Biggest News Stories of 2017: Hurricanes, Donald Trump, #MeToo, North Korea, Las Vegas and More

Trump's first year in office was marked by the FBI's Russia investigation, travel bans, the GOP's failed attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare and succeeding in a massive tax overhaul. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The past year has been a wild ride.

White supremacists rallied and anti-fascists confronted them in the streets. Flat-Earthers held their inaugural international convention and people started a campaign for Neil DeGrasse Tyson-Bill Nye for 2020. The world lost musicians including Tom Petty, Chris Cornell and Chuck Berry and the "Cash me outside, howbow dah" girl got a record deal.

Here's a list of some of 2017 biggest news events.

President Donald Trump's inauguration

A combination of photos taken at the National Mall shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies to swear in U.S. President Donald Trump at 12:01pm (L) on January 20, 2017 and President Barack Obama sometime between 12:07pm and 12:26pm on January 20, 2009, in Washington, U.S. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (L), Stelios Varias/File Photo

Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20. His presidency was controversial from the start, with promises to investigate "voter fraud" despite him losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots. The hashtag "Not My President" entered the lexicon and many refused to call him by his name or title, instead referring to Trump only as "45."

The day after the inauguration at the first press briefing by Sean Spicer, Trump's since-ousted press secretary, Spicer falsely claimed the inaugural crowd "was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe."

Spicer's words, defending the president's own angry speech, earned him a "pants on fire" rating from the non-partisan fact checking site Politifact.

Not everyone in D.C. came to support Trump on inauguration day. Large crowds of protesters also marched through the streets, some becoming violent and breaking windows. One black limousine was set ablaze and its windows were shattered. An anarchist symbol and the words "We the people" were scrawled across the vehicle in orange spray paint.

Police deployed pepper spray and stun grenades to tamp down on demonstrators and more than 200 people were arrested.

Women's March

Demonstrators protest on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the Women's march on January 21, 2017. Hundreds of thousands of protesters spearheaded by women's rights groups demonstrated across the US to send a defiant message to US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

The day after Trump assumed office, millions of people took to the streets in cities around the country to participate in the Women's March, advocating for women's rights and LGBTQ rights in particular. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history; the Washington Post counted at least 653 separate marches across the country involving between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 participants.

Many marchers donned pink "pussyhats" with organizers explaining it would "make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard." Indeed, they were noticed, and it was viewed as a rebuke against Trump. Just months earlier, the world learned of the leaked 2005 Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted about sexually assaulting women, saying he could "grab them by the pussy" and that "when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything."

North Korea

This picture taken on July 4, 2017 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 5, 2017 shows the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. STR/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea developed a hydrogen bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile this year—two technological leaps that have the potential to make them a global threat, particularly to the United States.

On July 4, North Korea successfully fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile called the Hwasong-14. The missile flew on a lofted trajectory for about 37 minutes and reached an altitude of 1,741 miles, seven times higher than the International Space Station. That flight time and distance put Alaska within range of attack.

Three weeks later, North Korea launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile, this time flying on a similar extreme arc, nearly straight up, but reaching a height of 2,300 miles and lasting 45 minutes before landing in the ocean. Had the missile flown on a normal trajectory, Chicago would be within range.

On September 3, North Korea claimed it detonated a hydrogen bomb, which the hermit nation said it could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Then, armed with a powerful new bomb, North Korea launched its most sophisticated intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29. Its flight again followed a highly lofted path, reaching a height of 2,796 miles, 10 times higher than the international space station. David Wright, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the entire United States is now potentially within range. However, analysts believe North Korea does not yet have the capability to fire a nuclear tipped missile that could launch and re-enter Earth's atmosphere intact.


Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also took verbal shots at each other. The dictator called Trump a "dotard," meaning, "a person, especially an old person, exhibiting a decline in mental faculties; a weak-minded or foolish old person," according to Merriam-Webster. Trump, in turn, dubbed Kim "little rocket man."

The Trump-Russia investigation

Four of President Donald Trump's campaign advisers have been charged in connection to the Russia probe. MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images

On May 9, Trump fired FBI director James Comey, who was investigating Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn. A week later, The New York Times revealed details from a memo Comey wrote after a private meeting with Trump, in which the president allegedly asked him to drop his investigation into Flynn.

The next day, on May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

Mueller's team has since charged four Trump campaign officials.

Foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos was arrested in July and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, and his longtime associate and campaign official Rick Gates were both hit with a 12-count federal indictment, including conspiracy against the United States. They have both pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on December 1.


Charlottesville violence and fallout

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12: White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the 'alt-right' with body armor and combat weapons evacuate comrades who were pepper sprayed after the 'Unite the Right' rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Emancipation Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Before the "Unite the Right" rally, much of white supremacy and the so-called alt-right seemed cloaked behind online avatars on social media sites like Twitter, Reddit and Gab, on message boards like 4chan or in the comment section on That changed in August. Hundreds of white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Va., over a two-day span to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the confederate general.

On August 11, scores of protesters marched with burning tiki torches chanting "White lives matter," "Hail Trump," "You will not replace us," which morphed into "Jews will not replace us," and the Nazi slogan "Blood and soil." The demonstrators encountered about 30 University of Virginia students and counter-protesters on the college campus. That confrontation that ended in violence, previewing what the next day would hold.

On August 12, the white supremacists—including figures such as former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke and Richard Spencer, considered a leader in the alt-right scene—swarmed Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park, where the Lee statue was located.


Hostilities between the disparate groups of protesters and counter-protesters again devolved into violence.

At about 1:45 p.m., self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, 20, plowed his Dodge Challenger into another vehicle and rammed it into a crowd of people, killing 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others, according to Virginia prosecutors. A grand jury indicted Fields, of Ohio, on 10-felony counts in December, including first-degree murder.


Hurricane Harvey left a wake of devastation more than 300 miles long, killing an estimated 88 people and causing around $150 billion to $180 billion in damages, according to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Harvey made landfall on August 25 as a Category 4 with winds hitting 130 mph near Rockport, Texas. Over the few days it meandered along southern Texas, into Louisiana and triggered flash flooding in Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The scale of Harvey's rainfall was unprecedented. Harvey was a 1,000-year flood event, meaning its chance of occurring in any given year is 1-in-1,000, or .1 percent. By September 2, Harvey had unleashed some 33 trillion gallons of water, according to a Washington Post estimate.

As Harvey continued northeast over Louisiana on August 30, a new storm system formed in the Atlantic ocean.

That storm, Hurricane Irma, peaked as a Category 5, its winds reaching about 185 mph—the second most powerful tropical cyclone in 2017 behind only Hurricane Maria, which would sweep through the same area only days later. Irma touched down on the island of Barbuda and damaged about 95 percent of buildings there on September 6. The island was left " barely inhabitable," according to its prime minister, Gaston Browne.

The hurricane continued westward, making successive landfalls across the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Cuba before it hit the Florida Keys. Irma then turned north, cutting up through Florida, and leaving at least 72 people dead.

Irma grazed Puerto Rico, sparing it from a direct hit (though still claiming four lives), but on its heels came Hurricane Maria and much greater destruction.

On September 20, Maria's 155 mph, Category 4 cyclone winds (just two miles an hour below the Category 5 threshold) made landfall on Puerto Rico. It knocked out power to the entire island, affecting 3.4 million people. Nearly three months later, about 30 percent of the island remains without power. The official death toll is 65, but that number may not be anywhere close to reality: A New York Times analysis found that the actual death toll may be 1,052.

Las Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

On October 1, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock barricaded himself in a hotel room on the Las Vegas Strip and opened fire on an outdoor concert. He murdered 58 people and injured hundreds more, carrying out the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Paddock armed himself with several rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He retrofitted his rifles with a "bump stock," an aftermarket accessory that allowed him to achieve near automatic fire.

Paddock was a recluse; he made a small fortune in the real estate market before becoming a high-stakes video poker player. Months after the shooting, Paddock remains an enigma and his motive a mystery.

The Las Vegas shooting came just weeks after the third deadliest shooting of the year, when a man fatally shot eight people at a Dallas Cowboys watch party in Plano, Texas, on September 5. Then on November 5, a gunman carried out the fifth deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, opening fire in a Sutherland Springs church in Texas, killing 26 people and wounding 20 others.

#MeToo movement against sexual harassment

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood, California on November 12, 2017. Several hundred women gathered in front of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood before marching to the CNN building to hold a rally. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Tarana Burke coined the phrase as an awareness campaign for survivors of sexual harassment or sexual assault on Myspace back in 2006, but it wasn't until the fall of 2017 that the phrase went viral.

On October 15, the hashtag exploded across social media and onto the posters of protesters after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too.' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." The flood gates opened and hundreds of thousands of women, and some men, came forward with their experiences of sexual misconduct. The phrase was used millions of times on Facebook and Twitter in the first day. Facebook reported that nearly half of its users in the U.S. had at least one friend who had posted the phrase.

If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.

— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017

The movement spread to at least 85 countries within days of Milano's tweet.

The movement felled powerful men. After investigations by The New York Times and the New Yorker revealing years of allegations of sexual misconduct, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company he built; Netflix cut ties with Kevin Spacey after several men came forward with stories of harassment; the premiere for Louis CK's latest film was pulled after he admitted to inappropriate behavior; and several members of Congress have either announced their resignation or that they will not seek re-election after allegations of harassment and misconduct.

Worldwide terror attacks

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Counter terrorism officers march near the scene of last night's London Bridge terrorist attack on June 4, 2017 in London, England. Police continue to cordon off an area after responding to terrorist attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market where 6 people were killed and at least 48 injured last night. Three attackers were shot dead by armed police. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

There were 1,097 attacks worldwide, killing 7,456 people in 2017, according to the mapping analytics company Esri. Five acts occurred on January 1 alone, the deadliest in Istanbul, Turkey, where a fighter of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) opened fire in a nightclub and left 39 dead.

The year's deadliest attack came on October 14, when a suspected Al-Shabaab member detonated a massive truck bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia, killing 512 and wounding another 312. Another 62 people remain missing.

In May, a suicide bomber targeted an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing at least 22 people and wounding 512 more.

New York City experienced three extremist attacks. The first was in March, when a 28-year-old white supremacist from Maryland traveled to Manhattan and fatally stabbed a black man with a 26-inch sword.

Then on Halloween, an ISIS-inspired Uzbek immigrant living in New Jersey, rented a truck and slammed it into pedestrians on a bike path near the World Trade Center, killing eight people.

On December 11, a Bangladeshi immigrant living in Brooklyn detonated a homemade pipe-bomb in the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square. The blast did not kill anyone, but injured three commuters and the suspect, Akayed Ullah.

Tax overhaul

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), flanked by Republican lawmakers, speaks during an enrollment ceremony for the conference report to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. that was passed this week by the House and Senate, at the U.S. Capitol on December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images


The GOP rushed through its tax bill without a single Democrat voting with them on December 20, and gave President Trump his first major legislative victory. The bill is projected to add nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit and disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan group of analysts for Congress.

Every income group will get a tax cut in 2019, but those cuts will phase out over the next 10 years. By 2027, however, everyone earning less than $75,000 will see a tax hike while the tax cuts for corporations are permanent.

The tax bill succeeded where Republicans have repeatedly failed for years: It repealed the individual health care mandate, dealing a blow to Obamacare.

The repeal is expected to result in 13 million fewer people being insured over the next decade, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Trump signed the bill into law on December 22 at the Oval Office, before leaving for his Christmas break at his private club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where he spent much of his year.