselor at the White House. What is this Trump relative’s name and what is the area in which he may have run afoul of ethical norms?

14. In what special election for the U.S. House did the Republican Party recently suffer a 20-point slide from Trump’s percentage of victory over challenger Hillary Clinton in the presidential election? And what is the name of the Democrat who prevailed in that election?

15. How many seats would Democrats need to pick up to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November?

16. How many seats would Democrats need to pick up to win control of the U.S. Senate?

See Page 2C of today’s edition for the answer key.

John Patrick Grace is a former Associated Press reporter, editor and foreign correspondent. He currently lives in eastern Cabell county, edits books and teaches the Life Writing Class.

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